Tuesday, October 25, 2011

J/Newsletter- October 25th, 2011

J/111 sailing one-design - offshore ultimate racerNEW! J/111 Speedster Sailing Video
(Newport, RI)- Since August, we'd been waiting for the perfect day to do a video/photo shoot of the J/111 off Newport with world-renowned yachting photographer Onne Van der Wall in a helicopter.  Incredibly, the intersection of wind, light, sea and tide conditions didn't materialize until the second Friday in October.  The results were stunning.  Spectacular photos and video of the J/111 sailing in 15-20 knot SSW winds off Newport, in big seas with an ebb tide flowing fast past Castle Hill and Brenton Reef.

As Onne remarked on the radio after 90 minutes in the air (they were about to run out of fuel), "it's a wrap, perfect day, the best!"  Little did we know how good it was.  Later, Onne said, "I've never seen a boat sail to windward so smoothly, the bow just lifts so naturally, leaving little spray or waves rolling over the deck, it's just magic! And, you guys were sailing in at least 3-6 foot seas with breaking waves!  Plus, it was obvious from the air the 111 just accelerates like a scalded cat downwind with that big red spinnaker!  How fast were you going?"  To answer Onne's question, while sailing in just 15-20 kt wind and waves, the J/111 was easily planing along at a steady 10-12 knots with bursts to 16 knots!  Quite a remarkable performance, an extraordinary experience many 111 owners already had in the past year!  See it for yourself in the latest J/111 YouTube video here.   Video and sailing photo credits- Onne Van der wal   For more J/111 sailboat information.

US Sailing One-Design sailing symposium for sailing teamsGrow Grass-roots One-Design Sailing
US SAILING One-Design Symposium @ Bay Head YC
(Bay Head, NJ)- If you have any interest in one-design sailing and growing your local fleets, perhaps it would be fun to hop on down to Bay Head, NY, centrally located in the huge sailing region of Northeast America!  Hosted at Bay Head YC November 12-13, this premier event for one-design class racing brings together one-design leaders and racing standouts for a great exchange of ideas and information.

This year's keynote speakers include US SAILING President Gary Jobson, Greg Fisher, Fried Elliott, Hank Stuart and Nick Turney. Other presenters include Carol Cronin, Joel Hanneman, Dave Rosekrans and Ken Taylor. Enjoy more than 25 panel discussions, workshops and breakout sessions. Two days of "Go Fast" Workshops featuring industry experts and class champions share their expertise on how to get around the course in less time and distance-- amazing, you can learn how to be a better sailor, too!

Visit the US ODSS website for registration details, travel and accommodations, a full schedule of events, agenda topics, speakers and presentation previews.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to attend, from your Opti Fleet Captain in elementary school to Jaba the Huts' star-sailors on Tatooine!  Note- this also includes all J/22, J/24, J/80, J/27, J/29, J/30, J/100, J/35, J/105, J/109, J/44 and J/122 fleet captains.

J/44 and J/122 sailing Key West Race Week- part of J/Fest Winter CircuitNEW! J/Fest Winter Circuit
(Ft Lauderdale, FL)- Great news for J/Sailors worldwide!  A "J/Fest Winter Circuit" has been developed for Winter 2012 in Florida that encompasses J/111s, J/105s, J/109s and larger J's (J/120s, J/122s, J/124s, J/44s).  To that end, a regatta schedule for "big boat" J sailors that includes sailing once per month all winter includes the following dates and events:

1. Lauderdale- Key West- Jan 12-13- http://www.lyc.org (optional)
2. Quantum Key West Race Week- Jan 15-20- http://www.premiere-racing.com
3. J/Fest Ft Lauderdale- Feb 18-19- President's Day- http://www.bahiamarhotel.com/marina
4. J/Fest Ft Lauderdale- Mar 16-18- St Patrick's Day- http://www.bahiamarhotel.com/marina
5. Charleston Race Week- Apr 19-22- http://www.charlestonraceweek.com

For more information on the J/Fest Winter Circuit including "all-in budgets and costs", please contact J/Boats at Ph. +1-401-846-8410 or email- info@jboats.com.  Or, call your local J/Dealer for more information. Please see the complete announcement here.   Sailing Photo credit- Onne Van der Wal

Sunset off Malta's inner harborJ/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

In Europe, the end of October marks the occasion for the annual Rolex Middle Sea Race, that 600+nm classic offshore race that sends the fleet blasting around a pile of volcano's in the middle of the Mediterranean.  The fleet congregates in that sea-faring island nation of Malta to pay homage to Poseidon and Aelous for fair and safe passage with great winds and then the fleet takes off seeking greater fame and fortune, all expecting the famous island "marks" they round to port haven't atomized!  Speaking of which, there were near nuclear wind conditions in England's Solent this past weekend, making for some interesting racing and maneuvering on the Saturday and Sunday for many wayward warriors from the big city of London!  Both the Garmin Hamble Winter Series and the INEOS Solent Winter Circuit off Lymington managed to get off races both days.  Over in the Americas, the J/24s had tight, closely fought competition in the Pan Am Games, sailed off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.  And, in the northeast, Indian Harbor YC sailed their Gear Buster Race, an appropriately named event!

Read on! The J/Community and Cruising section below 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 page!  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Oct 9- Dec 4- Garmin Hamble Winter Series- Hamble, England
Oct 28-30- J/24 East Coast Championship- Severn Sailing Associaiton, Annapolis, MD
Oct 29-30- J/Fest Southwest- Houston, TX
Oct 29- Nov 6- Hamburg Boat Show (J/108, J/80)- Hamburg, Germany- http://www.hanseboot.de
Nov 4-7- Xiamen Boat Show (J/80)- Wuyuan Bay, Xiamen, China
Nov 10-13- J/80 French Nationals- St Cast, France- http://www.classej80france.com/
Nov 11-19- J/24 Worlds- Buenos Aires, Argentina- http://www.j24worlds2011.org.ar/

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

J/97 sailboat- sailing on Solent, EnglandJ/97s Ramble-On @ Winter Series
(Solent, Hamble, England)- A bit like their musically spiritual compatriots in England, "Led Zeppelin", the J/97s continue to "Ramble On" and keep the pedal-to-the-metal in class this past weekend.  Not sure what got this train running down the tracks so fast, but surely the crews on the J/97 JIKA-JIKA and INDULJENCE have got it dialed in so far this fall season on the Solent.

