Wednesday, May 9, 2012

J/Newsletter- May 9th, 2012

J/70 sailing downwindJ/70 Stonington Demos
(Stonington, CT)- Ever visited the original seaside fishing and summer village that was the foundation for the original garage-built J/24?  If not, you have an  opportunity now to head on down to Stonington, CT to visit John Johnstone and brother Rodney to sample what it's like to sail the J/70 speedster.  Daysail to Sandy Point for a picnic lunch.  Whistle around Fishers Island in less than an hour. Go past Montauk for a daysail out and back and see a few Great White Sharks and Blues along the way.  Even a round Block Island tour passing hugely delicious Giant Bluefin Tuna in a day?   Anything is possible given the right wind and current conditions.  Of course, you can take the benign approach and go for a tour in Stonington Harbor and relax afterwards in the hottest pub/restaurant this side of New York City- cousin Clay's DogWatch Cafe.  If you wish to take a sailing tour on the J/70 and become part of one of the fastest growing sportboat designs ever, please be sure to contact John Johnstone at ph- 860-536-2610.  For more J/70 speedster sailing information

J/111 J-Xcentric sailing NetherlandsNorth Sea Regatta Preview
(The Hague, Netherlands)- Many teams are entered in the upcoming Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta in The Hague, The Netherlands, which starts next week with the "Vuurschepen Race". About 400 yachts will be participating in the three separate events of the Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta.

On Tuesday May 15th the Vuurschepen Race from Scheveningen to Harwich, England will start at 1900 hours. This offshore race of 110 nautical miles is the opening race of the week-long event. The route across the North Sea has been slightly modified to include sailing away (out and around) from the enormous windmill farms off the English coast.  After the finish, the sailors will enjoy a day of rest in Harwich, hosted by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club in Woolverstone. On Ascension Day the sailors enjoy lunch in the pub often used by ancient smugglers along the coast- The "Butt and Oyster" at Pin Mill.  After much camaraderie and reveling in past sea stories, the sailors will then hop aboard again and go back across "La Manche" (the Channel) in the RORC North Sea Race back to Holland on Friday May 18th. One of The Netherlands top offshore sailors, John van de Starre, will be sailing the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER in both events in IRC2 Class.

In the Pentecost weekend from May 25th to 28th 2012 more than 400 teams will race just of the coast of Scheveningen. Different classes will attend, including a good field of J/22s and J/24s as well as an IRC Class for the North Sea Regatta.  In IRC will be the J/111 XCENTRIC RIPPER participating in the third portion of the event.   For more Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Last week saw a significant uptick in both offshore and one-design sailing activity on the European side of the planet.  Lots of J/24 and J/80 sailing on both the continent and in the UK.  The J/24s were sailing their annual Trofeo Academia Navale off Livorno, Italy with the help of the Italian Navy.  The J/24s were also sailing the Irish Eastern Championships in Howth, Ireland.  And, their counterparts in the UK were sailing their J/24 Spring Cup at the Royal Western YC in Plymouth, England.  The J/80s were doing their usual regional Spanish "Cup" events in Santander, Bilbao and Palma.  North of them, the J/80s in Germany sailed their season-starting MAIOR Cup in Kiel and just south of them were the Netherlands J/80s sailing the Almere Cup.  Offshore the J/Teams were faced by winds that varied from 5 to 40 knots and from flat seas to mountainous, breaking walls of water.  The RORC Offshore racing season started with the incredibly "challenging" Morgan Cup, with the usual start off the Royal Yacht Squadron starting line in Cowes-- the J/122, J/109 and J/105s reveled in the tough going.  The Royal Southern YC also sailed their famous "Island Double" Race, a favorite amongst short-handed offshore sailors in the UK, the same 60nm jaunt around the Isle of Wight-- again, the J/109, J/122, J/105s and some J/97s and J/92s faired well. French offshore sailors were having fun starting with 500 of their best friends on ONE starting line in their annual "round island" classic, the "Tour de Belle Ile"- the J/111, J/133, J/122 and J/109s were all significant factors in the outcome of that race.  Across the Atlantic having fun down in the Caribbean were a top J/120, an excellent "local" J/30 and a well-campaigned J/95 racing in the Antigua Sailing Week.  Finally, in the Americas, one of the big Sailing World NOOD Regattas in Annapolis, MD had some great sailing over three days on the Chesapeake Bay.  Just north of them on Long Island Sound the American YC played host to their Spring Series and managed to put in two great weekends of sailing for J/44 One-Designs, a J/111, J/122s, J/109s, J/105 One-Designs and a J/133.  Out West, the San Diego YC held one of their pre-eminent events, the Yachting Cup for a large number of PHRF racers and J One-Designs, including J/125s, J/145 and J/29 in PHRF handicap and J/105s, J/80s and J/120s sailing one-design.

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:

May 15-28- Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta- The Hague, Netherlands-
May 18-20- Seattle NOOD Regatta- Seattle, WA-
May 25-Jun 3- J/24 Italian/European Championships- Sardinia, Italy
May 26-28- Swiftsure Offshore Race- Victoria, BC, Canada-
Jun 1-3- J/22 Canadians- Vancouver, BC-
Jun 1-4- J/24 UK Nationals- Poole, England-
Jun 8-10- Chicago NOOD Regatta- Chicago, IL-
Jun 9-15- J/80 Worlds- Dartmouth, England-
Jun 15- Newport-Bermuda Race- Newport, RI-
Jun 16-23- Kieler Woche- Kiel, Germany-
Jun 24-30- J/24 US Nationals- Dillon, CO-
Jun 26-29- J/22 Worlds- Le Crouesty, France-

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

J/111s crossing gybes downwindDoyle Wins Annapolis NOOD Overall Performance Title
(Annapolis, MD)- With nearly 200 boats registered and over 1,000 J sailors crewing on 141 J's (72% of the fleet!), it may have been inevitable that some J/Team would win the Overall Trophy for Best Performance of the Sperry Topsider Annapolis NOOD Regatta- that title went to Chris Doyle sailing his J/22 "JUG 4-1".  Competition amongst the various J One-Design fleets was remarkably intense all weekend long.  The weather Gods certainly did their best to throw a monkey wrench in the works.  And, the various PRO's, including the famous Peter "Luigi" Reggio, were tested to their limits to get in more than five good races for most fleets across the four race course divisions.  Kudos to race management for their perseverance and ability to make the most of what many curveballs were thrown at them over the course of the three day event.  Day one was tough sailing for some fleets, some sailed and some were canceled due to little wind and impending line squalls and thunderstorms flowing across the Chesapeake Bay.  Saturday's racing was wonderful with nice sunny northerlies blowing 5-12 knots.  And, Sunday was greeted by another grey day with just enough breeze for most race courses to get in two good races.

J/22 one-design class sailing AnnapolisHighlighting day one were strong showings from local Annapolis boats in the J/22 class, which was one of the largest classes competing during the weekend - it was also the J/22 East Coast Championships for the class. The top three placing boats in the 36 boat class all hail from Annapolis.  LEADING EDGE held the lead after posting an impressive one-point first-day tally. HOT TODDY and HANDBASKET also posted admirable scores, two-points and three-points respectively, and hope to continue such dominance after one race in the next two days of competition.

Clear skies and favorable winds prevailed over Chesapeake Bay today during day two, which saw top-tier racing from all 17 boat classes. Many fleets managed to get in four races for the day, like J/22s and J/24s. Others were less fortunate, with the J/111s, J/109s, J/35s and J/30s getting in three races and the J/80s and J/105s only two.

Light and variable winds greeted the final day. Demonstrating masterful tactics throughout the three days of racing, Chris Doyle, skipper of "THE JUG 4-1" from the J/22 class, was awarded the Overall Annapolis NOOD title. As the Overall Winner in Annapolis, Doyle will be invited to participate in the Sperry Top-Sider NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands to compete in the season-ending event aboard Sunsail 44is against the other overall winners in the 2012 series.

