Wednesday, December 4, 2013

J/Newsletter- December 4th, 2013

J/Calendar 2014  
NEW J/Calendar 2014- Hot off the Press!
The Perfect Gift For People Who Love Sailing!
(Newport, RI)- For 2014 we've created another beautiful calendar for J sailors who love the joys of sailing a J in some of the most spectacular harbors and waters of the world.  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, these stunning sailboat photographs will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places.

The 2014 sailing calendar features photos (pictured here) of flying J/70s off Key West; a fleet of J/24s dueling upwind off Monte Carlo, Monaco; surrealistic scenes of J/80s off Santander, Spain and sailing off “the cathedral” in Palma Mallorca; a fleet of J/120s crossing Alcatraz Island on San Francisco Bay; J/111s sailing in front of the spectacular Chicago skyline; a J/42 cruising along an idyllic Maine coastline; and other gorgeous images of J/105s, J/22s and a J/125.  A great gift for loved ones, family, friends and crew (see gallery)!   Order your 2014 J/Calendar today, click here.

J/122 E cruiser racer sailboatJ/122-E & J/70 @ Paris Sailboat Show!
(Paris, France)- The Salon Nautique de Paris is running from the 7th to 15th of December, perhaps one of the world’s most spectacular and fashionable boat shows.  Starring in this year’s show will be the gorgeous new “queen” of the J/Fleet, the Euro-styled J/122-E.  With its rakish windows, massive hull ports and stylish interior, the J/122-E will be sure to turn heads and generate enormous enthusiasm by J/Cognoscenti!

Joining her will be the wildly successful International J/70 one-design speedster.  Interest will surely be high amongst European sailors for this fun new “sporty” because of its recent granting of “international status” by ISAF; becoming the one- design keelboat of choice for Lake Constance (bordering Germany, Switzerland & Austria) and its 55 yacht & sailing clubs; and the establishment of the J/70 Worlds in Newport and the J/70 Europeans on Lago di Garda, Italy!  Please visit J/Composites to see the latest innovations from the J/Design Team at Hall 1, Stand G-42!

J/70 and J/108 cruiser at St Petersburg Boat ShowJ/70 & J/108 @ St Petersburg Sailboat Show
(St Petersburg, FL)- The St. Petersburg Boat Show 2013 is on this week from Thursday, December 5th through Sunday, December 8th.  The J/Dealer in the southeast, CrossCurrent Marine, will be featuring two exciting models within the ever expanding J/Boats family of performance oriented sailing experiences.

Come and see the fabulous J/70 one-design speedster. Worldwide acceptance is beyond any reasonable expectation with over 500 boats on order. Awarded ISAF status in just 18 months, there is no stopping this phenomenal fleet building momentum.

We're also thrilled to put on display the unique shoal draft J/108 performance cruiser. She's got the J/109 design pedigree, innovative keel/centerboard, twin rudders, ISO Ocean Category A rating, and offers the ideal single-handed or family cruising platform tailor made for Florida’s shallow waters.

For more information on the boats, show hours, complimentary tickets please contact Craig Crossley at or phone 401.330.6135.

J/70 BVI Spring & Rolex Cup Regatta Invitation
(Tortola, BVI)- The organizers of the two principal Caribbean regattas in the Virgin Islands have teamed together to offer J/70 teams a unique package for participating in the famous Rolex Cup Regatta in St Thomas, USVI and also the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival in the British Virgin Islands!

The Rolex St Thomas International Regatta, sailed from March 28-30th, 2014, is etched into every racer’s mind as the "Crown Jewel" of Caribbean racing-- where sailors can experience reliable breezes, warm azure waters and world-renowned Island hospitality. If you’ve sailed there in the past, you know that the competition and the camaraderie are unsurpassed.  For Rolex Cup Regatta sailing information

The BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival, sailed from March 31st to April 6th, 2014, lives up to its tagline- “Warm water and Hot Racing!”  Replete with Swimsuit Shows, Aerialists and acrobats, amazing music from famous Caribbean bands like “Quito & The Edge”, “Hudson and the Hoo-Doo Cats”, “Final Faze” - they're all part of BVI Regatta Village Life every day— see more of their version of “fun-in-the-sun” on their Facebook page.  For BVI Spring Regatta sailing information

How does it all work?  Kestrel Shipping has organized a simple on/off program to make it easy to ship directly from Palm Beach, FL to Road Town, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands with J/70s on their trailers.  Trailer storage and slips are available at Nanny Cay Resort & Marina.  Round trip shipping is $5,800.00 USD plus US & BVI Customs, clearance/ delivery all works out to about $7,500 for all transport.

For accommodations, consider chartering a Moorings sloop or catamaran for ten days as the “mothership” for prices ranging from $5,600 to $11,500 (for up to two crews!).  Check out for charters.

Enjoy sailing out the Sir Francis Drake Channel to race in St Thomas then return to the British Virgin Islands to race the BVI Spring Regatta & Sailing Festival!  Depending on sailing conditions, you can sail each way or have the mothership tow the boat.  An amazing ten days of sailing in two of the best regattas in the Caribbean!

If you have any questions about the race, please contact Judy Petz- email-  If you have questions about shipping/logistics, please contact Chris Haycraft at Island Shipping- or ph# 284-541-7034.

J/70 one-design speedster sailing off NewportCommunity Sailing Raffles New J/70 Speedster!
(East Greenwich, RI)-  The Greenwich Bay Sailing Association (GBSA) was established over 20 years ago by the East Greenwich Yacht Club as a separate nonprofit community sailing program. We serve about 120 kids each summer and a growing number of adults.

We don’t ever want a kid to miss out on the benefits of learning to sail due to financial need – toward this end, we granted over $5,000 in scholarships this past summer. We are also the proud hosts of the CJ Buckley Regatta – which for the past five years has served as the Club 420 Association’s Jr. National Team Racing championships, attracting teams from throughout North America.

Every two years we have a charity auction event to raise funds to help cover our capital expenses (fleet, powerboats, etc). Our plan for 2014 and beyond is to dramatically increase our impact in the community by adding more opportunities for kids and adults to learn to sail.

Our plan centers around building a fleet of keelboats for that purpose. Two years ago, we were fortunate enough to receive a J/24 as a donation to the program. It has proved to be a great boat for our adult learn to sail program and for our “sailing adventures” class in the afternoons (older kids). Our plan is to use the funds from this raffle to purchase three more used  J/24s.

We have received the support of both the Town of East Greenwich and the City of Warwick (our facility straddles the line between the two towns) to implement this plan. All that’s left now is to secure the funding – and that’s where the “Win A J/70 Raffle” comes in.

The J/70 is the most popular boat to come around in a generation. We came up with this crazy idea to raffle off a J/70 to raise funds for GBSA. Through a lot of hard work and support from our partners at McMichaels we’ve made the raffle a reality. The plan is simple – sell 650 raffle tickets at $100 each!  Good odds, isn’t it!?   For a chance to be the lucky winner, please enter the raffle here!

