Wednesday, October 23, 2013

J/Newsletter- October 23rd, 2013

J/105s sailing Masters Regatta- San Diego, CAJ/105 Masters Regatta Preview
(San Diego, CA)- For years, the worldʼs greatest master sailors such as Elvstrom, Buchan, Burnham, Tillman, Trask, Irish, Harken, North, Holland, Hinman and Dickson competed in the prestigious event on San Francisco Bay called the International Masters Regatta.  First created by St Francis YC member Don Trask in 1975, the sailors initially competed on J/24 one-designs.  As time went by, it was felt that J/105s would be a more appropriate platform for the gentlemen sailors (after all, skippers had to be at least 60 yrs old and all crew over 45!).

J/105s sailing on San Diego Harbor- Masters RegattaThe event took a hiatus in the 2009-2011 period due to the extraordinary financial distress experienced by economies the world over.  Recently, the San Diego YC resurrected the regatta with the help of SDYC member Jeff Brown and Mr Trask and, together, hosted a wildly popular Masters "classic" in 2012 in the pristine flat waters of San Diego Harbor.  This year's "class of 2013" promises to be an even more competitive event as word got out how much fun everyone had last year.  After all, how can you beat sailing in matched J/105 one-designs with matched sails, matched tuning and the extraordinary venue of sailing in San Diego Harbor with the city as the backdrop and ginormous U.S. Navy nuclear aircraft carriers as the "continuing obstruction" on the south side of the course!  As one might imagine, in more ways than one, San Diego delivers on its postcard-perfect weather conditions of WNW 8-12 kts breezes with plenty of sunshine and lots of tourist distractions.

Leading this year's class of Master sailors has to be last year's winners, Dennis & Sharon Case from the host SDYC.  Nevertheless, as the "local heroes", they will accompanied by fellow "rock star" SDYC members Chuck Nichols.  Three members from St Francis YC will be attending, including Jon Andron, Bruce Munro and Don Trask.  Last year, two of these NoCal teams nearly walked off with all of the silverware!

Rounding out the West Coast contingent will be Sally Honey, past 505 World Champion, dragging along her husband Stan Honey (the same guy who's invented all those cool graphics for football, baseball, NASCAR, tennis and most notably, the America's Cup 34 TV/ Internet broadcasts).  While Stan may have won the TransPac once or twice on his Cal 40, the one-design talent clearly lies with Sally-- perhaps the first women ever to win a World Championship on a trapeze skiff as skipper!?

J/105 team rounding mark- Masters RegattaFrom the eastern side of America (e.g. east of California), the renown J/Boats designer Rod Johnstone from Stonington, CT's Wadawanuck YC will be sailing with his son Jeff J.  Past Masters winner John Jennings from St Petersburg YC (St Petersburg, FL) is sailing with the legendary Mark Ploch (first J/24 Midwinters winner in 1978!).  Jennings is re-emerging from a premature retirement to determine whether or not he still has the "hot hand" that enabled him to win back in the San Francisco days of the event.  Renown Great Lakes sailor, David Irish from Harbor Springs, MI will be sailing with some of his local talent. And, "young" Jeff Neuberth (of BOOMERANG the IOR Maxi 80 footer fame) will be participating for his first time-- not an envious position to be in, getting tossed into this den of wolves!

Finally, adding a bit of international flavor to the event is perhaps Her Majesty The Queen's most notable, and infamous, yachting journalist of the past half century, none other than Bob "The Fish" Fisher, from Lymington, England's Royal Lymington YC.  Whilst "Fish" is most renown for his quick wit, sarcasm and insightful commentary on all things yachting (especially, the America's Cup), the mighty pen pales in comparison to his abilities to divine the intricacies of wind, wave and tide-- all learned on the western end of the Solent and, one might add, after a few tongue-lashings by that famous Irishman Harold Cudmore!

The weekend forecast looks quite promising, with sunny days, WNW winds of 8-12 kts, flat water and plenty of events on the social schedule to keep every one distracted-- did we mention earlier this was also the "chamber of commerce" weather forecast, too?  With so much talent on the water it's just about impossible to lay odds on which teams will be standing on the podium after the smoke clears!  Watch this space, it will surely be entertaining!   SDYC J/105 Masters sailing photos- Bob Betancourt/ SDYC   For more information J/105 Masters sailing information

J/70 sailing Big Boat Series- San FranciscoJ/70 Big Boat Series Review
(San Francisco, CA)- Recently, Andy Schwenk from Anacortes, Washington, had a chance to sail a J/70 in this year's Rolex Big Boat Series.  The J/70's were a new addition to the event to provide all day entertainment for those recent America's Cup sailing addicts that enjoyed St Francis YC's most extraordinary setting along the San Francisco Bay waterfront.  After all, with a bar, grill, restaurant and starting line all, literally, experiencing the saltwater spray from waves crashing on their waterfront, having a fleet of the world's fastest growing sportboat playing like dolphins during your luncheon couldn't be more fun to watch!  Here's Andy's take on the entire experience:

"The J/Boats line have book-ended my sailing career to date. In 1980, back when I was 15, a neighborhood friend took me to St Francis YC for the J-24 North Americans. Fast forward to the present, September 2013, I had the pleasure of being invited to the Big Boat Series hosted by St Francis YC to sail on a new J-70. About 1' shorter than a J-24, the J-70 is as different as a boat can be besides the emblem up on the mainsail. When I sailed in 1980 you could order a J-24 in any color of the rainbow, the J-70 seems to be available in every color as long as it's white. One thing that hasn't changed is the wind in San Francisco Bay. Another is if they dropped a J-24 off a tall building it would be hard pressed to break 15 Knots, the J-70 carried us downwind @ 16 knots whooping and hollering and in full control!

J/70s sailing off St Francis YC in San FranciscoIn the 33 ensuing years from 1980-2013 I have completed 37 Trans-Pacific voyages, won a Moore 24 National Championship, and sailed with friends and family every chance I've had. And I can tell you the J-70 is a special boat. She's easily trailered behind most any vehicle and I can even put the light little carbon mast up by myself. The hiking rules are two people with legs in, two people with legs out. Any two people, big, small, fat or tall, you don't have to only choose your crew by their physical attributes.

In 1980 our J-24 had 4 winches, in 2013 the J-70 had 2 and we never even used them in wind up to 25 knots. Okay, so I'm 6' 2" 225 lbs and a former Army Ranger but I know the winches are there for a reason, nonetheless, pull real hard and it all comes in real easy. The tuning guide is helpful and rig tension seems surprisingly important, but that individual with the tiller still rules the school. Upwind and down, reaching (yes we overcooked a few laylines) and listening to the feedback from the helm drove the boat. Get ready to play the vang, the outhaul, in-haul the jib sheet, and keep weight forward.

Check the results from Big Boat Series and you'll see we didn't win, but hey the skipper hadn't entered a regatta since college (20 years ago) our crew of four didn't even know each other's names until the day before the regatta and we still pulled a first and a third in a seven race series. I've always felt that fractional rigged boats favor good focused sailors; the J-70 is no different - little adjustments pay off big. Try vang sheeting rather than dropping the traveler when it gets windy, adjust the 4/1 jib halyard when it goes light. I don't know that we ever had the jib leads correct but we sure adjusted them a lot. It is likely if you are used to a nervous curl on the luff of the spinnaker you are going to have to get used to smaller adjustments. Of course if you are out to win, this treatise assumes a fresh bottom, first class sails, and motivated crew.

J/70 sailing on San Francisco BayThe J-70 is a special boat at a critical time and she likely owes her sportiness to the "Fast is Fun" cult ULDB's of the 70's and 80's. So what happens when you wipe out a J-70? Well we saw a few and she has plenty of reserve buoyancy and lead in the keel to keep her up and on her feet, (and she has a kelp cutter to). Criticisms? Is there something I did not like about the boat? I'm a thirsty fellow, what is the plan for the cooler? Why not fiber standing rigging? A central bilge pump would be handy on breezy, wet days.

Did I mention this is a comfortable boat? Huge cockpit, all the controls within easy reach and nothing to trip over on the cockpit floor. The stock non skid grippiness is just about right, but you can't go wrong by adding some Raptor deck to the fold. The helm is surprisingly light and balanced for a transom hung rudder and we could easily tell when the skipper felt over powered on the runs and were able to ease the vang or spin sheet before he lost control. The jib simply rolls up on a Harken under deck furler, There is even hardware on the boom for a mainsail reef but ours wasn't fit with a reef point, nor did we ever feel it was needed.

The spinnaker is dead simple and no one in our class completely shrimped it all week long, though it typically gets a little wet on the hoists and douses. The rig tension is controlled through an ingenious system that locks the upper and lower shroud together so you can easily slip a handy plastic bar in the turnbuckle and twist away. I'm sure this will take some practice as any adjustment directly affects forestay tension and your ability to point. We tended to go a little tighter than what the tuning guide called for and it seemed to work for us. The leech tension on the main was controlled through the use of the vang and seemed more important than backstay tension upwind.

Light air performance? I don't know that we had our legs over the side at each start, with the lighter winds in the starting area, but there was word, and it may be true, she feels fully under control on the upwind legs, but why speculate? Why not go for test a sail?"    Sailing photo credits- Erik Simonson.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The middle of the fall in the northern hemispheres continues to see enormous amounts of activity taking place in the sailing world.  In Europe, the Garmin Hamble Winter Series taking place in southern England continues its frenetic pace with up to five races sailed on the Solent this past weekend; keeping fleets of J/111s and J/109s busy along with the new J/88 and near-sisterships like the J/97 and J/92.  Down in the warmer climate of the Mediterranean, top J sailors aboard J/111s, J/122s and a J/133 again performed heroics taking on some of the world's best sailing teams in the famous Rolex Middle Sea Race that starts/stops in Malta and rounds Sicily and a few other islands to port in a 606nm offshore challenge.  Then, the top university sailors from across Europe and the Americas concluded their J/80 Student Yachting World Cup off Pornic, France.