J/111 Velocity from Annapollis sailing past markThe fleets all had great racing.  The J/111s had their first East Coast one-design event.  And, it was great racing with all boats trading the five spots amongst one another.  In the end, the local Annapolis boat VELOCITY sailed by Marty Roesch and team prevailed on the last race, winning by two points over Henry Brauer's Newport/Marblehead team sailing FLEETWING.  Hanging tough on the first two days was Bob Moran's RAGIN team.  However, like FLEETWING, they had a rough last two races on Sunday in light airs and lots of current, hanging in for third overall.  Anthony Culotta's CUORE DI LEONE and James Whited's BAD CAT both showed enormous improvement over the course of the regatta.  Both boats, in fact, were leading races at one point or another and with a bit of training under their belts will be contenders in the future.

With three dozen teams starting, the J/22s proved yet again the top teams are no push-overs.  However, some teams do get hot, hot, hot depending on the regatta.  While all Annapolis teams were leading the first day, the next two days belong to Chris Doyle and gang from Rochester.  Chris's team managed to walk away with the top overall honors for the regatta after a slow start; after a 7th in race one, they tallied up a 1-4-1-2-4 to win by 14 points!  Second was another slow starter, Brad Julian on JULIAN ASSOCIATES; they managed an 8th in race one, followed by a 3-1-4-14-3 for 33 points.  Third was another local hotshot, Todd Hiller on LEADING EDGE with a very, very fast start of 1st, followed by a few duds like a 13-13-12 then a ego-boosting 1-7 to finish with 47 pts.  Fourth was yet another local, Jeff Todd on HOT TODDY, having a similarly yo-yo-like experience to score 2-12-8-6-7-19 for 54 pts.  Rounding out the top five was another Rochester J/22 mafia team, Vic Snyder on MO'MONEY, sailing to a 19-2-10-3-11-12 for 57 pts.  As a result, Chris Doyle's crew from Rochester will be heading down to the British Virgin Islands to sail in the Sperry Topsider NOOD Championships.

The J/24 class didn't' see any dominating performances like what was witnessed in the J/22s.  In the end, it was a titanic battle amongst the top five again.  Never say die in this group.  Just like their hero, Kenny Read winning the recent legs in the Volvo Ocean Race on his Volvo 70 PUMA.  Just never give up and keep the pedal "fire-walled"!!  After the smoke cleared from the battlefield, it was the great yacht HONEY BADGER sailed by Travis Odenbach that took home all the silverware, winning with a remarkably consistent 3-2-3-4-4-5 record for 21 pts.  Making a strong comeback after a slow start was Robby Brown from Tampa's Davis Island YC, sailing USA 799 into second overall with a 10-4-4-2-2-1 for 23 pts.  John Mollicone on 11TH HOUR RACING started out strong but failed to get into second gear and hit the right corners later, amassing a 2-11-1-6-3-6 for 29 pts, good enough for third place.  Rounding out the top five were class stalwart Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET with a 13-14-7-1-1-2, another slow starter but a very, very fast closer!  Fifth was Chris Stone on VELOCIDAD, losing on a tie-breaker to Tony.

There was an excellent turnout of thirty-four J/80s for the fourth event on their Winter Circuit and sailing in what amounted to be their East Coast Championships.  Winning his first major J/80 event after two years of sailing was Brian Keane from Buzzards Bay, MA, sailing to a 10-5-2-3 for 20 pts to take the gold.  There were also a lot of new teams amongst the balance of the podium and top five.  Clarke McKinney sailed well on CW's VACATION to snag second with a 5-1-6-11 for 23 pts.  Third was Nizar Abuzeni from Saint Croix, US Virgin Islands, sailing ARROW to a steady 6-3-4-12 for 25 pts.  Fourth was Jim Kershaw on COOL J and fifth was Ken Mangano on the magnificent MANGO mon!

J/111 Bad Cat rounding windward markThe eighteen boat J/105 fleet was as competitive as ever.  Nevertheless, it was that fun-loving gang from way up North, Jim Rathbun on HEY JUDE from Toronto, ONT, Canada that sailed a fantastic, consistent regatta, never finishing out of the top three!  Their record of 2-2-1-3 for 8 pts was one of the dominant performances at this year's Annapolis NOOD Regatta.  Local hotshot Peter McChesney also sailed well but had to overcome a tiebreaker to finish second.  Sailing MYSTERY MACHINE, Peter's team got a 3-1-9-1 for 14 pts to win the tiebreak over the MIRAGE team of Cedric Lewis and Fredrik Saldesen that had a 4-6-2-2 also for 14 pts.  Fourth was Hugh Bethell on JESTER and fifth was the MBE Syndicate on VELOCE.

The nine J/30s had a scream and the racing was tight for the top three.  With six races under their belts, it was still a wide open fight for the first four positions.  In the end, Robert Putnam's BETTER MOUSETRAP won the dog-fight, getting a 1-4-4-2-1-4 for 16 pts to win J/30s overall.  Second was Ron Anderson's INSATIABLE with a 2-7-1-6-2-2 for 20 pts.  Third was that sweet, but tough, gal aboard BUMP, skipper Pam Morris, that showed the boys how it's done, sailing a very consistent 4-2-3-4-3-5 for 21 pts.  Rounding out the top five were RAG DOLL sailed by Rob Lundahl in fourth and BEPOP sailed by Bob Rutsch and Mike Costello in fifth.

One of the most storied J/35s continued its winning ways no matter what body of water it sails on.  AUNT JEAN, now sailed by Jim Sagerholm, has won in New England, on the Great Lakes and now on the Chesapeake.  Amazing boat.  Great crew, too!  Jim's team walked off with the top spot with  an average of below a second!  Their record of 2-1-2-1-2 for 8 pts would be awfully hard to beat!  The next two boats had a donnybrook, but winning in the end was MAGGIE, sailed by Peter Scheidt, finishing second with a 4-2-5-2-3 for 16 pts.  MEDICINE MAN skippered by Charles Kohlerman was third with a 1-6-6-3-1 tally for 17 pts.  Fourth was DAKOTA GIRL sailed by another excellent woman skipper, Stephanie Reuer and fifth was Mark McGonigle on WINDEPENDENT.

J/109 one-design class sailing AnnapolisThe dozen strong J/109 fleet had three past J/109 North American Champions dueling it out for top honors.  In the end they took 2 of the top 3.  Bill Sweetser on RUSH was on form and sailed a remarkable 1-2-1-2-1 scoreline for 7 pts to win the J/109 class quite handily.  Perhaps as one of the top Annapolis/ Chesapeake teams they should have since most of the racing demanded local knowledge and geometry tucked under Thomas Point Lighthouse.  Long Island sailors on CAMINOS led by Ryan Dempsey sailed an excellent regatta to garner a 2-1-6-3-7 for 19 pts, enough to secure second.  Just missing out second in the end was Ted Herlihy's team on GUT FEELING, securing third place with a 3-5-3-1-8 score for 20 pts.  Next in the top five were Tony Syme on LOGOS in fourth and Paul Milo on VENTO SOLARE in fifth.  For more Sperry Topsider Sailing World NOOD Annapolis sailing information   Sailing photo credits- Sarah Proctor

J120 starting lineJ/120 CAPER Wins Yachting Cup Overall Trophy
J/125 STARK RAVING MAD, J/105 WINGS & J/80 AVET Win Class
(San Diego, CA)- This year marked the 40th year of San Diego Yacht Club's signature regatta, the Yachting Cup. This premiere regatta brings together competitive fleet and one-design racing at multiple venues in San Diego.