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

In one of the more exciting developments in recent months is the evolution and growth of the J/70 one-design class in Mexico.  After sailing a few local events so new 70 sailors could be learning the ropes, the Mexico J/70 class just held their first “Nacionales de Mexico” at the famous Valle de Bravo lake just west of their capital, Mexico City.

Over in Europe there was a lot of activity taking place late fall! The Garmin Hamble Winter Series had their grand finale last weekend with some excellent performances from J/Teams sailing J/97s, J/92s, J/105s, J/109s and J/111s.  We also received a great report from the J sailors that ply the treacherous, but spectacular Irish Sea.  The enormous J/80 contingent in France had the J/80 Coupe de France completed with their recent French J/80 Nationals.  J/80s also sailed a competitive Grevelingen Cup that served as the Benelux Championship.  Alongside them were the J/109s sailing as a one-design class and a J/122 and J/111s competing in the ORC Handicap division.  The German J/22 fleet were host to two major regattas on the Alster Lake situated in downtown Hamburg.  First up was the 23rd Alster Act Match Race hosted by Hamburger Segel-Club; later they also hosted the International 2K J/22 Match Race for five countries across Europe.  J/22s were also on the Braassermeer with Benelux and German teams sailing in their Winter Training Regattas series-- many practicing for the 2014 J/22 Worlds that are coming up fast in South Africa.  As for the J/24 class in Europe, the J/24 Italian Season Championship recently finished in Lecco, Italy for their seven regatta series with some surprises at the front of their fleet! Also, we just received a nice report on the J/24 Western Championships held earlier this year in Lough Ree, Ireland.

Jumping Down Under, the J/24s are having a ball sailing their first big regatta in their summer series.  The Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club hosted the J/24 New South Wales Championship in Sydney Harbour, Australia.  It was a thrilling series, punctuated by all manner of goofy encounters with ferries, TP52s and sea-planes!

The big Caribbean “feeder” cruising race events are taking place at this time, with the Caribbean 1500 Rally completed and the “big daddy” of them all, the ARC Rally from the Canary Islands taking place as we speak.  These events are popular with J/Cruising sailors, especially a J/42 in the Caribbean 1500 Rally.

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:

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.

Interface Concept 2- Eric Brezellec sailing upwindBrezellec J/80 Coupe de France Champion- Four-peat!
(Paris, France)- The year long series known as the Coupe de France is comprised of eight regattas and the four best scores are selected for each team; the series starts with SPI Ouest France Regatta in April and ends with the J/80 Nationals in November!  It’s a tough series since virtually all top French J/80 teams (over 250 teams!!) participate in events that range from sailing on the rough waters of the Channel on the northern coastline, to the classic racing in the Bay of Biscay and, of course, the often spectacular sailing in places like Marseille down in the warm, azure waters of the Mediterranean.  It’s quite a feat for any team to consistently finish in the top five in this series with some of the world’s best J/80 sailors.

J/80 Interface Concept II sailing upwind off FranceRemarkably, taking a “four-peat” was none other than Eric Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT I, a perennial championship team that also had a great performance at this year’s J/80 Worlds in Marseilles.  Brezellec was followed by fellow colleague Simon Moriceau on INTERFACE CONCEPT 2!  Not too surprisingly, Luc Nadal’s team on GAN’JA took the final place on the podium.  Note that two of the three teams counted for their classification in the Coupe de France their top placings in the 2013 World Championships sailed this year in Marseilles, France— a big “congratulations” to Luc Nadal and Eric Brezellec for their consistency!

The top women’s crew for 2013 Coupe de France was FRA 6001 “THIERRY REAL ESTATE- PAYS DE LOIRE” skippered by Catherine Lepensant.

Note- for those J/80 sailors who may be traveling in Paris or France, the French J/80 Class will hold their AGM and Coupe de France 2013 Awards at the end of the Paris Boat Show on 14th December.  For more J/80 French class sailing and awards information

J/109s rounding windward markHamble Winter Series Has Dreamy Finale
J/88 Out-performs, J/97 Crushes, J-DREAM Tops 111, JUST SO Takes 109s
(Hamble, England)-  For the last and final round of races for the Garmin Hamble Winter Series, the standings saw little change from the weekend before.  Some of the boats that had dominated throughout the series affirmed their overall leads and a few others that had their sights set on podium finishes actually managed to pull them off.

In IRC 0, David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J/111 J-DREAM continued their consistent series and maintained their solid record with a 5th this past weekend to hang on to their third overall in class as well as their gold position in the J/111 one-design class overall.  Some of the spoilers to the party on the last weekend were the arrival of Cornell Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG and David Ballantyne’s J/122 JINGS!, each taking a 3rd and 4th respectively in the final race.

J/88 setting spinnaker on Hamble winter seriesIn IRC 2, Paul Heys’s J/88 JUNGLE DRUM maintained their series position, taking a 4th in the last race and holding onto 2nd overall— a great performance for the J/88’s first series of races on the challenging waters of the Solent.  Louise Makin’s J/105 JOURNEYMAKER 5 sailed a very nice, consistent series to move up the ladder to fourth overall— a great finish for an older classic J design!

Perhaps the most dominant boat in any IRC class had to be the stunning performance of Nick Munday’s J/97 INDULJENCE, fittingly closing out the series with a first to become the champion of IRC 3 Class, winning by a comfortable seven point margin.  Not to be outdone by here stablemate, David Greenhalgh’s J/92s J-RONIMO, took a well-deserved second in the final heat to nail down second overall for the series!  Great job by those lads!  Racing up the ladder after dropping two DNC’s was Andy Howe’s J/92 BLACKJACK, snagging a fifth overall!

J/92s sailing Hamble winter seriesWith four bullets in the first six races, it was always going to be tough to knock David McGough’s JUST SO off the top of the J/109 class podium.  They managed to close out the series with a fourth on the final day to win by five points.  Behind them it was a real battle for the balance of the podium.  Three boats ended up virtually tied after 12 races!  In the end, it was  Paul Griffith’s JAGERBOMB taking a third in their last race to win the tie-breaker on 15 pts over Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX— much to the latter’s dismay.  Winning the last race was David McLeman’s OFFBEAT, but their late charge after a slow start to the series was not enough to climb onto the podium, settling for fourth just one point back!  Taking fifth was Ivan Burden’s JACOBI.

Finally, David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM were leading the J/111 class after the halfway point and never looked back, taking top honors for the series.  By virtue of winning the last race, Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG leapt into second overall while  Andrew Christie’s ICARUS placed third overall in class.  For sailing photo credits-  Paul Wyeth Pictures.  For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information

J/70s sailing Valle de Bravo lake, MexicoJ/70 FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO Wins Mexican Nationals!
(Valle de Bravo, Mexico)- After many months waiting for the first J/70s to arrive in Valle de Bravo, a total of thirteen J/70s participated in their first major regatta- J/70 Nacionales de Mexico — on the famous Valle de Bravo lake better known for having more than one hundred J/24s!