This weekend HRSC hosted some close racing and some epic on-water battles in the Hamble Autumn Championships and Garmin Hamble Winter Series, in conditions that ranged from gusty to fresh & frighteningly epic?! There was some masterful sailing - and the odd impressive wipeout - across the fleet.

Saturday was the start of the second Hamble Autumn Championships weekend, with racing on two courses for J/80 and J/109s. The wind, a gusty and shifty SSE'ly of 14-18 knots, provided some useful shifts for competitors, allowing some to make big gains. Race officers Jamie Wilkinson and Ian Sumner set good windward-leeward courses, and all classes enjoyed some extremely close combat over the day's four races.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing winter series hamble, englandThe J/80s sailed 3 races on Sunday. J2X edged past J.A.T to take the first two races, and OI! beat both of them in the final race of the series, but it wasn't enough to keep J.A.T off the top spot overall. So far, Phil Taylor on J.A.T. leads by 3 pts with 17 total points in 14 races-- about a 2nd average!  Lying second is Rob Larke's J2X with 20 points.  Third is Thor Askellende's ELLE'S'APPELLE with 54 points, about 34 points back.  What's abundantly clear is that a "regime change" has occurred, rapidly, in this year's version of the Fall Championships.  John Cooper's OI! and Patrick Liardet's AQUA-J, leaders from last year's event, are simply scrambling to keep the fabulous pace that has been laid down by Taylor's and Larke's team.

J/109 one-design sailboats- sailing into start at Hamble Winter SeriesWhile this weekend's results for the J/109 One-Design class saw OUTRAJEOUS and STALKER win races, the J/109 fleet standings continue to see Richard and Valerie Griffith’s OUTRAJEOUS in first with 17 pts; Steven Tapper's STALKER in second with 21 pts; Jody Windmiller's J2EAU in third with 32 pts; David and Mary McGough's JUST SO in fourth with 43 points; and Tor McLaren's INSPARA in fifth with 45 pts.  On the Winter Series side of the equation, it's OUTRAJEOUS hanging onto first overall with Paul Griffiths' JAGERBOMB in second and JUST SO in third.

In IRC results are starting to look like a classic American "roller-coaster".  In IRC 1 Class, Doctor Ivan Trotman is now leading with his J/122 JOLOU with a 1-4-3-6 record for 14 pts. Over in IRC 3, still dominated by J's, the top four of five slots are all held by Js! The J/97s JIKA JIKA and INDULJENCE are first and third, respectively, whilst David Greenhalgh and John Taylor's J/92 J-RONIMO is fourth.  Fifth is Andy Howe & Annie Kelly's J/92s BLACKJACK.

Next weekend sees the second Autumn Championships weekend, with racing for J/109 and J/80 one design classes on both days, plus the third Winter Series race day on Sunday.   Sailing photo credits- Hamo Thornycroft   For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series sailing information

J/122 Artie sailing team- winners Rolex Middle Sea RaceMalta Rules Middle Sea Race
J/122s and J/133s Cruise Overall/ Class Wins!
(Gzira, Malta)- The 32nd edition of the 606-nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race, which began last Saturday, 22 October from Grand Harbour in Malta, with 70 boats from 18 countries, will be remembered as an epic drama that saw FOUR (not one, not two, not three, but 4) J's battling for the overall and class leadership in one of the most challenging offshore races on planet Earth.  And, seemingly, all four boats were part of the Maltese Navy, a "family" from that little island nation known as Malta.  In a drama worthy of Homer's ODYSSEY, where Odysseus's voyage is punctuated by many bizarre twists and turns, it was the Maltese merchants of war that took home all the booty this time around-- hauling off enough silverware to make it seem almost illegal were it not for the fact their chosen steeds of war were nothing else than simple racer-cruisers like the J/122 and J/133. Truth be told, the "locals" won.  Royal Maltesian sailors Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard on their J/122 ARTIE won overall and IRC 4, too.  For them, it was truly the "third time is a charm", having finished second twice before! Christian's cousin, John Ripard's J/133 JARU was 3rd overall and won IRC 3!

J/122 Artie sailing Rolex Middle Sea race- finish in MaltaAfter finishing second overall in 2006 and 2010, owner Lee Satariano was clearly pleased with his first overall win, “It’s a moment to enjoy – it is a dream come true. Since 2002 the fleet has grown bigger, the competition is tremendous. The Rolex Middle Sea Race is a beautiful track. The race is one you can never forget –every year something challenges you to go back out and enjoy the race.”

Satariano was quick to credit Ripard and the rest of his crew and said, “They have been preparing the boat the whole year and have been dedicated to the local races. The preparation for this race was even more and more intense - a lot of effort went into optimizing the boat and sails. During the race the crew worked round the clock, sometimes there were 5-7 sail changes in ten minutes; they worked fast, and in any conditions. It was very nice for them to do so well in such a race.”

As to what made this year’s race unique, aside from the obvious winning, he added, “Every corner had something we weren’t expecting – you were expecting one thing and then obviously facing different winds, rain, different directions, but it was totally exciting.”
The Middle Sea Race is the flagship race of the Royal Malta Yacht Club and each year, members of the club, young and old take part in the spectacular race. It is a special honor to be the first Maltese boat to finish the Rolex Middle Sea Race, as Georges Bonello Dupuis, Commodore of the Royal Malta Yacht Club explains, “For the entire race, all of the Maltese boats will be concentrating on crossing the line first, it is an incredible honor filled with pride and elation. All of their families will be in the yacht club, hoping that they will win. It is a great feeling to be the first home but a real welcome home party awaits them all.”