J/22 match racing in San Diego upwindIn the early years, SDYC's premier regatta, the Yachting Cup, was used several times as the United States Ton Cup Championship, which served as a qualifying event for the IOR World Championship.  SDYC and its regatta organizing committee have continued the Ton Cup as part of the Yachting Cup Regatta weekend experience. The 2012 Ton Cup sailed on Friday May 4th in a match race format in J/22s provided by SDYC, in La Playa Basin.  The Ton Cup is a standalone match race regatta with its own prizes. However, competitors also had the opportunity to compete in one, or both regattas, and win individual and combined regatta prizes.

J/22s sailing downwind- San Diego match raceCongratulations go out to Team Alchemy on their Friday Ton Cup Match Race victory. Alchemy defeated the crew from Wings in the final match up. 3rd place went to Team Stars & Stripes, with their consolation round win over CC Rider.  Remarkably, Will Stout of Team Alchemy  was walking the docks Friday morning, was invited to fill in for a team that dropped out last minute, and ended up winning the whole event!   Ton Cup Sailing photo credits- Bob Betancourt

J/125 Stark Raving Mad sailing upwind in San DiegoOn the Offshore racing part of the world, the fleets were broken down into PHRF handicap racing and one-designs (J/80s, J/105s and J/120s).  In PHRF 2, the big winner was the J/125 STARK RAVING MAD sailed by Jim Madden with tactician/mainsail trimmer Benny Mitchell at his side.  There was no way you were going to beat their boat speed and scoreline of 1-1-1-1-1 for 5 pts.  And, this was a very tough class to beat with just six boats sailing with them, including a Puerto Vallarta podium finisher, the J/125 TIMESHAVER sailed by Viggo Torbensen and a Newport-Ensenada Race class winner and overall third place winner, the J/145 RADIO FLYER sailed by Carolyn Parks.  Nevertheless, despite winning all races on elapsed time, it was hard for the big boat, Carolyn's J/145 RADIO FLYER to hold-off the little speedsters. In the end, second was the J/125 TIMESHAVER skippered by Viggo Torbensen with a 3-5-2-2-3 for 15 pts. Third was the J/125 RESOLUTE sailed by Tim Fuller to a 5-2-4-4-2 for 17 pts. And, fifth was Carolyn's J/145 RADIO FLYER (please see a great story by one of her crew about the Newport 2 Ensenada Race experience below).

In PHRF 4 Class, another Newport 2 Ensenada race class winner was Larry Leveille's J/29 masthead RUSH STREET.  After some tough racing around the cans in a very tough class, Larry's crew still managed to eke out a fourth place.

J/120 sailing downwind in San Diego Yachting CupCongratulations to John Laun and J/120 CAPER team who hoisted the Yachting Cup as the overall regatta winner and scored first in the ten boat J/120 class.   John and the capable CAPER crew knocked out a 3-4-2-2-1 for 12 pts to win by 3 pts.  Second was J-ALMIGHTY sailed by Mike Hatch with a 1-1-4-5-4 scoreline for 15 pts.  Third was past Yachting Cup Regatta Champion CC RIDER sailed by Chuck Nichols with a 2-2-3-6-7 tally for 20 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Gary Winton's SHENANIGANS in fourth and POLE DANCER sailed by the Tom & Terri Manok family team in fifth.

J/105s sailing San Diego at Yachting Cup RegattaWith their eye on the ball to be contenders in the J/105 North Americans later in the fall in San Diego waters, the fifteen boat J/105 class had some excellent racing.  However, as they have done in the past, the WINGS team led by Dennis & Sharon Case simply stepped it up a gear, or two, and simply sailed through the fleet to amass a 1-1-3-1-3 record for a mere 9 pts.  Keeping touch with them was Rick Goebel's SANITY with a 2-3-7-2-2 score for 16 pts.  Third was TRIPLE PLAY (Dave Vieregg), scoring a 3-2-4-4-12 for 25 pts.  Fourth, PERSEVERANCE (Bennet Greenwald) and fifth DECOLORES (Sean O'Keefe).

Like their counterparts in the J/120 and J/105 classes, one team managed to put it all together and sail a strong series.  At the top of the pack was Curt Johnson's AVET with four 1sts and a 3rd for 7 pts, enough to win by four pts.  Second was Bob Hayward's BLUE JAY and third was Kurt Wiese's MONKEY SHOULDER.    Yachting Cup Sailing- JOY and Friends photo credits     For more Yachting Cup and Ton Cup sailing results

JBoats sailing Tour de Belle Ile, FranceJ/133 JIVARO Wins Tour de Belle Ile
(Quiberon Bay, France)- One of the largest and more unusual offshore regattas of the year is the famous "sprint" around the gorgeous island off France called Belle Ile.  This year, over 500 boats all started on ONE starting line and took off towards Belle Ile, sail around it and back to the finish line, a 44 nm adventure reminiscent of the famous Around Island Race (the Isle of Wight) on the south shore of England.  The J/Teams sailing in this year's event sailed incredibly well, in fact, sweeping IRC 1 and IRC Overall!

Winning IRC 1 and overall was the J/133 JIVARO sailed by Yves Grosjean and crew.  Second and third were two J/111s, Didier LeMoal's J-LANCE 7 and Stephane Blanchard's LE JOUET, respectively.  And, the J/122 JOLLY JOKER finished 4th in this tough class.  In IRC 3, the J/105 J CROIS PAS sailed by Philippe Tostivint finished second in class.  The Facebook page for Tour de Belle Ile.    For more Tour de Belle Ile sailing information

J/105 sailing Round Island RaceSolo Round Island Report
(Hong Kong, China)- After sailing a terrific race to win the Island Solo race, we asked skipper Laurence Mead to provide us a full on report on what it was like to sail single-handed around the Isle of Wight (note- your Editor has done the Island Double three times and knows how tough this race can be (first on the J/44 J-HAWK with Andrew Cape- navigator on the Volvo 70 TELEFONICA and twice on Mike's pretty J/35c from Lymington).  Here's Laurence's report:

"The UK has a thriving short-handed sailing scene, the 2-hander’s have both the offshore orientated RORC races (which J/105’s have always done well in) being mainly 200-mile races round the English Channel as well as the shorter course but better attended (and truth be told a bit less competitive) Royal Southampton Series, which is 8 races over the season, 4 inshore and 4 offshore. The solo boys have a strong and growing group being run by the Solo Ocean Racing Club (SORC – which is confusing for the old timers who all know SORC to be the Florida series of yesteryear!) and they now have a full season of both inshore and offshore races, some to France, others up and down the UK’s South Coast.

On April 28th 31 boats came to the start line for the favorite solo event of the year, the Solo Round the Isle of Wight race (RIOW). This 50 mile passage race has it all. Strong tides, massive headlands to round, rocks, muddy shallows and with the full 360 degree loop of the island, wind from every angle! This year the forecast was light North Easterly to kick off (at 0600!) building so that by early evening it would be blowing 25 and heading for 40 knots NE. We would all in be in by then but some heavy air beating up the back of the island wasn’t out of the question.

The day dawned exactly as advertised (an 0430 alarm from a warm bed made it feel like the Vendee –  well, a tiny weeny bit anyway!) and three J boats took an immediate lead. Laurence Mead in his 105 nearest the island shore, Simon Curwen on Voador (another 105) in the middle of the Solent and Rob Craigie on his 122 nearest the mainland shore (more northerly). Mead hoped he had enough extra tide to get round the front of the other 2 as chutes were hoisted off the start line but in the end the gusts from the NE gave the other two just enough extra forward to lead at the first turn, being Hurst Narrows at the end of the Solent. Behind the fleet was already well spread out.

