Wednesday, September 17, 2014

J/Newsletter- September 17th, 2014

J/24 Worlds- sailboats rounding markJ/24 Worlds 35th Anniversary Preview 
 (Newport, RI)- Back in 1979, no one would ever imagine the J/24 class would achieve such enthusiastic support and popularity that in its first World Championships in Newport, RI, hosted by Ida Lewis YC and sponsored by Bacardi Rum, that 69 boats would participate in that event.  It was a notable achievement for many reasons.  While the first J/24 Midwinters in 1978 had 21 boats (85% of them had pro’s aboard!), the 1979 Worlds was also highlighted by the “long distance” race that experienced the tail-feathers of the famous depression that later annihilated the 1979 Fastnet Race!  Those who finished the “around Jamestown Island” race without broaching at some point (about half of the top 15) also later experienced at the after-party a near-tornado that lifted the giant marquee tent about 1.5 feet off its stakes that was based at the Newport Yachting Center!  Needless to say, nerves were calmed with soothing Bacardi refreshments later into the evening as the monster depression whistled off to the east to wreck greater havoc elsewhere on the North Atlantic Ocean!

Now, celebrating the 35th edition of the J/24 Worlds, Sail Newport and friends at Fort Adams State Park are hosting the regatta from September 18th to 26th, with racing starting on Monday.  The line-up of teams from around the world continues to be extraordinary for such a venerable class.  Seventy-one boats!  Who would believe that three decades later a J/24 Worlds in Newport would be just as big as it was when it first started as a “newbie” class on the International scene back in the days when Quarter-Tonners, Half-Tonners and One-Tonners were all the rage in the early 1980’s IOR world (yeah, pointy-ended boats that could swap ends faster than you could blink)!

There are some J/24 sailors in the current entry list who have long-term memory banks that can remember that far back, especially since some of them were there “back in the old days” at the O.K. Corral of yacht racing!  Who might that be?  You got it.  A guy from Portland, Maine for starters.  You’d be hard-pressed not to get a good story out of the “old man of the J/24 class”- Tony Parker and the infamous BANGOR PACKET who were originally from Portland, Maine.  He’s done O.K. for a moonlighter in Washington, DC politics in recent years.  Beware, crafty old fox that he is, Tony’s team are always contenders in their “local waters” of the northeast!

J/24 Worlds- Helly Hansen teamWhile Tony has seen literally every J/24 World Champion come and go over time (e.g. Ken Read, Terry Hutchinson, Brad Read, Mauricio Santa Cruz, Tim Healy/ John Mollicone, Ed Baird, etc etc- see, he knows he is up against a formidable “new generation” of sailors that are every bit as good as their past heroes.  Leading that charge will certainly be current J/24 European Champion Mike Ingham from Rochester, New York; Pat Toole from Santa Barbara, California on 3 BIG DOGS (past J/24 North American Champions); Mauricio Santa Cruz on BRUSCHETTA from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (past J/24 World Champion four-times!); Tim Healy/ John Mollicone on Team HELLY HANSEN from Newport, RI (two-time J/24 World Champions); Mike Marshall on PIPE DREAM from Jamestown, RI; Will Welles’ COUGAR team from Newport, RI (J/24 US Nationals champions); Ken Porter’s “S” from Valle de Bravo, Mexico (Mexican National Champion); Scott Milne on TREMENDOUS SLOUCH from Seattle, WA (West Coast Champion); Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER from Rochester, NY; Rossi Milev’s CLEAR AIR from Mississauga, Ontario (Canadian Champion); Rolf Turnquist & Billy Allen’s OZ from Minnesota (founder of J/24 #1 fleet and World E-Scow Champions); and Sumio Shimoyama & Mark Hillman on SOKOKUMARU (Japanese Champion).  That is just a taste of the leading candidates for the event.

Throw in many strong teams from around the world, on both a regional and continental level and the balance of the fleet is as strong as it has ever been in the past three decades.  Why?  Because, the J/24 is an affordable, entry-level, world-class racer.  For just $5,000 USD you can get a good boat that can be made ship-shape to sail against the world’s best sailors.  With 5,500+ plus J/24s floating around the world, it’s not hard to find one to go racing someplace!

As a result, some “blasts from the past” and some recent additions to the class (all world-class sailors) are looking to have some fun in this year’s Newport J/24 Worlds.  Don’t count out some teams like the Constants brothers (Al & Dave) from Long Island Sound sailing BLITZ, as smart a team as they come with a pedigree as long as any modern tattooists decorated arms.

J/24 Bruschetta from BrazilThere is an enormous contingent from both South America as well as Japan.  South American teams include Argentineans like Sergio Pendola’s CACIQUE and Nicolas Cubria’s ELVIS.  In addition, top Peruvian teams include Luis Olcese’s SCARAMOUSH and Lucas Peschiera’s TIAMAT.  The top Uruguayan team from Montevideo is Pedro Garra’s EXTASIS. From Chile are Vernon Robert’s GRINGA DC and Matias Seguel’s SEMI-PRO. From Japan are not just Sumio’s SOKOKUMARU’s team, but Keiji Kondo’s FOX, Shigetoshi Shirahama’s WHITE SQUALL, Koji Matsumoto’s TEMPUS and Nobuo Nakazawa’s GEKKO.

Surprisingly, the only German team is Frithoj Schade’s JJ ONE from Berlin.  And, the sole Italian team is Marco d’Aloisio Mayo’s DON J.  Plus, the sole Irish team is Luke McBride’s BANDIT from Omagh, County Tyrone— all three countries have a strong European presence.  Perhaps for the first time in J/24 Worlds history, it’s amazing that United Kingdom, Australian or Monaco teams are not represented.

The Canadian fleet north of the border have not only Milev’s CLEAR AIR crew arriving at Fort Adams in Newport, but a number of characters are wandering south seeking gold and silver from their southern neighbors.  Who can blame them with the USD heading further south all the time!  Get it now when the getting is good.  Amongst the gold-rush seekers are Nicolas Mabboux’s BAYGULL- ACCENTURE CONSULTING crew from Montreal, Quebec; Ted Bartlewski’s DRIVERS WANTED from Mississauga, Ontario; Edmond Rees’ A-SALT from Toronto; Tom Barbeau’s NAVTECH.CA; and Blair Dinsdale’s JOURNEY from Toronto.
For more J/24 World Championship sailing information

J/70 Go-Rilla from West CoastJ/70 West Coasts Preview
J/Teams Leaders for Ahmanson Cup
(Newport Beach, CA)- A keynote event on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club circuit is the famous Ahmanson Cup Regatta held on the third weekend of September every year- this year from September 20th to 21st.  Featured for this year’s event is the J/70 West Coast Championship as well as the regular PHRF Offshore buoy-race classes.

With a great performance at the Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco, the West Coast contingent of J/70 sailors are now looking forward to their next signature event on the Pacific Coast circuit.

The leading contenders are surely local class veterans like Tom Garret’s SLOOP JOHN B from Newport Harbor YC, Dan Gribble/ Kurt Wiese’s GO-RILLA from Balboa YC, Eric Kownacki/ Tom Jenkins’ DFZ from Manhattan Beach YC, and Karl Pomeroy’s ZERO TO 60 from Newport Harbor YC.

