Wednesday, March 12, 2014

J/Newsletter- March 14th, 2014

J/120 sailing San Diego NOODSan Diego NOOD Preview
(San Diego, CA)- The next installment of Sailing World’s NOOD Regattas will be taking place this weekend in San Diego from March 14th to 16th.  In addition to the one-design and handicap classes, a new “event” has been added into the mix, the “North Sails Rally Race” that takes place on Saturday only.  J/Sailors will be a significant component in the regatta, with forty-four teams participating in the large one-design classes of J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s. J/Crews will once again be the “life of the party” at San Diego’s NOOD, as 44 “J’s” of 114 boats (39% of the fleet) will have over 250 crew members socializing around the expansive decks and lawns at San Diego YC.

Starting off with the “big boat” J/class, we find a half-dozen of the usual suspects populating the entry list for the J/120’s.  This is a remarkably talented group and over time it appears that virtually every boat has  won either around-the-buoys or offshore events in Southern California.  Recognizing their outstanding records, it’s a bit hard to handicap this fleet.  Nevertheless, suffice it to say that anyone can win, especially when you have CAPER (John Laun), CC RIDER (Chuck Nichols), J-ALMIGHTY (Mike Hatch), JIM (John Snook), MELTEMI (Peter Zarcades) and SHENANIGANS (Gary Winton) mixing it up in close company.

The top dogs in SoCAL J/105 sailing are all assembled again for the beginning of their season-long championship quest to determine if they can displace Rick Goebel’s SANITY crew- they were 2013 J/105 SoCAL Season Champions.  With a strong, deeply competitive fleet of eighteen boats, it will be tough sledding for many.  Notable teams also include Steve & Lucy Howell’s BLINK!, Tom Hurlburt & Chuck Driscoll on BLOW BOAT, Gary Mozer’s Long Beach team on CURRENT OBSESSION 2, Sean O’Keefe on DECOLORES 3, and Jim Dorsey sailing the famous WINGS.  Clark Pellett from Chicago YC wisely broke away from the frozen Midwest and is sailing SEALARK in the warm and friendly confines of San Diego Bay!  Good thing since Lake Michigan and the rest of the Great Lakes area still 99% frozen over!  Isn’t that the sign the ice-age cometh soon?

The J/70s have the largest fleet in the regatta with sixteen teams hoping to grab one of the qualifying spots for the J/70 Worlds in Newport, RI this September.  There are several wily veterans mixed in with a host of new teams just starting their J/70 circuits this year.  Amongst the veterans, you have Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT crew from Wayzata YC in Minnesota, Eric Kownacki & Tom Jenkins on DFZ, Dan Gribble/ Kurt Weise on GO-RILLA, Jeff Brown from the host San Diego YC, Craig Tallman on JAYA, Bennet Greenwald on PERSEVERANCE and Karl Pomeroy on ZERO TO 60.  Amongst the fleet newcomers in the regatta are several talented teams from other classes that have hopped into 70’s for more fun in the sun!  Santa Barbara YC’s Scott Deardorff is campaigning CAKE this year (already entered in the J/70 North Americans in Rochester, NY), Beverly Burr is skippering CHICK BOAT from Westlake YC, Patrick Toole is driving ECLIPSE (another Santa Barbarian team that are also J/24 North American Champions!), Dave Vieregg is leading SOGGY DOLLAR, Scott Grealish from Portland, OR is skippering SPLASH and top J/105 sailor Rich Bergmann is sailing ZUNI BEAR.

This year’s turn-out for J/24s is on the comeback trail, with seven boats dialing it up for a thrash and dash around the cans.  Good teams are participating and perhaps some are using it as their training for the J/24 Worlds in Newport, RI this September.  Past winner Susan Taylor from Cal YC will be out on her TAKE FIVE rocketship hoping to become a repeat champion.  She’ll have to contend with Mark Clements BRIGADOON and Tom Tunberg’s Santa Barbarian crew sailing BULLET amongst others for the top of the leaderboard.

Finally, this year's San Diego NOOD also features a one-day North Sails Rally Race.  On Saturday, March 15, you might see a sailor riding a bike right up to the J/105 VIGGEN as it docks out. Joe Dagostino, the owner of the San Diego YC-based boat, is an avid cyclist and the peak time for racing is in the spring. Fortunately, he’s got enough time to squeeze in a training ride in the morning before the first-ever North Sails Rally Race at the San Diego NOOD, which will be a one-day, random-leg, PHRF-scored race.

“Normally we wouldn’t have sailed the NOOD, so this got us into it,” says Tom Fisher, Dagostino’s J/105 partner and racing skipper. “We actually love the non-windward/leeward courses around San Diego Bay. San Diego Bay’s topography is really cool. There’s a lot of current and a lot of shifts. It’s really interesting racing.”

Viggen will have its full racing crew onboard, and the race will serve as a tune-up for the season, particularly for San Diego YC’s Yachting Cup, held in early May. “This is a great race to go out and practice for the regattas we’re tuning up for later,” says Fisher.

Fisher heard about the race through a promotion on Scuttlebutt from Editor Craig Leweck, who offered to pay the entry fee for the first five people to contact him. “What's great about the Rally Race is it not only includes a group of racers previously excluded from the NOOD, but it also offers something different for them,” says Leweck.

“Courses offering a variety of wind angles makes us think in new ways, and when the course includes land features, it can really stretch the brain,” Leweck adds. “While regattas should be won by the best teams, the windward/leeward course favors them, so by mixing it up, I hope it inspires some of the casual racers to participate.”

One of the goals of the event, according to race organizers, is to include a wider range of participants, like new-to-racing sailors, families, and sailors with custom boats that don’t fit within the one-design concept of the NOOD.