Headed to the Far East, the J/80s in China hosted a phenomenal regatta on the Liuzhou River-- 28 teams participated in the Liuzhou China Rivers Regatta that also included invited foreign teams from India, The Netherlands and Singapore.

Over in the Americas, the J/70s held their second annual "Fall Brawl" on the Chesapeake Bay, hosted by the Eastport YC.  The Indian Harbor YC in Greenwich, CT hosted the Stratford Shoal "Gearbuster Race" in weather conditions that clearly lived up to its infamous name-- a fleet that included J/120s, J/105s and a J/100 reveled in the rough weather conditions.  Down in the sunny, hospitable climate of Galveston Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, a fleet of J/120s, J/105s and a J/44 enjoyed yet another fun-loving Harvest Moon Regatta hosted by Lakewood YC.

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:

Oct 25-27- Ole Man of the Sea Regatta- Ft Worth Boat Club- Ft Worth, TX
Oct 31- Nov 3- J/105 North Americans- Annapolis, MD
Oct 31-Nov 1-  J/Fest J/World Clinic- Lakewood YC- Seabrook, TX
Nov 2-3- J/Fest Southwest Regatta- Lakewood YC- Seabrook, TX
Nov 1-3- J/80 French Nationals- Cherbourg, France
Nov 1-3- J/24 East Coast Championships- Annapolis, MD
Nov 21-25- J/24 South American Championships- Buenos Aires, Argentina
Dec 6-7- Jamaica Jammin' J/22 Regatta- Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jan 19-24- 2014 Key West Race Week- Key West, FL

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

J/133 sailing to finish off Malta- Middle Sea RaceJ/122 & J/133 Top Middle Sea IRC Classes!
(Gzira, Malta)- More often than not, sailors who have plied the Mediterranean Sea since the days of Sumerian trading ships and Homer's Odyssey share one thing-- the endless wrath by Neptune and the weather Gods for not having given homage (e.g. respect or enough tasty red wine) to permit safe, fast passage through the Straits of Messina (the famous geographic "boot" of Italy) and a sleigh-ride home to Malta.  Sitting at the cross-roads of the ancient trading routes in the Med, Malta has a long seafaring history of her sailors plying their trade between the Middle Eastern and European empires and, more often than not, were long sought for their knowledge of the capricious winds and seas in region.  So, it was not too surprising that a combination of Maltese and Italian sailors who've got that DNA coursing through their veins managed to succeed in some of the most challenging conditions yet seen in the RMSR's 34th edition.

A record fleet of 100+ yachts set forth on their 606nm race with less than favorable weather conditions.  While the start from Malta to the Straits of Messina had an encouraging forecast of southeasterly winds, the Straits of Messina on the approaches to Sicily were notoriously light, and the balance of the race was going to be a challenge of racing from one breeze patch to another nearly all the way around the islands course to the finish line at Malta.

The grand irony of this year's race is that J/sailors dominated the entire event.  First to finish was Hasso Plattner's 86 footer MORNING GLORY (Hasso is an avid J/100 owner and sailor).  The overall winner was the TP52 B2 skippered by none other than Mediterranean sailing star, Francesco De Angelis from Naples, Italy-- the famous winner of the J/24 Worlds in Capri, Italy many moons ago.

J/122 Otra Vez sailing off Malta- Middle Sea RaceIn IRC 3 Class, the first Maltese boat home and taking class honors at the Royal Maltese YC's finish line was the J/133 OILTANKING JUNO sailed by David Anastasi & Sonke Stein-- she also claimed 14th overall in IRC.  Then, in IRC 4 Class, yet another Maltese boat won with Aaron Gatt Floridia's J/122 OTRA VEZ taking both line and class honors as well and taking 11th overall in a "big boat race"!!  Just behind them sailing an incredible race was the J/111 BLACK BULL sailed by Marco Flandin from Italy-- she took a 5th in class and 16th overall!  In fact, just a few miles from Lampedusa Island, the last turning mark before the "sprint" to the Malta finish line, BLACK BULL was sailing nearly boat-for-boat with the J/122 OTRA VEZ!  One wrong tack made the difference between these two boats for line and handicap silverware.

David Anastasi commented dockside sitting on his J/133 at the Royal Malta Yacht Club: “It feels really good, beautiful, we have an amazing team. It has been a long time but well worth the wait. It has been a great race but a very difficult last couple of hours when things just went hay-wire. Three different winds were converging and the amount of maneuvers was just crazy. We lost our lead but we managed to get into better wind. We took off after our competitors and caught them up, it was a big, big fight into the harbour.”