Rolex Middle Sea Race courseLaid out on a chart, the RMSR looks simple- it's just a "giant around the islands race" (like Jamestown or Isle of Wight, but on much, much larger scale- for those of you counting, only 606nm).  Just start from Malta, head north to the Straits of Messina, go through it avoiding massive whirlpools and currents (and mythical serpents). Then, go a few bits to the north, avoid island volcano called Stromboli (note 1), keep it to the left, head west past Sicily (yet another island volcano) along its northern shore.  At the NW corner of Sicily off the islands of Favignana (note 2), turn left again and head south keeping the islands of Pantelleria (note 3) to the left and Tunisia (north tip of Africa) to your right (pirates included).  After Pantelleria, head down to the rock (island by some standards) of Lampedusa and turn left, heading east to the finish of Malta (a story and challenge in and of itself)(note 4).  Easy, eh? In some respects, it makes the RORC Rolex Fastnet Race look like a "piece of cake"-- head west from Cowes, turn around Fastnet Rock and finish at Plymouth, your basic "out and back race".  Not!  So, you can begin to understand "why" the "new" RORC 600 Race in the Caribbean and the classic Rolex Middle Sea Race have such appeal, they're easily one of the most challenging offshore races on the international racing calendar. Some times, all sun, fun, shorts and sunscreen.  Other times, one's contending with sailing's version of a nuclear wind with powerful, hurricane-like meltemi's/ scirocco's blasting off the desert or northern Europe.  It's a full-on team effort to simply sail well in this race, forgetting the fact that you're hoping to even get some silverware. In other words, full-blown, fully professional teams paid zillions of dollars can fail and be beaten by "family" teams.  The story, in fact, of this year's race.  David and Goliath reincarnate, if not one worthy of a Greek odyssey.

Who were lined up against the "family" J/Teams in this year's Rolex Middle Sea Race?  Well, nothing short of the 2011 RORC Boat of the Year- Inter-Galactic Winner- Nik Zennstrom's 72 footer RAN. Plus, a few other quick boats like ESIMIT EUROPA, a 100 ft canting-keel "needle" and other "wannabes" in the fast boats category. The collective payroll for one race on the top five finishing boats would pay for ALL four J's that took most of the silverware.  Perhaps sailing is the ultimate egalitarian endeavour.

J/122 Otra Vez- sailing Rolex Middle Sea Race off MaltaBefore we forget, we must mention the fact that a "newbie" to the local Maltese J/Navy is the J/122 OTRA VEZ sailed by Aaron Gatt Floridia / Edward Gatt Floridia.  Remarkably, in their first race on a J/122, against the most formidable competition imaginable, they managed a third overall and a third in IRC 4.  Not bad.  A podium finish in Class and Overall on their first try?  So, what happens when they actually "learn" the boat from the masters in Malta and go faster without hitting any corners?  Sounds like trouble for their competitors anywhere they decide to take their new race-horse.

Not to be forgotten are their stablemates, the J/133 JUNO sailed by David Anastasi racing in IRC 3.  They were nipping at their heels like a mad hound-dog all the way around the track.  Luck was not on their side.  Nevertheless, despite a few mistakes, JUNO hung very tough to get fifth overall and 2nd in IRC 3 Class, helping to lead to a J sweep of IRC 3 and IRC 4 classes.  Not far off the pace was the J/130 ANDAYA sailed by her Italian owner Lorenzo Libe-- ANDAYA won 3rd overall in the 1996 Rolex Middle Sea Race.

Prophetically, Christian Ripard on ARTIE had this to say just 24 hours before the start, "The forecast looks to be quite light for the first couple of days....but with the thunder clouds lurking around at the start we could have very unstable weather which could bring us anything from zero to fifty knots in squalls.....as always this race is the longest around the cans race which will keep us working continuously hour after hour."  Given that perspective (truer than what most would've imagined), here's what happened during the race.

Straits of Messina off ItalySUNDAY Report:
On the first night, the fleet parked up off the coast of Sicily near Catania – in the shadows of Mount Etna.  The bulk of the fleet was nearing the Strait.  The crew of the J/133, OILTANK KING JUNO (MLT), was clearly enjoying itself despite one or two issues yesterday, reporting in with a recap the early adventures, "Once out of the harbour, some local storm clouds brought with them squalls. We saw some boats tear their code zeros and spinnakers. On JUNO, we were not free of problems either. Even though we made the correct sail calls at the right times, at one point we lost both our spinnaker sheets and tack lines, giving us major problems with one of our spinnakers. Due to great teamwork, we managed to make a good recovery and now find ourselves sailing up the east coast of Sicily towards the infamous straits of Messina."

MONDAY Report:
J/133 sailing Rolex Middles Sea race with spinnakerForty-eight hours into the race and the fleet had encountered all of the challenges and conditions that tacticians and navigators had anticipated well before the race start.  The 606-nautical mile course around Sicily is notorious for its changeable conditions, and local anomalies in wind, current, and weather. Many competitors work out a game plan that breaks the course into several parts – each with its own challenges. And over-riding all race plans is the weather forecast – this year the predictions were for lighter breeze at the start, though several fronts passing through the area were expected to bring more wind along the western coast of Sicily.

After a faster than expected first 24 hours, the front-runners suffered on the stretch of the course along the north coast of Sicily where lighter winds finally materialized slowing the boats down to a relative crawl. But once they could stick their bows around the northwest corner of Sicily, past San Vito lo Capo, they were back in the breeze and off again.

Said one navigator in the midst of IRC 3 and IRC 4 fleets, "Looking ahead we expect our world to change when we round the western tip of Sicily and enter the southerly winds. The strength will increase and be more on the nose. At the moment we are peeling between the code zero and headsails, but we will just be using headsails shortly. We’re happy with that. We made a good decision last night to stay north, away from the wind shadows of Sicily and the Aeolian Islands.  Further ahead we think that Lampedusa could be a problem and another park-up. There is a low tracking over Malta on Tuesday that could bring really light winds, changing the picture all over again and really changing the shape of the race."

The bulk of the fleet - including all of Classes 3 and 4 - were fairly closely packed along the rhumbline off the northern coast of Sicily. Abeam of the island of Alicudi (one of the Aeolian Islands), one skipper said they had a visual sighting of 34-35 boats around them. He reported, "It was a tough night, we rounded Stromboli with good breeze around 2300 - its usual eruptions and a very nice view. About an hour later, the breeze started to die, and then it was just a big swell with sails flapping, shock loading the boat. We now are sailing in six knots of wind, making 6.3 knots of boat speed, with the apparent wind just forward of the beam. We anticipate the wind to increase by midday, though forecasts have been mostly inaccurate! Anyway, that’s the name of game. Right now we have bright sunshine some cloud cover."

