Wednesday, July 10, 2013

J/Newsletter- July 10th, 2013

J/111 one design classJ/Navy Sail Mac Race
(Chicago, IL)- "The Mac", as it's affectionately known, kicks off Saturday, July 13, 2013 with 3,000 sailors competing in this world-class sporting event. Although the Mac remains primarily an amateur event, the race has a proven track record of attracting some of the finest sailing talent in the sport. Sailors from 15 different U.S. states as well as Ontario, Switzerland, and as far off as Hong Kong, are preparing for the race of a lifetime – the 289nm Chicago to Mackinac, presented by Veuve Clicquot.

Gathering along Chicago's waterfront are some of the world's better sailors and certainly a remarkably strong contingent of J sailors from across the lakes.  Three J/One-Design classes are represented- J/105s, J/109s and J/111s. Plus, there are J/Teams spread throughout the Double-handed and handicap classes, many who've proven time and again they're not only champions in their own classes and divisions, but quite a few who've won the Mackinac Island races overall!

J/111 one-design sailboatStarting with the one-design classes, it will be interesting to see if the J/111 class can repeat their outstanding performance in the 2012 Mac Race, where most of the class swept the top spots overall. There are eleven J/111s including all the top contenders from last year.  Amongst the top teams from Chicago, you have several winners of recent regattas, including Paul Stahlberg's MENTAL, IMPULSE (Dr George Miz, Peter Dreher, Mark Hatfield), KASHMIR (the Mayer, Henderson, Brummel team-- the 2012 class and overall winner), Tom McIntosh's MISTY, Tom Edman/ Steve Dabrowski's NIGHTHAWK, Len Siegal's LUCKY DUBIE, Bill Smith's WOOTON and Rick Witzel's ROWDY.  From Milwaukee, Wisconsin is the team of HOBGOBLIN led by Rick Hobbs. From Michigan is 2011 double Mac Race winner NO SURPRISE sailed by Great Lakes racing legend Dave Irish. Finally, Henry Brauer's FLEETWING, recent winner at New York YC's Annual Regatta in the J/111 class will be participating as "virgin" Mac racers!

The J/105s have the largest J/One-Design fleet with sixteen boats participating.  Some familiar names will be contenders, including the 2012 Bayview Mac top J/105, Mary Symond's PTERODACTYL from Grosse Point YC.  Top local Chicago boats include Clark Pellett's team on SEALARK, Sandy Curtiss's ROCKING HORSE (a past Ben 40.7 Great Lakes Champion) and John Weglarz's inmates again running THE ASYLUM.  Tough hombres all, perhaps a 289nm dogfight to the finish!

With multiple Mac class champions participating, the J/109 class has eleven strong teams sailing. Amongst the top boats will be MOMENTUS (Kevin Saedi and George & Robin Simkins), REALT NA MARA (Tom & Joe Londrigan), NORTHSTAR (David Gustman), K-III (Irv & Cary Kerbel), VANDA III (Jim & Jack Toliver) and DRIVEN 2 (Jim Milliken from Traverse City, MI).

While not one-design, but racing as a Level 35 class are six very fast J/35s, all with a few notches on their belts proclaiming primal supremacy in various one-design/ handicap events.  Chief among them is Larry Schell's TOUCH OF GREY, with a cadre of others challenging them like SHEARWATER (Tom Anthony), HOQUA (Jack Andree), BOZOS CIRCUS (Bruce Metcalf), BAD DOG (Larry Taunt), ALPHA PUPPY (Rick Stage).

In the handicap classes will be a wide variety of J's participating, from J/92's to J/145's.  In Double-handed division will be the J/105 OCH! (Brendan Docherty) and the J/29 TFWB RELENTLESS (George & Scott Petritz).

In Section 2, there will be two J/145s fighting it out with some Santa Cruz 52s and Farr 40s. Both J/145s, VORTICES (Chris Saxton) and MAIN STREET (Bill Schanen, publisher of SAILING MAGAZINE) are tough contenders, both having won their classes in the various Mac Races.

Section 3 sees two J/130s, two J/133s and J/124 all slugging it out with Farr 395s and Sydney 41s for class honors.  The J/124 STILL MESSIN (Adam & Jerome Esselman), the J/133s RENEGADE (Tom and Beth Ann Papoutsis) &j SCIRROCO III (Bob Clairmont), and the J/130s WILLIE J (Doug Petter) & EDGE (Bob McManus) will amongst the class leaders.