Amongst the fleet were several notable teams, including Ignacio and Alvaro Perez that brought their boats from Puerto Vallarta for the first official National Championship. The favorite to win was FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO skippered by Julian Fernandez who just finished 12th at the North American Championship a couple of months ago.  Furthermore, some of the best Mexican sailors from different classes were amongst the teams as both skippers and crews. Chris Snow was calling tactics for Sean O'Keefe who brought his J/70 from San Diego to have it in Valle de Bravo for the winter!

Over the two day weekend, the fleet enjoyed seven races in a wide range of conditions from 6 to 12 knots which gave everyone a good feeling for their new boats.  First place was taken by Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO, followed in second place by PELIGROSO’s owner Diego Berho and skipper Yon Belausteguigoitia.  Third place went to the team led by Alvaro Perez, who showed that experience and time on the boat counts a lot!  Fourth was Sean O’Keefe and Chris Snow and rounding out the top five was Gerardo Lozano.

The J/70 class in Mexico had a perfect start to what looks to be the next big one-design keelboat in Mexico! What was great to see in the Nationals was that five boats (nearly half the fleet) won races and seven of the thirteen boats all posted at least one or more top three finishes!  That’s healthy for the Mexican fleet, in fact a reflection of what has been seen in other competitive J/70 fleets across the world!  Next year the national circuit will include sailing in Puerto Vallarta, Acapulco and Cancun.  It should be a lot of fun as the owners will sail their new boats in all kinds of conditions and, hopefully, against twenty or more boats!  For more J/70 Mexico one-design class sailing information

J/42 cruising sailboat- sailing offshore under spinnakerJ/42 KEEP IT SIMPLE Wins Caribbean 1500 Rally!
J/120 EL OCASO Telling Fish Stories in ARC Europe Rally!
(Nanny Cay, BVI)- The longest-running ocean crossing rally in North America, the “1500” is a must-do for many cruisers. The ARC Caribbean 1500 fleet sails from Portsmouth, VA at the mouth the Chesapeake Bay to Nanny Cay on Tortola, British Virgin Islands. The start port and dates make the most of the available weather to maximize your Caribbean sailing, and the week-long pre-departure program will gets relaxed and ready for cruising.

Without a doubt the most difficult part of getting to the Caribbean is timing the weather window before departure. Fall on the East Coast is squeezed between late summer hurricane season and early winter gale season. By joining the 1500, you can rest assured that the “experts” are there to take the pressure off of that decision. Our support team consists of professional ocean sailors working closely with weather forecasters at WRI (Weather Resources Inc) to ensure the fleet makes it across the Gulf Stream and into warmer waters in the best possible conditions.

J/42 Keep It Simple crew- winners of ARC 1500This year, a J/42 had a field day with those forecasts and sailed a fantastic crossing despite a self-imposed handicap!  KEEP IT SIMPLE, J-42 hull# 12 skippered by Joe Reed of Annapolis, Maryland placed 1st for a second straight year in the ARC Caribbean 1500 in Class B. The rally started a day early and KEEP IT SIMPLE was delayed in starting while waiting for their crew to arrive!  KEEP IT SIMPLE crossed the starting line Sunday November 4th at 09:10 AST, 19 hour after the official early start in Hampton Roads, VA. This resulted in a less favorable weather window for crossing the Gulf Stream than what the main body of the fleet experienced.

Nevertheless, KEEP IT SIMPLE was able to catch the main body of the fleet within just two days.  For most of the 1500nm the wind was from the Northeast, a nice angle of sail for KEEP IT SIMPLE since it was a “power-beat”, a fast-sailing, waterline mode for her. The last two days the apparent wind angle was around 35 degrees with a boat speed of 7+ knots.

Leaping like a gazelle across the deep Atlantic swells, KEEP IT SIMPLE lived up to her name, sailing fast, easy and straight as an arrow, crossing the finish line Monday evening November 11th and then proceeded to Nanny Cay Marina, BVI. The boat performed very well and, in fact, the crew reported they actually slowed down for a couple days for crew comfort in heavy weather!!  Amazing story.  Making victory all the sweeter for winning for the second time in a row with a 19 hour handicap!  The KEEP IT SIMPLE crew narrowly missed Overall Fleet honors by less than five hours (conversely, apply their self-imposed handicap time and reversing it out, they might’ve won by over 14 hours)!  For more ARC Caribbean 1500 Rally sailing information

The “big daddy” of all the ARC Rallies happens to be one that sails the 2,700nm across the Atlantic on the old tradewinds “trading route” from Las Palmas, Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia in the Caribbean.  The ARC is a “must do” for many cruising sailors and regularly attracts over 200 boats and 1,200 people every year.

The ARC is for everyone; families with children, tough racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats. Crossing the Atlantic together, but having their own adventures. More than just a boat race, the ARC is about friendships made ashore in the two weeks of pre-departure activities continued over the “radio net” at sea. It’s about arriving in Saint Lucia to be met on the dock with a rum punch and a chilled beer, knowing you have achieved something fantastic - crossing an ocean on a small sailboat.

At this stage, the J/120 EL OCASO, now proudly sailed by her new owners, Lucy & Christian Reynolds, are making that trek across the Atlantic and have, truly, a few “fish stories” to tell.  Reporting from their Daily Blog on November 29th was one of their crew members- Benjamin, 32 yrs old from Berlin, Germany:

“I started sailing at the age of 13 on the rivers and lakes in Berlin, then went on to do the RYA Day Skipper and began chartering in the Med for vacation. After having spent the last 4 years in the deserts of the Arabian peninsula, with little to no possibility to pursue his hobby of sailing, he decided that crossing the Atlantic Ocean would be just the right antidote.

mahi-mahi or el dorado fish- good lunch!Days 5-6 Report for us?  Well, after a calm, clear night, which displayed a magnificent view of stars and the night sky, the day started with a no less impressive red sun slowly climbing above the horizon. El Ocaso and children were greeted by dolphins which accompanied the boat for nearly an hour. Then the wind started dying and came to a complete halt just before dinner. After bobbling around for a while, the “dog watch” was blessed with a constant 10 knot wind that got us going again. In the morning hours, as we watched a bird nearby, and just commented on maybe there will be fish around this area, did we suddenly look to the end of our line and saw a fish!! Woken by the noise, Dom, the designated harpooner and dedicated fisherman, jumped up from his bed and, together with Xav, brought in what was originally thought to be a Mackerel.  But, after further discussion we thought the fish "looked like it had a disco ball head" when it came out of the water, so the decision became that it was a ‘Mahi Mahi’!!  So, it will become a lovely lunch for us!  We are now trucking along at 277 degrees in 15 knots from the SE which is lifting everyone's spirits after yesterday's no movement, it feels like we have nearly made as much ground today as we did all day yesterday!

Anyhow, today’s lunch menu? You guessed it— our freshly caught Mahi Mahi!!  Well, best get cooking this fish for lunch.... it’s “fish friday” in St Lucia today after all!  Until next time.  The “Children of El Ocaso” will continue on.”  For more ARC Atlantic Rally sailing information and more on J/120 EL OCASO’s blog.

