Wednesday, April 20, 2016

J/Newsletter- April 20th, 2016

J/112E at J/Boats Demo Day in May
J/Boats Demo Day- May 21st!
(Newport, RI)- Please join us as we usher in the 2016 sailing season with a day of J sailing in scenic Newport, Rhode Island.  We’ll have several J models on display at Sail Newport’s Volvo Pier at Fort Adams State Park (free parking) from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm.  We’ll then take to the water in the afternoon for hourly trial sails until 5:00 pm.

Try one boat or sign up to sail on several!  What a perfect opportunity to sail the J you’ve always wanted!  The current line-up of boats include:  J/70, J/88, J/97E, J/109, J/111, J/112E and J/133.

To sign up for a specific demo-time and model, please email ( or call us (+1-401-846-8410)!

J/70 sailing league startPremiere Sailing League Debuts in Detroit
(Detroit, MI)– The Premiere Sailing League USA (PSL USA) announces that Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (GPYC) as the first official “stadium” for the sport’s first American-based sailing league. The inaugural demonstration event will take place from September 10th to 11th at Grosse Point YC in their brand-new fleet of six matched J/70s.  Founded in 1914, GPYC is one of the country’s premier yacht clubs and a prominently visible landmark located on Lake St. Clair, less than 30 miles from downtown Detroit.

“We are looking forward to hosting this event for the Midwest,” said GPYC Commodore Thomas Lauzon.  “The partnership with Premiere Sailing League USA will not only help promote the growth of youth sailing in the greater Detroit area, but also serve as a symbol of the economic revitalization of our region.  Our fleet of J/70s is creating tremendous enthusiasm within our membership as well as encouraging other Detroit area clubs, like Bayview YC, to join in on the fun!”

Grosse Pointe YC hosting J/70 sailing league“Grosse Pointe YC is doing an amazing job with their youth and high school programs and will make good use of their boats in between sailing league events,” said Benjamin Klatzka, the President of PSL USA.  “Integrating with the programs of our partner sailing clubs is one of the important concepts PSL USA will implement to further support the sport.”

As a long-time supporter of sailing on the Great Lakes, Wally Cross, President of Ullman Sails Midwest, is excited about the PSL USA program. “This sailing league program will get the kids involved big-time and help us grow sailing as a family and school activity in the region.”

Grosse Pointe YC and PSL USA are inviting yacht clubs and community sailing programs from across the greater Midwest to participate in the exciting sailing league format.  Eighteen club teams, comprised of four crew each, participate in a college-style sailing format with teams rotating through six boats.  Teams are invited to participate from: Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Wyoming. If you wish to participate, please contact Ben Klatzka at cell# 617-480-8775 or email here.   For more information about the Premiere Sailing League USA

Newport to Ensenada Race Preview
(Newport Beach, CA)- One of Southern California’s most popular offshore races is about to start this weekend from Newport Beach, CA.  The annual Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race is a 125nm race that has challenged SoCal sailors since 1948.  The race famously starts with a massive “send-off” party on Thursday and ends with yet another amazing shindig down in the fun-loving city of Ensenada on the Baja Peninsula of Mexico.  And, to make it even more fun, more often than not ‘ole Mother Nature promises to delivery yet another downhill sleigh ride with dozens of porpoises frolicking in boat wakes and ginormous whales leaping like lizards out of the enormous Pacific swells.

Organized and hosted by the Newport Ocean Racing Association, the beloved N2E is an eclectic mix of serious sailors campaigning multi-million dollar yachts racing alongside recreational cruisers.  In order to accommodate the realities of our modern day economy, where time is of the essence for skippers and crew, NOSA has introduced a new “short course” that starts in San Diego Bay and ends up with the Newport Beach boats in Ensenada.

It has been a popular event for J sailors over the years, starting with J/24s and J/30s up to J/120s, the famous J/125s and the majestic J/65. The 2016 edition will have a broad range of offshore-loving J/Crews.  In the big boat world in PHRF A, John Lyon’s J/160 INNOCENT MERRIMENT from San Diego YC will be dueling with classmate Carolyn Parks and her fire-engine red beauty- the J/145 RADIO FLYER from Santa Barbara YC. 

The lone wolf in PHRF C class is the Puerto Vallarta Race division winner- the J/125 TIMESHAVER sailed by Viggo Torbensen and crew from Dana Point YC.  Just behind them is a virtual one-design offshore class comprised of four J/120s- Peter Bretschger’s ADIOS from Balboa YC, Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE from San Diego YC, Terri Manok’s POLE DANCER, and John Snook/ Ron Masterson’s JIM from Long Beach YC.  They will be joined by the Rolex Big Boat Series winning J/122 TKO, sailed by John Raymont from Balboa YC.