In Section 4 are two J/120s and a J/122.  The J/120s are Frank Giampoli sailing JAHAZI and Matthew Songer skippering PERSEVERANCE.  The champion J/122 in their midst is Mitch Padnos & Tracy Brands's SUFFICIENT REASON; as SKYE she won the Mac Race Overall three-times and last year the Padnos family team won their division!

Section 6 has an assortment of J/Teams from 30 to 35 feet. Sailing will be the J/110 LADY K (Mike Stewart), the J/92 SPLIT DECISION (Bruce Santerre), the J/92 CYCLONE (John Madey), the J/33 RETRIEVER (Matt Beer), and the lone J/105 VYTIS sailed by Gytis and Tomas Petkus.

For you armchair sailors, the Chicago YC has again contracted with one of the world's leading offshore sailboat tracking companies- Yellowbrick Tracking.  You can find that on the Chicago-Mac website.  For more Chicago Mackinac Race sailing information

sailboats on right sailingBacardi Newport Preview
(Newport, RI)- What has become a right of passage for New England summer sailors is the annual pilgrimage to Newport to sail what many consider one of America's best run regattas-- the Bacardi Newport Regatta.  Hosting nineteen one-design classes is never easy, but the management team of PRO's led by Brad Read always manage to make it happen no matter what cards the weather God's have thrown down on the table.  So far, the prognosticators indicate this year's event taking place from July 12th to 14th may end up with some classic Newport sea-breeze conditions.

The J/70's are "the new kid on the block" and as the world's fastest growing sportboat class is fielding a fleet of twenty competitors.  And, there's no doubt it will be quite a competitive affair with several top teams participating from the winter/ spring events like Key West, Charleston, St Pete and Annapolis.  Look for some of these teams to be in the top five, including James Allsopp's MOXIE, Joel Ronning's CATAPULT, Bennet Greenwald's PERSEVERANCE, Dave Franzel's SPRING, Blake Kimbrough's NOSTALGIA, Joe Bardenheier's MUSE, Bruno Pasquinelli's STAMPEDE and Jud Smith's Marblehead team.

For the sixteen J/24s, it' a double-whammy, a District 2 Championship World's Qualifier and US Adult Sailing Championship Qualifier.  As a result, Tim Healy is leaping back into the J/24s sailing HELLY HANSEN.  They will be challenged by arch nemesis Travis Odenbach on HONEY BADGER, Steve Wood on TASMANIAN DEVIL, Frank McNamara on ZOT, Ian Scott on CRACK OF NOON and Aidan Glackin on MENTAL FLOSS.

Nine J/22s will be racing and for many it may prove to be good practice for the upcoming J/22 Worlds sailing in Newport in October 2013.  Expect to see amongst the top boats champion J/22 sailor Chris Doyle sailing JUG 4 1, Brad Julian skippering JULIAN ASSOCIATES, Lowell Thomas on CHAOS and Matt Dunbar on WHARF RAT.  For more Bacardi Newport Sailing information

Lake Ontario 300 Preview
(Port Credit, ONT, Canada)- Starting July 13th, Saturday, the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge is the premier offshore race on Lake Ontario, and it provides a challenging circumnavigation of the lake. A group of double handed racers originally developed the Lake Ontario 300 Challenge as the ultimate double-handed challenge in 1990 and it still remains the longest annual fresh water race.  The Main Duck Island course is 300nm and starts at PCYC. It includes mark roundings at Gibraltar, the Main Duck Islands, Ford Shoal, Niagara R2 and finishes back at PCYC.

The Lake Ontario 300 Challenge also incorporates a shorter 190nm course for non-flying sail divisions as well as flying sail yachts with a PHRF rating over 180. This is the Scotch Bonnet Island Course, and it starts at PCYC, including mark roundings at Gibraltar, Scotch Bonnet Island, Niagara R2 and then finishes back at PCYC.

Nineteen J/Teams are participating this year, a significant increase from last year's participation rate.  Starting with the Singlehanded class, Geoff Cornish's J/125 ROULEUR is the lone J/Team sailing from Royal Canadian YC.