J/70 Eclipse from Santa Barbara, CAPerhaps the spoilers to the local’s party could be Stephen & Mike Drammer’s ECLIPSE from Santa Barbara YC or Beverly Burr’s VIVACE from Westlake YC.

On the PHRF Buoy Class offshore side of the regatta, there is no question an enormous spread in PHRF handicaps could become a “play” in the overall scheme of things.  Brian Dougherty’s J/105 LEGACY from Newport Harbor YC is up against Tim Harmon’s J/124 CIRRUS from Alamitos Bay YC; Roy Jones/ Scott Poe’s J/133 TANGO from Balboa YC; and a raft of other boats that include TP-52s!

In the PHRF RLC cruising class, the J/124 MARISOL, sailed by Seth Hall and friends, is up against Paul Stemler’s J/44 PATRIOT from Newport Harbor YC.   For more Ahmanson Cup sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

What is September renowned for in the northern hemisphere?? It’s maximum hurricane/ typhoon season!  It also represents a whirlwind of major events for J/Teams worldwide in the one-design world.  For starters, this past week saw the inaugural J/70 World Championships, presented by Helly Hansen, taking place in Newport, Rhode Island and hosted by the New York YC.  It also marked the 50th version of the Rolex Big Boat Series in San Francisco, California with fleets of J/70s, J/105s, J/111s and J/120s hosted by St Francis YC.  Back East, the J/30s enjoyed their North American Championship at Westport, Connecticut and the J/80s sailed their North American Championship in Annapolis, Maryland, hosted by Annapolis YC.

Over in Europe, the J/80s had a great turnout for the J/80 German Open sailed in Glucksburg, Germany and was hosted by the Flensburg Segel-club.  Then, a J/105, J/122, J/133 and J/109s battled for double-handed supremacy in the Dutch Short-handed Series hosted by the Noordzeeclub and

We also received some great reports from J sailors, including Andy Costello racing a “mini-me” DOUBLE TROUBLE- he had a scream sailing J/70s in the Rolex Big Boat Series.  Also, Paul Cayard sailed with Costello and had some interesting insights on his blog.  Then, Tim Healy described some of the elements that enabled him to win the J/70 World Championship.  And finally, Norm Curnow continues to provide amusing anecdotes cruising his J/36 JAZZ in the Med!

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:

Sep 19-26- J/24 World Championship- Newport, RI
Sep 20-21- J/70 West Coast Championship- Newport Beach, CA
Sep 24-27- J/70 Europeans- Riva del Garda, Italy
Sep 25-28- J/80 Italian Nationals- Loano, Italy
Sep 25-28- J/105 North American Championship- Toronto, ONT
Sep 26-28- J/Fest San Diego- San Diego, CA
Sep 28- Oct 5- J/80 World Championship- Annapolis, MD
Oct 10-12- Lorient J/80 Open- Lorient, France
Oct 24-26- J/105 Masters Regatta- San Diego, CA
Oct 24-26- Seattle Grand Prix Regatta- Seattle, WA
Oct 30- Nov 2- French J/80 Nationals- La Rochelle, France
Oct 31- Nov 2- J/105 Lipton Cup- San Diego, CA
Jan 18-23- Key West Race Week- Key West, FL

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

J/70 Helly Hansen/ Tim Healy winning WorldsHELLY HANSEN Crowned J/70 World Champion
(Newport, RI)- The 2014 J/70 World Championship, presented by Helly Hansen, was the largest inaugural World Championship of all the J classes since 1977.  86 boats and 14 countries were represented and the event was hosted by New York YC and staged at Sail Newport in the Fort Adams Sailing facility.  Twelve races were conducted over five days in mostly moderate winds and big seas, challenging the top sailors from around the world.

Crowned as the inaugural J/70 World Champion was Tim Healy’s HELLY HANSEN team (Geoff Becker- tactician, Gordon Borges and Paul Abdullah) from Newport, Rhode Island.  Winning the J/70 World Corinthian Championship and taking 5th Overall was Heather Gregg-Earl’s team on MUSE (Stu Johnstone- tactician, Joe Bardenheier and Stu Saffer), all New York YC members and Tufts University Jumbo sailor alumni.  Silver Fleet Champion was Mark Ploch’s crew on SUGAR DADDY from American YC in Rye, New York.
The win for Healy’s crew did not come easy, for they were challenged from the outset by Joel Ronning’s incredibly capable crew on the famous CATAPULT.  Hailing from Minneapolis, Minnesota, Ronning is accustomed to sailing fast boats, apparent wind-machines like E-Scows, A-Scows and M32s.  Sailing CATAPULT with long-time crew Victor Diaz DeLeon of Venezuela, and San Diego sailors Willem Van Waay and Bill Hardesty (the latter the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year & current Etchells 22 World Champion), Ronning won three out of three races sailed on a lumpy Rhode Island Sound on the first day of racing!

The NYYC RC, led by PRO Tom Duggan, started the fleet (43 boats per flight) in an 18-20 knot ENE breeze that moderated slightly over the subsequent two races.  Between the strong breeze and the sea state – the swells did not subside until the tide change late in the day during the third and final race – competitors were given a healthy workout.

Ronning’s CATAPULT team led the fleet overall with only three points (three bullets!) over Healy’s HELLY HANSEN crew that posted a consistent 2-2-2 for six points. Said Healy after racing, “Everyone is willing to share ideas on how to sail the boats better and how we can make a stronger J/70 class. The competition is fierce but the focus for sure is to have fun racing and to make good friends along the way.”

Healy summed up the hurdles facing competitors racing in Newport for the championship.  “The biggest challenge has been figuring out how to sail the boats in the open water of Rhode Island Sound.  The current is difficult to figure out (I am not sure anyone has it figured out) and predicting the wind shifts is also difficult.  In early September, we usually have good wind but it can come from just about any direction. Air temperatures can be anywhere from the high 50s to the low 80s.”

J/70 Savasana- Brian Keane2013 BACARDI® Miami Sailing Week class champion Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., at the helm of SAVASANA, was one point behind Healy, in third overall, followed by Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz on BRUSCHETTA with 15 points.  Rounding out the top-five was San Francisco’s Jim Cunningham on LIFTED with 16 points (current Etchells 22 National Champion).

After the second day of racing, both Ronning’s CATAPULT and Healy’s HELLY HANSEN were tied on points overall.  With 86 boats racing, the fleet had been divided into four color-coded groups for the first two days of competition.  Each group sailed two races on Wednesday, which, when added to the three races sailed on the opening day, allowed each team to count the best four out of five to determine whether they will sail in either the gold or silver fleet starting Thursday.

Winning the final race of the day was Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz on BRUSCHETTA, who stands fourth overall with 13 points after finishes of 5-[6]-4-3-1.  Santa Cruz has only been racing the J/70 for a short time – in fact his first regatta was the J/70 North American Championship this past July in Rochester, where he placed fourth in a fleet of 71 boats.  He is, however, a familiar face on the top of the podium, especially in the J/24 class in which he holds four world championship titles (2012, 2009, 2007 and 2006).  He is racing in Newport for the first time since sailing a Tornado here during Olympic campaigns that resulted in his twice (2004, 2000) representing Brazil at the Olympic Games.  That he was sailing the J/70 Worlds with a crew that he never previously raced with (all members of the Rio de Janeiro Yacht Club) clearly does not slow him down.

