Wednesday, February 18, 2015

J/Newsletter- February 18th, 2015

J/24s sailing off starting lineJ/24 Midwinters Preview
(Tampa, Florida)- After hosting the three event J/70 Winter Series, the Davis Island YC continues to roll out the red carpet for J sailors this coming weekend.  From February 20-22nd, the DIYC will be hosting the J/24 Midwinters for a solid fleet of twenty-seven boats on Tampa Bay.

A number of new faces continue to surface in this venerable class as well as many class veterans will be participating.  The teams will be getting a workout in light air speed and tactics as the current forecast shows NE breezes swinging SE with winds ranging from 4 to 8 kts all weekend.

A number of local hotshots will be on the starting line, including Robby Brown’s USA 799 and John Poulson’s LONG SHOT.  Current J/24 World Champion Will Welles’ COUGAR will be hoping to add another feather in their cap; working hard to displace them will be a long-time arch nemesis, Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images. For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information

J/70 sailing off San Diego, CaliforniaSCYA Midwinters Preview
(San Diego, CA)- Over the February 21-22nd weekend, the Southern California Yachting Association (SCYA) will be hosting the famous SCYA Midwinters at over four yacht clubs in four different venues across the region.

The event’s history is packed with legendary sailors and their boats from the early days to the present. In 1928, SCYA and the LA Junior Chamber of Commerce teamed up to sponsor the first Midwinters which was promoted as an example of the sports “paradise” that Southern California offered in the winter. As expected, the event attracted boats from the Great Lakes, Atlantic Coast and the rest of the Pacific Coast, and some of the best-known yachtsmen in America, including Clifford Mallory, John Alden and Herbert Stone, editor of Yachting have participated over time.

A number of J/Classes are participating; in the San Diego area the J/70s are sailing at Coronado YC and San Diego YC is hosting J/80s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s.  In the Los Angeles area, the PHRF Classes will be at King Harbor YC and more J/109s will be hosted at California YC.   Sailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels/ Joy  For more SCYA Midwinters sailing information
J/145 Spitfire sailing RORC Caribbean 600 raceRORC Caribbean 600 Preview
(English Harbour, Antigua)- An amazing fleet of yachts from around the globe has come together for a spectacular Caribbean rendezvous. Fort Charlotte, Antigua will be the starting and finishing point for a sensational 600-mile yacht race around 11 Caribbean islands that starts on February 23rd.

Since 2009, the RORC Caribbean 600 has been growing in popularity and the seventh edition boasts an extraordinary range of yachts: record breaking high performance racers, magnificent schooners, elegant classics and fast production yachts. World-class sailors will be taking part, rubbing shoulders with royalty, captains of industry and passionate Corinthian amateurs.

The course meanders through the stunning central Caribbean affording amazing scenery, but the RORC Caribbean 600 is not just a joyride. Competitors can expect little sleep as the myriad of corners create many maneuvers and opportunity to make large gains (or losses). The racing is electric but the high-speed action in tropical heat can be exhausting. At the finish, the welcome party for the crews has become legendary. Every boat is cheered in, regardless of the hour, for a cold beer and a warm welcome.

Competing in this year’s race will be the J/122 LIQUID skippered by Pamala Baldwin.  J/122s have been strong performers in the race; its all-around capabilities have kept them in the trophy hunt virtually every time since the race course is a combination of beating, reaching and running.  Joining her will be the J/145c SPITFIRE, sailed by Jonathan Bamberger and crew.  There will be “live” 24 hour race-tracking of the entire race, so be sure to check in on their progress!   For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information
J/27 one-design sailboat- sailing downwindJ/27 Midwinters Preview
(New Orleans, LA)- The J/27 class continues to flourish as a result of the passionate, committed owners who love to sail the 30+ year old 27 ft classic sloop.  With its long, narrow, easily-driven hull and enormous cockpit, the J/27 has gained its share of J aficionados over the course of time.  Two regions in particular, western Lake Ontario and the northern Gulf of Mexico are enjoying a bit of a renaissance sailing beautifully maintained and restored J/27s.

For the weekend of February 18th to 21st, the J/27s will be having their first Midwinters down south in a long time. The host will be Southern Yacht Club in New Orleans, Louisiana.  A fleet of eight boats has registered for the event; five are member of the local SYC J/27 fleet and visitors include three boats from the Barefoot Sailing Club in Suwanee, Georgia.  Hopefully, some boats from Ontario make it down, too, and shake off all that snow and ice from their boats and head south to warmer climes!  You can watch “live” and in 3D replay the Midwinter action on   For more J/27 Midwinters sailing information
Green Flash Brewery sponsoring J/70 North AmericansGreen Flash @ J/70 North Americans!
(San Diego, CA)- Have you ever witnessed the brilliance of a “green flash” along the horizon at sunset? Have you had the pleasure of enjoying a tasty Green Flash beer? Now is your chance to experience both!  Visit sunny San Diego for the J/70 NAs!

Green Flash Brewing Co. has signed on as the title sponsor of 2015 J 70 North American Championship to be held at San Diego Yacht Club, September 24-27. We are extremely excited to have Green Flash and their team on our side. They are the most important part of our promise to provide sun, wind and beer!