Island of Sicily off to port of fleet in Rolex Middle Sea RaceTo give you some perspective from the top of the fleet, Nik Zennstrom, owner/skipper on RAN, said "We studied the different weather models that were available to us, and really tried to understand the race-course as well as possible. I think we handled it well; we didn’t make a lot of mistakes, which is what it’s all about in this kind of race. Though it was pretty light conditions; you didn’t have the tough conditions where you really have to handle the boat. It’s a fun race because there are always different corners to go around, different islands-- for sure it’s very tactical.”  RAN's tactician Adrian Stead, echoed that and said, “It was a pretty challenging race-- intriguingly, this race was not a case of the rich getting richer, as the weather conditions continued to confound even the race leaders right to the end – and served as a reminder of what may lie ahead for the rest of the fleet still racing. The last 50 miles into the finish were incredibly tricky. Originally we were pointing straight at Malta, then we were slowly headed and effectively faced with a 30-mile beat to the Comino Channel, and coming in to here at midday the breeze started to get very fickle off the shore, with very big shifts.  The last nine miles saw 40 degree shifts, and breeze as light as five knots to as much as 11 knots. You had to keep your wits about you the whole way.”

The conditions overnight definitely favored the lighter displacement boats and two Maltese yachts came to the fore. J/122 ARTIE skippered by Lee Satariano and double race winner Christian Ripard had an excellent night and were now very much in contention. Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia’s J/122, OTRA VEZ also came into the running. These two local yachts were barely half a mile apart.

By noon on the third day, the Rolex Middle Sea Race was living up to its billing as a highly changeable and tactically demanding race. As the majority of the fleet turns the corner northwest corner at Favignana, they should encounter stronger head winds, rain and a building sea state; the third night at sea looks set to be a testing one.

Sailng past Italy's volcanic island chain off SicilyBy Monday evening, the fleet began to experience a situation contrary to the forecast– a reminder again of the fickle weather conditions around Sicily. Several squalls swept through and a few boats were caught unawares, left to quickly douse spinnakers and run through sail changes, as the wind swung around from southeast to northwest.  Then it swung back again!  The fleet were experiencing the roughest conditions of the race so far. Beating into a stiff southeasterly breeze with an agitated sea state, it was a rock and roll ride for the fleet, soaking wet on deck with fresh supplies of food depleted and little sleep, a battle of attrition was the main course and a few hours restless sleep the desert. Malta’s capital Valetta’s famous battlements are testament to the fighting spirit of the nation and several Maltese yachts have come to the fore in these difficult conditions.

In Class Three, at Favignana, the J/133 JARU Team EC, skippered by Andrew Calascione and John Ripard were leading the class on handicap and by 0830 Tuesday morning JARU had pulled ahead of close rival ARTIE (racing in Class Four) by one and half miles to lead the fleet of eight Maltese yachts in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Challenging for the lead and very much in the hunt in Class Three was the other J/133 OILTANK KING JUNO skippered by David Anastasi.

Continuing to lead Class 4 were the two J/122s from the Maltese fleet-- ARTIE and OTRA VEZ. As Ripard said presciently before the race start, “It’s not a long passage race, you have a lot of corners, a lot of changing winds when you go around a corner. They get becalmed, you run away; you get becalmed, they catch you up, it really keeps you on your toes, the whole way around. That’s why it’s so much fun, but it’s so hard doing it.”

OTRA VEZ had a full on battle Monday night, sustaining damage that prevented them from flying any spinnaker. OTRA VEZ was probably the only yacht that was hoping that they will beat all the way to the finish. OTRA VEZ crew, Sean Arrigo Azzopardi contacted the Royal Malta YC Tuesday morning at 1030 with news from on board- "We’re all fine, doing well overall. The boat is coping, but we broke the bowsprit last night. We were carrying the Code Zero a bit too high in a big chop, and seem to have blown it. I don’t know if we can get it fixed, I hope we don’t need to use it. We had big waves rounding Favignana, and about 20 knots of wind. When we freed off slightly to make Pantelleria, we were sailing at a true wind angle of 050, the wind settled, big waves, and we were doing about 8.5 knots. It was pretty comfortable.  It is a beat to Lampedusa. We’re not sure if we are going to need the bowsprit. The wind looks as though it might come around, but we are not too sure since the wind has been doing its own thing. Apart from in the Strait we have not really had what we’ve been expecting. From the beginning to half the race, nothing at all like what we thought.  Before Favignana, we encountered the squalls, but mildly. Not as bad as others seem to have. Maybe we were ahead of it. We slowed down a lot at Trapani. We were hoping not, it looked like it was going to pull us through but it didn’t. The wind for us did not come around too much.  It is a beautiful day now, the wind is blowing 13 knots, we are beating tight, with a wind angle of 040 heading towards Lampedusa, the sea is mild. It’s pretty nice. Some bigger boats are closing from behind, but we are still chasing ARTIE who is about a mile and a half away. We were together with JARU at Trapani, but he did not slow down like we did. He managed to sneak away, so maybe he is a couple of miles ahead.  Right now we are trying to get as much rest as possible to try and fight out the last bit. We’re loving every minute."

J/122 Artie sailing to finish line in Malta's harborWEDNESDAY Report- Finish
With 18 yachts finished and two retirements, the bulk of the remaining yachts were still battling to reach the finish at the Royal Malta Yacht Club. Lighter conditions beset the fleet but those that rounded Lampedusa were now sailing in a southeasterly breeze and maintaining good boat speed, flying downwind sails. The Royal Malta YC was expecting a monumental party Wednesday night with six Maltese yachts expected to finish in the afternoon and early evening.