The three J boats all sailed down the edge of the Shingles Bank and lined up for the Needles Point. Craigie went wide to avoid any issues with Goose Rock and the wreck of the Varassi  - which sits off the point - while Mead (who had caught up with a bit more pressure to the north - having swapped sides with Curwen as they came past Hurst Narrows) and Curwen went round side by side about 2 metres off the lighthouse. They traded places twice within 2 minutes as they dropped chutes and set off up the 25 mile fetch and beat towards St Catherines Point on the Island’s southern side but Curwen held his lead, just!
The J105’s were never more than 3 boat lengths apart and continued to hold onto 2nd and 3rd place on the water all the way to the half way station at St Catherine’s Point, at which stage they were finally caught by some class 1 boats as Chris Rustom sailed by in his Andrews 37 Ding-Dong,  the Figaro 2 of Ian Hoddle caught them as well (but this is a water ballasted 35 footer that rates higher than the 122’s so Ian still had a lot to do!)  as did the second J122 of David Cule. Still the 105’s were leading on corrected time surely; there was no sight of the small boats astern.

Although the race had been very benign so far the gusts started to roll in as the next section of the race unfolded, this a 15 mile beat into the now 15 to 16 knot NE’ly from St Cat’s to Bembridge Ledge Buoy. The big boats all had slack tide at this stage, just a little turning in their favour while at the back the smaller boats were stirring!! They were by now 3 or 4 miles back and had favourable tide for the whole beat to look forward to.

The J122 of David Cule took a few minutes to get into her stride but when David got the trim right she took off like a scolded cat to power upwind. Mead got the better of Curwen here to finally grab a decent lead of about 3 boat lengths having worked hard to get inside as the boats hardened up.

Curwen was rolled by a couple of bigger boats and this dirty-wind, along with Mead possibly having a tad more of the early tide change inshore was enough to turn the tables. The big movers on the beat however were the small boats, which, although out of sight to the leaders must have done well on this leg. Jerry Freeman on the 3rd J105 “Juliette” was also going fast, inshore of the leading pack he closed noticeably over the course of the leg.

On the water leader Rob Craigie in his immaculately prepared J122 then overstood the Bembridge Ledge turning mark badly to give up his big lead, indeed by the mark David Cule had almost got his bow in front, not quite, but close! Most of the big boats did the same as Craigie while Mead was first of the smaller boats to tack back towards Bembridge and he held a small lead over Curwen at the mark.

It was then a case of diving to leeward of the rhumb line to get out of the building adverse tide which the two J105’s did aggressively. Round the Ryde bank and headed for home Mead went to his Code 0 while Curwen had his fractional chute up and was closing. Most of the leading pack were flying chutes down this leg and most held up off the lee-shore accepting the negative tidal effect in the middle of the Solent.

 Curwen, never one to give up without a fight kept his bow down, going fast and skirting along the shallows and Mead followed suit peeling to his full size spinnaker as he did so. This all looked good until a gentle build in pressure and a small header as the Cowes finish line came into view meant that neither could lay round the point....depth kept dropping and they both kept chutes up until Mead finally blinked first and went into a drop sequence.  He had a Code 0 hoisted and ready to unfurl immediately and although he was losing ground after he had dropped he looked secure for the 800 metres to the finish, and that secure lead over Curwen became rock solid when Curwen finally ran out of depth and had to drop his chute, which he did, only to see it trawl out astern in the process.

The little boats weren’t in sight behind but a combination of better tide round the track and more wind down the last reach saw Class 3 boats take the top 4 overall places (ahead of the 2 J105’s in 5th and 6th) and 7 of the top ten overall.  None of the Class 1 boats had ever looked like getting enough of a lead to beat the class 2’s and that was how it finished.

A great race though enjoyed by all. Winners and Grinners were Will Sayer, Richard Breese and Chris Flewitt who took the podium places in their Sigma 33, Hunter Sonata 23 and Contessa 28 respectively.  IRC handicaps may have some quirks but it does deliver great racing for all shapes and sizes!!!

The week after the 2-handers get their shot at it and many of the same boats will be on the race course again!"  We wish we were there, too!

J/44s sailing around markJ/111 ANDIAMO Wins AYC Spring Series
(Rye, NY)- The annual spring rite of passage for the start of the Long Island Sound offshore sailing season was finally completed this past weekend.  Hosted by the American Yacht Club in Rye, NY, the excellent turnout was helped by gorgeous, cool, spring weather conditions with sunny days prevailing for both weekends of sailing.

In IRC I Class, the J/133 ANTIDOTE sailed by Ron Richman had a terrific series and managed to finish second against a fleet of basically completely custom, tricked-out forty footers, included in this fleet were a Ker 40, Farr 40s, X41, King 40, Farr 400 and Ker 11.3.  Great to see a "family cruiser-racer" come out on top over outright racing machines.

In IRC 2 Class, the J/122's were fighting hard for the top five.  In the end, third was Steve Furnary's PATRIOT followed by WINGS sailed by Mike Bruno, Tom Boyle and Jim Callahan in fifth.

The J/44s continued to have a wonderful time racing.  This time, Jim Bishop's GOLD DIGGER team proved themselves as one of the class leaders.  Finishing the series with 1sts, 2nds and 3rds enabled them to climb up the ladder fast and win the regatta overall in the J/44 One-Design Class.  Second with three 1sts and a 2nd on the last weekend was Phil Gutin's BEAGLE.  Third was Bill Ketcham's MAXINE, fourth Jeff Willis' CHALLENGE IV and fifth Don & Rick Rave's RESOLUTE.

The J/105 one-designs were having yet another epic battle for "top dog" on Long Island Sound.  But the second weekend proved to be the real testing ground for this fleet. KINCSEM took the lead in the AYC Springs Series on Saturday and narrowly held on on Sunday to win the regatta over Sean Doyle's KESTREL. The Joerg Esdorn/Duncan Hennes team on KINCSEM finished the regatta with a scant 25 points over 11 races. But KESTREL also ended with 25 points, thanks to a 2-3 finish on Sunday versus a 1-6 for KINCSEM. The tiebreaker went to KINCSEM. Over the 11 races, KINCSEM finished ahead of KESTREL 6 times, while KESTREL had the better finish 5 times. KINCSEM won four races; KESTREL three. Both teams threw out a 6 as their worst finish (KINCSEM had two 6s). Doesn't get much tighter than that. Paul Beaudin's LOULOU finished the regatta in third, followed by Kevin Grainger's GUMPTION3 in fourth, and George and Alex Wilbanks's REVELATION in fifth.

In PHRF 1 Class, the J/111 ANDIAMO sailed by Paul Strauch rattled off a few more 1sts to win PHRF 1 by 15 pts. J/109s took 3 out of the top five.  Third was Bob Schwartz's NORDLYS, fourth was John Pearson's BLUE SKY and fifth was Mike Sleightholme's APSARA.

Finally, in PHRF 4, the Esposito gang on the J/29 HUSTLER prevailed to win their class, but on a squeaker-- winning on a tie-breaker.  Third overall in class was Matheus Hovers' J/29 KATOENDRA, a result of a strong performance over this past weekend.   For more AYC Spring Series sailing information

J/120 surfing at Antigua Sailing WeekJ/120 EL OCASO Wins Antigua's Lord Nelson Trophy
(English Harbour, Antigua)- Rick Wesslund's J/120 EL OCASO was declared the overall winner of Antigua Sailing Week 2012 after winning seven straight races in CSA 3 Class, but the team was pushed hard all the way. Competitive well-managed racing was the big reason for the regatta's success this year. "EL OCASO" means "sunset' but after a week of smiles all around, Antigua Sailing Week looks to be very much on the rise as the must do regatta of the Caribbean circuit. The racing was spectacular and the shore side fun was just as memorable.

Antigua Sailing Week is the Caribbean's longest running and most prestigious sailing regatta and the 46th edition was an absolute cracker. Sailors come to Antigua Sailing Week from all over the world and this year was no exception with crew from over 20 nations coming to enjoy Caribbean racing at its very best.