Seth Hall’s pretty flag-blue J/124 MARISOL will be sailing under the flag of the Cortez Racing Association in PHRF E class.  They will be chased hard by a trio of J’s in PHRF F class that includes the offshore-winning team on the J/88 BLUEFLASH skippered by Scott Grealish from Willamette SC in Portland, OR.  Along with them will be two J/109s, Milton Santos’ LINSTAR from Balboa YC and Jack Mayer’s ZEPHYR.

The lone J/105 on the race track will be Juan Lois’ ROCINANTE from Santa Barbara sailing in PHRF H.  Finally, PHRF J class will see Stephen Mcdonough’s J/30 EGGEMOGGIN and Scott McKenney’s cute J/32 cruiser BETTY competing for class honors.   For more Newport to Ensenada Race sailing information

J/11S sailing AntiguaAntigua Sailing Week Preview
(English Harbour, Antigua)- Antigua Sailing Week started in 1968 when a group of friends got together to hold a regatta.  A number of the friends were hoteliers and part of their objective in creating the regatta was to extend the winter season by getting people to stay in Antigua a little longer – or to come specifically to participate in the event that would in turn extend the end of the current season.

Therefore, in 1968, the Antigua Hotel Association sponsored the very first Antigua Sailing Week that was held from the 8th through the 15th of June with participating boats from the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.  Festivities included a three-day ‘Lord Nelson Regatta’ with sailing yachts of up to 135-feet in length, power boat races, deep-sea fishing and Sunfish sailing contests.  There was also a two-day race among Antigua’s workboat fishermen whose boats had been freshly painted in bold Caribbean colors specifically for the event.

The Antiguan Government and Antigua Sailing Week Committee went to great lengths to welcome visitors and ensure they had a good time.  For those not on the water but looking for a way to be part of the action, there were beach and verandah parties from which the events could be observed.  Then, there was the truly infamous final awards party taking place in Nelson’s Dockyard with the Lord Nelson Costume Ball held on Saturday, June 15, 1968.

The inaugural Antigua Sailing Week was such a huge success that it was repeated for the following 47 years. The dates eventually changed and it became tradition for Antigua Sailing Week to officially begin on the last Sunday in April every year.

Recognized as one of the best sailing locations in the world, Antigua is bracing itself for an influx of sailors and yachts from at least 22 two different countries. The largest number of yachts by country will be Great Britain joined by crews from Antigua, Australia, Austria, Brazil, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, St. Maarten, South Africa, Sweden, Trinidad and the United States of America. Over 1,000 sailors will be making the journey to the mecca of Caribbean sailing for a week of superb racing and fantastic parties.

A full week of racing starts on Sunday, April 24 and concludes Friday, April 29. Racing takes place around laid marks and point-to-point courses in the world famous sailing grounds off the south coast of Antigua. Daily prize givings are held at the Presidente Beer Garden at Antigua Yacht Club, which provide great opportunities for sailors to meet other teams. The Final Awards Presentation and after party is held in the historic surroundings of Nelson’s Dockyard. Wednesday, 27 April is the Presidente Lay Day Beach Party with fun and games on Pigeon Beach.

The regatta has always attracted the big entries, and this year’s current list includes 28 competing yachts at 50 feet and over. The entry list is bristling with proven winners including 2016 St. Maarten Heineken Regatta winner EL OCASO, the J/122 sailed by Rick Wesslund’s team from Miami.  For Antigua, EL OCASO will be sailed by a hot crew from the United Kingdom- Chris Body’s team from Royal Southern YC on the Hamble.  Joining them in CSA Racing 5 division will be another J/122- Pamala Baldwin’s LIQUID from Jolly Harbour YC.  In addition, two other U.K. crews will be on the starting line; David Ballantyne’s J/133 JINGS! from the Royal Ocean Racing Club on the Isle of Wight and Andy Middleton’s J/120 PERFORMANCE YACHT RACING “SUNSET” from Cowes, I.O.W.

CSA Racing 6 division has a trio of J/Teams up against a dozen other contenders, Jonty Layfield’s new J/11S from Antigua YC, Robbie Ferron’s J/39 MICRON 99 OSSENFEFFER from St Maarten YC, and Joe Da Ponte’s J/44 ZAFU 444 from Vancouver Rowing Club in West Vancouver, BC.