TEAM CATAPULTRonning’s CATAPULT crew remained at the top of the overall standings after sailing to a 1-1-1-4-[8] for seven points.  His three-point lead over Healy’s HELLY HANSEN was eroded Wednesday with Healy posting 2-2-2-1-[3] to tie things up on points. Keane’s SAVASANA crew retained third overall on finishes of 1-3-3-2-[11] for nine points, just four points ahead of Santa Cruz.  NEW WAVE’s Martie Kullman, of St. Petersburg, Fla., rounded out the top-five with 17 points on finishes of 6-[24]-6-3-2.

After two days of qualifiers, the fleet was split into Gold and Silver divisions, the former competing for the World Championship for three days- Thursday to Saturday.  Day three was postponed ashore in the morning until a thunderstorm threat had lifted.  The competitors were once again sent out to do battle on Rhode Island Sound. Under partly cloudy skies, with breeze ranging from 12-18 knots out of the southwest, competitors were tested by another day of swells and seaweed that did little to help their results.

Tied on points to start the day, Ronning’s CATAPULT and Healy’s HELLY HANSEN, the story looked to be a replay of the previous days when Ronning finished 1-2 to Healy’s 2-1 in the first two races.  However, Healy went on to win the third race of the day while Ronning used his drop race on a 14th-place finish. Healy’s HELLY HANSEN was now the overall standings leader with 11 points, while Ronning sat in second overall with 18 points.

“The NYYC RC was watching a line of thunderstorms that dissipated as they got closer and actually passed to the north of us, so they just were on the safe side,” said Healy of the morning’s postponement. “With the breeze expected to be good in the afternoon they didn’t have a problem with waiting a little bit and we ended up getting three really good races in, so it worked out. It probably maxed out around 15-16, so it was in the range of 12-16 knots from the SSW.”

J/70 planing downwind at Worlds in NewportWith the sea state factoring in again, Healy believed the swells with cross-chop on top were giving the fleet more of a workout than they might have anticipated. “Upwind it was really choppy. The boats are only 23 feet, so the key is to keep the momentum up and keep powering through the waves. If you can do that and keep the boat moving then you can extend a little bit and have good speed. The problem is you really can’t escape hitting bad waves. You’re going to pound a wave whether you like it or not every once in a while and then getting the boat back up to speed as fast as possible is a big deal. There also was a lot of seaweed out there and steering around the clumps of seaweed and making sure to keep your keel and rudder clear of it was also a big deal. Downwind it was perfect surfing conditions so working hard and getting the whole team to work together to catch waves really made a big difference, too. Not only catching a wave but staying on it helps downwind and made an enormous difference in speed.”

For the penultimate day of racing, the NYYC PRO Tom Duggan elected to go north into Narragansett Bay.  It was a tough choice, but with few options left for the fleet— one of the reasons the large fleet was split into groups of 45 boats.  A 90 boat start line in the Bay is impossible, but it could be done with a 45 boat start.  Given that option, the NYYC RC worked to get the competitors racing before the northerly breeze died.  In roughly 10 knots of breeze, two races – one each for the gold and silver fleets – were run before the breeze ultimately ran out.

It was a complete change of pace for the competitors who had faced big breeze and rough seas for the first three days of the series; picking the correct side of the course and factoring in the ebb tide was the key to doing well.

For series leader, Healy’s lone race would become his drop as he picked up a 13th-place finish (and that was after a huge comeback on the second windward leg after being deep in the upper 20s at mark two in the race).  Despite crossing the finish behind his closest rival, Ronning’s CATAPULT in 10th place, Healy retained the lead position heading into the final day.  Healy’s lead over Ronning (14 points vs 28) was not insurmountable for Ronning, in light of an earlier start for the final day and the Race Committee’s plan to get in three races.

Keane’s SAVASANA was the winner of the lone gold fleet race, which helped to slightly close his points gap on the leaders.  With 41 points, Keane had also improved his margin over Kullman’s NEW WAVE, who had 55 points and was fourth overall.

Team MuseAfter a meteoric ascent from 24th into 5th overall in the standings on Thursday’s Championship Gold Fleet races (with a 5-4-3 score), 2013 J/70 North American Champion Heather Gregg-Earl’s MUSE kept the momentum going with a second-place finish in Friday’s race.  MUSE now retained the fifth spot on 60 points and continued as the top Corinthian team in the series.

“We’re pretty happy about our position considering the talent in the fleet,” said Gregg-Earl.  “We are super excited about where we are in the standings so far; it’s a really deep talent pool and to be in the top-15 in the regatta was our goal and, luckily, we’re achieving that so far.”

Gregg-Earl was sailing with Joe Bardenheier (Boston), Stu Johnstone (Newport, R.I.) and Stu Saffer (New York, N.Y.).  All four are not only alumni of Tufts University Sailing Team (Medford, Mass.), but also members of New York Yacht Club and it was through NYYC’s Team Racing program that the four came together.  “We are all friends and having a great time sailing together,” said Gregg-Earl, explaining that they’ve been able to keep a Corinthian team and still do well.

In the silver fleet, Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, on CACHONDO, moved up from third to first overall with 104 points after finishing fifth in today’s lone race for that fleet.  Following CACHONDO was a three-way tie on points – 106 – between Mark Ploch of the Bronx, N.Y., on SUGAR DADDY, Newport’s Blake and Lud Kimbrough on NOSTALGIA, and Geoffrey Pierini of Rumson, N.J. on SURGE.

For the final day, the NYYC RC brought the fleet back out to Rhode Island Sound where three races were run in 8-17 knots of breeze from the ENE.  It was tricky day of sailing.  The wind was flicking back and forth from the NE to East with tremendous variations in velocity and enormous wind streaks on one side of the course or the other.

Winning the first race of the day was Ronning’s CATAPULT.  With Healy’s HELLY HANSEN crossing the line in fourth, Ronning was able to chip away at the deficit and, in race two, the margin was further cut to seven points when Ronning finished fourth and Healy finished eighth.  However, in the final race, won by Keane’s SAVASANA, Healy crossed the line in second with Ronning back in sixth, earning Healy’s HELLY HANSEN team the championship title on 28 points to Ronning’s 39.  Keane retained third overall with 61 points, while Florida’s Kullman, on NEW WAVE, and Boston’s Heather Gregg-Earl, on MUSE, were tied, respectively for fourth and fifth, on 83 points.  Gregg-Earl and the crew on MUSE were also the World Corinthian Champions.

“It was a fun week,” said Healy.  “The nice part is there was wind the whole time; we enjoyed that, but because there’s wind you have to work hard and at this point everybody is tired but also excited at the same time.”  This was Healy’s third world championship title as he adds the J/70 title to two he has won in the J/24 class (2013, 2010).