The IRC 1 division has three fast J's sailing; all with line honors potential based on breeze.  Leading the fleet may be Jon Bamberger's J/145 SPITFIRE with John McLeod's J/133 HOT WATER and the J/111 SURVENANT (skippered by a Quebec quartet of Marcel Cote, P Bernier, C Boulet, N Cote and Y Dion) all in hot pursuit!  In IRC 2 division are three well-sailed J/109s, including Denys Jones's CARPE VENTUS, Murray Gainer's LIVELY (a past LO 300 race winner) and Sheila Smith's PHOENIX.  Sailing IRC 3 is Stephen Trevitt's J/35 SCENE, a past winner in class in the LO 300.

In PHRF 1 are two J/105s- CASUAL ELEGANCE skippered by Geoff Clarke and VOODOO MAGIC led by the quartet of Bjug Borgundvaag, Scott Hansen, Bill Bevan and Paul Martini.  Graham Toms' J/120 THE CAT CAME BACK and Mike Pietz's J/35 SHORTHANDED will also be in the mix.  For more Lake Ontario 300 sailing information

J/125 Resolute sailing fast!Transpac Race Preview
J/Teams Sending It For 2,225nm!
(Los Angeles, CA)- On Monday, the first of three waves of offshore yachts start their 2,225nm journey to Honolulu in the 2013 Transpacific Yacht Race, aka the "Transpac". This epic biennial race, in its 47th edition and organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club, features fifty-nine entries from eight countries spread into nine divisions.

The slowest of these two divisions, Divisions 7 and 8, started this past Saturday over the 4th of July weekend, with 15 entries crossing the starting line off Point Fermin, just west of Los Angeles Harbor. These include the smallest boat in the race, Edward Sanford’s J/105 CREATIVE from San Diego YC with a total of just four crew.  Watch out! A J/100 won this division not too long ago and the J/105 is even faster off the wind!

“We are really pleased the fleet got off to this great start,” said TPYC Commodore Dave Cort. “This was a classic day, just perfect breeze strength and direction. Some teams were very competitive at the start, others had more of the Aloha spirit. Regardless, we look forward to hearing from the teams en route, wish them all Good Luck, and we look forward to seeing them in Hawaii.”

Transpac Aloha partyAt the Skipper’s Meeting, participants learned the weather forecast for this fleet looks good, at least for the beginning phase of this race. Well-established at 1029 mb, the center of the Pacific High lies 900 miles west of San Francisco and will drive 10-20 knot northwest winds along the southern California coastal waters for the next three days, with higher speeds offshore, allowing this early fleet to get a fast start to their southwesterly tracks towards Hawaii.  And while these entries in the first start are not fast enough to break any course records, they may still win racing under the ORR system that uses a special Transpac course model to equalize the boats under handicap for this race.

After the briefing, all Transpac crews got an early taste of Hawaiian hospitality at the "Aloha Send-Off Party" held at Gladstone’s Restaurant in Long Beach, where there were traditional Tahitian performances, hula dancing, and plenty of leis all around. A unique new feature of this year's race will be a daily video analysis on the progress of the race provided by race veteran and Seahorse Magazine Editor Dobbs Davis on the race website.

J/105 offshore sailboatSailing the Transpac stirs a variety of emotions and lifelong memories. For some it's the rush of danger, for others a beautiful adventure, and for many it's both. Russell Coutts, an Olympic gold medalist and three-time America's Cup winner, said after sailing on the record-setting Morning Glory in 2005: "This is one of the best offshore races I have done-- very strategic for the navigators mixed with some fantastic downwind rides. Definitely a race not to be missed."

Since 1949 the fastest in the fleet have traditionally competed for the unique Transpacific Yacht Club Perpetual Trophy---a 3 1/2 x 4-foot plaque of hand-carved Hawaiian koa wood---better known as the "Barn Door." Smaller boats unable to match the larger ones in sheer speed compete for a prize more reflective of crew performance: the King Kalakaua Trophy, a metallic model of a sailing canoe, for the best corrected handicap time.