It’s already inspired some who wouldn’t normally be able to sail the NOOD, like Dagostino’s team, to get out on the water. Fisher’s tuned into the weather for next weekend and is gearing up for the race. “If a spring storm comes through, you can still race inside the bay--it's more sheltered" he says. “You’ve got kind of flat water, and you can power up without the threat of big waves. We like that. For a spring race, it’s a good way to go.”  Thanks for contribution- Craig Leweck/   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes   For more Sperry Top Sider San Diego NOOD sailing information

J/24 sailing Puerto Vallarta, MexicoJ/24 North Americans Preview
(Riviera Nayarit, Mexico)- The hosts for the upcoming J/24 North American Championship/ Copa Mexico are really excited about getting the ball rolling March 16th to 22nd at the La Cruz Yacht Club in Nayarit (a beachside resort NNW of Puerto Vallarta).  As they say about Bahia de Banderas and Mexican hospitality, “warm waters, winds from 12-25 kts, plenty of sunshine and famous parties await you at arguably one of the best sailing venues worldwide!”

What have the J/24 Mexican fleet cooked up for entertainment?  Amazingly beautiful and exotic venues for virtually every evening.  If you have not participated in a “Copa Mexico” event, do it.  It should be a “bucket list” event.  Certainly two of the highlighted festivities are the “don't miss” Brazilian teams party on Wednesday where authentic drinks and dishes from that “mucho exotic” country will be served!  The other is the gala dinner, closing & awards ceremony they host outside at the end of their spectacular pier encircling the harbor (complete with pretty hosts, fashion show, fireworks show & mariachi bands!).  The finale is truly something not to be missed.

J/24 spinnakers- sailing Puerto Vallarta, MexicoForty-three boats from eight countries (Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Monaco, Peru, Sweden, & USA) are registered with many of the world's top sailors in attendance.  Past World Champion Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil is leading the charge of four boats from Brazil.  Many leading American teams are present, including Mike Ingham on DIGGER, Tony Parker sailing BANGOR PACKET, Chris Snow, Val Lulevich and the hilarious crew on SHUT-UP & DRIVE, and Seattle’s Mark Laura on BABA LOUIE (if you want to learn how to fly Boeing 737’s, call him- top banana at ALASKA AIRLINES).  The Italian crew led by Giovanni Campi are sailing ALEBRIJE and hope to do well; they’ve been training a lot for the event. Monaco’s Ian Ilsley is sailing JOBBITS and is looking to capitalize on their good performances in Europe (2013 Europeans and 2014 Primo Cup).  All the top Mexican crews will be present, including Jorge Murrieta on TRES DOLORES, Peter Wiegandt on Team MEXICO, Ken Porter on COMEX, Mario Velazquez on VENDETTA and Javier Velazquez on TRINQUETE.  For more J/24 North Americans sailing information

J/109s sailing Warsash spring seriesWarsash Spring Series Preview
(Warsash, England)- It’s that time of year again on the wild & woolly Solent!  Time to remove the winter warps, dust off the old stallion, bend on the sails and take another spin around the cans.  Who has the Solent mark chart?  Anyone, anyone??  God Forbid anyone forgets that single most important bit of kit for navigating the zillion sponsored marker buoys deployed around the Solent.  For sure, veteran sailors of this local body of water are usually some of the world’s better sailors— damn hard to find all the marks for starters, but then one has to factor in massive currents, whirlpools, enormous 40 kt container ships bigger than skyscrapers zipping around the channels and sand banks like a “dodge’em ball competition” and the capricious winds & weather that are never, ever what was forecast.  While the UK MET Office is pretty good at weather forecasting most times, somehow that little river of water that flows between the Needles, across the Ryde Sands and past the Forts between the mainland and Isle of Wight often confounds even the savviest of meteorologists.

The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series starts this weekend and runs all spring from March 16th to April 27th. The Warsash Sailing Club has a 50-strong race management team that is second to none, taking great pride in conducting fun, often challenging, races over the course of the series.  After all, it is Great Britain’s premiere season-opening event and nothing is spared to ensure the sailors go home happy with grins plastered on their faces (some might say that may have been induced by “Guinness”?).

The regatta attracts passionate sailors from across the UK.  Over 100 entries are registered with good one-design fleets of J/70s, J/80s, J/109s and J/111s.  Also sailing are J/92s, J/97s and J/105s!

J/111s sailing Warsash Spring series- on SolentSeven J/111s will be vying for class bragging rights within IRC-1, for both handicap and one-design honours.  The regatta promises to give all 111 teams great training for the upcoming J/111 World Championship being held at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Cowes, Isle of Wight in August.  Will Duncan Mcdonald’s SHMOKIN JOE team get back on form and finish “in the chocolates”?  Are David & Kirsty Apthorp leading their J/DREAM team to the ultimate dream- winning the inaugural J/111 Worlds?  Or, are veteran crews like Simon Boadle’s slippery silver MUNKENBECK, Will Naylor’s BRITISH SOLDIER or Cornell Riklin’s JITTERBUG capable of upsetting their apple cart?  All these boats are welcoming new J/111 teams like James Arnell’s JEEZ LOUISE (past J/109 winning crew) and Chris Jones & Louie Makin’s new JOURNEYMAKER II (former top J/105 winning offshore crew).  Watch this space, it promises to be a fun series.

In IRC-2, the lone J/109 YEOMAN OF WIGHT is being sailed by David Aisher.  IRC-3 has four J/Teams participating, including two champion J/97s, Nick & Adam Munday’s INDULJENCE, Charles Ivill’s ETB TYRES/ JUST LIKE THAT.  Joining them are Jim Bedford’s J/92s BOJANGLES and Natalie Jobling’s J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS.  Sailing IRC-4 is past winner J’RONIMO, David Greenhalgh’s J/92.

As anticipated, the J/109 fleet is showing up with an excellent group of seven boats.  Amongst the leading contingent should be familiar names like JAGERBOMB (Paul Griffiths), JUST SO (David Mcgough), JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain & Jean Franks) and OFFBEAT (David Mcleman).  The Royal Air Force crew on RED ARROW will be led by Marcus Wilson.