A classic J/35 is sailing in CSA Racing 7 class, Remco van Dortmondt’s SUNBELT REALTY DASH from Willemstad, Curacao and in CSA Racing 8 will be the famous J/30 BLUE PETER sailed by Tanner Jones from Jolly Harbour YC on Antigua.  Sailing photo credit- Tim Wright/  For more Antigua Sailing Week information

Mexican J/24 Nationals YucatanMexican J/24 Nationals in Yucatan!
(Yucatan, Mexico)- Hold on to your hats!  A soon to be famous sailing venue is being championed by none other than the J/24 class off the famous old fishing village of Yucatan.  Now a famous resort, but even more incredibly, a fantastic place to be sailing literally on the edge of the cobalt-blue Gulf Stream that goes whistling by offshore less than a mile from the harbor entrance.  With spectacular tradewinds that start pumping hard in late spring, early summer, the J/24 sailors from across Mexico, the USA and Europe will revel in the wavy, windy, warm weather conditions on offer in this special place in the world.  Truly, it is an undiscovered, under-appreciated place to hold major regattas!

Register NOW for the Mexican J/24 Nationals and, better yet, get a crew organized and ask J/24 Yucatan Fleet Captain Jorge Ojeda for a borrowed boat to go sailing on for a week!  Contact Jorge here- Facebook J24 Yucatan.

The regatta takes place from June 30th to July 3rd, hosted by Club Marina Sureste in the main harbor of Yucatan.  They are supported by the Mexican Federation of Sailing, the Yucatan Tourism Office and supported by sponsor Sherwin Williams Paint.  Up to three windward-leeward races are planned each day starting no earlier than 1100 hours.  A throwout race occurs after five races sailed.
According to Jorge, “we have beautiful sand and weather, but, especially a solid wind all the year, so its a great place for sailing!!  We expect at least 25 J/24s.  The three top Mexican teams are planning to attend and we hope to attract some American, Canadian and European teams, too!  Please contact me, we have good boats available to sail!”   For more Mexican J/24 Nationals sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

As spring continues to evolve, the weather is getting better in Europe, finally!  Over the weekend, the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series and the CrewSaver Spring Championship were blessed with good sailing conditions and lots of racing for one-design J/70s, J/80s and J/109s.  The J/88s and J/111s were all moving up in the classes while one J/111 continues to predominate.

Down across the mid-Atlantic to the tropics, the normally spectacular sailing at Voiles de St Barth was anything but that!  Nevertheless, the J/teams made the most of it, including a J/30, J/109, J/111, J/120s and J/122s.  

There was lots of sailing action spanning the American continent.  On the East Coast, what is now the largest sailing regatta in America took place in South Carolina- the Sperry Charleston Race Week for 250 boats. It was an epic event punctuated by huge breezes! The largest contingent by far were the various classes of J/Boats- 53% of the regatta!  Those included one-design classes for J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s on the inshore courses and offshore were one-design starts for J/88s and J/111s.  In addition, J/122s, J/105s, J/30 and J/27s sailed in PHRF handicap classes.  On the West Coast, Seattle sailors enjoyed the Puget Sound Spring Regatta hosted by Corinthian YC of Seattle; a one-design class of J/105s had fun and in the PHRF racing, J/80s, J/29s, J/109s, J/30 and J/35 all had fun on a gorgeous weekend for the Pacific Northwest.  Then, down south in San Francisco, a big fleet of J/crews sailed the J/Fest San Francisco; participating were J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, J/111s and J/120s.

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:

Apr 11-16- Les Voiles de St Barth- Gustavia, St Barth
Apr 16-17- J/Fest San Francisco- San Francisco, CA
Apr 16-19- Charleston Race Week– Charleston, SC
Apr 23-29- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua
Apr 29-May 1- Annapolis NOOD– Annapolis, MD

Apr 22-24- Newport to Ensenada Race- Newport Beach, CA
Apr 23-29- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua
Apr 27-May 1- German J/70 Sailing League- Starnberg, Germany
Apr 29-May 1- Annapolis NOOD– Annapolis, MD
Apr 30-May 1- Cinco de Mayo Regatta- Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 30- RORC Cervantes Trophy- Cowes, IOW, England
Apr 30-May 1- Yachting Cup- San Diego, CA
May 5-7- GPEN Open France- Brest, France
May 6- RORC North Sea Race- Cowes, IOW, England
May 6-8- Swiss J/70 Sailing League- Neuenberg, Switzerland
May 7-8- ALCATEL J/70 Cup- San Remo, Italy
May 7-8- Catalonia J/80 Championship- Barcelona, Spain
May 7-8- Race to the Straits Regatta- Seattle, WA
May 11-16- J/24 USA Nationals- Blue Point, NY

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

J/111s sailing JFest San FranciscoShort & Sweet J/Fest San Francisco
(San Francisco, CA)- On April 16 and 17, the St. Francis Yacht Club welcomed hundreds of sailors to San Francisco Bay for J/Fest, an annual regatta that featured J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, J/111s and J/120s. After a two-hour postponement on Saturday, the breeze filled in and competitors enjoyed two fantastic races. “We had Chamber-of-Commerce conditions,” said regatta chairman Norman Davant. “I have never seen water that clear come into the Bay. You could see the bottom from the Yacht Club.” With the tide flooding, boats stayed in the favored current along the Cityfront, making for great viewing from shore. All five fleets got in two races in 12-15 knots.