Healy continued to say, “The key to doing well is time spent in the boat.  From day one when Jeff Johnstone called and said ‘we have the first two boats ready to go, are you interested in doing some sea trials?’ I jumped on it.  As soon as I sailed the boats I knew the class was going to be huge.  I think it’s the simplicity of it.  Anybody who grew up sailing dinghies or got into small keelboat sailing can go down and look at a J/70 and say ‘I get it.’  They can look at the rig and see that it’s simple, and how the spinnaker works and how the main works, the deck layout is totally simple and clean and it’s easy to handle.  The boat performs really well upwind; downwind it’s exciting and it’s planing.  It’s got just about everything for the typical sailor looking for a fast one-design boat that’s easy to sail.  And it performs well.  The younger sailors can handle it and sail it, same for older sailors and it’s a good fit for women’s teams also.”

The youngest competitor on the race course was 13-year old Julian Sudofsky of Marion, Mass., who missed a week of eighth grade at Old Rochester Regional to race with his father Mike Sudofsky on CARLOS.  The young sailor was not simply enjoying a week off from school; as a veteran in the J/70 class he has twice raced in Key West Race Week, along with events in Annapolis and Cedar Point.  “Even though we didn’t do too well, we had so much fun because everyone was top competitors,” said Sudofsky who handles the bow on CARLOS.  “I just got to see Tim Healy, and Brian Keane is also my neighbor,” he added.

J/70 RAFBF SPITFIRE- Simon LingFrom their patriotic hats to their colorful spinnaker, one team garnering lots of attention on the course was Team RAFBF Spitfire from Great Britain, captained by Simon Ling of Burford.

“Team Spitfire was formed about six years ago,” explained Ling.  “We’re made up of serving, ex-serving members of the Royal Air Force and a couple of civilians as well.  We basically look to sail as competitively as possible but also to promote the RAF charity: the RAF Benevolent Fund.  The name Spitfire comes from the iconic airplane that was built in the south where we sail in The Solent, and it seemed the perfect name for an RAF team.”

Having done the UK national circuit, this was the first time Team RAFBF had been overseas with the boat.  “It was absolutely fabulous.  What can you not enjoy about Newport?,” said Ling.  “It’s my first time here, we’ve all fallen in love with the place; the race organization has been second to none, the racing has been fabulous and we’re really pleased with our result (12th overall and second Corinthian team).”

Ling as owner/helm switched to the J/70 last year after three years in the J/80.  “It’s been a fabulous boat; we love it,” said Ling ticking off the attributes of the J/70:  “The class has taken off, it’s new, there are 90 boats here at the first worlds, its great fun to sail, they’re demanding to sail, and they put a smile on your face.  What’s not to like about that?”

Seeing 86 teams, representing 14 nations, on the starting line for any sailing event is significant.  For those 86 teams to be contesting the first-ever world championship of the J/70 class is a testament to the popularity of the boat that was introduced just over two years ago, and even more notable was the mix of sailing royalty that was peppered throughout the fleet including: 2008 Finn Olympic Silver Medalist Zach Railey of Clearwater, Fla., 2004 Tornado Olympic Silver Medalist John Lovell of New Orleans, California’s 1996 Soling Olympic Bronze Medalist Jeff Madrigali, 2013 America’s Cup winning strategist and 2012 Laser Olympic Gold Medalist Tom Slingsby of Australia, 2011 Lightning Pan Am Games Silver Medalists  Jody Lutz of Brick, N.J., and brother Jay Lutz of Houston, who is also a four-time world champion in the J/80 and Lightning classes, 1984 Windsurfing Olympic Silver Medalist Scott Steele of Annapolis, Olympian and two-time Star World Champion Phil Trinter of Richmond, Va., 2013 Star World Champion John MacCausland of Cherry Hill, N.J., 2001 Sonar World Champion Mark Ploch of The Bronx, N.Y., and 2007 Snipe World Champion Tomas Hornos of Boston.

Kalle Coster and Annemieke Bes, both of whom represented The Netherlands three times at the Olympic Games were in the fleet, as was Vermont’s 2012 Olympian Trevor Moore, along with New York’s Cory Sertl and Jody Starck, both of whom have won the  Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Award multiple times.  Top-ranked USA #1 match racers Taylor Canfield and Stephanie Roble, 2005 J/24 World Champion Anthony Kotoun and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Eric Doyle were all onboard as was 2006 Audi Etchells 22 World Champion Jud Smith of Marblehead, 2013 J/22 World Champion Allan Terhune of Arnold, Md., and 2014 J/24 US National Champion Will Welles of Portsmouth, R.I.

In the World Championship Corinthian Division, Heather Gregg-Earl's MUSE team comfortably won the division with 83 total points.  Taking second was Peter McChesny's Annapolis, MD team on TROUBLE, completing the series with 151 pts.  Third was Simon Ling's crew on Team RAFBF SPITFIRE from Great Britain sitting on 167 pts, fourth was Martin Johnsson's AQUAHOLIKS with 173 pts and fifth was Jim Cunningham's LIFTED crew with 190 pts.  Also of note, Heather was named the "Top Woman Skipper" award, the first recipient of the Helen C Johnstone Memorial Award for the J/70 World Championship.

The Silver Fleet was won by Mark Ploch on SUGAR DADDY after finishes of 3-1-3 allowed him to edge out Puerto Rico’s Marco Teixidor, on CACHONDO, with 113 points versus 121. Taking third overall was Geoff Pierini on SURGE.

Finally, thanks to all the sponsors and supporters of the first J/70 Worlds!  Most especially, to HELLY HANSEN along with NORTH SAILS, Harken, Marlow, Southern Spars, Triad Trailers, Newport Storm, Performance Sail Tools/ Seadek, and Torqeedo!  In addition, kudos to Tom Duggan, Beth Duggan, Brad Dellenbaugh, Ned Jones, Kendra Muenter, Brad Read and other volunteers that made it all happen from NYYC, J/Boats and Sail Newport.  That 86 boats went through rigorous measurement including boat weight, rudder & keel, hull check, deck equipment, sails, etc in just two days was quite a feat. The measurement team included ISAF International measurers and an ISAF Technical Committee Member— it was an unprecedented effort with most boats passing through measurement in 12-15 minutes!   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images   For more J/70 World Championship sailing information.

J/70 Double Trouble- Andy CostelloThrill-A-Minute @ 50th Rolex BBS!
J/70s, J/105s, J/111s & J/120s Flying Downwind in Clouds of Spray!
(San Francisco, CA)- Wait, did any of the crews sailing in this years’ 50th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series not have fun??  After enduring the long beats to the various windward marks, it was pretty clear just about every sailor on every J sailing in this year’s event couldn’t wait to pop the big kite and simply “send it” down the Bay on insanely fast, planing runs zig-zagging around Alcatraz Island as they worked there way down 4 to 6nm runs!  Most spinnaker trimmers reported their arms got so long, friends from the San Francisco Zoo mistakenly reported seeing giant chimpanzees hanging around the docks with bottles of beer and Advil in hand!