Transpac stands apart from other major ocean races as essentially a "downwind race," as determined by normal weather patterns in the eastern Pacific north of the equator. After two or three days of slogging on the wind, the fleet encounters the "Pacific High," a mammoth, wallowing blob of high pressure rotating clockwise between Hawaii and the West Coast of North America. As boats reach the lower edge of the high the wind bends aft and turns warm spinnakers go up, shirts come off, and sailors usually enjoy a pleasant ride the rest of the way. But sailing directly into the Pacific High's light winds is competitive suicide.

With improved weather information following World War II, competitors were able to note the position of the High and chart their courses along its lower edge on a southerly loop, sailing farther but faster to Hawaii. Later they optimized their boats for downwind performance.  Said Morgan Larson, a world-class sailor in boats large and small including J/24s, said, "There is no better feeling than surfing down the Molokai Channel towards the most famous finish of all the offshore races in the world. You pass Diamond Head under spinnaker, then pull into Waikiki and the big aloha welcome."

J/125 West Coast Warrior sailing Transpac RaceThis year there are just three J/Teams rolling down the Pacific Coast Highway across the Pacific to Honolulu.  Undoubtedly, the fast reaching J's love the offshore swell and expect to be on the podium at the end of the road.  As mentioned above, the J/105 has proven to be undeniably fast, easy to sail offshore at well over 90% of its performance capabilities by most crews, especially when they are fatigued and tired.  Toss on top of the fleet's notorious offwind racers is the infamous J/125.  Last year, the J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE sailed the Pacific Cup and averaged nearly 13 kts, getting there in 7 days-- an astounding pace for a 41 footer. The current monohull record, held by Hasso Platner's 86 footer MORNING GLORY sailed in just over 6 days averaging 13.65 kts.  Bruno Peyron's 86 ft catamaran EXPLORER has the outright sailing record of 5 days 9 hours averaging 17.25 kts.  J/125's have been known to hit 25+ kts offshore downwind for hours on end, for that matter the little J/70 one-design speedster has hit 21+ kts offshore in France on the Bay of Biscay!

In Division 4, look for the J/125's RESOLUTE (Tim Fuller from San Diego YC) and WEST COAST WARRIOR (Greg Constable from Nanaimo Yacht Club in British Columbia, Canada) to eclipse their classmates after a week of deliriously fast rides down massive 10-15 ft Pacific swells, coping with midnight squalls blowing 20-35 kts and endlessly gorgeous frothy white cresting seas during the day with dolphin jumping all over the place (mahi-mahi for dinner, anyone?).

Of note, it's interesting to see an entire group of former (and current) J sailors participating in the Division I "Turbo" division of this year's Transpac.  Tom Holthus traded in his J/145 BAD PAK for an STP 65 of the same name. Frank Slootman did the same with his J/111 INVISIBLE HAND for an RP 63. Lorenzo Berho traded in his J/24 PELIGROSO for a J/145 PELIGROSO for a Kernan 70 of the same name.  David & Peter Askew traded in various race-winning J's over time called FLYING JENNY (J/120 & J/122) for the RP 74 WIZARD.  Syd Fischer's family have had a go of it in J/24 events in Sydney, Australia; they're now sailing an Elliot 100 called RAGAMUFFIN 100!  Apparently, even Giovanni Soldini sailing MASERATI for Yacht Club Italiano from Milan has had some tiller time on J/Boats.  Interesting times!  All J sailors over the course of time with offshore and some one-design experience.  Time will tell who learned the most, the fastest, in their offshore careers sailing J's!  Amongst this group, it may be the first person to blink and back off the gas (or take the brick off the gas pedal) that will determine who takes line or handicap honors.  For more Transpac Race sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The pulse of summer beats on in the northern hemisphere during the first week of July; it has been especially hot and muggy in America!  For many, it has been sailing in unusually hot conditions with extraordinary amounts of humidity or with a general lack of wind.  Nevertheless, in the United Kingdom the J/24s held their UK Nationals with great sailing and camaraderie amongst friends in Plymouth, England.  Farther afield off to the east in Europe the J/80s began their enormous J/80 World Championship in one of the more famous French seaports, Marseilles, with nearly 120 boats participating. From a historical perspective, it will be interesting to see if the French predominate over the Spanish "Main".