The week of racing kicked off with a solid 20-25 knots of trade winds providing exhilarating sailing and no shortage of drama. In CSA1 class, the Race Committee elected to send the race boats to the Half Moon mark. The long beat into big seas offshore was rewarded with a downwind sleigh ride back.  Big breeze provided spectacular surfing conditions for the second day of Antigua Sailing Week.  The breeze kept up above 20 knots for the third consecutive day of the regatta. However the Ocean mark laid on Day Three for the big boats was a new addition.  It took over 300 feet of line to lay the mark four miles off the leeward coast of Antigua. The sizable yachts in CSA 1 class were an awesome sight, smashing through the start line to windward through the Caribbean surf and after rounding the Ocean mark, the yachts squared off downwind, bow up, accelerating off big waves to surf at speeds of 20 knots plus.

Racing always comes first at Antigua Sailing Week but ashore there was some truly memorable entertainment and the highlight of this year's live music entertainment was "The son of Bob"-- Ky-Mani Marley played to over 2,000 people in the party venue of Antigua Sailing Week, Nelson's Dockyard.  Ky-Mani judged the mood of the crowd to perfection, concentrating on renditions of his father's biggest hits with the crowd fully getting into anthems: Jamming, Could you be loved, Is this love, Three Little Birds and the thought provoking hits, No woman no cry and Redemption Song. Marley played for over two hours and the massive crowd left the Dockyard buoyed by a fantastic experience.

J/39 Sleeper sailing fast downwind at Antigua Sailing WeekAfter three days of scintillating race action, well over a thousand people gathered at Pigeon Beach for Lay Day. The quarter-mile of white sand was brimming with local vendors barbequing chicken, lobster and fish and a fair amount of Carib Beer and English Harbour 5 year old rum was consumed during the day and into the evening. Pigeon Beach was the perfect place to unwind and go for a swim. For the more energetic, stand up paddle boarding, rowing with the Sea Cadets and dinghy racing with Antigua's National Sailing Academy were all on offer.  Beach cricket was a very popular pastime and was highlighted by the participation of famous Antiguan cricketers Sir Vivian Richards, Curtly Ambrose and Kenny Benjamin.  The gorgeous Carib girls also joined in the fun.  Music from DJs Purist and Stiffla played into the evening ensuring a great night was had by all.

The last two days of racing at Antigua Sailing Week were held in slightly more moderate breeze and it was a thrilling return to action after Lay Day.

At the Final Awards Ceremony in Nelson's Dockyard, Richard Wesslund's J/120 El Ocaso was awarded the Lord Nelson Trophy for the best overall performance of any yacht during Antigua Sailing Week 2012.  El Ocaso scored seven straight wins in CSA 4 Class but it was far from easy.  Most of the races were decided by less than a minute and on several occasions by just a few seconds. El Ocaso has had a fantastic Caribbean season winning regattas in St. Maarten, BVI and finally Antigua Sailing Week.

"It has been our best season ever and winning the Lord Nelson Trophy really caps it off," said El Ocaso's Richard Wesslund. "This has been the most competitive regatta by far, we have been pushed hard in every race, often winning by just a fraction of a second.  Every year the crew votes on the events we will compete in and Antigua Sailing Week was top of the list.  The race management and shoreside have been absolutely first class which is so important. I would like to offer my congratulations to the management team of Antigua Sailing Week - they have put on a fantastic event."  Thanks to Louay Habib for this contribution.

In CSA 4 Class, "hats off" to Jonty Layfield and crew on the J/39 SLEEPER VIII, a boat that has won innumerable events in its home waters of the Solent and England.  Their 3rd place finish is one of their best performances at Antigua and, apparently, hope to come back next year and finish at the top of the podium!

J/30 Blue Peter sailing Antigua Sailing Week 2012In CSA 5 Class, the J/30 BLUE PETER sailed by Tanner Jones and his local Antiguan team managed to pull off another great result, snagging third place and getting yet another podium finish over the few decades he's raced the boat.  How many ARW's is it now, Peter?  Finishing off their Caribbean racing season as well was the J/95 SHAMROCK VII sailed by Tom Mullen from New Hampshire, finishing 5th in class and thankfully beating out one of their competitors called "Girls4Sail".  Hmmmm.   Sailing photo credits: Ted Martin, Paul Wyeth-, Tim Wright-, Jason Pickering.   Antigua Race Week YouTube summary.  For more Antigua Sailing Week sailing information

J/80s sailed the Island Double Race!J/Teams Love Island Double Race
(Southampton, England)- Despite the forecast for winds touching Force 8 early in the morning and the overcast cold conditions for the British “Spring”, 82 of the 102 double handed yachts entered decided to brave it out on race day. They were rewarded with a NE wind of F5-6 reducing to F4-5 in brightening conditions as the day progressed.

The course was East about round Isle of Wight and with the 07.05 to 07.45 starts the boats had to contend with initial choppy conditions in the Solent although tide was flowing with them through the forts. The RLYC line was used and because of the fast tide across the line, most were line shy apart from Class 2 which saw 3 boats return.

The early starters had a fast reach to Bembridge where they met some of the biggest seas of the day. Some chose to stay offshore, others to gybe into Sandown Bay but neither route seemed to give a significant advantage. Some tried kites as they ran down to Dunnose in the foul tide and 20 knots of true but many opted for the more cautions option of poling out the headsail. Once round Dunnose, boats slowly hardened up for the Needles in relatively smooth seas with the tide now under them.

At the Needles Channel and Hurst the NE wind and initial foul tides were challenging with boats trying to tack in the shallows out of the tide. Inevitably a few pushed their luck a bit too far with 4 grounding on the falling tide, being left high and dry but still managing to get off some hours later. Once out of the Needles Channel, the shallower waters of the Mainland side were favoured by most for a hard beat up the western Solent to the Beaulieu before a final welcome fetch to the finish line and a welcome rest.

On handicap, in Class 1 the J/Teams took five of the top ten spots!  Third was Paul and Mark Griffith’s J/109 JAGERBOMB.  Fifth was Bill West and Steve Counsel sailing their J/109 JO JO GUNNE. Sixth was a J/1059, Richard Cashmore and Tom Barker's SLINGSHOT.  Eighth was the J/109 JUMUNU sailed by Elliot Wishlade and Julian Sutherland.  Ninth was the J/122 JBELLINO, the OSTAR Class winner sailed by Rob Craigie and Deb Fish.

In Class 2 the small boats came through on the tide with the J/97 JIKA JIKA sailed by Mike and Jamie Holmes  finishing in tenth.  Just behind them in 11th was the J/92s HULLABALOO with Andrew Dallas skippering.  In Class 3, the J/80 ALAMARA B sailed by Adam and Paul Charlesworth finished fourth in class.
For more Royal Southern YC Island Double Race sailing information

J/24 teams at Livorno, Italy"Naples Navy" Blitzes J/24 Trofeo Academia Navale
(Livorno, Italy)-  The script could not have worked out better for the Naples J/24 sailing team representing the Italian Navy for their region.  In what turned out to be a demanding few days of sailing, from big winds, sunny days and driving torrential rains and breeze to conclude the regatta, the Italian Navy's Naples team sailing LA SUPERBA led by skipper Ignazio Bonanno sailed to a flawless victory to win the J/24 Class with four first places, two seconds and a ninth (tossing the 9th).

J/24s round windward mark- sailing Trofeo Academmia NavaleThe Trofeo Academia Navale has become one of the "must do" spring events for Italian (and European) sailors in the spring sailing calendar.  After all, the city of Livorno and the Italian Naval Academy put out the "red carpet" and throw a fabulous show for all participants, all welcome from all parts of the world.  In the "what's not to like about this" regatta category, it may not be a bad idea to put this on your "bucket list" of regattas to sail-- lots of fun, with extraordinary pageantry and style, and few do it as well as the Italians.  This year's 29th TAN, as they call it, was no exception.