Sunday also began with no wind and flat calm water. The Sailing Instructions dictated that no races were to start after 1530, so when the breeze had still not filled in by 1330, the Executive Race Committee called the regatta. At the Awards Ceremony, there was still only a hint of a northerly.

J/70s sailing JFest San FranciscoThus, it was a short regatta, but it was a sweet regatta. “The Js came out en masse,” said Davant. The J/70 fleet was particularly active, and also hosted a clinic on Friday afternoon. “These guys are revving up for J/70 Worlds, which will be hosted by StFYC this September, so we’re starting to see some out-of-towners come in to get a feel for the Bay,” said Davant.

Peter Cameron swept the J/70 fleet with two bullets on PRIME NUMBER while second place was shared by Frank Slootman on LITTLE HAND (2-5) and Justin Kromelow on LOOSE LUCY (3-4).  Rounding out the top five Tracy & Christy Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN in fourth, just one point from a three-way tie for second place and in fifth was Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER.

The J/24s enjoyed close racing as well.  The big EVIL OCTOPUS sailed by Jasper Van Vliet from Richmond YC took the top spot with a 2-1 followed by Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR with a 1-3.  Third was Val Lulevich’s SHUT UP & DRIVE, fourth Randall Rasicot’s FLIGHT and fifth Paul van Ravenswaay’s FERAL ROOSTER.

It was the mighty big BAD DOG in the J/111s that won class with double bullets, led by their fearless leader Richard Swanson.  With deux deuces, it was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS in second, followed by Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT in third place.

J/120s sailing JFest San FranciscoThere were some rapid ascents and descents in the J/120 class.  Surviving their game of chutes & ladders was David Halliwill’s PEREGRINE to take a 2-1 and the win.  Barry Lewis’ CHANCE nabbed a 1-3 to seal the deal for the silver while Stevie Madeira’s magnificently green (like Maine forest colors) MR MAGOO settled for the bronze.

While most fleets saw some boats predominate, that was not the case for the extremely competitive J/105 class.  Here’s Phil Laby’s J/105 class report (with contributions by Toné Chin and Pat Benedict).

“We had a strong fleet showing of twenty-five J/105's, the best this year and especially good for a mid-season event.  With strong midday ebb transitioning into early flood later in the day, and with light breezes predicted, a premium could be expected on good starts, working the currents, and finding lanes for breeze.

Saturday’s start was postponed several hours and the fleet watched from the St. Francis Yacht Club (largely in summer attire) as the Lightship Race drifted through their starts, struggled to avoid obstructions, and made due with a light easterly wind or otherwise were induced by the strong ebb out the gate.  At about noon a westerly finally appeared building to around 10-15 knots for the rest of the day.

J/105s sailing JFest San FranciscoIn the first race, stronger ebb out in the bay favored several boats starting at the committee boat and who tacked immediately to port.  Arbitrage nailed the start at the committee and tacked out first, followed by Advantage3, then Jabberwocky, Godot, and Wonder with the rest of the fleet following suit.  The ebb made for a fast beat and Godot's strategy called for an earlier tack shy of the lay line to avoid the possibility of over-standing.  However, those that continued farther (Arbitrage and Advantage3) gained additional lengths by the weather mark.  The fleet tightened while heading downwind along the beach for tide relief.  Godot sailed below a group on starboard and jibed shy of the beach, finding more wind off shore and moved into 4th. After one more loop, featuring a jibing dual between leaders Arbitrage and Advantage3, the latter got its bow out at the finish line to earn the bullet. Wonder found the boat side favored to finish just ahead of Godot for the 3rd spot.

Simon Bell, tactician aboard Advantage3, had this to say of the exciting finish in race one: "Being overlapped with Arbitrage at the finish line… with both spinnakers pulling, the crew really pumped up, and winning less than 2 seconds ahead will be unforgettable!"