J/24 Italian championship off Lecco, ItalyDiamanti Italian J/24 Season Champion
(Lecco, Italy)-  This year, as always, the seventh and final stage of the Italian J/24 National Circuit concluded with the 39th Winter Championship Interlaghi Vela, sailing for the Credito Valtellina Trofeo.  It was a tough J/24 circuit to win since the level of competition was very high across Italy in all the major events that comprise the championship this year.

The Italian J/24 circuit kicked-off with the three classic events (Primo Cup in Montecarlo, Pasquavela in Porto Santo Stefano and the Trofeo Academia Navale off Livorno).  These events were followed by the Italian J/24 Nationals in Anzio, then the Italian Cup in Marina di Carrara, the regatta in Circolo Nautico Cervia sailed in Cervia and ending with the Interlaghi in Lecco.

Once again crowned Italian J/24 season champion was Pietro Diamante sailing JAMAICA from CN Marina Carrara. "2013 was a very busy season for JAMAICA, during which we participated in six of the seven regattas of the J/24 National Circuit J24,” said Diamante. "We are very pleased with this result and we want to thank our local sponsors for their contributions that have led to this success. During the six regattas, well all took turns sailing the boat; including my brother Giuseppe, Gianluca Caridi, Fabrizio Ginesi, Giuseppe Garofalo, Paolo Governato, Enrico Alfarano and Nicola Bocci.  Thanks to all of them for being such a great team to sail together with all season long!”  Perhaps most importantly, this win was made even sweeter as Diamanti was also the top boat as “owner/ skipper” for the season- quite an honor in this star-studded Italian J/24 fleet!

Taking second overall was DJKE owned by Marco Vincenti and skippered by Fabio Delicati.  A newcomer to the fleet managed to sneak inside one of Italy’s top J/24 teams (past Italian and European Champions, no less).  Taking that honor as the third boat on the podium was OTTOBE ROSSO owned by Nicola Giovannini and helmed by Lorenzo Carola.  Fourth was top Italian team on the famous LA SUPERBA, owned by Marina Militare and skippered by the well-regarded Ignazio Bonnano from Livorno.  Rounding out the top five was the second place finisher in the “owner/skipper” category, JOC sailed by Fabio Appollonio!  Great sailing, camaraderie and competition for these fun-loving Italian teams!   For more Italian J/24 Championship circuit sailing information

J/109 sailing on Irish SeaJ/109s Dominate Irish Sea
(Pwllheli, Ireland)- The enthusiastic group of J/109 owners from Ireland and Wales that call the Irish Sea “home” had yet another remarkably successful 2013 summer sailing season.  Often having to sail in some of the toughest offshore weather imaginable, a weekend regatta can be anything from a 23-40 kt gale howling from the northeast under sunny skies and 15 ft seas or chilly, foggy and misty with a gentle breeze blowing offshore.  Here is the report from this rambunctious, fun-loving tribe of sailors.

"The Irish Sea Off shore Racing (ISORA) recently held its annual black-tie prize-giving dinner at the National Yacht Club, Dún Laoghaire, Ireland.  J/Teams took 1st, 2nd 3rd and 6th out of the total 38 boats that competed in the eleven race KONA ISORA series from April to September this past year.  Pwllheli-based, Stephen Tudor and the J/109 SGRECH team retained the Overall Irish Sea Championship for the second year running and collected the prestigious Woolf’s Head Trophy from Royal Dee Commodore Derek Matthews.

J/109 Irish Sea Offshore winnersThe overall series was a close battle with J/109 sister ships RUTH and MOJITO leading for most of the season.  However, the series was decided on the last race from Pwllheli to Dún Laoghaire when SGRECH beat RUTH by 61 seconds after a grueling 12 hour cross-channel match race.  Stephen Tudor said, “the ISORA offshore series has been a great challenge in a wide variety of racing conditions and in a very competitive fleet.  SGRECH, a 2003 J109, has been optimized for IRC offshore racing and is ideal for the Irish Sea and comfortably manages all conditions; such as beating through mountainous waves off the Devil’s Tail (near Bardsey Sound) or comfortably handling the exhilarating white-knuckle downwind spinnaker runs across the Irish Sea!”

In other events, fellow J/Teams faired quite well.  The “J-CUP CHALLENGE– Celtic Regatta” sailed off Pwllheli in June was won by Guy Cowper’s J/111 Jezebel.  Good on them for an amazing performance!

J/109 crashing through the Irish Sea in a galeThe final big event offshore was the Pwllheli Challenge Autumn Series.  The J/109s, again, were up to the magnificent sailing conditions for most of the series, with SGRECH again winning the series followed by MOJITO and yet another J/109 called JEEPSTER! This was a 14 race series from September to November and raced in the superb sailing waters of Cardigan Bay.

By the way, watch out for what happens in the International Photo Competition for best yachting photography!  There’s a photograph of the J/109 MOJITO during the J-Cup Challenge in Pwllheli blasting through a wave that engulfed the boat— reportedly about half of it went down the open (God Forbid!) companionway!  The photo was in 5th place in the best sailing photo overall category! It’s the photo you see hereabove from Andy Green-- awesome photo!!"

J/80 sailing off Netherlands offshoreJ/80 JOIE DE VIVRE Smokes Grevelingen Cup
YETI Big Time Winners in J/109s
(Marina Port Zelande, Netherlands)- This year’s Grevelingen Cup saw over 200 competitors participate across multiple classes in both ORC handicap racing as well as one-design classes.  Enjoying a strong turnout this year was the Benelux J/80 fleet sailing both in the Cup as well as sailing their J/80 Benelux Nationals.

The sailors were greeted with a real mixed bag of weather conditions that were very “un-fall like”.  Instead of fast-moving fronts bringing broken clouds, sun, plenty of wind and occasional rain showers (which is quite typical), the fleet was instead having to fight fog, gentle breezes and light air patches.  On Saturday the clouds did break up enough for a nice sea-breeze to fill in behind the fog.  Sunday was even more challenging as it was generally overcast and by later in the afternoon the wind simply quit.

The first day of the J/80 Benelux championship started an hour later because of the fog. Hence, the first up-down courses were also very short.  The RC cleverly used flashing lights on the starting boat and the buoys to help make the race course more “visible”.  As a result, the PRO managed to run five good races.  After day one the “usual suspects” were amongst the leaders- Laura Vroon’s JOE DE VIVRE and her chief rival- the Belgium team on MENTAQUILIBRIUM led by Chris Savoye.  When the smoke cleared, the JOIE DE VIVRE team  was found lying on top, albeit with only 3 points difference.