On the Opening Day, "It was the day of the embrace between Livorno and the world. Along Via Grande, decorated with the colors of the city and the 29th Trofeo Accademia Navale of Livorno and the City, are paraded the flags of the 20 marine-fairing nations from all over the world participating in the races of TAN."  Indeed, it was an impressive site. Ninety-five athletes (men & women) from naval academies of Australia, Belgium, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Colombia, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Great Britain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Norway, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden and Turkey. Also present was a Chief Naval Officer from Qatar who was sent as an observer-- he was so enraptured and fascinated by the atmosphere that he announced that next year, for the first time in thirty years, Qatar will be among the participants.  Where were the Americans and the famous US Naval Academy sailing team?  Or, their friendly Russian Navy Sailing Team?  Maybe next year?

Paul & Shark Yachting sponsoring J/24 Italy eventsFrom the steps of City Hall, the Mayor of Livorno, Alessandro Cosimi, gave the foreign sailors welcome on behalf of the entire city.  The applause and the enthusiasm of Livorno's citizens and elementary school children accompanied the parade along the way. It was quite a display of passion for the event and their embrace of this significant sailing event.  At the end, a parade of local historical "tall ships" participated in the festivities, including "Capricia", "Corsair II" and "Ursa Major".  Some people even won rides to sail and sleep aboard the sailing ships (count me in, too!).  To cap it all off, a significant cultural attraction was the collaboration between the TAN and the "Fondazione Teatro Goldoni," which presents the concert of "Tchaikovsky's Trio" in the picturesque scenery of the Goldoni Theatre in Livorno-- a breathtaking visual extravaganza.

Back to the sailing stuff.  The first day of racing was excellent, if not challenging.  The uncertain weather, rain in the morning and mostly cloudy skies for the day, did not affect the performance of the sailing competitions for the seven classes of racing.  After three races, Ignazio Bonanno's "Naples Navy" team on board LA SUPERBA was leading with a 1-2-1.  Second was Claudio Buiatti's JACK OF DIAMONDS with a 2-11-2 and third was Pietro Diamanti's JAMAICA NAVY with a 5-1-11.

Perhaps the most notable cultural/ sailing event of the day starred the famous Italian circumnavigator of Planet Earth- the Florentine sailor Amerigo Vespucci.  Captain Vespucci's 500th Anniversary was featured and was dedicated to his works at home in Tuscany and Livorno (his main port).

The next day of sailing saw a mix of "partly cloudy" conditions, really good wind, rain and clouds flying across the race course.  Nevertheless, despite the rain, the J/24 teams saw LA SUPERBA continue their dominance of the class.  Ignazio Bonanno's team finished the day with a three 1sts and two 2nds.  Spanking anyone?  Ouch.  Iganzio's team laid down the law and made sure no other team was going to beat them.  The German sailor Stefan Karsunine and Marco Vincenti, were in 2nd and 3rd overall, respectively.  They passed the Monaco team of Dennis Frederiksen.

J/24s sailing in Livorno, ItalyThe last day of sailing was almost anti-climactic for the J/24 teams.  After getting a good-ole-fashioned, military-like, "blitzkrieg" the J/24 competitors simply saw the "Naples Navy" on LA SUPERBA, led by skipper Ignazio Bonanno, walk off with a near flawless victory with four 1sts, two 2nds and a ninth. The silver medal was won by German Stefan Karsunine sailing MAX BAHR.  Bronze on the podium was taken by Marco Vincenti and Fabio Delicati of the POLIZIA PENITENZARIA.  Fourth was top J/24 Monaco Team sailor Dennis Frederiksen on YC MONACO and fifth was Litikey Farmas on NAVISCON from Hungary.

At the end of the day, here are some compelling facts.  Despite economic distress in various parts of Europe, indeed the world, this year's 29th edition of TAN saw record numbers with 16 classes of racing with 281 boats and 1,099 sailors from 20 nations.  Again, sailing, sports and the sea continue to prove to be sources of union among the peoples and cultures of the world!!

Interest in the TAN is also demonstrated by the approximately 100,000 visitors who visited the port of Tuttovela Medici during the event (just 3 days)-- and the J/24 class is the "premiere media sailing class" at the event.  Yes, that is an amazing figure.  Similar to what is seen in Newport, RI for "Tall Ships" events and far, far beyond anything ever touted (or ever seen) in the America's Cup!.  Italian sailing media are considered (alongside their French, German, Spanish and UK counterparts) to be amongst the best in the world-- TAN were accredited to more than 100 media professionals; Radio Flash Livorno broadcast live on TAN for five hours a day; and the agency ITALPRESS was print media partner for TAN-- collectively providing greater visibility and enormous "presence" to the event on radio, TV, print and Internet (social media).

As pointed out in the closing ceremony of the TAN from an Italian Navy Admiral, the success of the event is the result of the enthusiasm of the organizers and the synergies between all "actors" that participate in TAN-- institutions that range from military and civil associations, to government agencies, sailing clubs, sponsors and all those who still believe in the values ​​of sailing for the trophy. Trusting in the same enthusiasm and passion for the future, the event can look with optimism and ambition for the next edition of the TAN, the thirtieth.  Perhaps their American and the Russian counterparts might join, too?
Please visit the Trofeo Accademia Navale sailing website for more information

Tough RORC Morgan Cup Race
J/122 JOOPSTER 2nd IRC 2
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The Morgan Cup Race started on the early morning of Saturday 5th May in a cold, north-easterly wind. The RORC, having been given permission by the RYA to trial new rules, could set a course that uses virtual marks for the offshore course. This exciting new development offers the Club a new versatility in course setting and was being used for the first time in this race.

Under a greyish, overcast morning sky the first boats away were IRC 3 & 4. The tide was beginning to run west, favouring the Royal Yacht Squadron end of the line. Although most boats were slightly line-shy, most all boats quickly hoisted their kites and flew down the Solent.  The first leg took the fleet downwind to Anvil Point and the DZB Buoy. The run was quick, seeing boat speeds exceeding 10 knots even for the smaller boats. The slight differing angles between the wind and a fast flowing tide posed a tactical challenge, keeping the navigators on their toes working the angles.

This run, however, couldn't last forever. On the way back from DZB to a virtual mark just south of Freshwater Bay, the competitors got a first taste of what was waiting further ahead. A close reach spilled some cold water over the deck, and wind over tide pounded the hulls.

One of the first victims to the weather became Nikki Curwen's J/105 VOADOR, who had to retire when they were still two-handed but only three-footed (not having literary lost a foot, Nikki was relatively relaxed about it). Nikki told us that she felt it best not to take any risks with a leg injury in the dark and bailed out just short of Waypoint 1.

After reaching Waypoint 1, the boats were sent south towards the shipping lanes. To hold a kite, or not to hold a kite was the question on that leg. One competitor jokingly asked following the race, "When does the British winter actually end?!"  There were lots of kites blown-up and lots of gear failures across the fleet.

Said one of the sailors about the "virtual marks (waypoints), "It was very entertaining approaching the second of the waypoints, watching the yachts in front of them acting exactly as if they were rounding a physical object but with nothing there. There were even some last minute gybes as yachts realized the tide was carrying them past the point, if only I had filmed it! Unfortunately we were very busy at the time!"

Had all competitors known what lay ahead of them now, we might have seen a few more cancellations-- a tough and cold 30-mile beat to Owers Buoy followed waypoint 2. With a tide of nearly 4 knots reported by some at Owers, it became the deciding factor to which class took the overall win.  Luckily, as the pain dulls, we tend to quickly forget. So Competitors will hopefully only remember an exciting course and a great start to RORC's domestic offshore season; there is plenty to get excited about with IRC 1, 2 and 3 being won by GBR Brewin Dolphin Commodores' Cup trialists.