J/105s starting at JFest San FranciscoFor the second race, the starting line was set significantly port side or pin favored to attract some starters from just ganging up at the race committee and heading out into the remaining ebb.  Godot decided to set up a third back from the pin end for a position to quickly tack after the start.  A header occurred during the final moments allowing for an easy execution of this tack at the gun.  Recounted Toné Chin on the bow of Godot, “With my keen eyes, I waved the skipper to go full speed… this allowed us to take fully take advantage of the skewed line.  At the gun, we flopped over to port and managed to clear the whole fleet.”  A drag race ensued with 007, the pin boat off the line that also crossed on port, to the right corner of the course.  Towards the top of the course 007 crossed close ahead of Godot several times.  The early flood had already begun at the mark and Godot managed to arrive first, closely followed by 007, both several lengths ahead of the next boat.  Godot led the rest of the way, playing the shifting current and wind at the top of the next beat that offered the fleet enabling passing opportunities.  At the finish line, Godot was followed by Roxanne, Jam Session, Advantage3, and Blackhawk.

J/105 spinnakers at JFest San FranciscoSunday’s racing was canceled with the absence of breeze. In the end, Godot scored the win followed by Advantage3 in a tie breaker, both with 5 points.  The next three spots were filled by Roxanne, Arbitrage, and Blackhawk, respectively, in a three-way tie breaker with 12 points each.

The skipper of Advantage 3, Pat Benedict, acknowledged outstanding crew work as integral to his success. At one leeward gate rounding, he was amazed that his team was “able to jibe, pull out the jib, do a leeward take down, and round the mark within 4 boat lengths of the starboard buoy.”

The skipper of Godot, Phil Laby, reflected, ‘There was some amazing work done by the foredeck team of Patrick Haywood (pit), Matt Skafel (mast), and Toné (bowman extraordinaire).  The trimmers of Drew Cannon (spinnaker) and Will Lowe (main) also did well.  This crew have been racing together for only five days, so we're happy with the results so far.’”

What the regatta may have lacked in breeze, it made up for in entertainment. The Saturday night regatta party was great fun and included dinner, a live band, free-flowing Mount Gay and a massive raffle for sailing swag.  Sailing photo credits-  Chris Ray Photo  and  Erik Simonson   For more J/Fest San Francisco sailing information

J/88s sailing Charleston Race WeekFabulous, Epic Charleston Race Week
(Charleston, SC)- Event Chairman Randy Draftz says that nature smiled on the fleet for Charleston Race Week’s 21st birthday.  “This is a dream forecast with our strongest group of sponsors, supporters, and competitors ever, and it’s fitting that our birthday present is the same thing that made Charleston such a world famous sailing destination: Great wind.”

With three courses in Charleston Harbor and one outside the jetties, Sperry Charleston Race Week welcomed competitive sailors of all skill levels, from the highest ranks of Olympic and America’s Cup crews to the newest jib-and-main racer looking to get their toes in the water.  Skippers and crews hailed from some 27 nations, while boats ranging from 19 feet to 84 feet raced in seven mixed/handicap fleets and 11 one-design racing classes.

J/70 sailor Terry HutchinsonTerry Hutchinson was one of those America’s Cup stars, and he said there are few things better than April on the water in Charleston. “I don’t get to come to Charleston every year, but when I do, it starts the whole season off perfectly,” said Hutchinson, who raced aboard Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT in the 72-boat J/70 fleet. The former ARTEMIS Racing skipper and his team arrived early enough to put in two extra days of practice, which Hutchinson said would be essential for his team to do well in Charleston. “The competition level in the J/70 class is no joke, and this will probably be the biggest J/70 regatta all the way until Worlds in 2016. We could use even more practice, but we’re ready to get out there tomorrow and make good things happen.”  Those were prophetic words coming from a J/24 World Champion and two-time College Sailor of the Year.

With high-levels of competition in both the offshore handicap and one-design world, it is notable that the top two most prestigious trophies in the regatta went to J/crews.  Winning their fourth Palmetto Cup, the perennial trophy for best overall handicap racing performance, was Robin Team and the family-filled J/122 TEAMWORK program. As a result, they became the winningest boat in Sperry Charleston Race Week’s 21-year history. Then, on the one-design front, Julian Fernandez’s J/70 FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO, producing a “two-peat” performance, took home the Charleston Race Week Trophy for the best overall performance in a one-design class.  Here is what happened over the weekend.

J/80s sailing Charleston Race WeekFriday
The first morning came on like a winter blast, with cold, driving rain and a brisk northeasterly breeze greeting the more than 2,000 sailors ready to do battle for the day. With dangerous surf at the harbor’s edge and a building wind forecast, all offshore racing was canceled before 8:00am.  Event Director Randy Draftz said that while he hated to see the big boats lose a day, it wasn’t a difficult call.

“After looking at wind readings and wave reports from private boats and the US Coast Guard, and consulting with our Race Officers, we decided safety was far more important than racing, especially in potentially boat-breaking waves,” Draftz said. “There was definitely relief on most of the skipper’s faces after we called the offshore racing off.”