At 0930 hours, leading the Maltese fleet of eight yachts home was the J/122 ARTIE, she was 24 miles from the Comino Strait and leading her class, the Maltese fleet and the entire race on IRC handicap!  Can we say that a "Triple-Crown winner" was a possibility?  Nipping at their heels less than 5 nm behind in the final mad dash to the finish line were the three other Maltese J's- the J/133s JARU Team EC, OILTANK KING JUNO and the J/122 OTRA VEZ!  It was a family affair, too.  JARU, was skippered by Andrew Calascione and John Ripard (first cousin to ARTIE's Christian Ripard). John Ripard is also sailing with his son Sebastian. The J/122 OTRA VEZ, co-skippered by brothers Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia, had to be cursing their luck, their broken bowsprit was now a serious handicap. As they sailed towards the finish off-the-wind, OTRA VEZ couldn't fly their fastest sails.

J/133 Jaru sailing into finish line at MaltaFinally, after racing over 606 nm, the J/122 ARTIE crossed the finish line at 15.22 CEST, eight minutes in front of the J/133 JARU TEAM EC and, in doing so, was the first Maltese boat home. That finish also put the local entry, co-skippered by Lee Satariano and Christian Ripard, ahead of Zenstrom's RAN (GBR) as overall handicap leader.  As a result, ARTIE and crew may have been the first "Triple Crown" Winner ever in the history of the Rolex Middle Sea Race- Overall IRC Winner, IRC Class 4 Winner and Maltese Fleet Champion!

Owner Lee Satariano was clearly relieved to beat his local rivals home and said, “It was very achievable because we worked very hard. The crew has been preparing the boat for the past several months, we even have a new sail wardrobe. Being the first Maltese boat gives us a big satisfaction because the local competition is very, very big.”  Christian Ripard, co-skipper said, “It’s a great feeling. We ended up doing most of the race alongside or crossing tacks with JARU; it’s nearly a re-run of last year, though this time we managed to beat them.  We were sailing the boat as well as we can. We knew if we had the same conditions as the rest of the competition, we’d do well. The boat is going exceptionally well, and it’s a very good crew. This was a very enjoyable race. When you race on a Maxi you tend to be on your own, but when you’re with the smaller boats, then you really have a race on, there are different dynamics -- you’re crossing tacks with foreign boats, with local boats -- it was one of the most enjoyable races for me."

Volcanic island of Stromboli(1) Part of the Aeolian island chain, Stromboli is located in the Tyrrhenian Sea, off the north coast of Sicily. The active volcano is approximately 900 m (3,000 ft) high, and its most recent eruption was in August 2009. There are two villages on the island with several hundred inhabitants.  Stromboli gained acclaim in 1950 when Italian director, Roberto Rossellini set the classic movie 'Stromboli' starring Ingrid Bergman, on the island. The island, and nearby Strombolicchio, are marks of the Rolex Middle Sea Race course, left to port by the race fleet.  Stromboli is part of the Aeolian Island archipelago, named after the wind god, Aeolus. The largest islands in the group are Lipari and Salina; others include Vulcano, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, and Panarea, as well as nearby islets. The islands are of volcanic origin and include two active volcanoes: Vulcano and Stromboli. Over 40 species of birds are found on the islands, including ten that are on the Sicilian Red List for threatened species.

Rolex Middle Sea Race mark rounding(2) The Rolex Middle Sea Race Mark is unusual as many of the marks of the course are physical islands. At the northwest corner of Sicily, off Trapani, lie the Egadi Islands. These islands (Favignana and Levanzo) must all be left to port, except for the island of Marettimo, which must be left to starboard.  The permanent population for the three islands is around 5,000. Although a popular summer destination, it is still possible to find secluded coves and walking paths. The islands are rugged and hilly, but offer wonderful beaches for swimming in the cobalt blue sea.

(3) the Italian island of Pantelleria lies 100 km (62miles) southwest of Sicily and only 60 km (37miles) east of the Tunisian coast. The island has an area of 83 sq km, and a population of around 3,000 inhabitants. Despite being volcanic, Pantelleria is surprisingly fertile. Not to be missed is the Montagna Grand, a natural park and the highest point (836m) on the island. As well, there are many beaches and sea caves to explore.

Rolex Middle Sea race start and finish line(4) The finish line for the Rolex Middle Sea Race is inside Marsamxett Harbour, opposite the Royal Malta Yacht Club in Ta’Xbiex. Marsamxett is the northern of Valletta’s two main harbors (the other is Grand Harbour). This natural harbour is dedicated more for leisure use – with plenty of dockage for recreational and tourist boats.  The harbour is ringed by fortifications. As well as the walled Citadel of Valletta to the south, in the middle of the harbour sits the 18 century Fort Manoel, built by the Knights of Malta, under the patronage of Portuguese Grand Master Manoel de Vilhena. The former home of the Royal Malta Yacht Club, the fort is undergoing major restoration work to repair damage sustained during the Second World War.   To experience live video footage from the J/133 JUNO- access their archives.  Rolex Sailing Photo credits- Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo.   For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information.

J/24 one-design sailboat- sailing off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in Pan Am GamesBRAZIL Golden @ J/24 Pan Am Games
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- The final day of the sailing on the gorgeous Bahia de Banderas bay at the Pan American Games regatta saw each of the nine classes hold the double points medal race for the top five in each class to decide the medalists.

Emerging from the smoke on the battlefield, like an apparition out of the fog, was yet again Brazil's J/24 ace Mauricio Santa Cruz at the top of the leader-board.  Mauricio and crew took home the Gold by one point after a battle in the final race with the American team of John Mollicone.  Taking the Bronze Medal on the podium was Matias Sequel from Chile, fourth was Luis Alcese from Peru and fifth was Francisco Van Avermaete from Argentina.   Sixth from the host country Mexico was Jorge Murrietta.

Sailing onboard the American J/24 at the Pan Am Games in Puerto Vallarta was Dan Rabin.  Dan's amusing commentary about their Silver Medal winning experience was posted on Sailing World blogs:   "Security has increased significantly since we first arrived. Getting into the hotel or the yacht club is like going through security at the airport. In addition, the Mexican Navy is patrolling the coast of our hotel and the sailing area - wow!