In the end, the J/122 JOOPSTER skippered by Neil Kipling got a 10th overall IRC and 2nd IRC Class 2 just 8 minutes off the mark.  Behind them were the J/109 YEOMAN OF WIGHT sailed by David Aisher, attaining a 24th overall IRC and 4th in IRC Class 3.  Finally, in the Double-handed division, the J/105 DIABLO-J sailed by Nick Martin did well considering the conditions and managed a 6th in class.  For more RORC Morgan Cup sailing information

J/24 sailing upwind in IrelandA Media-Gasmic J/24 Easterns!
(Howth, Ireland)- Thirteen boats attended this years Mediagasmic J/24 Eastern Championships in Howth.  The Howth YC laid out the red carpet for the competing crews and all had a wonderful time sailing over the weekend in "fresh to frightening" north-easterlies.

With a third place in the opening race being his worst result in the six-race series, JP McCaldin in JAMAIS ENCORE from Lough Erne YC was an impressive winner of the Mediagasmic-sponsored J/24 Eastern Championships at Howth over the weekend.

Even National Champion Flor O'Driscoll on HARD ON PORT couldn't match the level of consistency that the northern visitors demonstrated while another feature of the weekend was the steadily-improving performance of the HYC K25 Team on KILCULLEN EURO CAR PARKS who finished 5th overall.

J/24 sailing downwind in IrelandDiscarding an 11th in the first race, the crew - led by John Blake and with Cillian Dickson on the helm - clearly learned a lot as the days went on, culminating in top notch 2nd and 3rd finishes on the second day.   

The Championship started on Saturday with four races in fresh north-easterlies and first blood was drawn by Howth's JIBBERISH (Fergus O'Kelly & others) whose gamble of a left-side long tack paid off handsomely for a sweet victory ahead of O'Driscoll and McCaldin.

Race two, three and four saw NYAH (Hyde & Deasy, RCYC/RStGYC) and JAMAIS ENCORE take turns to head the fleet, with NYAH winning two to head the fleet overnight. The fourth race highlighted just how competitive the fleet was, with 12 boats finishing within five minutes.

J/24 Eastern winnersFortunes were reversed on Sunday when NYAH had a disastrous 9th in the opening race and then a 4th while major rival McCaldin by comparison, had a dream day on the water. The fifth race in the series saw the Lough Erne crew win by a massive margin and while they only had to sail safely in the last race, second behind HARD ON PORT was more than enough to secure the Eastern Championship trophy with a margin of four points.

The Mediagasmic-sponsored event attracted visiting boats from Malahide, Lough Erne, Lough Ree, Lough Swilly, Royal Cork and Carrickfergus and was considered an outstanding success by the 13 crews, with much praise heaped on PRO David Lovegrove and his team for the quality of the racing.  For more MediaGasmic J/24 Irish Eastern Championships Sailing information

J/80 JALAPENO Wins Almere Regatta
Fresh to Frightening Winds Challenge Sailors
(Muiderzand, Netherlands)- The JALAPENO Team skippered by Piet Vroon and powered by Joie de Vivre wins Almere Regatta six races.  The Regatta had two perfect days to  determine the winners in very challenging and changing weather conditions. Saturday averaged 30 knots with gusts of 45-- yes, the "blowing dogs off chains" variety! Sunday it blew between 0 and 24 knots from the north and the south and everything in between. The J/80 has again proven that it can sail in all extremes and hang together.  Even then, gusts to 45 kts are a bit much.  Amongst the "surfing content" winners was ELF, managing a shade shy of 20 knots on the speedo!

Behind Vroon's JALAPENO team, who by the way had straight 1sts as counters, second went to Holsboer's JUUL, third went to Everwijn's ELF, fourth was Spaan's J-STRING and fifth was Elsink's J'ZUS.   For more J/80 Almere Regatta Sailing information

(Kiel, Germany)- Fourteen J/80s participated in this year's MAIOR CUP in Kiel.  The teams had four days of excellent racing with strongly varying weather conditions, so much so that only seven of the originally scheduled fifteen races were completed.

After two races sailed on Saturday, the race committee decided cancel races for Sunday due to strong wind.  On the third day, there was  glorious weather, but the wind remained nearly dead.  When wind conditions were still weak, the RC managed to sail only two races, and the right side of the track was heavily favored on all legs upwind and downwind.

In the evening the J/80 teams got together for a barbecue on the beach at the Yacht Club.  After plenty of cold beer and hot sausages (bratwurst), there was plenty of laughter about the past days of sailing, recognizing how difficult it was to sail in the weather conditions presented to the race committee.

The last day dawned with great expectations for a fun day or sailing, thanks to a fresh breeze blowing 20-25 knots!  In a few hours, the PRO managed to fire off four great races, much to the satisfaction of the now very, very tired skippers and crews!

In summary, we can say that the MAIOR in 2012 demanded a lot of the crews. Strength, endurance and good tactics.  The light winds demanded tremendous concentration to sail fast and smart.

For the final results, PROCEDES DIVA with skipper Bjorn Beilken (SKWB) topped the field quite convincingly.  Second was ANEGADA sailed by Thomas Dehler (GYC), followed closely in third by CAMPAIGN guided by helmsman Sven Vagt (SKWB).  Next up are the J/80 Worlds in Plymouth, England for many of our teams. Until then, "boom-and Schotbruch"!   For more J/80 Maior Cup sailing information

J/80s sailing Santander, SpainJ/80 Spain Sailing Summary
(Santander, Spain)- Last Saturday, May 5th, the Cantabrian fleet in Santander started the first day of the Maqueche Trophy race. Jaime Piris with FONESTAR leads the standings after placing 1-2 in the first two races. The runner-up is ECC VIVIENDAS sailed by Pichu Torcida and in third is YATES Y COSAS.

On May 6th and 13th, the J/80 Bilbao fleet has two days of training with the collaboration of J/80 World Champion, Ignacio Camino. These training sessions are a prelude to the forthcoming J/80 Spain Cup, which will start May 31 and go to June 3.

On April 14, in the waters of Lanzarote, Canary Islands off the coast of northern Africa, the local J/80 fleet sailed the J/80 Island League Championships.  After two weekends of sailing (five weekends total are scheduled), MARINA RUBICON II sailed by Rafael Lorenzo Lasso is first.  HOTEL PRINCESSA YAIZA sailed by Rayco Tabarez is currently second followed in third by MARINA RUBICON I sailed by Quintana Aythami Marrero.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

what is this?SERCO Wins J/24 Spring Cup
(Plymouth, England)- Hosted by the Royal Western YC in Plymouth, England (the same club that hosts the Fastnet Race after the boats finish), the fourteen J/24s had a seemingly fantastic time sailing in the bay outside Plymouth, massive current whirlpools and all.

With the mixed weather conditions, the sailors were tested across the weekend and managed to get in all seven races scheduled.  Starting out with a 3-1-2, the team on SERCO helmed by Bob Turner put in a solid performance and ended winning the regatta with 13 pts.  Duncan McCarthy sailed MADELINE to second overall, posting some good scores in the top two but couldn't maintain consistency to take the gold.  Sailing a similar "roller coaster" scoreline was Darren Stansbury on the redoubtable HEDGEHOG, managing to win two races but not steady enough crack the top, hanging on for a well-deserved third on the podium.  Rounding out the top five were Matt Hardy on NIKATA in fourth and Nick McDonald on LEGAL ALIEN in fifth.   For more J/24 Spring Cup sailing information


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

J/145 Radio Flyer racing team* J/145 RADIO FLYER Update-  one of the crew aboard Carolyn Parks' J/145 RADIO FLYER, Jeff Mueller, kindly provided us an update on how Carolyn's team came together, sailed the boat and nearly won the entire Newport 2 Ensenada Race, having to settle for 3rd overall and 1st in PHRF A Class (the first woman to win it ever!).  Here's Jeff's report-

"Going into the 2012 Newport to Ensenada Race the Radio Flyer philosophy boiled down to two main things:  bring a team that could keep the boat moving through the night and choose a route that would keep us in at least modest pressure without sailing too far.  Led by Owner/Skipper Carolyn Parks the dedicated amateurs on board included a strong sailor for each key position on both watches.  Half the crew had never sailed together, but the mellow personalities blended well from the start.