Meanwhile, the shelter of Charleston Harbor meant the inshore fleets – eight of them on three separate courses – had powerful but very manageable conditions, with all classes finishing three or four races in winds under 18 knots.

J/70 sailor Gannon Troutman on Pied PiperJust under 70 teams were racing in the J/70 class, with more America’s Cup, Olympic, and Championship racers than one can easily count. After three races, no professionally driven and crewed boat was beating 13-year old Gannon Troutman on PIED PIPER, whose crew includes his Dad- Dan. “We put a lot of time into getting faster and progressing over the winter, and it’s definitely showing this week,” said Troutman, who said his biggest focus when he’s out on the race course is— - - focus!

“I work on keeping distractions to a minimum and doing my job– driving– the very best I can, all the time,” said the teen, who added that he’s rarely intimidated even when being shouted at by sailing superstars. “They’re just trying to mess you up, so it’s best to ignore them and just sail fast,” he said, with wisdom far beyond his age.

Molly and John Baxter sailing Vineyard VinesTroutman’s youthful confidence may be brimming, but there’s another, far younger J/70 sailor looking to put a dent in the 13 year-old’s game plan; Connecticut couple Molly and John Baxter were racing their J/70 VINEYARD VINES at the regatta, despite expecting their new baby in just four months. “It’s early in the regatta, but we hope to have the first prenatal Charleston Race Week Champion crowned on Sunday,” Molly said!

Youthful exuberance abounds in the J/70 fleet, while experience and tradition filled the J/24 fleet– a Charleston staple. Local racer Mike Palazzo and his team on JO’MAMA sat in 10th place after three races, and he was all smiles in the afternoon, even before his first Gosling’s Rum Dark-n-Stormy. “We had a middle-of-the-pack day, but it was still a ton of fun out there racing in the best place there is. Everyone started the day with blade jibs, and the smart guys transitioned to bigger headsails for the second and third race when the wind dropped. Unfortunately, we didn’t make that move, and paid for it,” said Palazzo.

J/80s sailing Charleston HarborSaturday
Friday’s wintery conditions were barely a memory after Saturday’s picture-perfect Day 2, with 15-20 knots of wind inshore and over 20 kts outside the jetties. The conditions allowed for racing across all the courses despite seas that ranged from ‘bumpy’ to ‘scary’ according to crews returning from the offshore race course.

Sailing in handicap racing Class B, Frickie Martschink and Bill MacKenzie’s crew on board their J/105 RUM FRONT out of Charleston said the racing was great. “The ride out was pretty rough, but once on the course, conditions were not easy, but good for racing,” said Martschink, who said the highlight of his day was rounding the top mark and setting the asymmetrical spinnaker. “Once we got that set, we were smoking, and what a blast- - - well, until we had a little issue getting the kite down.”

Among Martschink’s competition in the 10-boat class was his brother Miles, who helms an identical J/105 named SKIMMER.  “We’re going to make sure our crew work is clean and quick tomorrow so we can be sure to beat my brother,” said Martschink.

Overhead waves against the tide caused problems for even the most seasoned sailors, but it was the crew of the Circle 5 Race Committee boat that faced the biggest challenge on Saturday.  After the first race of the day, a huge wave launched the 36-foot offshore fishing boat into the air, seriously injuring two crew. With transfer to a safety boat impossible in the rough water, the race officials were forced to return to shore, ending the day for Circle 5 after one race.

Meanwhile, on the inshore course in the biggest class ever assembled at CRW, 13 year-old Gannon Troutman continued to lead the huge J/70 fleet despite blowing up a spinnaker.  “A little hole at the top mark held until the very end of the last race, and it tore to pieces in seconds,” said Troutman. “We still got first place, though,” he said.

J/70 winners- Flojito y Cooperando at CharlestonSunday
Certain boats seem to thrive in Charleston’s breezy, tide-wrought conditions, and this year provided the perfect weather for them. Perennial favorites and past champions battled adversity to rise to the top once again, while new faces joined the podium in several classes.