Concurrently, in America there are a number of events starting for many offshore racing aficionados.  As noted above, you have the Transpac (with a J/105 and twin J/125s sailing), the Chicago-Mac (with J/105, J/109 & J/11 fleets sailing), the Lake Ontario 300 (with a host of champion J teams starting), all sailing this weekend.  Plus, we have the famously foggy Marblehead to Halifax Race also taking place with over a dozen J/Teams probing through the murk on their way to the gorgeous seacoast surrounding Halifax.

Read on! The J/Community and Cruising section below has many entertaining stories and news about J/Sailors as well as cruising blogs about those who continue to enjoy the Caribbean and the South Pacific, staying warm while others are trying to stay warm up north.  Check them out!  More importantly, if you have more J/Regatta News, please email it or upload onto our J/Boats Facebook page!  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Jul 12-14- Bacardi Newport Regatta (22, 24, 70, 80, 105)
Jul 13-15- Chicago Mackinac Race- Chicago YC- Chicago, IL
Jul 25-28- J/30 North Americans- Barrington, RI
Jul 26-28- J/70 New Englands/ NOOD- Marblehead, MA
Jul 27-28- Youngstown Level Regatta (70, 24)- Youngstown, NY
Aug 3-10- Cowes Race Week (70, 80, 109, 111)- Cowes, England
Aug 9-11- J/109 North Americans- Chicago YC- Chicago, IL
Aug 9-11- Verve Cup Offshore (109, 111)- Chicago, IL
Aug 9-13- J/27 North American Championship- Oakville, Ontario
Aug 10-11- J/70 Great Lakes- Buffalo YC- Buffalo, NY
Aug 14-18- J/111 North Americans- Chicago YC- Chicago, IL
Aug 22-30- J/24 Worlds- Howth (Dublin), Ireland
Sep 9-14- J/70 EuroCup Regatta- Lago di Garda, Italy
Sep 26-28- J/70 North Americans- Annapolis YC- Annapolis, MD
Sep 26-29- Rolex Big Boat Series (70, 105, 120)- St Francis YC- San Francisco, CA

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

J/24 one design sailboat- sailing UK NationalsIL RICCIO J/24 UK Champs!
(Poole, England)- Twenty-five teams from the United Kingdom, Ireland and USA headed to Plymouth to contest the UK Nationals at the start of July.  With 10 races scheduled over 4 days the race committee wasted no time getting going with 3 rapid fire courses set on the first day to ensure the fleet completed a series given the patchy wind forecast.

The following 3 days settled into a pattern with competitors enjoying lazy mornings in the balmy conditions whilst waiting for the sea breeze to fill and then as the wind arrived reveling in the close quarters racing and tight calls at every start, mark rounding and finish. With a matter of boat lengths separating first to last on the water this was one design racing at its very best. Sail tracker units were carried on all the boats meaning friends and families could watch races unfold from shore and over 1,300 visitors logged in to check on the action across the 3 days of racing. You can still view the feed via the SailRacer site here.

With an all-star cast, including the 2010 and 2011 European Champions, 2013 US National Champions, as well as multiple UK and Irish National titles shared between the teams, racing was always going to be tight, with 6 different teams taking race wins from the 9 races contested and consistency being the key to establishing a good series. Masters of this were Chris McLaughlin / Ian Southworth and their IL RICCIO team who, with every result inside the top 5, put enough space between them and their closest rivals to be able to reclaim the UK National Championship crown last held by them in 2006.

The UK National Championship Title goes to Chris McLaughlin/Ian Southworth sailing IL RICCIO with Mike Ingham's HITCHHIKER from America taking 2nd place and Rob Clark of JUJU taking 3rd. The Westerly Trophy was also hotly contested and eventually went to the all girls team on NITRO skippered by Alison Young.  Next up is the summer regatta season with a number of J/24's intending on heading to Yarmouth, IOW to join in with the fun at the Tattinger Regatta at the end of the month.   Sailing photo credits- Tom Gruitt  For more J/24 UK Nationals sailing information

J80 Worlds Marseilles, FranceJ/80 Worlds Marseilles Update
(Marseilles, France)- With 117 boats participating in the 2013 J/80 Worlds in Marseilles, France, it's remarkable to see any class grow that strongly in Europe and maintain such levels of enthusiasm for over ten years. Certainly within France, Spain, England and Germany the J/80 has enjoyed a loyal following that has resulted in multiple J/80 Worlds with attendance in excess of 100+ boats; an amazing feat for any one-design class.