J/145 Radio Flyer sailing upwindHaving sailed the 2011 race in great pressure but too many miles offshore we were determined to get it right this time.  Although it's a blast to be on the 145 in 15-20 knots, it's a marvelous boat even in 5-9 knots.  Seeing a wind hole along the coast as likely we knew it would need to be an outside course, the question was how far out?  To find the best route we culled through numerous weather sources until we lost cell service a little after 3 PM on Friday, from there, seeing that the winds were a bit more moderate than the forecast, we interpolated and focused on sailing a VMG course that would keep us in pressure.

Off the line with the light 1 up Radio Flyer moved well.  While a few boats turned in, most of the fleet near us stuck with starboard and hoisted Code Zeros.  Sometimes it's good not to have too many options.  We don't have a Code Zero and the breeze wasn't strong enough to hoist the Jib Top, so we opted to go to the 1A rather early, dropping our course much deeper (and more towards Ensenada) than the boats with the Zeros up.  We were happy living there on starboard until 4:30 Saturday morning when the wind went right and built to about 14 knots.  The watch on deck pulled off a sweet gybe without any assistance and we barreled along for about half an hour before it pooped on us.  That started the focus game, keeping the boat moving in very light air while bone tired is essential to any successful Ensenada campaign.  After a gybe back looking for pressure we continued to the Ensenada layline, placing us nearly 50 miles offshore.

J/145 Radio Flyer- Carolyn Parks sailing the startDaylight found the big red J all alone in the ocean.  Was that good or bad?  Was there pressure all along the coast all night and had all the boats that went inside already finished?  As land was coming into sight we caught a glimpse of the very distinct spinnaker of a maxi that we know well.  It was about 5 miles behind us!  Our confidence rose and adrenaline kicked in as the crew squeezed max speed out of Radio Flyer in a dying breeze.  Our team could now see a few Cruz and Maxi boats along the shore and even though the gybe angle looked nasty we decided to go back out rather than risk being becalmed under the cliffs.  As we turned the wind backed and built gliding our big red wagon directly to the finish at a healthy clip.

All in all it was a beautiful race.  We never saw less than 3-4 knots of pressure and the J/145 never stopped moving - generally in the right direction.  The team work was excellent and cooperative and everyone ended up doing just about every position at one point or another, which we credit with relieving fatigue.  Clearly the J/145 is a phenomenal boat for this type of race.  Not to mention awfully comfy down below."

Volvo 70 Puma Mar Mostro sailing offshore* Volvo 70s Ocean Race- congratulations to Ken Read and crew on PUMA Mar Mostro for winning Leg 6 and pulling into a virtual tie for the lead with three other teams- TELEFONICA the current leader with an 11 point lead over PUMA with two boats sandwiched in between- CAMPER and GROUPAMA.  It's close boys and girls!  Just three legs to go, the last long leg (Leg 7 from Miami, FL to Lisbon, Portugal) will be the toughest tactically.  From there it's just two "wind sprints" along the European coastline to finish in Galway, Ireland in early June!   You can follow the teams on

Brad Van Liew sailing MASERATI Volvo 70* The turbo'd Volvo 70 MASERATI (ex-Ericsson) is attempting to break the trans-Atlantic monohull sailing record starting at 3:20 AM on Wednesday, May 9th, ahead of a massive Low off the East Coast.  Johnstone cousin, Brad Van Liew, is aboard as Chief Navigator and Watch Captain.  Here's their initial update-

Team Maserati Set Sail This Morning to Conquer a Daunting World Record Across the Atlantic. The extreme challenge will take them into the North Atlantic facing strong winds and icebergs.  Starting in front of the Ambrose lighthouse in New York Harbor, the Maserati racing yacht crossed the starting line at 3:20 AM and set off to conquer the New York-Cape Lizard (UK) record under a cloudy sky and looming thunderstorms. The international crew of eight men will sail 2,925 miles in the North Atlantic Ocean, dangerously close to icebergs off the coast of Newfoundland. The latest data  shows several icebergs as far south as 44 degrees North. Maserati is currently at 40 degrees North and headed northeast at 22 knots. The time to beat is 6 days, 17 hours, 52 minutes and 39 seconds, a world record set in 2003 by British sailor Robert Miller’s monohull Mari Cha IV.

Volvo 70 MASERATI sailing under gennaker“We have waited for so long, but it was worth it,” explained Soldini before leaving the dock. “This low pressure seems to be the right one to try and break a speed record as challenging as the North Atlantic one. We will try to ride the tides and the winds the best we can and reach Great Britain achieving the record. We are confident and in high spirits.”

Giovanni Soldini and his crew face complex challenges. The route is demanding and often treacherous with strong winds, rough seas, icebergs, and water temperatures below 2-4 degrees Celsius. The arduous circumstances are compounded by the constant need to analyze the weather forecasts and make the best strategic choices.

On board Maserati is an international crew of skilled sailors: Giovanni Soldini (skipper), American Brad Van Liew (navigator and watch leader), Spaniard Javier de la Plaza (helm, pit), Frenchmen Sebastien Audigane (helm, trimmer) and Ronan Le Goff (helm, bowman), Italians Guido Broggi (boat captain), Corrado Rossignoli (bowman), and Brit Tom Gall (second bowman).

The differences between Maserati and the world record holder Mari Cha IV are staggering. Mari Cha IV is a maxi yacht with a length of 140 feet (double Maserati’s 70 foot hull) and built to beat the most important speed records throughout the world. While Maserati is high tech and also built for extreme speed, she boasts one-third the displacement of Mari Cha IV and a single mast in contrast to Mari Cha IV’s two towering masts stretching 160 feet high. Only the current race against time will tell if the feisty and determined crew on board Maserati can break the amazing standard set by Mari Cha IV in 2003. Despite what may appear to be an underdog position, it is important to consider that the sister-ship to Maserati (Ericsson 4) currently holds the world speed record covering 596.6 nautical miles in 24 hours.

The record attempt can be followed live on Giovanni Soldini and Maserati’s website ( The site contains news, videos and photos of the lifestyle of crew members on board, and provides continuous monitoring of the marine weather conditions, as well as online tracking to check the position and speed of Maserati in real time. Continuous updates are also available on Facebook (through Giovanni Soldini’s official page) and Twitter (@giovannisoldini and Brad Van Liew @BradVanLiew).

The latest report from Brad Van Liew, navigator and watch leader-  "Life on board is getting chilly and it is wet, but nothing like when we will sail through the North Atlantic cocktail in a couple days."

YouTube video- updated at 1200 hrs EST (1800 hrs UTC)- hauling the mail at 20-22 knots and as of 2200 hrs UTC, they were just five miles off the pace of a 140 foot massive ketch on a "baby 70".  Cool.  Just keep up that 18.5+ knot pace, boys!   Brad Van Liew's Ocean website sailing information   For more Maserati Sailing information    Live real-time record tracking of Maserati

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:

* 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-  The earlier journals have been compiled into two self published books which can be found at:  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  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

* 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 (

-  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 (  Read about their latest adventures as they've gotten to New Zealand- "Avante Cruises the Pacific".

- Eric and Jenn on the J/160 MANDALAY also sailed the Pacific archipelago, read more on their blog at  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-