The J/80s have a dozen good crews lined up to sail this spring, including a French team.  Like their 109 colleagues, there are both new and familiar faces in the crowd.  Patrick Liardet’s AQUA-J, Jon Powell’s BETTY, Mike Lewis’s JESTER, Allan Higgs’s JUICY, Nicholas Allen’s NINJA have been consistent performers near the top of the fleet.  Frenchman Yannig Loyer has brought J/OUT-OF-THE-BOX over to train themselves with good competition in the spring.

The half-dozen J/70s have several new teams joining the fray.  In addition to Marie-Claude & Paul Heys on BRAVO JENNY JONES and Malcolm & Tristan Jaques on DJANGO, the class welcomes new Warsash entries like Colin Simonds’s DOOLALLI, Mike Flood’s J7T, Ian Wilson’s JOYRIDE and Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY.

As well as six Spring Series Sundays, the Spring Championship is being held over the final two weekends of 12th/13th and 26th/27th April. Warsash Sailing Club extends a warm welcome to all competitors at Shore House. A selection of hot and cold food is available each Sunday as well as two barrels of FREE BEER! Weekly class winners are also presented with a bottle of champagne by title sponsors Brooks Macdonald.  A free water taxi is in operation on Sundays before and after racing to and from berths up river as far as Port Hamble.  As was mentioned above, it’s just darn hard to beat such great regatta organization!  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/  For more Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series sailing information

J/125 Hamachi sailing Pacific OceanPuerto Vallarta Race Preview
(San Diego, CA)-  Seemingly, it’s a simple race.  After starting off San Diego, it’s “Baja to the left, wind off the stern, and aim for the bar” in Puerto Vallarta.  Well, it can be that simplistic, but never seems to be. As one crew member wise-cracked about the race, “it’s a bit like the movie ‘Something Wicked This Way Comes’, you never know when you’re going to be toasted, but it always happens.”  Therein lies the challenge for many on this race- “because it’s there” and because there have been tales told of endless days surfing down the Baja Coast with dolphins frolicking, giant whales breaching like leaping lizards all around you and brilliant twinkling stars shining from horizon to horizon at night.

The 32nd edition of the biennial San Diego to Vallarta International Yacht Race will start off Shelter Island at noon on both Friday, March 14 and Saturday, March 15 (smaller, slower boats first, big fast ones later). Twenty-five entries will embark on the 1,000nm southerly slide toward mariachis, margaritas, and beautiful Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Mexico Tourism Board- supports sailing!The event starts off with the infamous “Kick-off Party” held at San Diego YC’s wonderful facilities on Thursday, March 13th. The great partnership between SDYC and the Mexican Tourism Board continues in 2014 with the Mexicans hosting of the party!

The only J/Team sailing happens to be an all-star crew from Seattle and San Francisco.  Don’t count out Fritz Lanzinger’s tenacious Corinthian YC crew aboard the J/125 HAMACHI. They’re sailing in Class 3 starting on Friday, March 14th against two Santa Cruz 50s (including Wayne Zittel’s J/World’s Hula Girl) and a Rogers 46 amongst a slew of other boats.  This crew is certainly capable of winning, having chalked up a 2nd overall in the 2013 St Maarten Heineken Regatta last year.  Top Guns aboard HAMACHI are Jonathan McKee (yes, one of the famous McKee Brothers you see sailing everywhere) and Trevor Baylis (from San Francisco).  For more HAMACHI Sailing team information, please visit their Facebook page    For more San Diego Vallarta Race sailing information

J/80 spinnakers- sailing off Key WestCalling all J/80 Racers!
(Toronto, Ontario)- Get your game on in Canada as part of your 2014 program preparing for the worlds!  Bring it to Toronto for some real international experience close to home.  The Lake Ontario J/80 Fleet Captain, Lawrence Alexander extends a warm and hearty invitation to all J/80 sailors to join them.

“We've put together a great series of events”, commented Alexander. “We’re including a North Sails- Mike Wolfs J/80 clinic, Owners party and the LYRA J/80 Open 3 day event for the local J/80 sailors and we'd like all of our J/80 counterparts to come on up and experience the fun times at this great event in a great location hosted at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) in Toronto!

Our events are the week following the CAN-AM One Design hosted by the Youngstown Yacht Club directly across the lake. Local J/80 owners will try to pitch-in and help trailer boats to Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) from clubs within a couple hours. Facilities for storage and camping onsite are available, come on up, y'all!

“Get ready”-
July 30th- One-Day Advanced J/80 speed clinic on July 30th at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club (ABYC) and run by none other than the 2012 J/80 North American champion Mike Wolfs (a great opportunity to address any challenges and tune–up for the final event– email  to confirm your spot!

“Get set”-
August 1-3- The Canadian J/80 Open hosted during LYRA at Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club (ABYC)   Register before July 1 for a chance to win $350 early bird draw

September 10-14, 2014- J/80 North American Championship- Annapolis Yacht Club
September 25- October 5- J/80 World Championship- Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis

Please contact J/80 Toronto Fleet Captain- Lawrence Alexander for more information-

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

This past week saw one of the premiere, giant “serious fun” regattas take place that has become synonymous with Caribbean-style regattas.  As one might expect, the almost “over the top” Heineken Regatta sailed in St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles is not such a bad place to be when the weather is truly awful in the northern hemispheres- as it has been with record-breaking snow & cold temperature in the Americas and Europe.  A raft of J/Teams performed admirably, including a J/125, J/122 and others.

Down in the even more famous “honky tonks” of southern Texas, the J/105s were having a great time sailing TEN races in 2.2 days on Galveston Bay.  The 105s were sailing their Midwinters at Lakewood YC with a great PRO cracking the whip and making sure “the boys” were aligned on the starting line early and headed in the right direction.

The J/70s were less fortunate.  They should’ve had a cowboy ruling the roost, but they didn’t.  As it was, the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week didn’t live up to its top billing, with a weekend of great promise and great winds tossed onto the ash-heap of history as a “do-over” for the future.