I feel like karma should be on our side. The Canadian team's jib got lost in transport, so we gave them our practice jib which only has a few days on it. Otherwise, they would have been sailing with a jib that looks older than the kids I coach at Brown.

We had a nice cross-class dinner after the first day of sailing with the Lightning team and Clay Johnson. I learned that Farrah Hall, the U.S. boardsailor went for a run while waiting for her redress hearing. Boardsailing must be one of the most intense physical activities on the planet, and Farrah goes for a run to cool down! I explained to Jay Lutz that if I ran from our dinner table to the restaurant door I would probably go into cardiac arrest. I guess I'm getting old, or maybe I'm flat-out already there, but being on the water for 6 hours in 90+ degrees takes a lot out of me.

Another competition going on in the midst of the Pan Am Games is the country pins. All of the athletes are given about 20 pins which have a national team decal. The idea is that you exchange pins with athletes from other countries. I am failing miserably on this front. I imagine that the pin exchange is a great introduction to meet people if you are single. I am not single, and I'm a bit shy by nature. So far, I have a couple of Mexican pins that I got from one of their American coaches I was already friends with - pathetic, I know. I gave a pin to a waiter today just for getting me some parmesan cheese, and I gave another pin to a waiter with the promise of a Puerto Rican pin in exchange tomorrow.

What's the sailing like, you might ask?  Well, it looks like champagne sailing, but it's mighty hot on the water off Puerto Vallarta on Banderas Bay. And the pressure in only increasing as the medal race approaches.

We were rewarded with a day off on Thursday because the regatta is on schedule with six races completed. Wednesday was the lightest breeze of the regatta. The puffs were very narrow, making for some challenging racing. With the breeze so light, the heat felt even more extreme. Puerto Vallarta travel tip: no need to bring sailing gear here. If I wore a spray top, I would be unconscious by the leeward gate. We pulled a horizon job the first race and managed a 3rd in the next race. After beating the Brazilians both races, we are leading by 1 point with a throw out.

For our day off, we managed to find the only place hotter than a J/24 deck downwind: the beach volleyball court. The U.S. men's and women's teams had matches, so most of the sailors went down to cheer them on. During the men’s match, a group of 30 Mexican elementary school students were cheering “Los Estados Unidos”, so I’m thinking that NAFTA thing has worked out pretty well. The women faced off against Mexico, though, and the stadium was going crazy after every Mexican point. Unfortunately, both U.S. teams lost. I saw the women’s team at dinner and they were in good spirits. I’m glad we were on hand to be part of their small group of supporters in the stands.

We have four more races scheduled over the next two days, and then a medal race on Sunday for the top five boats. In the medal race, the points are double whatever the finish position is, and it cannot be discarded. It’s starting to look like it could come down to us and Brazil as there’s a bit of a gap to 3rd place, so there should be some interesting tactical situations and exciting face offs. A seven-boat regatta has a very different dynamic than the typical big-fleet racing events I sail. For instance, if you’re sailing a 40 boat event, you could round the leeward gate in 18th, and grind back to a top 10 over the next 2 legs. Here, if you round the gate in third, it’s incredibly difficult to pass even one boat. So while every point matters in a typical event, every point is absolutely precious here. If you lose them, it’s really hard to get them back.

Fun fact: I speak a little bit of broken Spanish but Jay Lutz speaks a little bit of fluent Spanish, mostly related to ordering food and beer (cervezas!)-- I'm learning fast!

I mentioned in my last post that the points were shaping up such that we could see some interesting scenarios, and that was certainly the case. On Thursday, we went after Brazil in the pre-start in race 8. Since we had a better drop race than them, we could extend our lead if we forced them into another bad race. We had a great start to windward of them and were able to pin them out to the un-favored side. At one point, we were winning while they were in 6th, but things change quite a bit over the length of a 6 leg, 80 minute race. We had to shift gears again and tack on them relentlessly up the last beat. We were successful, though, and after 8 races we had our biggest lead of the regatta— a whopping 3 points.

On Saturday we were in full match race mode with Brazil, so the pre-starts were pretty intense. We ended up even on the day, still with a 3-points lead, but we had one especially exciting exchange to maintain that lead. Going down the last run of the 2nd race were about 3 boat lengths behind Brazil. We soaked low on them and then jibed right on top of them.  We began to roll them and then jibed back at them with the starboard advantage. We pinned them past lay line and then jibed back with the pole on the head stay and went on for a hard-earned 2nd.

The medal races on Sunday were only half the length of the normal races for most of the fleets. The Lightnings started before us and we were able to watch their entire race before our start. The RC had to do this format because they had to use the same three umpire boats for each race. That’s right, medal races were umpired and if you got a penalty, you had to do a 360 immediately.

For our medal race, we became engaged with Brazil even before the 5-minute warning went off (is that legal? who knows, umpires didn't seem to care).  At less than a minute to the start, we gained an advantage and drew a windward-leeward foul. Brazil had to spin and we continued to slow them down after they came out of their penalty turn. Meanwhile, the other 3 boats were sailing off at least a minute in front of us, duking it out for the bronze. We had a few tacking exchanges with Brazil, and on the last one, they were able to draw a foul on us. We had to spin, but even though we were in last and Brazil was now fourth, it looked like we might have created enough of a gap to the fleet that they would not be able to put the boat in between us that they needed for the gold. Unfortunately, at the bottom of the first run, Peru and Argentina got in a luffing match and Brazil closed the gap. Up the 2nd beat, Brazil passed Argentina. We were just too far behind to do anything and we had to watch as Brazil crossed the finish in third. It was heartbreaking.

I ran into Jody Lutz from the Lightning team at out hotel and he was experiencing similar feelings. We both recognized the achievement of winning a silver medal here, but were very disappointed at coming so close to the gold and watching it slip away. The medal ceremony on the water in downtown Puerto Vallarta helped cushion the blow a bit—the typical awards banquet doesn’t come close to this experience. I’ll always remember Geoff posing for a picture with his two young boys holding his medal – they looked very proud of Dad.

The Pan American Games was like no other regatta I’ve ever sailed. An outsider might look at it and see there are only 7 boats, and think, "That can’t be nearly as hard as a Worlds or North Americans.”  The comparison is pointless. They’re so completely different that it’s not really the same game.