A year after the contest for the 34th America’s Cup, world-class sailing is still alive and well on San Francisco Bay. Having developed stadium sailing long before the America’s Cup made it a local colloquialism, the St. Francis Yacht Club ensured fast fun for spectators as well as competitors by designing each day’s second race (always sailed in a blustery afternoon breeze) to finish within cheering distance of the clubhouse’s famous second-story race deck that commands attention east to Alcatraz Island and west to a sun-drenched (sometimes fog-enshrouded) Golden Gate Bridge.

J/111 Madmen in San Francisco BayIn the J/111 class debut for RBBS, Dorian McKelvy’s (Portola Valley, Calif.) MADMEN looked to be the favorite in the J/111 class for the Atlantic Perpetual Trophy and the Rolex Submariner watch, but after two days of leading, the team succumbed to Rob Theis’s (Los Altos, Calif.) AEOLUS, which wound up only one point ahead of MADMEN in the final standings.

The J/105s made up the largest fleet this year, and Bruce Stone’s (San Francisco) ARBITRAGE held the lead every day, earning the team the Commodore’s Cup plus the Rolex watch (the third Rolex for Stone). “This is the toughest fleet in the country I think,” said Stone, who missed winning last year by a narrow margin. “We felt that the courses were really interesting compared to the past, and St. Francis Yacht Club did a really excellent job,” he said.  “For us, it was all about keeping the boat moving with all the lulls and gusts and changing of conditions and tides.”

J/120s sailing San Francisco BayIn J/120s, a tight race between David Halliwill’s (New York N.Y.) PEREGRINE and Barry Lewis’s (Atherton, Calif.) CHANCE tilted to PEREGRINE’s favor for the Rolex watch that was awarded in that class.

Then, the J/70s saw a familiar face racing DOUBLE TROUBLE- J/125 owner Andy Costello sailed with some of his “big boat” crew and added in the famous Paul Cayard as mainsheet trim/ tactician, to lead the fleet from day one and never relinquish their firm grip on the number one spot.

The fleet was blessed with truly epic, fresh-to-frightening sailing conditions all week long.  Stone reported that the average breeze was 18-25 kts and in one race where the J/105s went further east than most fleets to the Berkeley Circle, registered puffs up to 35 kts!!

It was a “rip-roaring” start for the fleet on their first day of racing on Thursday, September 11th.  With two races scheduled for 10 classes (three handicap-rated and seven one-design), the morning started out relatively slow, with J/120s, Farr 40s and J/105s having to abandon their first race on the “Circle” Course (farthest north on the Bay) due to frustrating eight-knot winds across a four-knot flood current. It just took some patient waiting, however, and “Big Boat normal” was back, with plenty of heft in the conditions to fulfill the first day’s racing plans.

McKelvy’s J/111 MADMEN started off on the right foot, turning in finishes of 2-1 to top a seven-boat fleet. “The wind was consistent and less than in the Bay,” said McKelvy when asked about his second race’s upwind leg to Pt. Diablo (west of the Golden Gate Bridge). “[Outside the Gate] was a welcome place to be after all the strong breeze we had experienced.”

J/111 BIG BLAST sailing Rolex Big Boat Series- San FranciscoMcKelvy added that this was his first Big Boat Series and first big event period; he bought the boat in 2011 and sailed it just for fun with kids and family. In the last year and a half, with the help of his sail makers and tactician Geoff Thorp, he has gone from family mode to full-on rocket mode. “It has been an outrageous experience,” he said. “Today was just about the fastest I’ve ever gone on a boat with a spinnaker, so there was a little bit of perspiration and nervousness, but it was great. I’ve been an observer (of this event) for years, and it seemed way outside my comfort level, so to be here is a dream shot. It is a ‘bucket list’ kind of thing and everything I ever heard it would be.”

Racing on Friday saw more of the same scenario, lightish in the morning but the nuclear winds roaring down the Bay and into the Valley beyond kicked in hard by noon time.  The fleet again arrived home exhausted, but elated.  In the J/120 Class, Lewis’s CHANCE has a reputation for making it on to the podium, and this year the team has protected its first place position that it initiated yesterday. “Each day the margin of error gets smaller and smaller at this event, and each boat steps up their game a little more,” said Lewis, adding that there is a strong fleet of competitive boats that race each year, including Halliwill’s PEREGRINE which was biting at his heels, only one point behind in second.

“This year we have some new boats racing, including the Japanese team onboard JULIAN, which is super-fast and very competitive,” commented Lewis.  “In this fleet, if you make a mistake it will cost you big. Our game plan moving forward is to minimize mistakes, sail fast upwind and get great starts.”

Saturday’s racing was, yet again, a near carbon copy of the previous days.  It blew 20 knots and above for a third straight day, and with six races under their sailing belts, many of the classes were counting on one last race (the traditional “Bay Tour”) Sunday to either seal their deals or steal into top-three positions where bragging rights are as treasured as the trophies to be presented.   “It’s all-on for Sunday,” said Norman Davant, the event’s co-chair. “This has been awesome sailing. Controlled chaos is a very good way to describe it,” said Davant. “We wanted to do something different on the land and the water, so we put a mark one mile west of the Golden Gate Bridge where we normally don’t go, and yesterday our class went to it twice.  Last night, we brought food trucks in and had a great party for the sailors.”

J/125 Hamachi sailing San Francisco Big Boat SeriesAfter the two races on Saturday, it was Greg Slyngstad’s (Sammamish, Wash.) J/125 HAMACHI, in first overall in the HPR Division.

Sunday dawned again with fog, which then cleared, then the wind-machine was turned on— “wash, rinse, repeat”!  And, again it blew 18-25 kts for the famous “Around Bay Tour”, a favorite amongst the Rolex Big Boat Series cognoscenti for decades.  No one was disappointed with the fabulous, sunny, windy conditions.  In the end it was all well worth it for many “newbie” sailors in some classes.  The J/70s happened to have at least three, including Andy Costello & Paul Cayard on the J/70 DOUBLE TROUBLE and Wayne Zittel on the J/70 J/WORLD PERFORMANCE SAILING.

Here is Costello’s report from DOUBLE TROUBLE:  “The 70 is an awesome little boat.  We had a solid 25 knots gusting to a bit more on the bottom of the course towards the top of the Berkeley circle on Saturday and we hit 19 knots over the bottom on the Velocitek GPS. We joked afterwards that must be a J/70 record, but probably not. There were some 70's or two washing their Windexs in the bay.... some halyards didn't hold etc, on that late afternoon run in typical SF Bay breeze. The boat and the rig feel pretty bomb-proof.  We stuffed it hard into some big waves a few times, when we couldn't go over the top of them. I thought the rig was going to come down, but no way! Great job with the Southern Spar!

J/70 Double Trouble- Andy Costello and Paul Cayard sailing San Francisco Big Boat SeriesMy crew for the regatta was awesome!! Two of my crew were from my J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE- James Clappier (a.k.a. “hippie”) on bow and jib trim downwind and Nick Catley (from New Zealand and currently on the World Match Race Tour) on jib trim upwind and spin trimmer downwind.  We then had Paul Cayard on tactics and mainsheet (a Star World and Volvo Ocean Race champion), with me driving.

We had two days before the event to sail for some practice; none of us had stepped on to a J/70 beforehand.  We learned a lot over the Regatta and really progressed over the six days of sailing.