Sonke Stein was full of praise for the crew of OILTANKING JUNO. “It is a real pleasure to sail with this crew, I have been coming back year after year because of that. This is my holiday and it has been a very good one! I have seen the standard and the stature of this race grow over the last 12 years and I am very impressed with the level of the competition and how it has actually increased. I am so pleased with our result today.”

The sound of clinking of glasses and rousing voices filled the air Thursday at the Royal Malta YC. Hundreds of competitors enjoyed the full hospitality of the club, sharing their stories with fellow competitors over copious quantities of delicious food and thirst-quenching beverages. After days and nights at sea, isolated from the outside world, the cosmopolitan crowd also enjoyed good food and excellent company.

J/111 sailing Middle Sea Race off MaltaIRC Four was the largest class taking part in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. 46 yachts from 10 different countries including Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Ireland, Italy, Montenegro, Malta, Russia, Sweden and the United Kingdom.  Edward & Aaron Gatt Floridia's J/122 OTRA VEZ completed the 606-mile race at dusk on Day Five, after racing with a highly competitive fleet.  “After being becalmed several times last year, we decided that this year that would not happen,” commented Edward Gatt Floridia. “Racing in light airs is very tiring, to keep the boat moving requires the whole crew to concentrate, even the off-watch have to wake up and move their weight to the correct side of the boat. The critical point in our race was after Stromboli. There was virtually no wind and on that first night we took the main sail down and hoisted our wind seeker. We were determined to keep going and we did. The moral on board was excellent and we are very proud of winning the class. Nearly half of the yachts racing were in Class 4 and there were a number of very well sailed boats for the overall win. The weather suited the bigger yachts this year. We can't do anything about that, we can only try to win our class and that is what we have done.”

J/24 World Champion Francesco De Angelis also had some war-stories to tell about his experience sailing the TP52 B2.  After losing all their electronics on the first night out, B2's navigator Nacho Postigo said, “We tried everything to reboot the system, but it simply didn't work.  In the end, we used the GPS on a smartphone taped to the pedestal, it worked quite well!” The impromptu solution forced the crew to rely more on their instinct, as Postigo closes: “We raced B2 like a J/24 and Francesco had to call the strategy almost completely blind - I don't think he had more than two hours sleep!”  Not surprising they could sail fast with limited input, as De Angelis had sailed dinghies and J/24s for years on the Italian circuit with no more than a compass!  Said De Angelis, “It was a difficult race, the first time this team has done a race this long together. To arrive ahead of almost 100 boats is a great achievement. We are very tired! Comfort is not really associated with a TP52 and we experienced everything: light, medium and some strong wind. Technically and physically it was a very challenging race. The key was not losing ground in the difficult moments or getting blocked during periods of light air.”   Sailing photo credits: Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo   For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information

J/80 French winning teamFrench Dominate J/80 Student Yachting World Cup
(Pornic, France)- The 33rd edition of the Student Yachting World Cup (SYWC) was the French Kedge Business School crowned champions with one day to go in the event.  While the USA US Naval Academy started out strong in the first day of racing, leading the French, they managed to sail a solid series thereafter and capture a podium finish.  As a result, the Swiss teams finished second six points ahead Team USA.

J/80s sailing around mark- Student Yachting World cupThe SYWC is an annual sailing competition organized by students of the École Polytechnique, a French engineering school.   They invite world’s best student sailing teams to race one-design J/80s off Pornic, France for an entire week-- nearly 18 races in all.  This year's edition saw teams participating from Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, Great Britain, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, Norway, Scotland, Switzerland, Ireland and the USA vying for the 2013 title. Representing North America was Dalhousie University from Canada and the US Naval Academy from the USA.

While the French Kedge Business School celebrated their overall victory, they also won the AGPM trophy for the winner of the coastal races. The winner of the  "City of Pornic Trophy" belonged to Switzerland, presented to them as the winner of racing on the last day of the competition.   For SYWC J/80 sailing video highlights- Day IV   For more J/80 Student Yachting World Cup sailing information

J/Teams Sweep "Gearbuster" Race
J/100, J/105, J/120s Love Gale Conditions!
(Greenwich, CT)- The 58th Annual Gearbuster Regatta held by Indian Harbor Yacht Club in Greenwich, CT on October 12th absolutely lived up to its name for the first time in years.  With a stationary low, strong northeast winds blew for three days before the regatta, as well as for the day of the race, making conditions extreme – even for experienced Long Island Sound racers.  Racers had to beat out the LI Sound to Stratford Shoal and back with 25-35 knot winds out of the northeast and 5-10 waves that made it feel like ocean racing.