On behalf of USA 5235, I’d like to give a huge thanks to the US SAILING and U.S. Olympic Committee staff for all of their work here.  I hope you’ve enjoyed following along, and a few years from now, will consider lacing it up and competing in your class’s trials for a chance to represent the U.S. at this great event."  Courtesy of Dan Rabin and Sailing World- http://www.sailingworld.com/blogs   For more Pan Am Games sailing information.

J/120 offshore racer cruiser sailboat- sailing offshoreJ/120s Smash Indian Harbor Gear Buster Race
(Greenwich, CT)- Get the bit in her teeth and she'll still show her transom to a lot of boats blasting down the race track.  That's the story of the J/120s sailing in Indian Harbor YC's fall classic called, appropriately, the Gear Buster Race.  Why the  name?  Basically, because it's the last offshore race of the fall season, so gotta for broke-- as they say in San Francisco, "Go Big or Go Home"!  Plus, it almost always nukes in the fall on Long Island Sound when the fast-moving cold fronts go ripping through the Northeastern coast of America and it blows for days at a time 15-30 kts (or more) out of the Northwest.

Reveling in this year's conditions, the J/120s won both PHRF Doublehanded Division and PHRF Spinnaker Division.  In the Double group, it was Gardner Grant on ALIBI that took home the Gold not only in class, but won PHRF Overall!  Other J's that had a respectable showing in the same division were Hewitt Gaynor's J/120 MIREILLE in 5th and Greg Imbruce's J/109 JOYRIDE in sixth.

In the PHRF Spinnaker Division, Barry John's J/120 NO ESCAPE took home the bacon (and the pickle dish) in a big, big way, winning by over one hour forty minutes on corrected and securing 3rd in PHRF Fleet Overall, too!  A gaggle of other J/120s sailed well, with Joe Healey's SOULMATE finishing 3rd and Brian Spears' MADISON getting 4th.  Just behind them was John Pearson's J/109 BLUE SKY in 5th.

Finishing 2nd in the PHRF Non-spinnaker division was Ken Hall's beautiful J/100 NEVERMORE, just missing out winning his class by only 40 seconds!  You can just hear Ken asking himself, "now, why didn't I wing out that jib faster?"  Next time, we hope.

John Towers pretty J/37 RIPPLE sailed a challenging race to beat out an old Maxi World Champion aboard BOOMERANG, Jeff Neuberth and friends on the Farr 11s STRAY DOG.  However, they were no match for the fast Santa Cruz 52 MAGIC, with RIPPLE having to settle for 2nd overall in IRC Division.  For more Indian Harbor YC Gear Buster sailing results

J/109 one-design offshore sailboat- sailing downwindFLAWLESS J Wins INEOS Solent Circuit
(Lymington, England)- Following the previous week's abandoned races due to lack of wind, the third weekend of the Lymington Town Sailing Club INEOS Solent Circuit saw plenty of wind to keep competitors on their toes. True to the forecast, a steady 18 to 20 knots SSE breeze, with gusts to 28 knots greeted the fleet in the West Solent on Sunday morning.

All classes were set courses taking them to the Island shore, where they experienced lulls in the wind and considerable wind shifts, only to sail out of the lee of the Island into some significant gusts. For Class 1 the race committee set a course of 15 nautical miles. FLAWLESS J, James Heald's J/105, sailed a "flawless" race, making the most of the reaching legs with her big, black asymmetric spinnaker to take line honours and first place on handicap.  Not far off the pace was Robin Taunt's J/109 JIBE securing third place.

In the time-honored tradition of fall Solent sailing in its westernmost reaches, the fleet felt the steadily building breeze and choppy conditions were "getting a bit much", so the fleet headed back to the river and welcome refreshments in Lymington Town Sailing Club's Solent Room.  There was much ribbing and chatter about the day's sailing in "almost nuclear" conditions of the "blowing dogs off chains" variety.  The real question of the day was how did a half-tonner lose its mast due to someone else's navigational error!?  Or, was it "the ferry's fault"?  As usual, time will tell in such things.  For more INESO Solent Circuit sailing information


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

J/24 one-design sailboat- with SLAM and Octopus graphic* J/24 Octopussy Graphic Option?  Holy Monster Tentacles! Canadian J/24 Class President Dale Robertson recently made a splash in Halifax, Nova Scotia, when he took advantage of a Hip Hop festival organized by the City of Halifax. "Live Art" is a component of the hip hop culture and the organizers were looking for a boat to paint. World renowned artist Aaron Li-Hill, from Toronto, was flown in for this event and Dale's boat became his canvas at the Nova Scotia Art Museum in September, and then the next day at the Halifax Commons. Thousands of people witnessed Aaron and local Halifax artist Christian Toth, also well known, turned the J24 into the remarkable artwork that can be seen in these photos. Dale then had Luke Porter, a local boat repair expert, paint a clear coat of urethane over the art to protect it. Dale's boat is now an attraction at Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, both on and off the water. Photos courtesy of Billy, and thanks to Greg B for the story in Sailing Anarchy/ Home page- http://www.sailinganarchy.com

J/105 Lego sailboat model on trailer with truck* J/105 Lego sailboat on a trailer for Christmas? Sure, if you ask young Hunter Morisette to make you a custom one!  This picture of a Lego model of a J/105 on her trailer being pulled by a pickup truck is a representation of his parent's J/105  that they sail on quite regularly (his Super Cool Mom is called "Barbara").  Whaddaya think everyone?  Pretty awesome, eh?  Perhaps you can get the "Octopussy Graphic" option above with this J/105 Lego sailboat??  Would look pretty radical. Plus, you can even order ANY color you want since Lego happens to have about 4 dozen colors for these blocks!