J/70s sailing off San Diego BayHeadquartered in San Diego, Green Flash Brewing Co. was established in 2002 by Mike and Lisa Hinkley – avid sailors and San Diego Yacht Club members. Together, they lead a talented team of craft beer enthusiasts, who embrace their brand vision with serious passion and zeal. Green Flash Brewmaster, Chuck Silva has developed an award-winning assortment of specialty craft ales that are celebrated by their loyal following of craft beer fans internationally.

In the fall of 2014, Green Flash nationally released “Jibe Session IPA” – a new beer named after the sailing term. A “session IPA” is an emerging and popular beer style that is lower-in-alcohol than traditional IPAs, while remaining as flavorful as most traditional IPAs. For years, Green Flash has been known for brewing very bold double and triple IPAs. Upon making the decision to release a session beer, Green Flash changed J/70s sailing upwind off San Diego, Californiacourse. True to the definition of the beer style, Jibe Session IPA is a refreshing, flavorful 4% ABV beer with a vibrant character -ideal for an afternoon at sea. Jibe Session IPA is perfectly suited to complement what we anticipate will be the best J/70 North American Championship to date. Green Flash is honored to be the title sponsor of this year’s event.

Green Flash will be a part of our “Tune UP” regatta on September 12/13 and for all of the North Americans. The Opening Ceremony, “Theme” parties and live music are all being planned. Look for more information this summer as our plans get finalized. Learn more about Green Flash at-   As you read this, there’s just six to the North Americans in San Diego, have you made your plans yet? The J/70 NA Facebook page is here.   For more J/70 North Americans sailing and N.O.R. information
J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

While the northern parts of the Americas and Europe continue to enjoy conditions this past week that have polar bears frolicking and playing about like newborn puppies (e.g. much colder than your neighborhood meat locker!), our colleagues Down Under are basking in gorgeous fall-like conditions (almost hot) with benign breezes and sunny skies.

So, starting on the bright side, check out the famous woman’s skipper regatta recently held in Melbourne, Australia- the Jennifer Goldsmith Memorial Trophy regatta.  The event supports melanoma skin cancer research in honor of Jennifer.  And, appropriately, some friends of hers continue the tradition and had a scream sailing their J/24s as the smallest boats in the handicap fleet (note- they had an outsized outcome!).

Hopping over to Europe, we find the Spanish J/80 armada getting ready for their sailing season.  In fact, they will be getting a new sponsor and additional support from a Scandinavian company as they prepare to tackle not just their Spanish championships, but also the J/80 World Championship in Germany.

Then, over in America, we also find a new sponsor supporting Sailing World’s St Petersburg NOOD Regatta.  A diversified fleet of one-designs enjoyed remarkably good conditions all weekend, with the J/24s and J/70s seeing amazing performances by some of their leaders.

We also received a comprehensive guide for J/70 speed tips and maintenance tricks from the traveling Finkle family (Don and Tim) who have been campaigning JUNIOR for the past two years.  From their base in Youngstown, New York (western Lake Ontario), they have traveled at least 20,000 miles with their J/70 over the past 2 1/2 years.

In the community section, we find Sail Canada “sailors of the month” were a J/88 couple- guess who?  In addition, there are two heartwarming J/36 stories, and a beautifully refinished J/40 cruiser reports about their upcoming around the world cruise.  Plus, there’s a J/World Annapolis interview with the first woman Commodore of Davis Island YC in Tampa, Florida.

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:

Feb 18-21- J/27 Midwinters- New Orleans, LA
Feb 20-22- J/24 Midwinters- Davis Island YC- Tampa, FL
Feb 23- RORC 600 Race- English Harbour, Antigua
Mar 4-7- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- Miami, FL
Mar 5-8- Heineken St Maarten Regatta- St Maarten
Mar 13-15- J/30 Midwinters- New Orleans YC- New Orleans, LA
Mar 27-29- J/22 Midwinters- Jackson YC- Ridgeland, MS
Mar 27-29- St Thomas International Regatta- St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Mar 30- Apr 5- BVI Spring Regatta- Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Apr 13-18- Les Voiles St Barth- Gustavia, St Barthelemy
Apr 16-19- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 24- May 2- EDHEC Sailing Cup- La Rochelle, France
Apr 26- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- Falmouth, Antigua

Boat Shows:
Apr 9-12- Apr 9-12- Strictly Sail Pacific- Oakland, CA- J/70, J/88, J/111

For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.
J/29 sailing off St Petersburg, FloridaGorgeous St Petersburg NOOD Regatta!
(St Petersburg, Florida)- The largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States, the Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design Regatta series, opened its 28th season in St. Petersburg with nearly 130 teams competing on Tampa Bay, vying for individual class trophies as well as the regatta’s big prize—an invitation to the Helly Hansen NOOD Championship Regatta in the British Virgin Islands in October, where they will face overall champions from NOOD regattas across the country in Sunsail bareboats.

With 10 to 15-knot winds and bright sunshine on Tampa Bay, it was a full day of races on Friday, the 13th.  Some teams were luckier than others.   According to Dave Reed, SAILING WORLD’s Editor, “All in all, PROs on three circles got in more races today than we sometimes do an entire J/70 sailing off St Petersburg, Floridaweekend, so it was good one to start with. We know Tampa Bay can be a fickle S.O.B., but the local ace professional today was Marty Kullman. He was fazed, but unfazed, by the 40-degree shifts. After four races, Kullman’s team on NEW WAVE led the 20-boat J/70 fleet, the largest class of the event. NEW WAVE finished second in its first two races and won the next two to establish a comfortable overall class lead in the three-day series.”