J/120 sailing gearbuster race40% of the registered skippers either chose not to start or didn’t finish due to the rough conditions and broken gear. Of the finishers, J/Teams won 4 of the 6 classes with EAGLE, Steve Levy’s J/120, claiming line honors on the long course, crushing PHRF A class by over one hour corrected time in a fleet that included a Melges 32 and Farr 40.  Fellow J/120 MIRIELLE sailed by Hewitt Gaynor not only won the PHRF Double-handed class on the long course by over one hour corrected time, but also finished 2nd in fleet to her sistership!  That's quite a feat of seamanship and a testimonial to the toughness of the J/120.  Completing the sweep on the long course was the remarkable performance of the J/105 ROPEBURN sailed by Tim O'Brien, not only winning their PHRF B class, but taking 3rd overall just three minutes behind the J/120 MIRIELLE!

On the short course side of things, NEVERMORE, Ken Hall’s J/100, led the pack home, winning both elapsed time honors but handicap honors as well in PHRF Non-Spinnaker class!

From the front-lines of the battle, we got the "insider's report" on the experience from Steve & Mike Levy's J/120 EAGLE.  Said Steve, "The “Gearbuster” is a 46 mile sprint from Greenwich CT east around Stratford Shoal and back in daylight (for the quick ones).  Last week, we raced in 20-25 kts, gusting to 29 kts easterly, which provided for an upwind slog and a downwind sleigh ride on the way back.  An easterly breeze is the only time one gets waves of consequence in Western Long Island Sound.

My son, Michael, and I shared the helm. We executed a strategy that we developed days in advance and did not modify as the key elements did not change by race day; namely, 1) there would be more pressure toward Long Island and further East, 2) the wind direction change would provide a lift from Long Island, and 3) the current would be flooding most of the afternoon, so seek pressure, the lift and shelter close to Long Island.

We rolled upwind toward Port Jefferson.  It was quite bumpy, exemplified by the crew’s unanimously negative response to an offer of lunch.  We hoisted the jumbo #2A spinnaker after rounding Stratford Shoals Light.  This was a mistake as the .5 ounce fabric was just too light for the wind.  Shortly thereafter, on starboard headed toward Oyster Bay, our #2 became confetti (I did the same thing 5 years ago!).  We hosted the #3A which had the advantage of being a slightly stronger fabric and 15 square meters smaller.

We witnessed a top speed of 21.5 knots with the smaller chute, while sustaining an average of about 15-16 knots.  Active positions for the run included Mainsheet trimmer, Main Vang trimmer, Spinnaker sheet trimmer, Helmsman and spotter for a second pair of eyes for waves and the dreaded “sailing by the lee”.  Amazingly, the friction on the winch drum melted the cover on the spinnaker sheets!

It was an invigorating, white knuckle ride in a boat built for such moments.  Smaller boats, even sport boats, were no match for the J/120.  Some bigger boats decided not to fly a chute.  In the end, we beat the next finisher by almost an hour in a 6 hour race, winning the fleet!!  The crew was ecstatic!  Since it was a bit wet, here are some photos of us  in more benign weather conditions, hope you enjoy!"  Thanks Steve for the great story!  What a ride!   For more Stratford Shoals "Gearbuster" race sailing information

J/80s sailing China river regattaSingapore Team Crowned Liuzhou China Rivers Champions
China Team, Holland, India & Guangzhou Team Complete Top Five
(Hong Kong, China)- What a fabulous weekend racing in Liuzhou for the 2013 Liuzhou China Rivers Regatta.  26 teams competed over 4 days of racing in the Liu River in Liuzhou, Guangxi Province, China.  We had competitors from Japan, India, Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and of course China competing.  The conditions could not have been better with a challenging shifty winds ranging with an average breeze of about 10 knots most of the weekend.

People ask why we like sailing so much.  When you look at the field of racers we had the women drivers, men drivers, rich and poor, and the oldest sailor was 84 years old and the youngest was only 18.  What other sport can this diverse group compete on an equal playing field?  There are very few.  That is why sailing is such an awesome sport.

With 14 J/80's and 26 teams we split the teams into two equal fleets of 13 per fleet.  For two days and 6 races per fleet the teams raced qualifying races to then be split into a Gold and Silver fleet.

J/80s sailing China river regattaOne year ago Jim Johnstone came to Liuzhou to help strengthen the sailing skills in Liuzhou.  After training several racing teams two of the teams were driven by Liuzhou drivers.  Last year there were no local racers in Liuzhou.  One of the drivers was driving for the Sanya team and he had competed in two other events as a driver in his life.  The other, this was his first time driving in an event.  Both managed to qualify for the Gold fleet after the qualifying rounds against a strong fleet which was pretty amazing with such little experience racing.  In just this one year we have gone from 5 sailors in Liuzhou to over 200 actively interested in bettering their skills on a weekly bases in this beautiful river.

22 year old Ayesha Lobo from India surprised many with a very strong start by the Indian team who came to China for the first time to compete in this event.  The India team had just received the first two J/80's in India this past summer and the team has had some practice in the boat.  They were also smart to come a few days early to spend some time on the water practicing in the river.  Ocean sailing and river sailing can be very different.  The biggest difference is the ocean has big waves and steady breeze where as the rivers have challenging changing winds and small waves.  Boat speed and boat handling can make a very big difference.  It was obvious that the practice paid off for the India team as they finished the qualifying races in first place in their fleet.