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:

Mar 14-16- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego YC- San Diego, CA
Mar 16-21- J/24 North Americans- Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
Mar 16- Apr 27- Warsash Spring Series- Warsash, England
Mar 28-30- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Davis Island YC- Tampa, FL
Apr 10-13- Charleston Race Week (22, 24, 70, 80, PHRF)- Charleston, SC
Apr 17-21- SPI OUEST Regatta- La Trinite-sur-Mer, France
Apr 26-May 3- J/22 World Championship- Deneysville, South Africa
May 2-4- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis YC- Annapolis, MD
May 16-18- J/22 North Americans- Annapolis YC- Annapolis, MD
May 16-18- Seattle NOOD Regatta- Seattle, WA

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

Terry McLaughlin's Canadian team winning J/105 MidwintersCanadians Top J/105 Midwinters
(Seabrook, TX)- As anticipated, Lakewood Yacht Club’s team were not only gracious hosts of this year’s J/105 Midwinters, the weather and the regatta PRO cooperated beautifully to provide three good days of racing for the eleven teams in attendance.

After starting off the regatta with a bullet, there wasn’t much stopping Terry McLaughlin, recently named Sail Canada’s Rolex Sailor of the Year and a two-time New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup Champion with his friend John Hele (a past J/24 and J/105 sailor himself).  A native of Toronto, Ontario, and member of the Royal Canadian YC, Terry chartered a local boat called AVICI and simply showed the “good’ole boys” in Texas how its done. Sailing AVICI with Paul Parsons, Kevin Taylor, Jeff Cooke, Emmett Dickheiser and Monica Parsons, McLaughlin totaled only 22 points in the 11 race series. They endured a 20 percent penalty in race three, and otherwise tallied all top three finishes to be crowned 2014 Midwinter Champions.

J/105 sailboat- sailing on Galveston BayThis is how it went down.  On the first day, winds on Galveston Bay held at a steady 10-16 knots throughout Friday. McLaughlin won three of the day’s five races for 10 pts total.  Locals Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE and Uzi Ozeri on INFINITY held the next two spots, with 15 and 20 points, respectively. McLaughlin started the event with a bullet, as Greg Turman’s HORNY TOAD placed second, and Bee Bednar’s STINGER third.  AVICI again took first in the next contest, while Lakenmacher and Ozeri moved up to the silver and bronze positions.  Mark Young’s KILLER RABBIT earned the victory in race three, as again Lakenmacher and Ozeri rounded out the top three.  McLaughlin returned to first in race four, followed by Young and Bednar. The closing battle was won by Lakenmacher, as McLaughlin settled for second and Ozeri for third.

J/105 sailing downwind on Galveston BayThe second day dawned with light breezes around 4-5 knots. During the day, the breeze kept creeping up a couple knots each race so by the third bout, teams saw 10-12 knot winds. McLaughlin  notched another round of consistent scores to total just 20 points in 10 races heading into the final day of competition. Local Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE continued his stellar performance, and kept hold of second place with 31 points. Fellow Texan Uzi Ozeri on INFINITY maintained his bronze position with 43 points.  Greg Turman’s HORNY TOAD lodged Saturday’s first victory, trailed by McLaughlin and Lakenmacher. Radiance won the ensuing contest over Ozeri and McLaughlin.  In the third race, Mark Young’s KILLER RABBIT took the bullet. Again Lakenmacher and McLaughlin made it into the top three. AVICI returned to the first spot in the next battle during the 4th race, followed by Alan Bates on ZIPPITY and Matt Arno on BLUE FLASH. McLaughlin ended the day in race 5 with another victory, ahead of Turman and Lakenmacher.

J/105s crossing tacks- sailboats on Galveston BayThe last day of racing only saw one race and there were great possibilities for a massive shake-up in the third to fifth spots in the standings.  Ozeri’s INFINITY, Young’s KILLER RABBIT and Turman’s HORNY TOAD were locked in a battle for the last spot on the podium.  Whomever beat who on the last race determined the final outcome.  Despite the potential for drama and theatrics, they ended up finishing one after the other- 3rd, 4th and 6th, respectively. Consequently, they were 3-4-5 overall. Lackenmacher’s crew won the last race to secure their second position overall.

McLaughlin raced with Paul Parsons years ago, but actually didn’t know the rest of his crew, since Paul did the organizing. “Our win was a true team effort,” McLaughlin said while accepting his trophy. He also complimented the great Race Committee, noting, “It has been a long time since I have experienced 10 races in two days!” With favorable breezes on Friday and Saturday, the Race Committee was able to complete five races per day, leaving just one on Sunday.   Sailing Photo Credits- John Lacy Photography  For more J/105 Midwinters sailing information

J/122 El Ocaso sailing Heineken regattaJ/122 EL OCASO St Maarten Heineken Champions!
(Simpson Bay, St Maarten, Netherlands Antilles)- Under beautiful blue skies and with an ideal 15-18 knot ESE breeze coursing across the waters along the southern shore of St. Maarten, 50 spinnaker-division boats in five classes set sail today in the 2014 Gill Commodore’s Cup.

Sponsored by Gill North America, the manufacturer of top sailing gear and the regatta’s official technical gear provider, the Gill Commodore’s Cup serves as the tune-up series to the 34th St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

With the solid wind pressure kicking up a bouncy seaway, racing conditions were decidedly sporty and there was a wide range of skill and prowess displayed across the racecourse. For some crews, especially those shaking off the rust after a season’s break from racing, spinnaker sets and douses were spectacular adventures.

In the first of the day’s two races – the race committee set up traditional windward-leeward courses south of Simpson Bay and Little Bay – one of the boats, the J/105 WHISTLER, went flying past the first downwind mark as their crews struggled to tame their kites. But they were just one of many competitors who were more than happy that the Gill Commodore’s Cup was also a warm-up and practice day for the three-day main event.

J/125 Stark Raving Mad sailing Heineken regattaIn Gill 2, Jim Madden and his fellow Californians aboard the J/125 STARK RAVING MAD IV (SRM IV), performed a pair of faultless starts, and in both contests Madden’s mad-men led their 10-boat division around the racecourse on elapsed time. But once the handicaps were applied, the “mad-men” were in third.