“Today was incredible.  It was sort of a rare day for St. Petersburg, with strong winds and big shifts,” says Kullman. “When the wind direction changes as much as it did, right or wrong, one mistake can be dramatic. There were times when we were on one side looking terrible, but then it would come back- - pretty amazing, actually. Our results were about being patient, and that’s credit to Steve Liebel [the team’s tactician].”

Kullman adds that the squad he has this week is the same that got fourth at the J/70 worlds, and that has been the difference between NEW WAVE and Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, lying second. “We’ve sailed together as a team for a long time and that, too, was a major factor in being able to react quickly to changes. It’s really hard for me as a tactician to be driving and not constantly chirping, but Steve is good at controlling it,” said Kullman.  Kullman’s team also includes Mark Liebel, and Judah Rubin.

On Saturday, favorable conditions yielded a full day of racing on the second day, with winds starting out in the 10-knot range before dropping off before day’s end.

J/29 sailing upwind off St Petersburg, FloridaRaymond Mannix, skipper of the J/29 SEMPER FI, put in an outstanding performance in his PHRF 2 division, winning the day’s first two races and finishing second to St. Petersburg YC Commodore Harvey Ford in the second. After seven races, SEMPER FIT holds an 8-point lead over Ford’s J/29 WILDKAT, a good cushion with which to carry into Sunday’s final races. Lying third is yet another J/29, Robert Wetmore’s FAMILY CIRCUS.

“We had some a few exciting starts,” said Mannix, of Largo, Fla. “We got hit in the first start and got tangled up, but we got back going and ended up crossing the starting line right on time. In the second, the boat next us was called over early and had to go back; fortunately we were able to start clean and just popped out and crushed everyone.

“Today was a good day for tactician,” Mannix added. “We really played the shifts. It was shiftier than yesterday; more consistent; the lighter it got in the end, the harder it got. Playing the shifts and getting it right was the key. It helps that we’ve sailed this boat for 17 years and know how to make it go.”

For the final day on Sunday, the fleet was blessed with perfect racing conditions; a great test of the crews with a number of fleets experiencing high speeds, wipeouts, and horizon jobs.

PHRF 2 class saw a J/29 sweep.  Ray Mannix’s crew on SEMPER FI continued their winning ways and took PHRF 2 Fleet honors with just 12 pts after nine races, counting only six 1sts and three 2nds in their scoreline!  Second, was StPYC’s Commodore, Harvey Ford’s WILDKAT with 22 pts and third was Wetmore’s FAMILY CIRCUS with 34 pts.

J/24 sailboats- sailing off St Petersburg, FloridaThe twelve-boat J/24 class had close racing for the top five, with just 16 pts separating the group at the end.  Hanging on by a thread on the last day was Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER with a total of 23 pts.  Sailing fast and consistent was John Poulson’s LONG SHOT just 3 pts back with 26 pts total.  And, just another 3 pts back was David Ogden’s BUCKAROO with 29 pts.  Rounding out the top five were Carter White’s SEABAGSJ24.COM and Evan Petley-Jones’ LIFTED in 4th and 5th, respectively.

After starting out the first day in the lead, Kullman’s NEW WAVE managed to hang on to their lead and win the class by the significant margin of 15 pts.  After faltering in the last Quantum J/70 Winter Series regatta, local St Pete/ Tampa Bay expert Kullman came roaring back, posting four 1sts in his scoreline and a total of just 22 pts in 10 races.  After taking a rest from the J/70 Midwinters, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT jumped back into the fray and sailed a solid series to take second overall.  Also sailing a consistent regatta was Will Welles’ RASCAL, taking third just 2.5 pts back from CATAPULT.  Racing one of their best series to date was Trey Sheehan’s HOOLIGAN: FLAT STANLEY RACING, winning a race and posting several top three scores to snag fourth overall.  Top woman skipper was Madelyn Ploch on SUGAR DADDY, taking 5th overall and even winning a race herself.  Of note, two-time J/111 North American Champion, Richard Lehmann, hopped into his brand new J/70 WIND CZAR and pulled off a top ten finish in his first regatta, taking 7th overall.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside Images.   For more Helly Hansen St Pete NOOD Regatta sailing information
J/24 woman skipper- Melbourne, AustraliaWomen J/24’s Steal the Show!
(Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)- The premier lady skippers race on Port Phillip Bay Melbourne Victoria is the Jennifer Goldsmith Memorial Trophy regatta – this year swept by J/24 teams!

In memory of Jennifer, a keen sailor, all the entry fees were donated to Melanoma skin cancer research.  In its 24th year, the JGMT attracts Melbourne’s best female sailors from all the major keelboat clubs in the bay.

This year the race began in very light, sunny 34 degree (93.3 degrees Fahrenheit) conditions, which quickly changed with the arrival of a southerly breeze reaching 12 knots, on what was a beautiful day for sailing.  Amongst a fleet of 30, the boat size ranged from 44 footers to the smallest, two J/24s.