With the regatta starting on Tuesday, it's clear the Spanish and French rivalry for global J/80 hegemony is quite healthy.  After the first two days of racing the Spanish and the French teams battling for the top five continue with Spain's Rayco Tabares on HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA holding the upper hand; not far behind is top French sailor Eric Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT.  Famous French sailor/ coach Marc Bouet is confident that some of their teams will sail smartly and consistently enough to prevail on the podium by Saturday.

Perhaps what's most interesting about this centuries old battle for supremacy on the high seas between the French and Spanish is that most often they were partners.  Especially, in the American revolution.  In the American War of Independence (1775–83) the Spanish navy was essential to the establishment, in combination with the French and Dutch navies, of a numerical advantage that stretched British naval resources. They played a vital role, along with the French and Dutch, in maintaining military supplies to the American "rebels". The French navy also played a key role in the Spanish army led operations that defeated the British in Florida. The bulk of the purely naval combat on the allied side fell to the French navy, although Spain achieved lucrative successes with the capture of two great British convoys meant for the resupply of British forces and loyalists in North America.  In short, Americans are indebted forever to their French and Spanish friends for living on the "big island" of "North America"!  Read more here:

Leading up to this year's J/80 Worlds, has had the opportunity to chat with some of the top players in the game and get their perspectives on their participation in the worlds.  Here are a cross-section of interesting interviews provided by Daily Motion of various contenders (in various languages, of course):

J/80 sailor Simon MoriceauSimon Moriceau- France-

J/80 sailor- Eric BrezellecEric Brezellec- France-

J/80 sailor- Arthur HerremannArthur Herreman- France-

J/80 sailor- Nicholas LunvenNicolas Lunven- France-
- Nicolas LUNVEN from GENERALI TEAM, who won in 2009 the Figaro Solitaire race and is targeting the podium.

J/80 sailor- Brian KeaneBrian Keane- USA-

J80 sailor - Iker MartinezIker Martinez- Spain-

J/80 sailor- Jose Maria van der PloegJose Maria Van der Ploeg-

J/80 women sailorsThe World of Women in Sailing-

Les Sardines Women's Sailing Team-

Perhaps even more enlightening are some of the interviews by various Spanish and French media prior to the events.  The excerpts from the Voiles et Voiliers article are somewhat poignant.  While the French have prepared and trained very well, significantly improving their chances of overall success, the Spanish are hard to dethrone.

Excerpts from the Voiles & Voiliers interview:
What was your preparation?
Simon Moriceau: I started the season in the match-race world, Port-la-Forêt, with Nicolas Troussel, although this is not my favorite discipline. The advantage is that it allowed me to fully understand the game of match-racing any boat. And before Spi Ouest France, we were training with fleet racing. My main goal was to find crew to sail together.
Eric Brezellec: We sailed a lot this winter. I really focused on the J/80, but Sebastien Col is sailing in other events and Yann Castle did a lot of match racing, too.

J/80 women sailors racingThe nightmare of this world, what would it be?
Simon Moriceau: Although the fleet will probably divided into two groups, starts will be hot! In one-design fleet where speed differences are minimal, it is best not to be left behind! Then it is the consistency that makes the difference: any finishes beyond 20 are not good!
Eric Brezellec: For us northerners, the water of Marseille, this is not necessarily an advantage. But Sebastien Col, knows the area quite well. And,fortunately, we have been training a lot. Anyway, the conditions are the same for everyone. But, when there are 110 boats in a championship, there is always a chance for anyone.  No, I will not say random. Let's say that you still have a bit of luck to go after!    For more on the V&V interviews.

While the French were pontificating and ruminating on how to sail fast and smart with good execution, working hard to ensure success against all J/80 teams, the Spanish were singularly focused on how "to beat the French", coincidentally enough.  Perhaps they recognize they may be at an enormous disadvantage sailing in French home waters like the bays of Marseilles?

The Spanish teams are, "intent to revalidate their titles and with the pressure of sailing in France, the birthplace of the J80 class.  At stake, the hegemony of the Spanish J/80 fleet. The goal, to ratify the strength of the Spanish J/80 fleet, taken from France for over six years and in a class that was created in France" (as quoted from the Spanish PR machine).