In Gill 3, another veteran of both the Gill Commodore’s Cup and the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta – Rick Wesslund, skipper of the J/122 EL OCASO – proved that he’s still a force to be reckoned with, sweeping the class easily with a pair of bullets.

It was a very strong day for the J/Boats in the fleet, and that trend continued in Gill 4, where Robert Armstrong’s J/100 BAD GIRL was the winner with firsts in both races. And second in Gill 4 was yet another “J”, Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE.

After the Gill Commodore’s Cup, the 34th annual running of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta got off to a magnificent start with the traditional opening-day round-the-island race.  In sweet easterly tradewinds hovering in the 14-18 knot range, with gusts in the low 20s, the race committees on two racing circles sent the majority of the fleet on a clockwise spin around St. Maarten.

The top monohulls and multihulls sailed an extended course of 32 nautical miles with an extra leg around Tintamarre on St. Maarten’s northeast coast. Most of the other classes raced slightly abbreviated courses with a mark set inside of Tintamarre.  Several competitors who scored highly in that pre-regatta series proved that their earlier performance was no fluke, and they did indeed represent the cream rising to the top.  That was the case in CSA-3, where Jim Madden’s J/125 SRM IV was Friday’s winner and also in CSA-4 won by Wesslund’s J/122 EL OCASO.

J/105s sailing Heineken RegattaSaturday’s sailing brought a lot more drama.  Superb sailing, point-to-point distance racing, classic round-the-buoys windward/leeward courses, perfect spinnaker sets, botched spinnaker douses, and even a busted halyard that ended the racing for one of the event’s largest yachts just moments after it began: It was a wild day. And, when all was said and done, 211 boats that began racing this morning off Simpson Bay, on the Dutch side of St. Maarten, concluded a full day of action in Marigot, on the French shores. There was something for everyone on Day 2 of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

After the first four Class A divisions were underway, Campbell James set up a traditional windward/leeward course for CSA classes 3-9, respectively. Afterwards, these same divisions sailed a second point-to-point distance race to Marigot along St. Maarten’s southern flank.

In the first of the two races, the spray was flying and there was plenty of drama when the boats came screaming down to the first leeward mark under spinnakers. Indeed, there were plenty of opportunities for gains and losses at each of the tight mark roundings. In CSA-3, Madden’s SRM IV, flying a gigantic asymmetric kite off a long bowsprit, put on a sailing clinic with what’s known as a “horizon job” on her competitors, who were far behind and literally nowhere in sight.

In CSA-4, Wesslund’s EL OCASO consolidated her strong lead with a first and second, leaving them all alone atop the class leader board.

In one of the closest and most dramatic final day in the long history of the Caribbean’s biggest annual regatta,  division winners were determined by mere seconds.  In so many diverse ways the championship teams represented a wide cross-section of international sailors who saved their very best for the last day of racing. And what a day it proved to be.

At the outset of the last day of competition, the final results, and potential victors, in nearly a dozen individual classes were too close to call. “This is the tightest bloody regatta I’ve ever seen,” said official scorer Paul Miller. “There are about 11 classes that are wide open. It’s anybody’s guess who will end up on the podium. That never happens.”  Except, of course, on those great days of sailboat racing when it does.

For a day with so much riding on the event’s last race, it proved to be an especially challenging one for the race committee as well as the racers. After two days of solid breeze and outstanding sailing conditions, Sunday dawned with gentle, shifty and patchy winds of 6-8 knots or less, accompanied by cloudy, squally skies. It would be a day that rewarded light-air sailing skills and the ability to find wind and capitalize on the persistent shifts.

J/120 sailing Heineken regattaThe CSA Class 3-7 fleets sailed a slightly abbreviated 21nm race.  As they rounded “Blowing Rocks”, an especially challenging time this year, everyone was treated to a picturesque run under colorful spinnakers down the Anguilla Channel in good breeze.  Then, the proverbial air escaped from the balloon once the boats were around the rocky reef. The last few miles back to Simpson Bay, often in breeze of three knots or less, proved to be difficult ones.

In CSA-2, Californian Jim Madden’s team on his J/125 SRM IV launched into an early series lead and took care of business in the final race, winning both the day’s contest and the top spot in CSA-2 with a 1-1-2-1 record.

For the CSA-4 fleet, the largest and most competitive fleet in the regatta, with boats like Robert Armstrong’s J/100 BAD GIRL and Wesslund’s J/122 EL OCASO, there were no guarantees on the outcome going into the last race.  Ultimately, BAD GIRL won Sunday’s race, but EL OCASO’s third was enough to ensure the CSA-4 win with a 1-1-2-3 record, just two points ahead of BAD GIRL with a 2-2-4-1 tally.  Peter Lewis’s J/105 WHISTLER sailed a terrific regatta to grab 6th overall with a 7-5-3-15.  Sadly, Peter’s team had a shot at the top five and “punted” on the last day.

J/122 El Ocaso winning Heineken teamAt the traditional Prize-Giving ceremony on Kim Sha Beach, the evening's top prize for the regatta's “Most Worthy Performance Overall”- the St. Maarten- St Martin Cup- went to Wesslund's J/122 EL OCASO, the winner of the event's biggest division, the 18-boat CSA-4 class.

EL OCASO’s crew, resplendent in blue Hawaiian shirts, received their prize from St. Maarten's Honourable Prime Minister Ms. Sarah Westcott-Williams, who was gracious in her remarks honoring Wesslund and his team, while also recognizing the hundreds of international sailors who'd descended on the island for the Caribbean's largest regatta. It was the second time Wesslund's Florida-based squad was the “Most Worthy” of them all.  Other big winners included Armstrong’s team on the J/100 BAD GIRL, winning the Xerox Obersi Cup for “Spirit and Style.”  For a great overview of the event, style, fun, take a peak at PIGEON VISION’s “sailing video” taken with a toy-like drone.  For more St Maarten Heineken Regatta sailing information

J/125 Timeshaver- sailing off CaliforniaJ’s Crush Islands Race
J/160 & J/120 Dominate Class III
(Newport Beach, CA)- The second major offshore event in the Southern California racing season, the 5th Annual Islands Race, lived up to its billing as a fun but very challenging race.  Co-hosted between Newport Harbor YC (the start) and the San Diego YC (the finish), the race strategies are anything but obvious because there are at least 3-4 tactical segments of the race.  The start to the islands, getting around the islands, the shot from south of San Clemente to San Diego and then the finish (where anything can happen).