Volvo 70 Puma Mar Mastro sailing off Newport, RI- Ken Read skipper* Volvo 70s with "J/24 style" decks?  Yes, according to Ken Read (he would know, of course)!  And, there are significant design differences, too.  Ken Read (USA), skipper of PUMA Ocean Racing, provides his observations of the fleet-

"One of the best parts of participating in a development class is when the boats break out of the shed and you see all of the parts and pieces that others have thought of…and they in turn see what you have done. We went with as low a CG as possible with our entire program. Deck and cabin house design were done to get the weight low and to make sure we kept the all up boat weight at or below the minimum. A couple of the new boats went with "J-24" style decks with no cabin house for a lower windage look. It is all a wash probably, but we like where we ended up.

Abu Dhabi also went with an open cockpit design to get their sail stack lower. We think that the new rules concerning less sails and the lack of being able to fill the very aft compartment in the boat with gear in heavy downwind conditions dissuaded us from going open cockpit. We felt we needed the stacking area downstairs, area that an open cockpit wouldn't give you.

Camper's adjustable headstay system has been a major topic. While the rest of the fleet pinned their headstay at one length, Camper has a hydraulic ram to adjust the rake of the mast in different conditions. For sure the rest of the fleet read the rule in a way that you couldn't do this, but the rules makers had a different idea.

The Camper boat is also different with the daggerboards behind the keel and mast. The rest of the fleet has gone in the other direction. Our daggerboards are actually further forward than even Ericsson 4 had last race - the winning Juan K design. All the Juan K-designed boats - us, Telefonica and Groupama - have negative dihedrals on the daggerboards, also a new look for the class (bottom of board angles toward each other).

The hull shapes have all gone fuller forward. The three Juan K boats are noticeably fuller forward than even Ericsson 4. A very flat forward section underwater with a distinct forward rocker is clearly there to try and get the bow out of the water at pace. Abu Dhabi is even more extreme as their huge bow section is certainly designed for "bow up" sailing, although they
seem to have less transom immersion than the Juan K boats. Camper on the other hand seems to be a bit of a development from our old PUMA boat with some new fullness forward, but not nearly where the other boats have gone.

Look for each boat to have their condition, including Sanya who may "own" light air in this fleet.  The die is cast. This is going to be a serious boat race with a ton of lead changes depending on the conditions."

Good Luck, Ken!  Fair Winds, Fast Sailing! The J/Community will channel positive energy to the PUMA MAR MASTRO gang around the globe!

The J Cruising CommunityJ cruising directions- roll the dice and go!  Sailing to anywhere, anytime! J Cruisers continue their adventures around the world, below are a selection of most excellent "blogs" written by their prolific publishers.  Some terribly amusing anecdotes and pearls of wisdom are contained in their blogs. Read some! You'll love it.

* The J/42 JARANA continues their epic voyage around the Pacific. Continue to read about Bill and Kathy Cuffel's big adventure cruising the South Pacific headed for New Zealand.  Their blog is here: http://www.svjarana.blogspot.com/

* Prolific writers, Bill and Judy Stellin, sailed their J/42 JAYWALKER around the Mediterranean and Europe and back across the Atlantic for nearly three years.  Their blogs/journals can be found at- http://blog.mailasail.com/jaywalker.  The earlier journals have been compiled into two self published books which can be found at: http://www.blurb.com.  Search for "SEATREK: A Passion for Sailing" by Bill Stellin or William Stellin."  UPDATE-  Just a short note to update from Bill- "Our cruise began in May of 2000 and ended in May of 2008, some 8 years later. I have just finished and published my third and final book covering the last three or so years including our double handed crossing in 16 days and one winter in the Caribbean. Like the others, "Sea Trek- A Passion for sailing- Book III," can be found at www.blurb.com.  Thanks, Bill and Judy"

J/130 sailing ARC Rally arrives Portugal- leave a message on the sea wall!* John and Mary Driver are sailing their J/130 SHAZAM for extended cruising in the Atlantic basin. At this time, John and Mary finished their double-handed crossing of the Atlantic, landing in Portugal on their J/130 Shazam after completion of their ARC Rally. Read the latest news at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/shazam/.

* Several J/160 owners are island hopping across the world's oceans, fulfilling life long dreams to cruise the Pacific islands, the Caribbean islands, the Indian Ocean and all points in between.  Anyone for Cape Horn and penguins??  Read more about their adventures and escapades (like our J/109 GAIA, J/42s PAX and JAYWALKER and J/130 SHAZAM friends above).

SALACIA, the J/160 owned by Stephen and Cyndy Everett has an on-going blog describing some of their more amusing experiences (http://www.salacia1.blogspot.com).

-  Bill and Susan Grun on the J/160 AVANTE are also sailing in the Pacific archipelago, read more about their great adventures on their blog (http://web.me.com/susangrun).  Check out there recent travels- now past Fiji!

- Eric and Jenn on the J/160 MANDALAY also sailed the Pacific archipelago, read more on their blog at http://www.sailmandalay.com.  Eric and Jenn are J/World alumni took MANDALAY up and down the West Coast (Mexico, CA)J/109 racer-cruiser sailboat GAIA- sailing off Java Sea cruising offshore, then to the South Pacific and New Zealand.  MANDALAY is back in San Francisco now, and in the J/World fleet--she is available for skippered charters, private instruction, and corporate/executive groups.

* The J/109 GAIA (seen right in the Java Sea) was sailed by Bob Riggle and Phyllis Macay around the world. In February 2011, their cruising adventures came to an abrupt, sad ending.  As a tribute to them and their cruising friends worldwide, we hope their chronicles on their GAIA website remains a tribute to their warm-hearted spirits- read more about why many loved them dearly and will remain touched by their loving spirit forever- http://www.gaiaworldtour.net/

J/108 shoal performance cruising sailboatFeatured Boats

Annapolis Show J/108 Ready To Cruise!

J/Boats' modern new shoal performance cruiser/ racer, the J/108, has just completed her well received introduction at the Annapolis Boat Show and is now available for sea trials. Please contact Ken Comerford at phone 410-991-1511 or email- ken@northpointyachtsales.com- to schedule an appointment and learn more about this stunning new J - luxuriate in her Ultra-Leather interior, enjoy her enormous cockpit  and find out how you can broaden your cruising horizons with just 4.0 feet of draft!  Plus, you'll love her lively performance.

To learn more about this particular J/108, please take a look at the listing here on Yachtworld.comSailing photo credits- Billy Black