The Spanish teams, José María Van der Ploeg (FACTOR ENERGIA), Carlos Martinez (THIK/ NOVASAIL) and Rayco Tabares (HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA) have the pressure of being the favorites after their incredible sweep at the World Championships 2012 held in the United Kingdom.  Time will tell in the next few days. Watch how this drama unfolds on the J/80 Worlds website.   Spanish Sailing Photos- Jesus Renedo / Trofeo Conde de Godo and Elena Martinez / RCMS.  For more J/80 Worlds sailing information

J/111 one-design speedster- BLAST- sailing Marblehead to Halifax raceMarblehead-Halifax Race Update
(Marblehead, MA)- Saturday was the start of the 35th Marblehead to Halifax race and although the wind was light, nearly 80 boats set off in the afternoon for the 360nm race. The boats cross the Gulf of Maine, pass Cape Sable, reach the Labrador Current and end up in Halifax sometime this week. The racing teams can be followed on Yellowbrick Tracker-

Many J offshore teams love to do this incredibly challenging race, despite somewhat difficult conditions like ships, ferries, "pea soup" fog, cold water, rain and overcast skies.  For many, it's the "means to an end", the end being the gorgeous harbor of Halifax and the wonderful cruising areas nearby that are a rare treat for those who've partaken in the more sybaritic pursuits in life-- cruising way, way "downeast" can be simply breath-taking!

Taking that baton and running with it in IRC 2 are the famous J/105 team, now turned "fast cruisers" on their J/44 KINCSEM, Joerg Esdorn and Duncan Hennes from New York YC and American YC.  If there's a reach and a run, they will be awfully difficult to knock off the top spot on the podium.

Similarly, IRC 3 has some veteran champion offshore teams participating as well. Counted amongst them are Peter Rugg's famous J/105 JADED, Steve Berlack's J/42 ARROWHEAD and Fred Allardyce's J/40 MISTY.

Over half of PHRF 2 division are J/Teams.  Two J/130s lead the charge with Jeff Eberle's CILISTA and Kris Kristiansens's SAGA dueling for class bragging rights. Glenn Gault's very successful run in 2013 on his J/120 REBECCA could add another feather in their cap with a podium finish in this famous race; sistership BLACK PEARL skippered by Ross Leighton will give them a run for the money.  Plus, having proven they can sail their boat extremely quick and clean house last year in the Nova Scotia offshore circuit, Mark Surrette's team on the J/111 BLAST should also be in the hunt for silverware.

Five J's are sailing PHRF 3 with a trio of sharp J/109 teams dominating their class.  Gary Weisberg's HEAT WAVE, John Doub's RESOLVE and Paul Rafuse's WISC will be in the hunt. Chasing them will be Ann Petley-Jones's J/35 HARRIER and Paul Conrod's CASTANEA.

Finally, the lone J in PHRF Cruising will be Reggie Goodday's beautiful J/44 AKUBRA from Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron.  For more Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information


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

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing Newport Cup- around Jamestown Island race J/70 Newport Cup Experience- Nick Johnstone (son of Peter J of Gunboats fame and varsity sailor on the College of Charleston Sailing Team) is interning at the J/Boats office for summer 2013, enjoying a wide variety of experiences regards business, boat building & design, sales, marketing, maintenance and so forth.  Recently, Nick and friends had a chance to do some demo sails and also participate in the famous IYAC Newport Cup Race-- the highly popular "around Jamestown Island" race of about 21nm.  Here's Nick's account as a "virgin round islander" sailing the J/70:

"The Newport Cup Around Jamestown Island race was put on and hosted with ease and incredible organization by IYAC and its sponsors. The weather couldn’t have been better and a nice light, but building southwesterly breeze filled the harbor for the start.

The J-70 was fortunate to get a handful of boats entered in the regatta. I put together a crew of friends all currently on the college sailing circuit and we were all excited sail together. None of them had prior experience in the boat, but with the simplicity offered by the J-70 deck plan, they were quickly able to figure out their roles and what was required of each other.