For the third straight day, the wind provided plenty of power for the nearly 250 boats racing out of Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina, and in the biggest and most competitive class– the 67-boat J/70 fleet – 13-year-old Gannon Troutman was poised to wrap up an amazing victory after leading this tough fleet all week. From Mexico City, helmsman Julian Fernandez Neckelmann – the reigning J/70 World Champion – had other ideas for his crew on FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO. In what turned out to be the final race of the series for their flight, it was a battle for the top five all race.  After rounding the weather mark first, Brian Keane’s SAVASANA rounded the leeward gate even with FLOJITO.  On the next weather leg, it was nip and tuck with FLOJITO leading and Troutman’s PIED PIPER passing boats to move into third position.  At the windward mark, FLOJITO rounded first and took off on starboard gybe, J/70s sailing Charleston Harboronly to get into a relative hole of wind of less than 12 kts (displacement mode) in the middle of the course.  Rounding in second was Keane’s SAVASANA, who immediately gybed onto port into a massive string of 18+ kt puffs to ultimately plane around FLOJITO to win the race at the downwind finish.  Meanwhile, FLOJITO’s crew nervously gybed back to the left hand side of the course to protect their lead over PIED PIPER.  In the end, FLOJITO took second in the race and edged out Troutman that took third in the race.  As a result, the duo tied at 21 points after nine races. By virtue of Fernandez’s number of first-place finishes, the youngster from Fishing Bay Yacht Club lost the tiebreaker, but neither Troutman nor his parents seemed disappointed at all.

“We just tied for first in big breeze against the guy who won this regatta last year, and he’s also the World Champion, with his full World Championship crew. We’re feeling pretty good about that,” said Gannon’s proud Mom. FLOJITO’s team not only won their class, but also took home the Charleston Race Week Trophy for the best overall performance in a one-design class.

Rounding out the top five for the J/70’s were an amazing performance by the Baxter family- John + Molly + new kid almost on the block!  As winners of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series in Tampa Bay, Team VINEYARD VINES were one of the few crews that had yet to sail against a comprehensive set of the top competitors in the class.  They proved to be up to the task, at one point winning two races in a row and finishing only 3 pts out of first!  Fourth was the formidably-talented team on Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT with multiple World Champion and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Terry Hutchinson on board.  Fifth was Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE team with yet another College Sailor of the Year aboard- Morgan Reeser.

Stephanie Roble sailing J/70 Rimette with John BrimIn the “Master’s Division” of skippers over 60 yr old, it was Joel Ronning winning, with John Brim’s RIMETTE in 2nd place with Steph Roble on board as tactician (a Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year winner).  Third in Master’s was Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY Racing from the Cayman Islands with yet another multiple Collegiate All-American onboard- Tony Rey from Newport, RI.  As Tony remarked after racing on Saturday, “I’ve never sailed in a regatta that had as many College Sailors of the Year in one event- Terry Hutchinson- 2x, Bill Hardesty- 1x, Morgan Reeser- 2x, Stu Johnstone- 1x. Peter was more than pleased to feel competitive in such company to take an 11th in his first regatta, particularly after having raced his J/29 POWERPLAY for years and more recently his TP52 POWERPLAY! By the way, he loves sailing his J/22 at Cayman Islands Sailing Club!”

In the “Corinthians Division”, it was Rob Britts crew on HOT MESS that sailed a solid series to win by a significant margin, proving that practice makes perfect after having sailed the entire Quantum J/70 Winter Series in Tampa.  Second was Jack Jorgensen’s LAYLA. Third was Andrew Fisher’s team on BUTTON FLY with the B-SQUARED gang of Bryan Cameron & Bryan Elliot in fourth, followed by Alex Meleny’s TRUCKIN’ in fifth place.

J/24s sailing at Charleston Race WeekIt’s a testament to the level of competition in the fleets that tiebreakers would decide other titles as well.   The J/24 fleet was just as close as local Charleston skipper Scott McCormick’s GIGGTY held off a late charge for the second straight year from Aidan Glacken’s NY-based MENTAL FLOSS to take the back-to-back class win on equal scores.  Third was Carter White’s SEABAGS SAILING TEAM from Portland, ME.  Chris Stone’s VELOCIDAD was fourth and Ron Medlin’s BASH fifth.

On the same race course were the J/22s and J/80s.  In J/80s, Gary Panariello’s crew on COURAGEOUS proved their ORC Handicap win in Quantum Key West Race Week over Farr 280s was no fluke.  Posting virtually straight bullets, they won class quite handily.  Perhaps the heartwarming story of the week on the family front (other than the Gannon’s in the J/70s) was the successful performance of father Bill Lockwood crewing for his skipper daughter- Shannon.  That combo proved quite formidable, taking second overall in J/80s. Third was Vince Kalish’s WHITE LIGHTNIN’, with Alex Kraus’ COOL J in 4th and Senor MANGO in 5th- Ken Mangano and crew.

J/22 Warrior Sailing Team at Charleston Race WeekThe J/22s saw John Mossman’s CYC crew win with Dan Lawless’s SLIPPERY WHEN WET take second for the series.  However, the “winners” for all J/22 crews concerned was the nice performance by the WARRIOR SAILING TEAM’s first major regatta of the year.