Woman J/24 skipper in Melbourne, AustraliaDespite their disadvantage in size, the J’s had crew members who had competed at the highest level with both boats representing Australia in the J/24 Worlds in Sweden in 2011 and Bruschetta VI also in the Dennis Conner International Yacht Club Challenge New York 2014. HYPERACTIVE, skippered by Kirsty Harris with her all female crew, and BRUSCHETTA VI, skippered by Paulina Matilla with her male crew, excelled in the light conditions.  By picking the wind shifts and changes in the freshening breeze, this resulted in both being in the top 10 boats over the finish line. HYPERACTIVE, who had an AMS rating, won the AMS division.  However, the overall award was won by BRUSCHETTA VI with HYPERACTIVE second.

Paulina Matilla was awarded the Jennifer Goldsmith Memorial perpetual trophy and a beautiful Tiffany & Co necklace. Paulina who lives and sails in Finland is currently working in Australia, explained during her acceptance that in Finland its -15 degrees with a maximum of 4 hours of light per day, a far cry from the sun drenched shores of Port Phillip Bay.

The J/24’s excelled against the competition, taking the major and divisional trophies. The class has a strong local fleet of 20 active boats with the current and past Australian Champions amongst it.  The J/24 has experienced a strong following in Australia and with results like these; it will only encourage more to take up J sailing!   For more Australian J/24 sailing information
J/80 sailors in Spain- sponsored by TRIG MoneySpanish J/80 Teams Prep For Worlds
TRIG Money Sailing Team announcement
(Santander, Spain)- “The Wheelhouse” at the Real Club Maritimo de Santander, was the venue chosen by the newly minted TRIG MONEY Sailing Team, for the presentation of their racing calendar for 2015 and its new sponsor the Swedish multinational TRIG MONEY.

With the presence of Jaime Yllera (President RCMS), Julia Casanueva (President of the Cantabrian Sailing Federation), Antonio Gorostegui (Olympic medalist), Juan Carlos Castro (Director General of TRIG) and Juan Dominguez (Director of the Municipal Institute of Sports), the sailing team led by Ignacio “Pichu” Camino and Armando Gutierrez Mendoza, along with the rest of his crew Jose Luis Gomez, "Cospe" Juan Valle, Pablo Cuervas and Miguel Merino, presented their racing schedule for the summer which included three prominent regattas- the 2015 J/80 World Championships in Germany, the Spanish J/80 Championship and Copa de Espana.

The Swedish company, TRIG MONEY, through Juan Carlos Castro, explained that it has made a very strong commitment to sport in Spain, sponsoring nearly 50 teams in different specialties and is particularly enthusiastic about supporting sailing.   Through its TV channel- TRIG TV- the company aims to promote its e-commerce payment system for merchants and consumers in Santander by broadcasting “live TV” of the various J/80 championship sailing regattas.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information
J/70 Junior rounding markWhat We've Learned From Racing Our J/70
(Youngstown, New York)- Recently, Don Finkle and his son Tim (the upstate New York J/Dealer- RCR put together their collective thoughts and notes after sailing the first part of the J/70 winter circuit down in Florida.  Here is their commentary:

“We’ve done our fair share of racing on the national J/70 circuit and we’ve learned a lot!  We learned from those we’ve sailed with, through trial and error, from listening to seminars, and talking to many of the pros within the fleet.  I am not a professional sailor and I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do pay attention. I thought it would be helpful to those within our fleet to share some of the tips I’ve picked up from all of the regattas done on “Junior”.

These tips can be used in your local fleet or in big events, but nobody gets it right all the time.  The goal is to work toward improvement; don't be intimidated by thinking that you have to learn all of this at once.  The more serious you want to be, the more you need to work at it, same as anything else you want to excel at. Here are some tips and lessons to chew on while you sit inside by the fire.

J/70s sailing downwind off Key West, FloridaRacing Tips
This fleet especially likes to set up early on the line.  This can be very tricky in a big fleet.  You can’t afford to be late, even if you have speed, as you won’t have anywhere to put your bow.  This has forced people to get on the line early between 1:30 and one minute, thinking that they will at least have a shot at the first row, now it’s just up to them to defend that spot.  Getting on the line early means you have to maintain position on the line without stalling.  Trying to keep some speed on or you won’t have any punch to start.  With a narrow keel, the flow over the foils must be constant, trying to reestablish a “hooked up” keel isn’t easy in a tight lane.  Plus, when you trim on, especially the jib, the bow will go down and you will likely slide sideways and down the line, using up your nice leeward hole you’ve created.  A space below you to put the bow down and go fast is critical.  In light air, we’ve found it best to have the jib rolled out almost all the time to keep the speed on.  The main is your gas pedal, allowing you to get up the line.  Be careful not to strap it in too tight though in light air, that will stall you as well.  Try not to ever have your mainsheet too far out, you won’t be able to get through all that sheet when the time comes to accelerate.  I might ease the main a little, but not so much that I can’t trim back on quickly.  When we establish where we want to be on the line, we work to protect the “hole” we’ve created.  If I need to slow down, I might put the bow into the wind for a second or do some sharp turning, but not too long that it stalls you out and you can’t regain speed again.  You need to keep communication with your jib trimmer too, he may need to ease and trim depending on what you need at the time  You also have to keep eyes on the boats to windward and leeward of you to make sure you are keeping at least bow even.  Watch for boats dropping in late looking to take your hole, point your bow down or at them to discourage them and force them into finding another spot to start.