Before going out, I happened to make possibly the single biggest mistake before racing a keelboat regatta. I forgot to clean the bottom. The bottom hadn’t been cleaned in over 4 weeks, which is an incredibly long time for a non-drysailed keelboat with no bottom paint. My friend Bobby went over and tried to clean a bit of it off with an extra t-shirt we had before racing, but the scum had amassed to so much that he used up an entire T-shirt cleaning just an eighth of the bottom of the boat and we were running out of time. The bottom reminded me of what the bottom of the Flying Dutchman from Pirates of the Caribbean must look like. It was very bad. So key advice to anyone racing, clean you’re bottom!

The second we cast off the mooring, I could feel the boat stick to the water and I knew right away this was going to be a long race. We got off the line and tacked out on a nice lane on port out to the right side of the course, but with the growth on the bottom of our boat in the light air and big chop, we might as well have thrown out an anchor. The entire fleet rolled us and a large lefty that rolled in didn’t help either.

We rounded the windward mark in DFL, or last place as some like to call it, but were determined to catch up even with our handicap. Soaking low on the downwind and playing the breeze better more intelligently than the rest of the fleet off of the western Jamestown shore, we caught back up right into the middle of the fleet. The breeze then shifted to a more due west direction, steadied out, and the fleet again pulled ahead of us. This was pretty discouraging, but it was too nice a day for us to be let down.

At this point we all switched off and took turns skippering and doing other positions in the boat and just enjoyed the rest of the race as more of a day sail. We ended up finished in dead last place and I can honestly say I can’t remember the last time I lost a regatta (never), but great weather, good friends, and a simple easy boat to sail made it all bearable!"

* J/160 AVATAR headed for the Caribbean, again!  We LOVE these updates from our cruising J sailors that continue to criss-cross the Seven Seas. This one comes from Alan Fougere, sailing his beloved J/160 AVATAR.

J/160 sailing offshore to US Virgin Islands- rainbow over oceanAlan sent us an email update commenting on their passage south this winter, "In mid-December AVATAR completed her sixth transit to her winter Caribbean home, Grand Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI (seen above)  from her home port in Quissett (Falmouth), MA.  A crew of three, Captain Alan (e.g. me), Crew Pablo Brissett and Mark Conroy, covered the 1,500 nm trip in in her best time to date- 7 Days 5 Hours, averaging 8.7 kts, that's about 208 nm per day!  Amazing passage it was!  Rainbow at right far offshore was some of the amazing phenomenon we experienced on this fast offshore passage.

AVATAR will participate in the BVI Sailing Festival/Regatta again in 2013, where last year she won the Nanny Key Cup Cruising Class race around the Island of Virgin Gorda.  Here are some photos for you to share with the J/Community at-large.  Enjoy!"
Best, Alan Fougere/ AVATAR

Bill & Judy Stellin- sailing J/42 Jaywalker* Bill & Judy Stellin recently had an interview about cruising on their J/42 in the Wall St Journal called "Retiring on the Open Sea".  The Wall St Journal asked Bill to reply to dozens of questions that flooded into the WSJ's Editor desks. Here's the update:

Retiring on the Sea: Answering Readers' Questions
Advice about selecting a boat, ocean crossings, itineraries and safety

Wall St Journal interview- Stellin's Offshore cruising/ sailing retirementThe article in our WSJ Online December retirement report about eight years spent sailing the Mediterranean— "Retiring to the Open Sea"— prompted many questions and comments from readers.  We asked William Stellin, who wrote the story, to answer some of the most common queries.

WSJ- "What kind and make of boat did you use? Looking back, would you have picked a different boat?"

Bill- "In 1995-96, J/Boats of Newport, RI, came out with a new cruiser/racer model, the J/42. We bought hull No. 6 of this popular 42-foot sailboat and named it JAYWALKER. This was our fourth boat since beginning sailing in 1975.

Although long-distance cruising wasn't what we had in mind when we purchased JAYWALKER, it soon became apparent it had the ability to carry us easily and safely anywhere we wanted to go. Because the boat is light, it sails well in light winds, which means very little motoring is necessary.

People often ask (and argue) about what boat is best for cruising. Any boat that is strong, safe, fast, comfortable and easily handled by two people should fit the bill. One thing for sure, fast is fun—and important when trying to avoid bad weather."


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:

* 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

J/130 sailing ARC Rally arrives Portugal- leave a message on the sea wall!* 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).

-  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), 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.<