J/80s sailing off Holland in the fallDuring the second day of sailing, the battle was fierce again between the top two boats.  It was not impossible for Savoye’s MENTAQUILIBRIUM to take over the lead, but the lack of a good race track due to the light air was going to make it very difficult indeed! Here the experience of Vroon’s team proved to be very valuable when she firmly grabbed the lead and would not let go. With 11 boats at the start there was plenty of action at the buoys and the field was compact.  Eventually, Vroon’s JOIE DE VIVRE team sailed virtually untouched and took the Grevelingen Cup home with a commanding 19 pt lead!  Some might call that performance a “spanking”, or perhaps others might simply call it a “schooling” of how to sail consistently, fast, smart and stay out of trouble.

After a strong challenge on the first day, the MENTAQUILIBRIUM crew fell off the pace and their “silverware shopping trolley” must’ve lost a wheel or two.  After the sailing on Sunday, their nearly fell down to third place by virtue of the fact they had to include an 8-10 and drop an 11th from their scoreline on Sunday.  In the end, Savoye’s “MENTA” took second with 30 pts, followed by Holsboer’s JUUL team with 34 pts in third place.  The balance of the top five saw Eric Hogervorst’s QUICK & DIRTY crew in fourth with 40 pts and DeVries crew on DE SJAAK in fifth with 48 pts.

In the J/109 one-design class, PH Van Der Pol’s crew on YETI sailed a good series to take first overall.  They were followed by R Bakker’s BIG TIME in second and A Van Leeuwen’s crew took third on JOULE.

The ORC world saw a number of Dutch offshore J/Teams sailing well.  GGPM Van Beers’s J/122 JAM SESSION took second overall while H Zwijnenburg’s J/111 SWEENY took fourth in their class.   For more Grevelingen Cup sailing information

British Win J/22 2K Team-Race Germany
(Hamburg, Germany)-  The J/22 class in Germany and the Hamburger Segel-Club in Germany created a fun, new regatta to be sailed on the Alster Lake as a team race and called it the 2K International Cup.  The regatta saw very close competition amongst the teams that participated from Italy, Great Britain, Germany and the Netherlands.  Here was the report from Manuel Huensch on how it all went down on the lake:

J/22s team racing on Alster Lake- Hamburg, Germany“Day three dawned with gale force winds as the 2K International Tour moved to the final stages of the regatta. With nearly all of Stage 1 complete and a forecast for strengthening breeze the PRO Stefan Roth, wisely chose to move as quickly as possible to the finals.

A quick repercharge round brought Yacht Club Costa Smeralda from the Italian island of Sardinia into the ring to face long term rivals but good friends Spinnaker Club from Great Britain.  At three-up in un-reefed J/22’s, the lightweight Brits were at a significant disadvantage.  As a result, the outcome of the race all depended on getting at least second on the starboard laylines coming into any of the marks.

Again and again, their success here gave Spinnaker the ability to pass their opponents back into a losing combination before the tightest of races to the finish.

Winning 2-0, Spinnaker watched with interest, and maybe concern, as the young Dutch  team from DMTRA also won their semi-finals elimination stage 2-0 against Bayerischer Yacht Club.

Spinnaker winning Great Britain team in Hamburg team raceEmboldened by their impressive scoreline, the Dutch DMTRA team brought aggression and impressive speed to bear against Spinnaker in the final stage of the regatta.  In the first Race, the British Spinnaker team were again struggling with their lack of weight on the rail.  Spinnaker had to dig deep into their tactical repertoire to fend off the challenge. Despite a penalty at the windward mark, tight defensive work by Spinnaker's Sam Littlejohn got teammate Tom Hebbert's boat back into the game, and soon to victory in Race 1.

The outcome of Finals Race 2 was virtually over before it started.  Just about everything went wrong for the Dutch DMTRA team, leaving Spinnaker an easy 1-2 combo at the finish for both the race win and the International 2K Cup overall win.

In the Petite Final, Yacht Club Costa Smeralda also had to draw upon all their skills to win against Bayerischer Yacht Club.

Brilliantly organized and run by Hamburger Segel-Club, the club's board ended the event by announcing their decision to host a 2K event again next year! In the meantime, plans to run a German 2K clinic led by top 2K sailors is well advanced; especially after having gotten “schooled” by the well-sailed Spinnaker team with their brilliant team-racing tactics!”  For more International 2K Team-Racing Cup sailing information

J/24 sailing off SydneyPACEMAKER Crowned J/24 New South Wales Champ!
(Sydney Harbour, NSW, Australia)- Dave Suda’s faster than a heart-attack team on their new J/24 foiler PACEMAKER retained the NSW State Title for 2013 in a “lightning-plagued” series on Sydney Harbour over the weekend.  Saturday’s racing was severely curtailed by some of Sydney’s biggest lightning storms ever seen. Plus, lots of rain and lack of wind and constant direction changes  meant only two races were held towards the end of the day on Saturday in pretty nice but light conditions.  Sunday was a “glam day” with a 10–16 kts SE breeze and plenty of sunshine- four races were held by the Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club RC team to give a thrilling climax to the weekend (here's one of PACEMAKER's more amazing surfs-up foiling action shots to get in front of the fleet here!).  Here’s Simon Grain’s report:

“Sunday’s racing was close and hard fought from the get go with Sean Kirkjian taking a first on the Saturday and now already fighting for the championship with Dave Suda. Both Kirkjian and Suda were on equal points after Saturday’s racing, however, both were behind Ron Thompson who had a 1st and a 3rd going into Sunday.

This year’s fleet was smaller at a round dozen boats but the depth of the field was strong, with NSW stalwarts John Crawford, Dave West, Chris Lee, and Arthur Crothers all on the water. From Victoria were Dave Suda, Ron Thompson and Simon Grain steering Arthur’s KAOTIC. Doug Watson from SA was also there in EL FIDELDO.  Also rounding out the fleet were STARPAC, NOKOMIS and Brett Hudson crewing for Jeanette Thompson on his own boat WILDFIRE.

J/24 sailing in AustraliaA perfect breeze prevailed during Sunday as we raced across the harbor avoiding each other (most of the time), TP52s, ferries and everyone else on the harbor that day.  Banging corners didn’t seem to work as well this year as there were considerable wind bends and lifts in the middle of the course. Arthur Crothers turned 70 and was presented with a wicked chocolate cake, NOKOMIS swam a crew member in one race and KICKING BOTTOM prepared to call “starboard” on a seaplane— yes, those were just a few of the usual oddities in this regatta!!

As the day progressed it became clear that the regatta might just go back to Dave Suda from Victoria and he and Sean had a personal battle in the last race to decide the honours. In the end Dave retained the crown and Sean came second on a count back from an amazing performance from Ron in KB. Ron also taking out the Thommo Cup from Jeanette on WILDFIRE, although as a consolation she won the handicap section.

Once again the RPEYC venue excelled with sunny skies above the lawn at the waterfront of the club when it counted and lightning shows when it didn’t.  Friendly staff and capable race management meant we were happy both on and off the water. Commodore Sean once again amazingly ran the club (thanks to all the volunteers and staff), the class team (thanks to Paula and Tim), ran the crew ferry and still came second!  What a fantastic place, after years of grumbling, even Herschel loves the place and passed a thought of keeping a summer boat there. Talking about being there, getting there was an event in itself for some with huge storms on the Friday night, Joe Pearson taking nearly 6 hours to get there and making what must be an all time record for Luke Mathews taking 19 hrs to fly to Sydney from Melbourne (via Launceston).