J/70 sailing upwind off Tampa, FloridaPinging the line with your Velocitek ProStart
Always do this! It’s such a useful tool for figuring out how far off the line you are.  Unless you are at the boat or pin, you won’t have much of an idea where you are because of the boats blanketing your sight of the ends.  We’ve found the Velocitek to be extremely accurate if pinged correctly.  A good rule of thumb for measuring distance to the line is a meter a second.  This means, in a square start, if your ratio of meters to seconds is 1:1 then you are in good shape usually.  If there are more meters than seconds, you better get going and if you have fewer meters than seconds, you better kill some speed.  There are exceptions though.  For example, in a left shift, a good measure is to go 2 meters a second as you are now aiming your bow away from the line and have to travel further to get to the line.  In a right shift, it’s about 1/2 meter per second as you are pointing closer to the line and it will approach quicker.    Trust the Velocitek, don’t be late to the line.  Unless the line is so favored and you have no choice, go for a soft (less dense) spot on the line.  A good start with speed on the line with a good lane is almost always better than getting flushed out the back with no speed or clear lanes.  In a 50+ boat fleet, starting and getting off the line clean is critical.  You can always change sides of the course if you find it favored, much easier than if you are in the back rows fighting for air/lanes.  If you are in the back, you have limited options and you are likely just heading for one side of the course until you find a lane, you are being dictated to instead of dictating.  In shifty conditions, you want to be clear to tack on that first shift.  If you have a good start, you are free to tack in most cases or to keep going in a straight line for as long as you please.

You can’t roll the boat enough in light air
This is a big area of improvement for many, working to not lose much speed through a turn is the goal.  There are rules and you can’t hang on the shrouds or lifelines, but you can still roll aggressively, just have to get the technique down.  The flattening and trim is a key part of finishing off the tack or gybe, don’t forget that part.

Communication is key
No matter who you are sailing with, you have to establish communication with your crew.  Everyone has a job and everyone has a say in the game, establishing what the assignments and responsibilities are is key.  One of the things that bothers me while driving is when I hear silence for long periods of time.  How is our speed?  Boats around us?  Puffs coming down?  Can we adjust trim?  Body positioning?  If we are blazing speed demons going in the right direction, that is great news, just say so!!

I’ve noticed that the best teams out there and those that do well regatta after regatta are those who sail with the same teams. I know it’s not always easy for those of us without paid crew, but if possible, using the same team allows you to grow together and learn together and gives everyone on the team a sense of ownership.  You are starting from the last event, not from scratch.  Having new people mix in is OK because you can learn from new people and gain other perspectives, but a consistent team for the big events has proven to work best.

Trimming main
In the light air we have found that the traveler all the way up with more twist in the main is faster.  Be careful not to trim the mainsheet too hard, you will end up with the boom above centerline, choking the main.  Look for about centerline for the boom.  In the breeze, I’ve seen boats with traveler up and more twist but easing and trimming the main aggressively opening and closing the top of the sail.  I’ve seen a hard leech, meaning mainsheet on hard and playing the traveler up and down.  If you do that, be careful in the lighter stuff because you can get caught with a tight main and you want it to breathe a bit.  I’ve been told to look at the middle telltale on the top of the sail and aim for it to stall half the time, like it is about to fly but not flowing straight back.

Ask for help
The class has been sailing with 4 people for the most part.  Usually you have a tactician who doesn’t have a trimming role.  Unless you are Tim Healy, I would suggest giving up some trimming responsibilities as the driver.  You have to drive, trim mainsheet, traveler, and backstay.  My suggestion is to hand off the traveler to the tactician through tacks.  You can then worry about rate of turn, roll tacking, smoothly crossing the boat, changing hands, and cracking off the mainsheet through the tack.  In heavier air, I would suggest giving up either the backstay or the mainsheet to the tactician or trimmer (whoever is legs in).  In the puffy stuff, it is critical to shift gears and that means aggressive trim changes.  Full backstay on in puffs, full off in lulls.  Mainsheet trimming would be feet of sheet in and out vs. inches you may do in light air.

Jib Trim
The jib needs constant attention, whether you are using the winch or banjo sheeting, you need to be on it always.  Those small ins and outs make a huge difference.  As for car leads, as a general rule, if you have your leads back, you can inhaul more.  If you have your leads forward, not as much windward sheet.  Many boats are drilling holes between the factory created holes.  They would be labeled as half holes.  I suggest putting tape or whipping on your jib sheets as well as markings on your deck just forward of the jib block.  This will allow for repeated settings.  Just remember that if you untie your sheets the marks on the line will be in a slightly different spot the next time.

Backstay legs
We shortened our back stay leg that has the adjustable lashing.  In the light air it’s not a big deal because you generally don’t put a lot of backstay on.  In the heavy air, you want to have the lashing very tight.  If the leg is too long, you will bottom out and you won’t have enough pre-backstay on and when you pull on the trimming line, it doesn’t put enough tension on.  Most times, boats are stuck not being able to get enough backstay on in heavy breeze.