I'll be purchasing my own boat soon! Mark Howe let me use his J/70 for the RBBS and we had Sharon Green from Ultimate Sailing out on my Protector RIB shooting some awesome photos!

The J/70 fleet was competitive and the racing was incredibly tight.  It was my most enjoyable Big Boat series in the 10 years that I have done it!! Go figure, and it was on the smallest boat!!”

The final standings in each class were the following:

J/70 fleet sailing San Francisc Bay in Rolex Big Boat SeriesIn J/70s, Costello’s team ruled the roost, taking an 8-1-2-1-2-1-2 for 17 pts to win class by a comfortable margin.  However, it was a battle royal for the balance of the top five behind them.  Hanging tough in the last race was Chris Andersen’s PERFECT WIFE, posting a record of 5-3-6-2-4-7-4 for a total of 31 pts to take the silver.  Just missing out was Geoff McDonald’s 1FA, starting out slowly but closing with a flourish with a 7-7-1-8-3-3-3 for 32 pts, taking the bronze on a tie-breaker over David Schumann’s BOTTLE ROCKET that had a “snakes & ladders” record of 3-2-4-4-11-2-6 also on 32 pts.  Fifth was Tom Jenkins & Eric Kownacki’s DFZ with 39 pts.

J/105 Arbitrage- Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault- sailing Rolex Big Boat SeriesIn the J/105s, Stone’s ARBITRAGE sailed fast and finished with three 1sts, plus 2-3-4-5 for a total of 17 pts.  Staying close but not able to close the gap was Scooter Simmons’ BLACKHAWK, taking a 5-1-3-5-5-1-1 record to the finish for 21 pts.  Third was Phil Laby’s GODOT with 27 pts, then 4th was Jeff Litfin’s MOJO and 5th was the DONKEY JACK trio (Shannon Ryan, Rolf Kaiser, & Ken Turnbull).

As noted earlier, the big upset for any class leader took place in the J/111s.  After leading the first five races, McKelvy’s MADMEN simply went mad and went off the deep end on Saturday, digging themselves a big hole with a 5-8 after posting a fleet-leading 2-1-3-1 Thursday and Friday.  On Sunday’s Bay Tour, MADMEN won the race but could do nothing to stop Theis’ AEOLUS from finishing in 3rd place to take the trophy and the watch!  Also having a mathematical chance at winning was Roland Vandermeer’s fire-engine red BIG BLAST!, posting a 5-2-1-3-6-2-4 for just 23 pts to take third on the podium, only 3 pts out of first— the last race being the determining factor!  Fourth was Dick Swanson’s BIG DOG and fifth was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS.

J/120s sailing into finish- Rolex Big Boat SeriesThe J/120s saw both veterans of the BBS scene as well as fresh new faces in the crowd competing hard for class honors.  While Halliwill’s PEREGRINE won with just 14 pts, the next four spots were close enough that where you finished on Sunday’s Bay Tour determined the class pecking order.  Steadily sailing in the top three was Lewis’ CHANCE, taking second with 19 pts.  Class newcomer, Yasuhide Kobayashi on JULIAN from Tokyo, Japan, took a well-deserved third overall with 24 pts, even winning two races along the way.  Fourth was the familiar dark-green machine, Steve Madeira’s MISTER MAGOO, and in fifth was Timo Bruck’s TWIST.

Finally, in the HPR Class, it looked like the J/125s were going to do it again and sweep the top spot in HPR/ IRC for the third straight year at RBBS.  After Saturday’s racing, Slyngstad’s Seattle, WA crew on HAMACHI were indeed winning class. However, the “ultra-reachy” (meaning jibs, not spinnakers) Sunday Bay Tour for their particular class proved to be their undoing, settling for second overall.  Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster and Erik Simonson/ and Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing

T2P-TV video Sailing highlights
Summary Music Video-
Dock Talk with crews-
For more Rolex Big Boat Series sailing information

J/80 sailing at North Americans- Annapolis, MDQUANTUM RACING Eclipses J/80 North Americans
(Annapolis, MD)- The J/80 North American Championships were held in Annapolis over the weekend of September 10-14, with Annapolis YC hosting. A total of 32 boats showed up to the line, coming from Texas and Ontario. Out of the 32 boats, 18 were locals.

J/80 setting spinnaker at NAs in AnnapolisAt the end of the day on Saturday, two Texan teams were dominating the top of the standings. Terry Flynn of Quantum Sails from Houston, Texas took his team QUANTUM RACING to the top of the podium with 13 points over seven races, winning four of them. Coming off his East Coast Championships win earlier in the month was Glenn Darden and his LE TIGRE team from Fort Worth, Texas, taking second overall with four 2nds in their seven race tally! And, rounding out the podium was the local team of Will and Marie Crump with Thomas Klok onboard R80.  Paul Parsons’ PARSONS PROJECT was fourth and fifth was local Napolitan rock star, Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI.

The Chesapeake Bay has one of the most active (and talented) J/80 fleets in North America, so it was tough to see so many great sailors lose the battle on their home turf. Discussing the results after the awards party, Nicole Weaver (who sailed onboard GROMIT with James Praley) commented, “We’re all capable of winning races here, but the question is whether we can do it consistently!”

J/80 fleet starting at NA's in AnnapolisThe J/80 North American Championships were the second in a trifecta of J/80 events happening on the Bay in 2014, culminating in the J/80 Worlds hosted by Eastport YC September 28 through October 5. At press time, 35 boats have registered, coming from as far away as Hawaii and France to compete on the Chesapeake.  Darden and Flynn will be back, but so will Brian Keane and his crew on SAVASANA (fresh off taking 3rd in the J/70 Worlds), as well as many other top-notch J/80 racers. The competition is going to be incredibly stiff.  To track the J/80 Worlds competition, please click on
Sailing photo credits- by Dan Phelps.   For more J/80 North Americans sailing information

J/80 fleet starting off GermanyMenzner Dominates J/80 German Open
(Glucksburg, Germany)- The German J/80 Open Regatta was hosted by the Flensburg Sailing Club and the twenty-four teams were provided excellent racing by FSC PRO’s Claus-Otto Hansen and Hajo Andresen.  Eight races were sailed over the two-day weekend event.  Starting fast out of the gate and never looking back was Martin Menzner’s PIKE team to take the overall J/80 German Open Championship title.

From the first day of sailing, it was clear Menzner’s team was on fire.  After posting three straight bullets in as many races, they looked unassailable.  But, an uncharacteristic 9th in race four torpedoed their chances at a near-perfect record.  Thereafter, a 1-5-1-1 enabled them to close with 11 pts net for the regatta.

Not leaving anything to chance was Bjorn Beilken’s PROCEDES DIVA that took second.  After a drama-filled, lousy first race 15th, the team recovered to close with all top three finishes for 14 pts net.