Now is the time to think about a trip to Royal Prince Edwards, as the 2014 Nationals will also be held here in January 4 – 9th. If you want a great place to sail, a great place to relax in between racing, then RPEYC is your summer regatta of choice.”

J/24s sailing in Sydney Harbour, AustraliaThe J/24 STIG also chimed in with their report:  “Once again the foreign invaders triumphed in the NSW J/24 State Titles held at RPEYC (Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club)!  The slick crew work on David Suda’s PACEMAKER came to the fore when the pressure was on in the final races. After drop calculated for the top 3 boats PACEMAKER, SAILPAC and KICKING BOTTOM were equal on 6 points after 4 races, with the ever competitive Chris Lee on VORTEX nipping at their sterns.

Tom Waterhouse had Suda as early race favourite with the betting wide open for the minors. The performance of the weekend came from evergreen veteran Ron Thompson, who once again prized the Thompson Cup from Janette’s grasp.

Nestled amongst the Blue Ribbon Mansions of Double Bay the RPEYC was the idyllic setting for the Ashes on water between the States. The lone representative from Festival State (SA)  and home of the mass murderers (of beer steins) on EL FIDELDO snuck under the radar and had some great results. Once the trough of bad weather brought up by the Victorians cleared we had some fantastic racing. The TP52 sailors next to our track looked on in envy of the tight, competitive and sometimes aggressive nature of J/24 racing made their regatta look like a “kontiki tour” with brolly’s in their drinks.

Once the spray had settled the committee from NSW’s had to accept they would once again be invoiced for trophy engraving by David Suda. A worthy champion with a great crew; however the admiration will soon disappear and sledging begin with the Nationals around the corner.

Thank you everyone who made the huge effort of bringing your boats to the regatta and we hope to see you all in January for the Nationals.  Unfortunately we will not be using Paula’s scales from home at the Nationals so make sure your crew weights are correct.”

If that weren’t enough great perspective, there’s amusing commentary from Ronnie Green about sailing J/24s in Sydney:

“Sydney Harbour on the weekend? Expect the unusual and you will still be surprised!  The J/24s had a great weekend of racing on Sydney Harbour which lived up to its reputation as a venue which tests your heart beat to the maximum.  Great location, spectacular sights and even more unusual things to plan and look out for on the water.

On Saturday we all sat at the magnificent Royal Prince Edward Yacht Club (RPEYC) drinking our Pimms, watching the stream of thunderstorms cross the harbour. Some played pool while others started watching that sledging game on TV.  We were calmly interrupted every 46 minutes by an announcement from Sean that a decision on sailing is imminent, don’t go away and just wait for the next 30 minutes.   The wind kept blowing from the north, no … south east, no … north east, no … east, changing every 5 minutes from 6 knots to nothing.  After about our 10th bottle of Pimms, suddenly there was a gap in the thunderstorms and guess what, we are all on the water sailing out to the start line.  Only the wind died again, sails dropped and engines came out again.  Decision to sail to be made at 3pm and at 2:55pm KB was seen circling the committee boat desperate to get back to watching that sledging game and the 11th bottle of Pimms.  No … the wind arrived from the North and low and behold we are off.

RPEYC has unique rounding marks being the colour red, which is fantastic as every other mark laid on the Harbour is yellow.  You can imagine the mess as there are a few races being sailed at the same time.  The top mark was laid 0.6 km upwind (important fact to remember).  The fleet took off and everyone went left eyes searching the harbour for something red.  Yes, I see two red marks near South Head amongst the 20 other yellow marks and KB tacked as they appear to be near the east side of the harbour.  ‘That’s the longest 0.6km I have seen,’ was yelled from the back of the boat, ‘there must be others.’  Yes, was the answer and there is another red mark but only one.  ‘Well find the other one was the answer.’   Suddenly, a fishing boat moved and the second red mark was found right in front of our position.  Don’t point!! Just keep quiet as ACE and us are the only ones who know. I call it brilliant tactics – my sister called it something else starting with something like ‘b.s.’

Next lap we were out in front, rounded the top mark, put up the kite brilliantly, and found ourselves right under a 50ft yawl with a mast head spinnaker.  Had to quickly gybe away and our competitor quietly went to windward.  Who was supposed to looking out for this was the yell again from the back of the boat.  Answer – YOU.  Kept quiet then.  We had to do some deft maneuvers to stay in front.

Sunday was a fun day as all the fleets came out including the TP52s who started next to us and sailed across our course.  Lovely.  I remember completing a tack to lay the top mark when the bow sprit of a TP52 just passed behind us travelling at 10 times our speed!  Just about had me a heart attack!

Race number four, the top marks were laid just south of Shark Island.  We were flying, chasing Sean and the breeze was a bit tricky near the rounding mark.  Suddenly there was a call to watch out for the plane, so I cast my eyes skywards thinking there was a low flying sea-plane about to land.  Silly me, no the plane was right in front of us about to take off!!  You have to learn to expect the unexpected on Sydney Harbour.  Fortunately it moved so no harm done except to the heart- again!

On one downwind leg there were four boats charging to the port rounding mark to go south on starboard so we went to the starboard mark to head up the middle on port.  Suddenly, there was a call for a ferry rounding Bradley’s head.  A quick look up checking our VMG against the speed of the Manly Ferry (about 20 knots) indicated if we don’t look and keep our eyes closed we should make it across.  What a fantastic feeling as we tacked to starboard to see us windward of the ferry and the rest of the fleet behind it.  I thought this was brilliant sailing but my sister said something like ‘b.s.’ again!  Her vocabulary is not very good. Or, perhaps she IS smarter than me (the debate will rage forever)!  The excitement only was short lived as that bloke Sean came from behind the ferry and crossed us and then I said ‘b.s.’ again.

The race committee decided we should go for a picnic on Shark Island, as they laid the top mark close enough to visit.  One time we tacked to lay the mark easily. Learnt lessons from the past, when suddenly the genoa backed as the wind changed 90 degrees on us.  We tacked only to see NOKOMIS coming at us on starboard.  A bit of yelling and screaming but thanks to a great effort from the crew we made it around without putting more green paint on the opposition boats.

Overall on behalf of the crew of KB, a “huge thank you” to the officials and management of RPEYC for a great regatta, brilliant venue and magnificent support crews taking us to and from our mooring, one even gave us a tourist lecture of the houses in the Bay.  I look forward to January when the Harbour will be clear and at its best.”  For more J/24 NSW Championship sailing information in Sydney Harbour

J/24s sailing off IrelandHARD ON PORT J/24 Western Champions!
(Lough Ree, Ireland)- In the “it’s never too late to report department”, it’s heart-warming to see J/24 fleets like the those in western Ireland continue to have fun and have great sailing amongst a closely-knit group of sailors.  This year’s Western Championships for Ireland took place at the beautiful, quaint Lough Ree YC.  It was Flor O’Driscoll and crew on their rocketship called HARD ON PORT that took this year’s “Western’s”.