Changing gears
ALWAYS.  There is no sitting still with body weight or trim.  The breeze and seas are always changing, so should you!

Keep the boat flat upwind and down
Heeling means sliding sideways.  Keel is narrow but deep.  Get it as deep as possible, which means flat.  In heavy air, this should be your biggest focus as a driver, making sure you are depowering, adjusting trim, pinching slightly, all with the goal to flatten the boat as much as possible.  Having your crew call out puffs is super important so you can be proactive to the puff and not reactive, which would be too late.  Over-tacking and flipping the boat over is no good either, more sliding ensues.  One exception, too flat in light air and the boat will stall.

Crew weight
Lighter has seemed better and better to me.  I like the way the boat feels light and responsive with a lighter crew.  In most events, we have light air and that helps upwind and down to be lighter.  In heavy air, you can’t really hike much (per class rules) and the boat can be depowered quite a bit with the controls given.  Downwind, you are able to get up on a plane quicker, especially in that range where you are deciding between displacement or planing mode.

J/70 sailboat- in planing mode sailing downwindDisplacement or Planing?
As a general rule, we’ve found that if you are fighting to plane, then you are better off going for VMG.  Distance lower to the mark is best.  In lighter air it is always about going as low as possible while keeping good speed, not falling off a cliff speed-wise.  If you have speed and can burn it down, drive the boat slowly down.  When you reach the point where you need to heat it up, do so quickly, even if it means more tiller.  As for planing, usually around 15 knots of breeze and 10 knots of boat speed is when you can jump up on the “step” as they say.  If you can plane, definitely go for the plane, it can be 5 knots faster and boats will pass you by if you don’t join them!

Body Weight
Forward is usually better upwind and down in most conditions, especially flat water.  In the heavier air with waves going upwind, move weight slightly back to keep the bow up and not burying in waves.  As we learned at Worlds “seaweed on your headstay is not fast”.  Downwind it is a constant game of shifting weight forward and back.  Downwind in light air is forward and flat.  When planing, you are shifting weight back to keep the bow from plunging into the wave, but in the bigger waves sometimes you need to jump forward to get the bow over the crest of the wave to shoot you down the wave, then back before you crash into the next one!

Rig Tune
Use the guide, but remember it is just a guide and every condition calls for small adjustments depending on your boat’s setup.  Can’t set it and forget it.  Two boat testing as much as possible to check different settings is very important.  Make sure you ask someone before heading out for the day, preferably someone who has the same sail designs as you. Check all settings before and after races.  Make sure you know your turns on the rig, keep a chart somewhere on the boat.  Write down every change you make through the day and the regatta so you remember where you are at all times.  Having one person designated to the rig tune is probably wise for consistency sake.

Headstay, what to do?
More and more boats are experimenting with headstay length, going with a longer headstay in light air which allows you to point and gives you a more balanced helm instead of lee helm.  The problem is that class rules don’t allow you to change your setting once you leave the dock.  If the breeze looks like it could pick up, you might want to be more conservative.  Remember, all boats and sail designs are different.  North is different from Quantum, which is different from Doyle and Ullman, etc. etc.

Boat Maintenance Tips:
Cut your lines to proper lengths.  With all the moving around and especially at the corners and during maneuvers, extra line just leads to snags and snarls in the lines or catching on a foot or stepping on a line, etc.  Measure the absolute lengths needed, mark them and cut them.

To help save your jib, I like to go downwind when furling.  Downwind prevents the jib from luffing and flapping while trying to roll.  If you are in light air, sometimes having the halyard too loose doesn’t allow for a nice furl.  Put some tension on the jib Cunningham and then furl, then immediately take tension off again.  Make sure you have McLube One Drop or an equivalent on the furler.  The salt can really gunk up the furler and it won’t spin freely which kills a furl.  I purchased a tapered furling line and that has helped a lot too.  The jib can really get beaten with bad furls.  When on the dock, release the jib Cunningham to take tension off, this will reduce stretching.  I’ve debated taking the jib down overnight and some people do but most do not.  I think the putting up and taking down does more damage than leaving furled for a few nights.  I wouldn’t leave it up for long periods, but for a regatta it seems ok.  When I’m home doing local stuff, I put a jib sock on my practice jib to keep the sun off the sail.  I always ease the tension of the halyard too before leaving the boat.

Get a non-stretch main halyard, too often we see mains not up all the way, a few inches will hurt your ability to go upwind.

Rolling the main from the bottom.  During a regatta, I like to roll the main from the bottom as it comes down.  This will result in less wrinkles than just “dumping” it.  It also makes for a nice tight roll and it will go up the next morning and unroll itself as it goes up.  When storing between events, I usually roll it normally from the head (folded at the first draft stripe) because it fits in the bag better.  I have heard mixed results on taking the battens out.  I think if you take tension off, then they can stay in the main.  Jib battens must come out to roll because of the vertical batten.

Label all of your stuff.  With 50 or more boats all in close vicinity, there are parts and pieces and bags all over the place.  J70 stuff all looks the same, especially if they’ve been purchased from Sail22.  It’s easy to misplace or someone may accidentally take your item thinking it was theirs.

Unless you trim the jib with the winch, I suggest padding and taping over the winch, unless you like those bruised hips and butt.  Few use the winch for the spinnaker, from what I can tell.