The teams started 1100 hrs on Friday, March 7th and hope to complete the 139nm course as fast as possible.  The race is an overnight that goes around the beautiful Channel Islands (including Catalina and San Clemente) and it can be deceptively challenging for many boats.  This year’s sailing was on the lighter side of the spectrum.

Said one notable meteorologist, “we ran the routing models for a few boats we are assisting in the Islands Race today from Long Beach, CA around Catalina and San Clemente Islands and into San Diego. Minimum wind speed will be in the Catalina Channel with breeze at 2-4 knots. Things improve as the afternoon goes along and you get double digit wind speeds around 4PM. If you are participating in this race it is important to note that the US NAVY will be conducting ‘live fire’ exercises on San Clemente Island and there is a strict exclusion zone that you need to stay out of.  See amendments to the course at the club this morning”.

For those who sailed the course correctly, it was time for “victory at sea” celebrations!  Bringing it home in Division III were two J/Teams that are well-known in the offshore SoCAL sailing community.  Winning was
Gary Winton’s SHENANIGANS from Coronado Bay YC, taking class by a mere 7 minutes and 4th overall!  Taking second was John & Myron Lyon’s J/160 INNOCENT MERRIMENT from San Diego YC, both beating a Farr 40, XP 44 and Farr 55 in the process and taking 6th overall.

As for Division III “wannabe’s”, the unfortunate fate that befell Viggo Torbenson’s J/125 TIMESHAVER from Dana Point YC was a “tight rounding” of San Clemente Island (yeah, that place that had live shelling from the US NAVY).  Sadly, the navigator may have missed the “memo” from the race HQ on this particular issue and “hazards to navigation”.  Consequently, Timeshaver got DSQ’d for entering the “bombing exclusion zone” around San Clemente Island, one of the marks of the course.  Timeshaver may have easily won the division by a long shot, other than their navigational error.  They had finished over 20 minutes elapsed in front of the J/160 and miles ahead of the J/120.  Next time, as they say!  For more Islands Race sailing information

J/80 sailing crew- Key WestJ/80 US Midwinters Report
(Key West, FL)- Top J/80 sailor Andrew Kerr has been going down to Key West as part of his annual pilgrimage south to escape the frozen Midwest.  He provided a great report on how it all went down for the J/80 class in their recent Midwinters.

“This year’s Key West Race Week was also the venue for the J80 Midwinter Championships; it is hard to think of a better venue for a championship in January!  Peter Craig and his team from Premiere Racing always make the event a World class event with top level race management on the water and great shore side activities after wards.

On the Sunday evening I participated as a member of the tactician’s panel representing division three (J80 class and PHRF 1 and 2 fleets) with Ed Baird as moderator, Ed does a great job keeping everyone engaged and the ideas and conversation flowing and as a result the interaction with the audience was highly effective with great insight and thoughts from the panel and questions from the audience.

J/80s sailing in formation- Key West, FLFor the fourth year I sailed with Vayu 2 as Tactician and Jib trimmer. Vayu 2 is a J/80 chartered from J World Annapolis by Ron Buzil of Chicago, helmed by Jahn Tihansky (Jahn Owns J/World Annapolis and is the Offshore coach for the US Naval academy) and TJ Voght from Atlanta.  TJ and Jahn go a long way back together as they owned a J/24 together in Tampa back in 1979. I have coached Ron’s Benetau 40.7 team in Chicago for the last 14 years.  Our regular spinnaker trimmer Nigel Brownett from Long Beach was not able to make the event and TJ filled in for him.

Fourteen J80’s were originally registered, by start time we were down to 12 boats but we were still the second largest fleet and had great representation of fleets from Annapolis, Long Beach, New York, Chicago, Florida and Rhode Island and featured many talented teams, some of them included  former J80 NA Champs John Stork Jr. and team on Rumour , Bill &  Shannon Lockwood and there  team from New Jersey on Shenanigans, last year’s 3rd place North Americans ( at Block Island Race Week) finisher Gary Panariello and team  on Courageous , perennial top finisher Chris & Liz Chadwick on Church Key and top West coast finisher Bob and Cheryl Hayward from Long Beach, CA on Blue Jay.

With the J80 North Americans and World Championships both scheduled for  Annapolis in September the event was a perfect way for teams to get revved up for the road to the World Championships, other stops on the J80 winter tour include Charleston Race Week & the Annapolis NOOD with Key West being the kick starter.
Key West always presents a variety of conditions – flatter water and light air all the way to big waves and 25 knots with everything in between as the frontal systems roll down from the North, so the sails and tuning have to be flexible to every day’s different weather pattern change.

On Vayu 2 we strictly followed the tuning guide and took a lot of time prior to the regatta making sure we had the rake and pre bend exactly right, the mast butt in the correct place for the 3. 5 inches of pre bend and a tuning matrix set up so we knew the number of turns up and down from base setting.

Every day when we returned to the dock we were sure to go back to base setting so we knew our starting point, when on the water we were sure to watch the leeward upper and Intermediate shrouds for visual clues of power – if 10 knots and above we needed to seem them snug as per the tuning guide, if under 10 knots then they needed to be looser for power with a ½ to 3/ 4 quarter inch of side sag in the mast for power. This visual clue proves an excellent visual for how good the tuning is, coupled with the helms feedback on power and feel.