There were a dozen entries for the event, including two relative new comers to the fleet, SCORPIO JUNIOR and JUMPIN JIVE-  both from Lough Derg.  Two local boats JEB and DJANGO (formally JIBBERISH) along with six from Howth and two from Lough Erne made up the fleet.

J/24s sailing upwind off IrelandThe forecast was for challenging conditions over two days including 20 kts of wind from the WSW with occasional gusts of 25 knots!  Due to the impending World Championships to be held in Howth, skippers were understandably reluctant to put their boat in harms way. A meeting of all skippers was held on the Saturday morning to put racing to the vote. All agreed that it was worth the risk to go on the water!! (Editor's note- who can blame them, better than driving a desk at work!?).

The PRO for the event, John Banham, and their on the water team had their work cut out for them. The high winds made anchoring the Committee Boat a bit of a challenge considering that his team was all female.  Mark-laying was also difficult with both the windward mark and the pin end dragging. John managed to get three races in despite the blustery conditions.

The racing (all windward leeward with 2 legs) started in 11 to 16 knots. The testing conditions brought out the best in the fleet with the J/24 showing why it’s still so popular.  Any crew brave enough to fly a spinnaker were rewarded with blistering downwind speeds and an exhilarating ride which didn’t always end well.  Yes, indeed, there were some spectacular broaches with some waving their keels at those upwind of them!

J/24 winners in Irish Western ChampionshipsDay two, Sunday, was cancelled following an early morning scouting mission up the lake by two helms – Andrew Mannion and Martin Darrer. They reported an increase in wind pressure combined with a change in wind direction to North West resulting in a larger swell on the lake. Therefore the three races on Saturday constituted the event.

The defending National Champion JP McCaldin had a poor start to the event on Saturday with an OCS in the first race. This was followed by a 6th and a 3rd giving a total of 13 points and 6th place overall.

The Under 25 team sailing from Kilcullen and helmed by local sailor Cillian Dickson, were out to prove a point and pushed hard through out the day. Their persistence paid off with bullet in the first race followed by a 2nd and a 5th giving a total of 8 which secured second place overall.

Experience won the day however with Flor et al on board HARD ON PORT scoring a 2nd, a 3rd and a 2nd giving a total of 7 points and the event.

The silver fleet trophy went to Brendan Gallagher on board JUVENESCENCE followed in 2nd place by GOSSIP, helmed by Peter Barron.

The food provided by Georgina and her team at LRYC on Saturday evening was well received. While they dined, the frayed nerves of the 60 competitors were soothed by the “Ree Duet” who played both classical and traditional melodies. Thanks must go to Andrew Mannion and his shore crew. Launching and hauling out went like clockwork.

The event was a success despite the cancellation of the second day. The facilities at Lough Ree lend them selves to events like this and the club looks forward to hosting the J/24 fleet again soon!  For more J/24 Western Championship sailing information

J/22s sailing under spinnaker off NetherlandsBenelux J/22 Winter Regatta
(Braassermeer, Netherlands)- The Benelux J/22 sailors are nothing if not organized and, most importantly, quite passionate about continually improving their experience as J/22 teams.  Their “winter” and “spring” training weekends have produced compelling results over time as teams from the Netherlands and Belgium have placed, or won, in major events like the J/22 Europeans and the J/22 Worlds.  In fact, many teams are keying in on the next J/22 World Championships 2014 to be held in South Africa for the first time!

Stan from the J/22 JABBADABBADOO filed this report for their most recent training weekends:  “Weekend 1- The first training and races of the winter series took place in perfect conditions. On Saturday and Sunday 10-12 kts north and Sunday with 12 to 18 knots. Both days had lovely sunshine and about 17 degrees celsius— not bad!  We looked back at the cold spring on the Braassermeer and the Cooling Down events which had all-or-nothing winds; compared that, this past weekend was simply delicious!

J/22s sailing winter series off NetherlandsSaturday’s training day was organized by the J/22 Class and Falko Braun. He managed to keep the teams close together despite the different levels of the participating teams. It was an interesting day. A new German team trained with us and was full of enthusiasm about the new insights and boat-handling they learned— they turned out to be a formidable sparring partner to tune with.  We worked on upwind boat speed. For downwind speed, Falko taught all teams to sail with a “free kite.” The wind was perfect for roll-tacking practice. Gybes and even ‘mexican drops’ were practiced.  After lunch and briefing we practiced time-on-distance, a number of starts and two short races . Before we knew it the afternoon was over and we all agreed to debrief in a restaurant in Leiden .

On Sunday, with more wind we focused on sailing many short races.  They were very intense, short laps around the buoys; the races were 30-40 minutes.  XJE had learned the time-on-distance exercise well the day before and took a good start in the first race.  In the second, race we started first but with XJE right next to us. In the last race it was a true match race.  It was very shifty and wind gusts caused considerable spectacle on the short course.  The third start was very nice with all the boats on the line and everyone at luffing at the gun!  Everyone is learning fast!

After several years of just sailing regattas, I am happy to train again, and finally by an external coach to get clues on how to sail better and faster. Falko shook things up for us and forced us to get out of our comfort zone and push the envelope of performance— it brought great satisfaction to see us better develop as a team.

For the second weekend of winter training and competition, the WVB decided this year to sail three races a day and keep the pace going with fast-action.  In short, very intense rounds where boat-handling will keep crews busy even in a winter storm!!  Perhaps most importantly, top Dutch sailor Ronald Veraar will lead the training.  Ronald is a former European champion and current European champion as “Corinthian” in both the J/22 and the M24 classes. That promises a mountain of gold tips!  We look forward to more of this all winter!”   For more J/22 Benelux sailing information

J/22 Match Race Hamburg, GermanyGurgel Tops Alster Act J/22 Match Race Regatta
(Hamburg, Germany)- The 23rd Alster Act Match Race hosted ten teams this year from five countries across Europe.  This ISAF Grade 3 match-race event was hosted by the Hamburger Segel Club on the famous Alster Lake in the middle of Germany’s second largest city- Hamburg!  The weather conditions proved to be perfect for match-racing the fleet of six J/22s for most of the weekend until the breeze started to diminish on Sunday afternoon.

J/22 match race hamburg germany women's / girls teamWhile 65 matches were scheduled, the regatta PRO wisely decided to adjust the match race schedule to complete the semi-finals and finals earlier than scheduled.  As a result, 45 matches in the round-robin were sailed, enough to produce a good ranking table for the final rounds.  The HSC Race Committee led by Jens Hahlbrock and his team managed a well organized event with satisfied participants.