Martin Hingst from Holland racing the Gaastra Sails Team was also very strong in the other fleet.  You don't always have to win the races but being consistently in the top part of the fleet and sailing smart were be advantages for Martin.  

Other Notable teams in the Qualifying Round were the Singapore Team who had won this event in 2012 and the China Team who is involved with the Americas Cup for China and competes in many of the different Keel boat events in China and abroad.

J/80 winners in china river regattaSailing is a lifestyle, many come for different reasons, it could be the competition to see who is better or it could be the fun of meeting people from other cities and countries that love the same sport.  It was very obvious that this group liked to have fun and have fun together.  With the fleet split into A fleet and B fleet with A sailing in the mornings and B sailing in the afternoons it was fun seeing both A and B out having fun in the evenings.  A little harder to get up in the morning for the A group but not one complaint since the nights activities brought lots of laughs and new friends together.

As we moved into the final two days of competition, the top half of the A and B fleets were 12 boats.  Out of those twelve in this fleet any one of them could have potentially won this event.  It all came down to thinking smart, going fast and staying out of trouble with the other boats.  Unfortunately for the India team trouble found them in the second race and with the DSQ (disqualification) it made things challenging for them to be in the top three.  Singapore got off to a nice start with two wins out of the three races and the China Team were also very strong.

The Liuzhou regatta offers something that is very unique to many of the racers.  On the final day the Gold fleet sails a 35 km race that is actually split into two races.  This races under several bridges, past 100 meter vertical rock cliffs and through some very scenic country. 

The first race was about 18 km up wind.  Normally these sailors are use to sailing 1 to 3 km's up wind when we race around buoys but 18 km's requires a long time to concentrate on the changing wind conditions.  As you watch the competitors you see many lead changes but the China Team was dominate in this race from early on and finished about 5 minutes ahead of the next team. With a small break for lunch and a short 3 km sail around a bend in the river race two started.

J/80 china sailorsRace 2 was very different.  Rather then being all upwind the race started with a short upwind leg and then mostly sailing with the spinnaker.  There were several sections of the river where the wind was moving across the river. This was very challenging for the sailors.  With wind shifts up to 90 degrees and large areas where there might be no wind at all do to a wind shadow from land the lead changed positions many times.  Chine Team looked very strong in the beginning but soon the entire fleet sailed right around them on either side when the seem to have found an area with no wind.  Then the Japanese team looked very strong and again they got sucked up by the entire fleet.  I can best compare this to long distance bicycle racing.  When the pack catches the lead riders. This happened 5 or six times until a group of 5 did manage to break away from the rest of the fleet.

The surprise was the Liuzhou Sailing coach driving in his third regatta ever, maybe more comfortable in the shifty river conditions then most just sailed away from everyone.  Finishing more then 20 minutes ahead of the second place Martin Hingst from Holland.  The China Team, India Team and Guangzhou Team who all showed such promise in the race earlier fond themselves limping in at the back of the pack.

The final results show some boats being consistent but the interesting part is that on the water they were far from consistent.  This event challenged each and every crew to keep their cool, keep in the wind and figure out how to stay ahead of the back.  Great job to the winning team from Singapore followed by the China Team, Martin Hingst from Holland, India Team and then Guangzhou Team in the top five positions.

Sailing is so interesting to those that are new to it and those that have been doing it for years.  There are no time outs, no substitutes, no boundaries.  You sail in light air, heavy air, shifty wind conditions, little waves and big, strong and week current and every day is different. Experience and training help the good sailors stay in the front of the pack and competing in these events allows the newer sailors to gain tons of helpful experience.  Thanks to the support of the local government in Liuzhou and the sponsorships that help make these events possible and a big thanks to the Riviera Yacht Club for providing the 14 J/80's and support boat that were prepared for this event.  We look forward to more great events in Liuzhou.

J/70 sailing fall brawl in annapolisYOUNG GUNS K.O. J/70 Fall Brawl
(Annapolis, MD)- Eastport Yacht Club race committee hosted their annual Fall Brawl regatta for 25 ambitious J/ 70 sailors this past weekend on the Chesapeake Bay. The race committee wasted no time making sure their starting line was clear for starts and did a great job in keeping things moving. The regatta was held over two days in moderate to heavy air and lumpy seas with five races on Saturday and three more to wrap things up on Sunday. Competitors came from up and down the East Coast, with out-of-state sailors — primarily from Massachusetts and New York — outnumbering locals in the top 10 by the time the racing was done.

The YOUNG GUNS team came up from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and dominated the 24-boat J/70 Fall Brawl fleet from the start last weekend. St. Mary’s was led by Venezuelan Olympic hopeful Victor Diaz de Leon, borrowing a boat from the skipper on whose team Diaz de Leon had sailed a couple weeks earlier in the J/70 North Americans.