Bring two radios, the weight of an extra radio outweighs not having one if it dies or breaks (or goes overboard).  Also bring your foul weather gear no matter what.  You can afford an extra pound or two; you are pretty useless if you are shivering the entire time.

If it is windy, wear your lifejacket!  It should be a habit, why would you risk something bad happening.  Life jackets are comfortable nowadays.  Go buy yourself one that fits well.  A good PFD vest also keeps you warm, especially when it is windy and wet.

Check the forward compartment in the bow.  On a windy, wavy day you can get water through the pole or the furling drum and water can accumulate there.  I sponge it out every day after racing, or at least check it.

Raptor Deck – Get it!  Or some soft deck equivalent.  Everyone loves ours and I won’t ever go back if I have another race boat.

Measure over and over again.  Don’t be lazy or assume anything.  Before you go out, check your settings and tuning numbers.  Use a caliper for your shrouds to repeat settings!

Fix things when you have the time – If you know you have something to fix or replace, don’t wait because it will likely become a problem at some point.  In other words, don’t procrastinate.  Make a list after each event of what needs fixing or what to buy.

If you have an onshore AP, go work on your boat.  Or ask others about what they’ve done to their own boat.  Great time to pick up tips.

Make sure you have a clean bottom.  If you don’t want to pay a diver, then get a “Cheap Diver” that is basically a mesh net that you can floss the bottom with.  It is not perfect, but it is better than nothing.  A coating of slime on the bottom is not fast.

Bring extra batteries for the Velocitek.  I tape new batteries in threes so I know they are new.  I’m sure everyone at some point has looked at a battery and wondered if it was new or old?

Hose your boat thoroughly with fresh water, salt can do a number on the hardware.  A clean boat is a fast boat.

If you can, put a dehumidifier in the boat overnight, but only if it’s safe to do so.  A dry boat is a fast boat.

Make a checklist before each regatta and check off as you pack everything.  We can send you a copy of ours if you wish. Nothing worse than leaving something at home.  Send a note to Tim Finkle at RCR Yachts (

Additional thoughts:
Keep your own log of data – Many people leave this to the tactician, but what happens when you are constantly changing tacticians and crews?  The tactician will take his/her notes with them and that doesn’t do you much good.  Keep your own notes, during the regatta and after, of course asking your crew and tactician for input.  Over time you will see trends, what your rig settings are, what works and what doesn’t.  Also, if you learn something during a race, write it down immediately after.  You will likely forget when you get back to the dock and the rum starts pouring.

Until you are getting into the top of the fleet, just do what the pros do, don’t invent on your own.  They sail constantly, some over 100 days a year.  They have seen the sail design models, they have tested everything and done the research, it’s their job!  Ask them questions, they are there to help you.
Don’t forget or ignore what you’ve already learned.  When you sail with a new crew or hot shot tactician, it is easy to just shut up and listen to what they say.  But, in the case where you’ve spent a lot of time in the boat, don’t forget your own lessons learned.  It is painful to say after the race, I knew that would happen, just didn’t want to overrule what the others are saying.  If you know something to be true, stand by that.  We always want to learn and try new things, but don’t create a new problem by trying to change something that wasn’t the cause.  Sailing photo credits- Tim

If you want more good advice from Don or Tim, please call them at RCR Yachts (716-745-3862) or email-
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/88 sailing downwind off Key West, Florida*  Rob and Sandy Butler: Sail Canada Sailors of the Month!  Sail Canada’s Sailor of the Month award acknowledges sailing achievements by Canadians involved or associated with the sport in all its forms. Here is an excerpt from the January report:

The ever-popular Quantum Key West Race Week delivered picture perfect sailing conditions until the final day of racing where competitors were faced with howling winds and rough seas forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim victory.

The Canadian entry in the J/88 class was Ontario natives Rob and Sandy Butler, sailing on TOUCH2PLAY. TOUCH2PLAY trailed behind class leader DEVIATION for most of the week, eventually capitalizing on DEVIATION’s weaknesses on the final day. The Butler crew racked up three bullets in the heavy air, clinching the overall win on a tie-breaker!

“We kind of put the pressure on (Deviation) by winning the last race on Thursday. We still trailed by two points so we knew we had to come out and win both races today,” Rob Butler said. “Our crew was really dialed in and we had very good boat speed. I’m proud of the team for doing what we had to do in order to win the regatta.”

The Butler’s have an extensive resume of successful titles including a clean sweep of the J/70 open series last March and top Canadian performances in other classes, among other impressive results going back several years. Sail Canada congratulates Rob and Sandy Butler for their Key West title and name the Butler’s Sailor of the Month – January! Sailing photo credits- Tim

J/36 Paladin sailing off St Croix, US Virgin Islands with youth sailing team* The J/36 PALADIN, owned by Stan Joines from St Croix, US Virgin Islands, has been on a mission to introduce young sailors to offshore sailing.  Stan comments, “The crew of PALADIN is a mix of kids.  Five of the crew are from the St. Croix Yacht club; they are in Junior high school at Good Hope Country Day private school, ages 10-13. They are also very active in Optimist racing at the club.  Another of the crew is my son, age 8.  Another four of the crew are from Central High, a public school here on St. Croix, where I teach.  We practice Saturday mornings.  The boat is sponsored by St. Croix Marine on St. Croix.