J/80 sailors- having fun at Key WestIn the variety of wind and seas conditions that we experienced one key element we found was critical was playing the vang upwind in the puffs and lulls , on the rail we would call the lull and how long it would last for – “ light spot, last’s for 4 to 6 lengths , followed by a slow build” , on receipt of this we would ease the vang and backstay, ease the mainsheet , pull the traveler up and ease the Jib  slightly. Depending on the nature of the puff – a slow build would require just an adjustment on the backstay, if a big build we would be sure to tighten the vang to help flatten the lower part of the Main and take pressure of the mainsheet and traveler to in turn make them easier to play. Easing the vang in the lulls is the critical element though as the J80 will suffer badly if the vang is on tight in any lull.

The first day of the series was the lightest with winds from the SW with the priority being velocity over angle and trying to connect the bands of Zephyrs and stay away from the other boats not only in our fleet but in the other fleets as well to maintain clear air both upwind and downwind.   This day essentially was your team against the race course, these are days I personally really enjoy as it is pure strategic sailing while balancing the tactical needs.

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday the wind freshened and went to a pre frontal NNW / NW with building chop, occasionally going North, port tack into the waves was much harder on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so we found it better to have the Jib lead one hole forward on that tack for power and the lead in the normal setting on the other one for the easier tack where we could trim the Jib harder. With the lead one hole forward we found that we could ease the Jib sheet for power while still retaining the form shape in the leech of the sail effectively.

Tuesday was particularly challenging as there were rain squalls and complex cloud systems and a 90 degree wind shift in the middle of the day - the rain clouds brought more wind and large shifts followed by big light spots.  In the gusty pre Frontal conditions we found we had to ease the mainsheet out a little quickly as the Traveler would not suffice on an initial basis, in this instance the Jib was eased as well to keep the slot consistent and the boat tracking straight. If the Jib is kept in all the pressure will go to the bow and blow the boat sideways. The value of playing the Jib cannot be overstated – easing slightly in a puff ( as the apparent wind shifts aft toward the true wind) , easing in a lull or light spot for power and easing it together with the Main in a big puff to keep the boat tracking.  To this end I found myself occasionally “French Hiking” (made famous by the French 12 meter sailors from the America’s Cup’s in Newport) of half facing inboard to play the sheet while hiking out fully with the lower body, it is not comfortable at all but being a long-time J/24 sailor I am not used to rail comfort anyway so no difference! It was however effective in the conditions where the Jib demanded to be played all the time otherwise the boat would come to a stop in a square wave.

I found the North sails weather service to be excellent all week and also an excellent learning tool as there is an in-depth discussion of cloud formations and what to look for in the sky. There was much value on sailing to the ridge of the cloud to get the downdraft and lift and avoid the middle of the cloud where there is updraft, the exception to this was with the rain clouds. Along these lines I encourage teams to keep copies of the weather forecasts, compare them with the notes gleaned from the race course and from that one can start to develop trends in what to look for on the race course.

These three days were very shifty with the wind oscillating 15 degrees or sometimes more, the priority was to be on the closest tack to the mark and consolidate on other boats by taking opportunities to tack and cross whenever the opportunity presented itself.

Having kept notes on the event since the first Key West in January, 1988 (it’s a lot of notes!) the general consensus was to sail toward the shore for both more velocity and an easier port tack into the waves when you made the trek across to the mark just shy of the port tack layline, there was also a geographical left shift at the top of the beat so it was important to tack shy of port tack lay line in expectation of a lift later on.

If there is one trait that can serve one consistently well as a tactician it is patience, as very often the situation does not look good and a knee jerk reaction to a situation rarely works, along these lines we waited until the wind would come back to median or got ourselves into a wind line and then tacked, it does not always work but very often it can bale you out of a situation that is less than ideal and mitigate the potential damage an adverse shift can do!

On the downwind legs it was important to keep a firm luff on the spinnaker as there was some cross chop and also to be aggressive with crew weight fore and aft – forward in the light spots – particularly out of lighter air Jibes to prevent the transom from sinking and aft in the puffs to promote a plane.

When planing was possible we would get the weight aft, unroll the Jib and utilize it as a staysail, pull the backstay on to firm the luff of the spinnaker and ease the vang to promote twist in the sail and provide a wider steering groove for playing the waves, to this end we had three marks on the vang for light, medium and heavy air.

J/80 sailing upwind off Key West, FLIn a big light spot the jib was rolled up, the weight moved well forward and the backstay eased right off. In my position my weight position varied a lot depending on the wind and waves - in lighter air i always find value in standing up to see the wind and doing constant “ Sanity Checks” as Mike Ingham calls it – looking around and scanning nonstop  at the highest point on the cabin top in front of the mast  while hop scotching from side to side to balance the boat in puffs and lulls,  then getting the weight low for any chop before standing up again, in medium air I would alternate going forward in the lulls to standing on the balls of my feet and pressing against the lifeline , when we could plane I would go to the back of the boat , call puffs and pump the mainsail if needed.

We constantly looked out for crab pots as we had heard stories of some teams on the other circles hitting them, as our designated “weight Rover” – in a lull I would go to leeward and tighten the leeward spinnaker sheet as that has the potential to lasso a crab pot, we also were careful to make the sure the spinnaker pole tack line was in the cradle of the bow pulpit and tightened up as that could also catch a pot.

Friday was the passage of the cold front with the wind out of the NE with gusts up to 22 knots and some big waves, the fleet enjoyed one great final race and then it was back to the dock and on to the awards ceremony and team dinners to wrap up the week.

Key West was another fantastic  week -a big thank you to Peter Craig and Premiere Racing for putting on another world class Key West Race week , we are already looking forward to next year’s regatta!   For more J/80 Midwinters sailing and scoring information

J/70s sailing downwind at Bacardi Miami Sailing Week
J/70 RASCAL Wins Bacardi Miami Sailing Week!
(Coconut Grove, FL)-  Forty J/70 teams trekked to southern Florida for the fifth annual running of BACARDI Miami Sailing Week(BMSW) presented by EFG Bank, held from March 6-8 on Biscayne Bay. What’s not to like about the venue and sailing on the Bay with great breeze and sunny skies. There were 192 boats registered across six one-design fleets, with competitors from 15 foreign nations (Australia, Bermuda, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, The Netherlands and Ukraine) travelling great distances (at great expense) to compete against top American sailors.