J/22 Match Race team winnersThe top team this year was HSC’s own Max Gurgel sailing with his team of Daniel Zenker and Robin Zinkmann.   Second was the Danish crew Christian Tang with crew Leif Ole Daetz and Jeppe Dybkjaer Ditlev.  Taking third overall was the initial regatta favorite, the Polish team of Patryk Zbroja and team of Maciej Gonerko and Krzysztof Zeludziewicz.  Fourth was the German team led by Florian Haufe with crew Steffen Hessberger and Max Boosfeld.  Fifth was yet another German team, Felix Oehme and his team of Niklas von Meyerinck and Felix von Meyerinck.   For more Alster Act J/22 Match Race sailing information


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

American YC youth sailing team- on J/122 PATRIOT*  Creating Real Sailors, Not Just Youth Sailors- WINDCHECK Magazine recently interviewed Peter Beck, chief of Junior Big Boat program at American YC in Rye, NY.  Peter was the navigator on the winning boat of this year’s famous Stamford-Vineyard Race; amongst the eight young sailors aboard the J/122 PATRIOT were his 15 yr old son Key and 14 yr old daughter Carina.

“I was on a boat when I was probably a couple days old,” says Peter. “I’m the oldest of four kids, and our parents sailed very actively. I don’t think any of us ever had a choice! I started sailing in the junior program at American when I was eight or nine. There was a syndicate of AYC members – Lorna Hibbard and Commodores Dooie Isdale, Bert Jamison and Herbie Hild – that owned a series of big boats, most of which were called Fair American. They’d grab a bunch of us kids, and we became their crew.

Peter Becker- AYC Junior Chairman“We’d do all the Stratford Shoal races, the Block Island Race, the Vineyard, and the Bermuda Race. I did my first Bermuda Race when I was 15 or 16 on Roger Fortin’s Cal 40 Thunderbird. I went to college at Fort Schuyler and was captain of the sailing team one year. My brothers and I sailed on Ogden Reid’s Peterson 48 Flyaway at the height of the IOR years, and we had free run of the boat. I was just a kid, and at any given regatta Peter Conrad – who was a professional sailor and a sailmaker – and I would be debating who was going to steer the boat and who was going to do the tactics. Those were good times.”

“American has always taken the Junior Big Boat program very seriously and devoted a lot of time to it. The program was started by Lorna Hibbard, I believe, when I was in the Junior American Yacht Club. Later, it was run by Butch Hitchcock and more recently by Scott Florio and Barry Gold. Last year they indicated that they weren’t going to carry on, so I raised my hand and said I’d do it.

The kids have a J/105, YOUNG AMERICAN, for their exclusive use and they do absolutely everything on the boat. They make all the decisions and handle all the responsibilities, and that instills a pride of ownership. We’ve always looked at the program as more than just the Beach Point Overnight and the Dorade, and this year we’ve tried to double down on that. We started with Spring Series and we’re going to sail right through Fall Series.”

“While teaching navigation to the kids, I told stories about how the Dorade used to be a day race, followed by a raft-up in a place like the Sand Hole and more races the following day. We had a lot of fun in those raft-ups, and some of the kids wondered why they couldn’t have that kind of fun. We started talking about all the things you can do in a big boat when you’re not racing, so we decided to have a junior cruise.

“We named it ‘Back-to-Basics’ because it’s all about seamanship, knot tying, how to anchor the boat properly, rafting up and other skills that may or may not be a part of the racing program. Becca Quirke, the Commodore of the Junior Club at the time, took the bull by the horns and it was a huge hit. We had our third Back-to-Basics cruise this year.”

“Back when I was in the junior program, the Junior Sailing Association of Long Island Sound had a Marlinspike Seamanship Competition. The trophy was gifted by Jakob Isbrandtsen, and you would tie knots graded on time, and splice and whip graded on time and quality. Somewhere along the line that competition stopped, but the JSA decided to reinstitute it. I was asked to help modernize the test, and we held it during the 420/Laser Champs at American in August.”

Describing Patriot’s victory in the Vineyard Race, Peter says, “As with all racing, you work really hard to make your own luck. That race broke our way, and it’s really gratifying. Having Key and Carina on board was just a blast. Doug McKeige, the other adult on board, had his son Will with him, and that makes it all much more special.”

An accomplished International Moth racer, Peter relishes competing in the Heineken High Performance Dinghy Open (HPDO), hosted annually by American YC on Columbus Day weekend.

“I have the first Bladerider to be delivered to the States,” he says. “I went to the Worlds in Weymouth in ’08 and I’ve been having a blast with it ever since. Sailing a Moth has made me a better big boat sailor. You have to be firmly in control of a foiling Moth, but also very subtle. If you’re too violent when you’re foiling along at 18 or 20 knots, the foils stop gripping the water and you crash. The Heineken HPDO is a cool event because all types of fun boats show up. On windy days, the Moth and F-18 catamaran sailors compete to see who’s faster. They go upwind at the same speed but they point just a little bit higher. We’re faster downwind in all conditions, except in light air when we’re not foiling. Then the Moth is the hardest boat in the world to sail!”

Peter, his wife Adrianne, Key and Carina also enjoy cruising. “I grew up cruising,” he says. “We have a friend whose 38-foot lobster boat is available to us. Cuttyhunk is our all-time favorite destination. In fact, the first time Carina saw Cuttyhunk she wanted us to sell everything and move there! Edgartown is another of our special stops.”

“I’d love to find a way to get the kids to do the Bermuda Race next year,” Peter enthuses. “There’s nothing like being hundreds of miles away from the nearest point of land— it’s pretty cool out there!”  Thanks for contribution from Windcheck Magazine— a monthly magazine devoted to sailors and boaters in the Northeast- see

J/125 being chased by dolphins off Ireland!* The J/125 JACK KNIFE was on a delivery trip Breskens, Netherlands to Pwllheli, Wales.  Along the way, they stopped off in Cowes for a break and replenishment.  During their Cowes to Pwllheli leg, David Prichard was stunned to see a large school of dolphins surround them and play and frolic for hours, diving underneath the bow and around the boat, close enough to tickle their tummies!  Check out their YouTube sailing video with the music by One Republic, appropriately called “Counting Stars.

* Ever heard of “crowd-funding" and If not, here's an introduction to how it works and how you could help create as an “investor” the first complete “multimedia” eBook of the coolest America’s Cup yet- the “AC34 cat experience”!

Jack Griffin at is a marketing and media guru who has helped numerous European companies develop their on-line marketing programs.  Recently, he took a big dive into the America’s Cup because of friends he worked with in Switzerland.  After getting hired in 2004 by Swiss defender “ALINGHI” to run their fan club, he became immersed in the history, technology and racing. That includes the tycoons, lawyers, spies, saboteurs and cheats.  Lately, he became the expert commentator for the VIP guests of three teams: Alinghi and Shosholoza in 2007, Alinghi again in 2010 and Artemis in 2013.

Take a look at this link to see if you have any interest!  It’s just cool to learn about how such “crowd-funding” projects work!

Here is an example of the kind of material the book will have as Jack describes Oracle's foiling control system.  And, here's the kind of short video segment it will have.

If you want to learn more, you can always contact Jack directly at Cup Experience ( / / ph# +1 415 877 4919 (USA) / Skype: jackgriffin /

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.