J/36 Paladin sailing with youth high school sailing team off St Croix, US Virgin IslandsThe J/36 is a good fit because it is still competitive, but can sleep the whole crew aboard when we are at away regattas on the different islands!  The fractional rig is great; with a masthead rig, the kids would have to be handling bigger jibs and downwind sails that could overpower them.

This boat is J/36 #53 and she’s still going strong after much T.L.C.!  We won nine out of nine in our local regatta (St. Croix International, St. Croix, U.S.V.I.) back in November.  It was just non-spin; the kids are too small to manage a gybe with a spinnaker in less than 46 seconds.  Plus, we raced with eight year old dacron.  We look forward soon to the St. Thomas International and BVI Spring regattas!”  Fair winds, Stan

The J/40 cruisers, the Malmquists from Bellingham, WA* The J/40 HERON REACH, was recently completely refit by Jerry Schuster and Ginny Malmquist (from Bellingham, WA) and is now sailing south to join up with the Blue Planet Odyssey project founded by renowned offshore sailor Jimmy Cornell.

Formerly known as Mal de Mer III, J40 Hull# 33 was first built in 1986. After buying it as their first boat a little over a year ago, they renamed her as HERON REACH. Jerry, who has always been a build it/fix it person doing everything from R&D on the Apache helicopter, to running the greenest car mechanic’s shop in Washington State, completed a total refurbishment and after 15 months of hard work HERON REACH was ready to go to sea.  According to Jerry,

“We have actively worked to raise awareness about climate change in our community of Bellingham, WA and have been active in our local Transition Movement. Our log home sits on 20 forested acres, 10 miles from the Canadian border and 18 miles from the Salish Sea (aka, Puget Sound).

J/40 cruiser preparing for Pacific Blue Odyssey cruiseAll the systems on board are getting upgrades. We've added all new plumbing, supply and sewage, new hatches, re-wired the mast and navigation electronics, switched lighting to LED, new refrigeration system, new mattress, added some new sails and tracks, and, among many other upgrades, like new lines.

We will miss being so connected to the land, but we’re looking forward to a completely different and wondrous world on the sea.

We will be sailing to at least 33 countries!  It is considered common courtesy to fly the flag of the country you are visiting, so along with other provisions, we have gotten a flag for each destination.”

J/40 cruising sailboat- Heron Reach- ready for Pacific cruise The Blue Planet Odyssey is a round-the-world sailing event aimed at raising awareness of the global effects of climate change and the state of the ocean, conveying the message: “The Ocean– Our Future” by calling at some of the most endangered places on the planet:

    - San Blas Islands in the Atlantic Ocean;
    - the Arctic Ocean;
    - Galapagos Islands, Tuvalu and the Great Barrier Reef in the Pacific Ocean;
    - the Maldives and Andaman Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Starting from Europe in 2014, the route of the Blue Planet Odyssey has been chosen to take advantage of the most favorable weather conditions and to pass through some of the most attractive cruising areas in the world. Participants can start from a port on their own continent or join the event at the nearest point along its route, completing their circumnavigation in 2016-2017.

J/40 Heron Reach with national flagsHERON REACH is picking up their NOAA drifter buoys in San Diego and will then depart for the Marquesas Islands in the Pacific.  Blue Planet Odyssey yachts like HERON REACH help deploy satellite-tracked surface drifter buoys.  Working in partnership with UNESCO-IOC and NOAA, drifter buoys are being deployed for the first time from a sailing rally fleet. Drifters provide invaluable data to scientists about weather and climate.  Learn more about the project ( and participants.   Keep up with the Malmquist’s and their adventures aboard their J/40 BLUE HERON here on their sailing blog.

DIYC Commodore- Kath* Kristen Berry from J/World Annapolis was active at the last of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series at Davis Island YC in Tampa, Florida (a.k.a. “Do It Yourself Club”).  Kristen’s role as “coach” for their two J/World J/70s participating had some interesting insights from the regatta.

In addition, Kristen had an opportunity to interview the Chief Cheerleader at Davis Island YC- Kath Robinson-Malone- ex-Laser sailor, then J/24 sailor, then a “permanent” volunteer including being first woman Commodore for DIYC.   See YouTube sailing interview of Commodore Kath Robinson-Malone here.

* Norm Curnow’s J/36 JAZZ from the United Kingdom continues its adventures across the Mediterranean.  Like Stan Joine’s perspective above, Norm has been a big fan of his J/36 after sailing her for several tens of thousands of miles both single-handed and double-handed.  Here’s a quick update from Norm:

“Things that make a cruiser-racer worthwhile even after 35 years of sailing my J/36:

Sunset traveling home after a visit to Crete

J/36 sailboat- kevlar jib after storm

The kevlar jib after 50-plus knots of wind

Trophies won in one of the good seasons

At rest at the top of the Straits of Messina

J/36 cruiser sailboat- docked at Palma Mallorca, Spain

Once again in Palma Majorca off Spain

J/36 cruiser sailboat- sailing off Newport, Rhode Island

Finally, were it all started in the USA as Rod Johnstone’s JAZZ.  We won the trophy for the most traveled boat in 2014 at my local sailing club- Saltash Sailing Club! Fantastic!”

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.
*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.