Their first day’s keeper finishes of 1-1-3-1 put the YOUNG GUNS so far ahead of the pack by the time the fleet came ashore on Saturday evening that they could afford to slack off a little on the second day and still take the overall win by a comfortable margin.

J/70 sailing on Chesapeake bayTaking a comfortable second was Jud Smith, amassing a solid record on day one to stay in the hunt with a 10-2-5-4-1 scoreline.  Going into the last day of racing, Smith still had a solid mathematical chance of grabbing the lead, but a 9-4-5 tally added a quick 18 pts to their score to keep them in second.  Meanwhile, the YOUNG GUNS gang rattled off a 7-3-6 to safely hold on to their early lead.

Finishing solidly in third overall in the eight-race, one-throwout series was Annapolitan John Aras’ team, including John Dolan, Alex Stout and Mark Eagan.  “We only just got the boat a couple of days before the NAs,” Aras said, “so we’re still figuring it out. The learning curve is pretty steep.”  Aras, who also was the top Corinthian (amateur) sailor in the event, said the conditions and the tight competition were challenging throughout the weekend, describing solid southwesterlies coupled with big chop on Saturday and puffy, shifty northerlies on Sunday that swung 20 degrees or more. “Getting through that chop was a bit of a challenge,” he said.

“It was all about trying to be consistent and not making too many mistakes, hitting the shifts and keeping clear air, ” he said. “A little mistake could cost you five or six boats pretty quickly.”  With five top-five finishes and only one keeper worse than 10th, Aras and his team showed that they’ve picked up a lot of boat knowledge in a short time.  “It was a lot of fun,” Aras said. “There was good breeze and Eastport did a good job with the courses.”

Rounding out the top five was Andrew Criezis in 4th with WHIQUILA and taking fifth was Blake Kimbrough on NOSTALGIA.

The fleet was tightly packed most of the time, and the conditions clearly took a toll as nearly everyone, including the top sailors, had one or more finishes they would have preferred to forget.  In fact, the EYC Race Committee led by PRO Keith Jacobs had to weather their share of challenges, too, particularly on Saturday when the weather mark blew away in the building breeze during the day’s last race and the mark boat crew had to sub in suddenly for the missing cylinder.  Thanks for contributions from Todd Hiller- USA #207- and Dan Phelps/   Full results and photos can be found here (and here).   For more J/70 Fall Brawl sailing information

J/120s sailing on Galveston bay, txJ/120s Lead Harvest Moon Fleet Home!
(Houston, TX)- This year's 27th edition that started on October 17th enjoyed a beautiful "ginormous" Harvest Moon as they raced their 100nm course from the Galveston Jetties to Port Aransas. With several classes there was a place to race or cruise for every type of boat.  The Bacardi PHRF Racing fleet is J/44 sailing Harvest Moon Regattaabout 50% J/Boats with the J/105, J/109, J/120, and a J/44 the primary entries.

The PHRF Bacardi Racing fleet saw the "big boys" in PHRF A Class dominated by a squadron of J/Teams.  Winner of PHRF A was Glenn Gault's J/120 REBECCA, she was followed by Jim Liston's J/120 AEOLUS, third was Chris Lewis's beautiful flag-blue J/44 KENIA followed by Justin Wolfe's J/120 SHEARWATER in fourth.

The PHRC C class saw a trio of J/105s contending for class handicap honors.  Leading them home was JB Bednar's STINGER in second place, followed by Greg Turman's HORNY TOAD.  For more Harvest Moon Regatta sailing information

J/88 sailing Hamble winter seriesHamble "Winter" Series Update- Weekend III
(Hamble, England)- "Windy, wet and lumpy" was how one competitor described Sunday’s racing in the third weekend of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series. It was a breezy day indeed that saw a base wind of 23 knots and gusts of up to 30 that greeted the fleet as they made their way to the start on Sunday morning. A gusty breeze, combined with a steep Solent chop and intermittent heavy rain squalls kept competitors on their toes – and, occasionally, their boats on their sides in tricky conditions.

Ian Brown from One Sails, the day sponsor, was on hand back in the HRSC clubhouse to present day prizes to the exhausted crews as they enjoyed beer for £2.50 a pint and hot food. In many classes the challenging conditions shook up the overall results.

In the IRC 0 Winter Series class, the all J/111 class continues to see the team of David & Kirsty Apthorp on J-DREAM leading by virtue of their 1-1-1-2-1-1 record this past weekend.  Richard Barnes's BIELA-MUNKENBECK is very close behind having scored an equally impressive 2-2-2-1-2-2 to hold onto second place.  Lying third is the British Army team led by William Naylor aboard BRITISH SOLDIER.  These standings for the Winter Series scoring are virtually identical for the Big Boats J/111 One-Design Series scoring.

In IRC 2, the new J/88 JUNGLE DRUM sailed by Paul Heys with 4-4-5-1 finishes has quickly ascended the finish ladder to now lie in second place..