Taking third for the event was Soren Hadeler’s VIVACE with an equally “off-the-wall” roller-coaster scoreline that included a 3-25-8-2-3-4-8-6 for 34 pts net.  Taking fourth overall was Hauke Kruss’ TAK FOR TUREN and in fifth was Martin Christiansen’s WOOLPOWER!   For more J/80 German Open sailing information

J/30 sailing North AmericansBLUE MEANIE Repeat Win-  J/30 North Americans
(Westport, CT)- Like their J/24 colleagues, the J/30 sailors have been around the track more than once for many teams.  And, over time new fresh faces have drunk the same Kool-Aid and realize the J/30 is still one of the best cruiser-racers ever designed in the 28-32 foot marketplace.  That it was born back in 1979 is simply academic.  It’s still a  “cool” boat that is a great “family” boat for many who simply enjoy getting down near the waterfront to “simply mess about in boats”.  And, there’s no question they have one helluva lot of fun racing one-design amongst one another.

Amazingly, one of the larger J/30 North Americans took place this year, happily hosted by Cedar Point YC in Westport, CT. Thirteen boats showed up for some fun-in-the-sun on Long Island Sound this past weekend.  Teams came from as far away as Michigan and Maryland; yes, that means trailering your J/30 racer-cruiser for hundreds of miles to be included in this exclusive fraternity!

J/30 Blue Meanie team- NA winnersThe teams were rewarded with great racing over the course of three days of racing.  Topping out the standings was Steve Buzbee’s BLUE MEANIE with 21 pts, a repeat from their previous year.  However, they were challenged by a trio of boats that kept them on their toes all weekend long.

In second just one point back was Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello’s BEPOP with 22 pts, winning the regatta until the 7th race when they accumulated their drop race- a 9th place.

Charles Stoddard’s crew on FALCON took third overall with 24 pts, despite winning the last race of the series.  Fourth and fifth, respectively, were John McArthur’s SMILES and Carl Sherter’s FAT CITY.

Some highlights for the series?  Well, to say there’s equality in the fleet means just about everyone has a chance at the top three in any race. However, a fleet analysis shows that the J/30 North Americans may be the ONLY class worldwide to have EVERY single boat in the regatta have a single-digit finish over eight races.  Even Russ Atkinson’s WILDCAT that finished 13th (e.g. last), got a 2nd in Race 7 and Harrison Gill’s HELIUM in 9th place took a 1st place in Race 2!!  Then, Bill Kneller’s RHAPSODY took a 3rd in Race 2 as well.  That kind of race finish distribution always keeps teams coming back for more fun in the future!!  Having a chance at the “brass ring” on any given day is a good thing.  For more J/30 North Americans sailing information

J/105 sailing double-handed- North SeaJ/105 JAM SESSION Leads Dutch Short-Handed Racing
(The Hague, The Netherlands)- The Noordzeeclub and organize and host a summer series for short-handed racing on the North Sea. Sailing teams and enthusiasts of this type of sailing come from all over Europe, including The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and the United Kingdom.  During the year there are 10 events were you can score points. At the end of the season, the best score of 4 events will decide who is the winner.

The J/122 JUNIQUE and the J/133 BATFISH were already in a battle for several events, with JUNIQUE coming out on top. The J/105 JAM SESSION, skippered by Dennis Zuidam, had only done 3 events, so for their last event they needed to score high points to factor into the overall standings.

J/105 sailing videoConsequently, that’s exactly what happened in the Bruine Bank Race, a 100nmrace around a sandbank where skippers can decide if they want to round clockwise or counter-clockwise around the marks.  JAM SESSION elected to sail clockwise and after 13h:47m:25s of racing offshore, they finished 1 hour behind BATFISH and just 0:45 min. behind JUNIQUE, making JAM SESSION 2nd overall in the race for a total score 351 pts.  That was just enough points (by a 5 pts margin) to overcome JUNIQUE’s lead and win the overall Dutch Short-handed Season Series!!  Here is a YouTube sailing video of their experience.

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Tim Healy from North Sails One-Design* Tim Healy offered some perspectives on what it took to win the J/70 Worlds.  Here is Healy’s commentary from the Scuttlebutt Sailing interview with Craig Leweck.

Ever since the J/70 made its debut at the 2013 Key West Race Week, the class momentum has been historic. Tim Healy won that first 38-boat one design event, and has been riding the wave of class growth ever since. Last week Healy won the inaugural J/70 World Championship in Newport, RI, topping 86 teams representing 14 nations. Here Healy comments:

Keys to victory?
“Newport in September is good for breeze and we raced in a number of different wind strengths and directions. Prior to the event, we spent a few weekend days training outside the bay on Rhode Island Sound. Spending time out on the ocean and getting a handle on the boat moving through the chop was key. We didn’t know how important that was going to be at the time, but it proved valuable because we ended up with three days of 3-4ft chop during the regatta. We constantly focused on keeping the boat going, and making sure our rig tune and sail trim were spot on; it made a big difference.”

Training for the event?  
“We trained on the weekends leading up to the regatta. Once per week we’d sail as a team after work, and we arrived to the regatta this year in time for at least one training day. Getting to an event in advance gets the crew comfortable; a few of us also sail J/24s together and generally spend time together as a team. I’ve been sailing with Gordon Borges since 2000, Geoff Becker and Paul Abdullah since 2010. We’ve clocked about 30-40 days sailing together in 2014.”

Class growth
“This event means the J/70 Class has achieved ISAF status and is now an internationally recognized class. One thing that really illustrates how rapidly this class has grown is that this first World Championship had more participants than any other inaugural world championship in any other J/Boat class ever.

What do I think this signifies? Continued growth. The boat and class are very strong. South America, Europe, the west coast of the United States, and Asia are the next growth areas. We’ve witnessed a steady expansion of participation here in the US, especially on the east coast. The class is organized and well-run and therefore poised to embrace decades of great international competition.”

Paul Cayard- sailing J/70s at Rolex Big Boat Series* Paul Cayard Reports ( on his experiences sailing the J/70s with Andy Costello on DOUBLE TROUBLE.

“Friday: this was a very good day for us on Double Trouble.

In the first race we were on the Fort Mason race course with about 10 knots of wind. We were over the start line early and had to go back and restart putting us last in the 13 boat fleet. The current was "flooding" (coming in the bay) and our first mark was up toward the Golden Gate Bridge. The whole fleet was tacking back and forth in a very narrow band, about 100 yards wide, along the shore, to stay out of the worst of the adverse current. This makes it very difficult to pass because there is a lot disturbance of the wind for boat that are downwind of the pack.

Andy Costello steering, Nick Catley the jib sheets, James Clappier calling the wind and me on the main sheet, all did a great job of working the shoreline and getting "out of phase" with the boats ahead of us. After about 30 tacks on the two windward legs and smooth sailing downwind in the favorable current, we finished second! Nice Comeback!

For the second race, we moved out to the Alcatraz race course. The wind built to 15 knots by this time. The current was still flooding hard out there in the middle of the bay but there was no shoreline to close enough for the length of the first leg. This spread the fleet out a lot more than the first race. We had a good start nearly the left end of the line and were in the lead the entire race. It is much easier when you do it that way!

We are all pretty tired after a day like that. These small boats are very physical, especially in the conditions on SF Bay.

Today's 2-1 scores put us in first place overall, one point ahead of "Bottle Rocket".