The ever-growing popularity of the J/70 class was again in evidence at BMSW where entries were up over 100% from their strong debut in last year’s event.  The class had many of the leading J/70 teams participating.   On the first day in moderate 8-12 kts SSE breezes, Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, Mass.), the 2013 J/70 North American Champion, posted finishes of 3-5 to take the overall lead with eight points.  BMSW defending champion Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) had nine points, followed by Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) with 11 points, and two skippers tied with 12 points each: Venezuela’s Victor Diaz de Leon and Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y).

J/70s sailing Bacardi Miami Sailing weekOn a champaign sailing day with nice breeze and white caps flickering across sunny Biscayne Bay, only one race was sailed Friday in the J/70 fleet (much to the disapointment of many J/70 sailors).  Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) took the win and moved from third into the lead of the overall standings, tied on points (12) with BMSW defending champion Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) who finished third.  Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y) finished second and stands third overall with 14 points, followed by Boston’s Heather Gregg-Earl who finished 14th and has 22 points.  Fifth in the overall standings with 23 points is New Orleans sailor Tim Molony who placed fifth in the race.  “Three general recalls this morning and a couple of black flags, so we held back, played the game and did not push too hard,” said Welles after today’s race. “In the big puffs we worked the main upwind and then managed the angles well on the downwind. With 40 boats it was good fun, really tight close racing.”

J/70 Muse sailing Bacardi Miami Sailing WeekSadly, day three was a “glass out” and no racing took place.  With scores of 10-1-1, Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.) took the win in the J/70 fleet with 12 points, winning the tie-breaker over BMSW defending champion Brian Keane (Weston, Mass.) who had finishes of 7-2-3.  Peter Duncan (Rye, N.Y) took third with 14 points; followed by Heather Gregg-Earl (Boston, Mass.) with 22 points; and Tim Molony (New Orleans, La.) with 23.

“Out of all the regattas this was a really great one to win,” said Welles.  “We had a great start, good team work, nice speed and a little luck. The first day we had about 10 kts, second day we had about 20 kts. So, I would say today [Saturday] they made a good choice to not race. Coming from Newport, we really love coming to BACARDI and we are so glad they invited the J/70  class to be part of it.”  Sailing photo credits- Cory Silken  For more BACARDI Miami Sailing Week information 


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

Gunboat chief- Peter Johnstone- at Heineken Regatta* Peter Johnstone was recently sailing on-board his old Gunboat 62 TRIBE in the St Maarten Heineken Regatta.  As described by the event, “there was plenty of hair-raising excitement in the multihull divisions, including Multihull 1, a.k.a. the “Gunboat class.” Five ballistic Gunboats hit the line almost in unison for the start of the round-the-island race. Gunboat 62 TRIBE won the start by inches, but Gunboat 62 ELVIS controlled the fleet heading into Pelican Bay and came out on top at the turning mark. But the lead was short lived. Elvis’ spinnaker failed to deploy properly and Coco de Mer took full advantage, passed Elvis to leeward. Gunboat 62 Elvis sailing upwindElvis fought back and just got inside Coco de Mer at the Long Bay mark and into clear air. Shortly rounding Tintamarre, Elvis unfurled their screecher and took off like a scalded cat, hitting 27.7 knots of boat speed. Elvis finished the 32-mile race in 2h, 44m, 22s to take line honors. The two Gunboat 66s, Slim and Coco de Mer had a photo finish for second place. Coco de Mer took the line just three seconds ahead of Slim.  Needless to say, Peter J is having fun sailing “bicycles” instead of “tricycles” (trimarans) or unicycles (monohulls).  The regatta put together a nice “drone video” of the event with some great footage of Heineken CSA class winners J/125 STARK RAVING MAD and J/122 EL OCASO and Pete’s Gunboat division.  Check out this St Maarten Heineken Regatta “drone sailing video” (BTW, very cool, very well done).

VPLP 100 footer- for Jim Clark and Ken Read project* Ken Read & Jim Clark- Never heard of them?  Well, one has won SIX J/24 World Championships underneath his belt, amongst a few other notable accomplishments.  The other guy was one of the co-founding partners of SILICON GRAPHICS (super-cool Unix machines) and NETSCAPE (the stuff that helped build the Internet as you know it today, e.g. web browsers & web servers).  Check out this great SAILING WORLD interview with Ken Read, President of North Sails about Jim’s and Kenny’s “most excellent new project for sailing super fast somewhat comfortably without going mad”:

In the case of Jim Clark’s new ocean racer under construction at Hodgdon Yachts in Boothbay Harbor, Maine, quite a lot, or so says skipper Ken Read. Ken Read’s eyes light up when talking about Jim Clark’s newest ocean-racer project like a child at Christmastime who’s just unwrapped a Red Rider BB gun. The guilty pleasure lies in the fact that this is no ordinary 100-footer (if one can be ordinary). This yacht is designed to be a full-on record-breaker. You name the race or passage—Transat, Transpac, Bermuda, Fastnet, Hobart, to name but five—and it’s likely a target on their project whiteboard.

VPLP 100 foot sailboat- Jim Clark and Ken Read project“This boat is going to be so cool,” says Read, Clark’s skipper and the President of North Sails who has experienced all types of campaigns—from J/24 World championships, to the America’s Cup and Volvo Ocean Race—in his decades-long experience in the sport. “This type of project isn’t for everyone, but it has a cool presence that will hopefully do the sport good, whether you’re a cruiser or a racer.”

Building a 21st century record-breaker is no small feat. It requires a plethora of designers to tank test scale models and run computer simulations, and there’s the “swat team” of boatbuilders to cook the pre-preg carbon-fiber hull and deck structures. All told, upwards of 32 people have contributed some input to the design and build through active participation or consultation. What will set this boat apart, says Read, is power, and lots of it.

The boat will be 100 feet long with a displacement near 30 tons, beam in the mid-20s, and a canting keel that will draw also in the mid-20s.  Read on here, thanks for contribution from Sean McNeill- SAILING

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.