In IRC 3, Nick Munday’s J/97 INDULJENCE again beat David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO with their 1-3 tally.  J'RONIMO sits in third just two points back from second place.

David McGough’s JUST SO continues to lead the J/109 one-design class with a 2-1-1-1 record.  Owain Franks' JYNNAN TONNYX is just hanging on to second place with their 4-3-2-2 tally, just in front of Paul Griffith’s JAGERBOMB that is counting a 1-4-4-3 record overall.

Next weekend hosts the final weekend of the Doyle Sails Hamble One Design Championships, as well as the fourth Garmin Hamble Winter Series race day.

Congratulations to all winners and competitors for some masterful displays of big-breeze sailing in what proved to be some challenging sailing conditions. Thanks to all the volunteers who braved the unpleasant conditions to man the committee boats and mark laying RIBs and to run the galley back in the club– the event couldn’t go ahead without them! Thanks for contribution from Ben Meakins.  Sailing photo credits- Malcolm Donald/ GHWS Ross Elliston/ HBBC Trevor Pountain   For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series sailing information


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

Gunboat 60 sailing off ChinaRecently, Scuttlebutt Editor Craig Leweck had the chance to catch up with Peter Johnstone, the founder of GUNBOAT catamarans, at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis.  Peter's brother Stuart and cousins Jeff, Alan and father Rod J oversee J/BOATS while Peter's father, Bob J, is managing the innovative powerboat business called MJM YACHTS.  Here's Leweck's discussion with Peter:

"When you attend the Annapolis show, the longest line to get on-board a boat – often the only line – is to see the Gunboat. And while most of the large catamarans at the show have no intention to mingle on the race course, the Gunboats have been doing so in increasing numbers.

This year Gunboat founder Peter Johnstone (yes, of the J/Boats family) was displaying the Gunboat 60. Here he shares some of the magic that creates the high interest in Gunboats.

CL- What is the Gunboat formula that sets you apart?

PJ- "We don’t cut any corners on materials or finish or how we build the boat, and we deliver true dual purpose. For the families onboard enjoying the boat on vacation, or if the boat is loaded up with friends, they are exceedingly easy to sail for both men and women because it’s all push buttons. I think for the first time since the early 70s, Gunboat provides a really good dual purpose boats. We now have a really appealing platform for people."

CL- Are you surprised by the degree they are being raced?

PJ- "The whole intent was to produce world cruisers, but we knew their performance was better than a grand prix keelboat. I think it is a natural evolution, as people really enjoy learning the boats and pushing them through the races. But the racing also brings everyone together for the parties and social aspect of Gunboat. This is a really strong aspect of what we are doing. People that would never have considered racing, they will try it the first time because I make them, and they find that they enjoy it so much."

CL- Are you attracting people from the racing sector too?

PJ- "We are getting a lot of inquiries from one design racers, particularly from J/105s, Melges 24s. Maybe as a mothership for their one design, and then to use in the Caribbean for the racing and cruising. We have reigning Melges 32 World Champion Jason Carroll racing his Gunboat 62 Elvis."

CL- Have you sensed if the America’s Cup has heightened interest in Gunboats?

PJ- "Most definitely. We in fact had Oracle Team USA skipper Jimmy Spithill onboard during the show, helping a friend who was interested. More than anything, the America’s Cup has helped to break down barriers.

The New York Yacht Club called to invite the Gunboat class to participate in the 2015 Transatlantic Race. That sort of interest never happened before. There are only a couple races left that don’t invite us, like the Sydney-Hobart and Bermuda Races. I expect they will soon come around too. They can’t keep their heads buried in the sand forever."

Editor’s note: Phil Lotz, who is currently Rear Commodore of NYYC, has a Gunboat 60 on order, with plans to campaign it next winter at the Caribbean 600, etc and then race it in the 2015 Transatlantic Race. If the 2017 Commodore of such an esteemed establishment has a Gunboat, it is fair to say that would break down some barriers."

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.

J/42 cruiser- sailing across Atlantic Ocean* Jim & Heather Wilson just completed a circumnavigation of our "blue planet Earth" in June 2013 on their J/42 CEOL MOR.  Said Jim, "The odyssey of CEOL MOR is over, for now.  We completed our circumnavigation on our J/42 when we crossed our outbound track in Britannia Bay, Mustique. We were, however, still 2,000 nautical miles from home. So we continued on through the Windwards, the Leewards, and then through the British Virgin Islands. After a farewell 'Painkiller' at the Soggy Dollar, and a last meal at Foxy’s, we made the 1,275 nautical mile passage to the Chesapeake and completed our port-to-port circumnavigation when we arrived in Annapolis on June 28, 2013. We had been away 1,334 days, completed 259 days of ocean passages, and sailed 30,349 nautical miles (34,925 statute miles). Read more about their adventures in their  well-documented blog here:

J/160 sailing offshore to US Virgin Islands- rainbow over ocean* 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.   Alan 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/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.