Saturday: Once again we started the day on the Fort Mason race track. The committee signaled a three lap windward-leeward course in the eight - ten knot southwesterly breeze. The current was 'flooding' once again so it was all about hitting the beach for relief.

We had a good start and rounded the first mark fourth. We passed a couple boats on the next lap but could not get past DFZ, who was sailing great and won the race. Our second place finish further solidified our lead in the series.

The second race was a marathon of three hours! 15 miles in a big flood tide is a long course for J/70’s!!

We were over early at the start, but did not hear our sail number called for more than a minute after the start. Needless to say, we were deep on the first leg. Then, we got in a big entanglement at the first mark and felt we fouled. So, after rounding we did two penalties and once again, we were second to last.

The course was a marathon all around the bay, and there were a couple of opportunities where we went a different route to some of our competitors and made some gains. The wind picked up to 22 gusting 25 knots. Our speed was good and Andy did a great job driving, especially downwind!

In the end, with the help of the leaders having a few problems if their own, we managed to work through the fleet for the win.  Tomorrow there is just one race and it will be long for sure.

Sunday- the Bay Tour:  One race was scheduled for today. After a brief postponement waiting for wind, the race started at 11:30 under blue skies and a moderate 12-knot breeze.

The course for all the fleets on the Fort Mason race track took us outside the Golden Gate Bridge for to a buoy off Pt. Diablo. It's always impressive to sail out the Golden Gate. And even more fun to sail back in!

From there, we went all the way east to Berkeley and back up to the bridge before finishing in front of the St. Francis Yacht Club.

Tom Jenkins and his DFZ did well again today and won the race. On Double Trouble, we battled hard to finish second today. That capped off a great week for us winning the J/70 Class at the 2014 Rolex Big Boat Series!

I really enjoyed the J/70! Great boat, challenging and fun at the same time. It really is a dinghy and all the subtleties make a difference.

I also really enjoyed my teammates, Andy Costello who did a great job steering, Nick Catley on the sheets and James Clappier (aka Hippie) on the bow.

Jeff Thorpe from Quantum Sails helped us a lot last week by coaching us and getting us up to speed in the boat.

Next race for me is the Bart's Bash and Leukemia Cup next Sunday. I am sailing again with Andy and Hippie on Andy's J-125. Thank God Andy has so many boats! If you’re not involved in these two great events, go for it and get aboard a boat!”

J/70 J/World Performance Sailing* J/World Performance Sailing leader Wayne Zittel (San Francisco, CA) sailed a J/70 for the first time at the Rolex Big Boat Series.  Here’s Wayne’s report on their “most excellent adventure”:

“The 2014 Rolex Big Boat Series September 11-14 in San Francisco Bay was a fairly different experience for me this year.  I've done more BBS's than I can count now, but none like this.

First off, we didn't sail a big boat. BBS has, over the years, grown more inclusive to the point where this year they included the not-quite-23 foot J/70s. Thirteen teams plied the waters of San Francisco Bay, a pretty good turnout considering it was mostly local boats and the event was concurrent with the massively attended J/70 Worlds.

Secondly, I sailed with an infant team. It flies against my instincts to compete in a high level event without significant practice and preparation.  I like to be competitive, and a lack of preparation is a recipe for frustration.  As I said, however, this was a different Big Boat Series.

You see, we had a J/World alumni who just a month ago bought a J70.  It's his first boat.  He's been a great client and his enthusiasm for all things sailing is a real pleasure to be around, so when he expressed interest in jumping right into the 'deep end of the pool' and taking a shot at BBS, I couldn't say no.  If I had really thought about it and considered the fact that he had never driven a boat in a real race (outside of J/World Racing Clinics), or if I had thought about the fact that we had precisely one, and only one, weekend regatta to prepare, maybe I would have passed on the opportunity.  But then I would have missed out on a remarkable experience.

What the fleet lacked in LOA was more than made up for in sheer talent.  Paul Cayard was trimming main and calling tactics for Andy Costello (also owner of the J/125 Double Trouble).  There were at least three sail-makers racing on different boats, and a huge host of talented skippers and crews.  The regatta was seven races over four days.  Each morning, our initial daily race was on a windward/leeward course up the SF city front.  Morning breezes were light (10-12 knots generally) and building, and a good flood tide kept the boats tight up against the shoreline for current relief.  For the afternoon race each day, the fleet went over to the Alcatraz course.  Breezes each day had built to 20-26 knots and the current had only built.  The afternoon races were marathons, some 16nm long, including legs from the Golden Gate all the way down to the Berkeley Circle....and back!!

So, all of that is pretty standard BBS.  So, what was different about this one?  We showed up at the premier sailing event on the West Coast with a new boat, a new skipper, and a new team, and we felt like we were racing sailboats.  We didn't break anything, didn't crash-and-burn (well, ok, there were maybe two good solid broaches!), and didn't get flushed out the back. And we had an absolute hoot.  Our skipper, so new to the sport, was out there with some of the top sailors in the country... and in the world!  And, we could taste the competition, sailing many of the courses and races right in the thick of the pack.  In what other sport could you possibly do that?  And, in what other boat?

The J/70 is easy to setup, straightforward to dial in, and fun to sail.  In the big breeze, they get pretty physical, and while my muscles are still aching after five long days of sailing, it all made sense when we would turn the boat downwind and take off on a screaming plane the full length of SF Bay!  Seriously, we were out-running the Farr 40 World's fleet and other boats with twice the length and four times the crew!  Now if the Race Committee can just comply with our request to have shorter beats and longer runs...

Anyhow, congratulations to Andy Costello for the overall win, and thanks to Dan for a great effort, and a great event.  It really is a ton of fun sailing with him, and he puts up with our antics pretty well.  His progress has been remarkable (a testament to J/World training programs and coaching, if I do say so myself), and we expect great things from him!”

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/36 JAZZ- sailed by Norm Curnow* The J/36 JAZZ has been sailing thousands of miles between the UK and the Mediterranean over the past decade by a  salty dog named Norman Curnow.  He loves his boat, originally owned by designer Rod Johnstone in Stonington, CT.  Here’s Norm’s latest update:

“Hi JAZZ here!  After Corfu we went on to Preveza.  There is a large lake there, where Linda and I used the car to go to Koransia- a narrow peninsula of land about 2 miles long just about a road width wide! On the end, there is a marina and few cafes & bars.  We stopped for a meal and had a great day! On to Lefkes Canal where I touched the bottom, silting is a big thing there. They’re always dredging and entry is difficult, since the sands are always on the move!

Next we had to wait for the large swing bridge to open, swear to God its chipmunks on a treadmill opening it, it takes sooo long!  Anyhow, down the canal we went to Tranquil Bay were I saw my pal Annie on board a Nicholson 43- she lives on board, she set sail back in 2011 and loves living in Tranquil Bay!  Who can blame her, pretty place and nice locals! More to come-  Norman”
*Giant whale breaching in front of J/160 SALACIA off  Australia's Whitsunday Islands J/160 SALACIA has been sailing in Australia in the Whitsunday Islands.  Guess who decided to throw themselves across their bow as they cruised comfortably to their next destination?  A giant whale!  Look at this amazing photo!

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.