Skippered by Sammy Lugo, a handicapped American war veteran, they managed to prove those with disabilities can be competitive.  Coached by Ben Poucher, the team members arrived a little late to the awards party and Poucher was immediately waylaid by a reporter from Charleston’s Post & Courier. The team had been attracting local media attention all weekend, but he didn’t mind it at all, because they were on hand to collect their third-place trophy in the J/22 Class. “We’re all going up on stage,” said Poucher, referring to skipper Sammy Lugo, and crew members Scott Ford and David Carras.

“Today turned out to be our best day at the event for both of our crews,” said Poucher. “The guys really jelled and had the boat going well. It’s gratifying to see them do so well.” And gratification is what local sailing organizer Guy Mossman offered when he took the stage at the awards presentation to acknowledge the third place finish by the Warrior crew. “The Warrior Sailing Program is such an admirable initiative,” said Mossman to the crowd. “It introduces injured and ill veterans and active service personnel to the sport of sailing. These are people we should all be grateful to. They make up less than one percent of our population, but they defend this nation all over the world, and allow us all to live free.”

On the offshore side of things, it was getting a bit fraught. Fortunately, there was a very, very cool solution to the issue.  With no end to the brutal wave conditions offshore, Event Director Randy Draftz and his principal race officers decided early in the day to bring the Circle 5 fleet inside the harbor, but where would they go? “It’s tough to find space with 200 boats already racing in the harbor, but with the help of the Harbor Pilots Association and the US Coast Guard, we came up with a solution that seemed to work,” said Draftz.

That solution was something never before tried at Sperry Charleston Race Week – a fourth inshore course inside the Wando River. “We weren’t sure it would work, but thanks to great communication between all the local agencies, every offshore boat got in three good races in perfect conditions in the river,” Draftz added. One offshore racer, Phil Garland who crewed aboard Steve Thurston's second place J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN, said that sailing north of the Cooper River Bridge was "just like frostbiting in Barrington. River sailing with current and tide just like back home– we all thought it was pretty cool.”

As a result, after counting only one race offshore on Saturday, the offshore divisions may have, ultimately, decided en’masse to only sail Charleston in the Wando River from now on end after sailing three quick, tight, extremely competitive races.  After all, the thermals are strongest in the river and when it’s from the north, it’s also fun and much shiftier.  Plus, many crews were heard to say, it was so much more fun to think of the possibility of having breakfast with their friends before sailing at a Caribbean-like 11am start!  Hmmm.  Interesting possibilities for the future.

J/111s sailing Charleston Race WeekTaking advantage of that inshore situation were crews accustomed to short, tight, tactical scenarios with strong current.

Scenario #1- J/111s.  Peter Wagner’s supremely talented crew on SKELETON KEY from San Francisco, CA that won Quantum Key West Race Week simply ran the table with straight bullets.  In a battle for second was Bill Smith’s WOOTON from Chicago, IL and Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH.  That duel was settled by tactical, closed-course strategies- advantage WOOTON.  Fourth in the fleet was Bennet Greenwalds’ PERSEVERANCE and fifth was Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY.

Scenario #2- J/88s.  After posting an offshore 1st, Rob Butler’s crew were going to have to deal with a talented short-course crew on Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION.  After a 1-1-2 on Sunday, it was clear Iris’s crew were loving her ability to get off the starting line, steer fast, and hit the shifts.  Hanging tight despite a few miscues was Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING with a 5-2-3 on the last day.  The “big mover” happened to be the DNF on Saturday’s racing- Doug McKeige’s JAZZ.  Their final day posting of 3-4-1, with an emphatic final race win, was good enough for the bronze.  Mike Bruno’s WINGS Key West Race Week winning team took 4th place in the challenging conditions and Brian O’Malley’s crew on BLUE were fifth position.

Robin Team's J/122 Teamwork wins CharlestonWinning PHRF A and the Overall Offshore Palmetto Trophy was Robin Team’s extraordinary crew on his J/122 TEAMWORK. Taking 4th in class and struggling a bit on the inshore course was Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION.

In PHRF B, it was an extraordinary performance for J crews, ultimately taking five of the top six! Tops was Rick Moore’s J/120 MOOSE DOWN in 2nd, followed by Fred Martschink’s J/105 RUM FRONT in third, Willy Schwenzfeier’s J/35 ARROW in fourth, John Keenan’s J/120 ILLYRIA in fifth and Miles Martschink’s J/105 SKIMMER in sixth.

Ultimately, in PHRF D it was a matter of attrition by several top boats.  However, in the end it is pretty damn hard to beat a well-sailed J/29 masthead boat.  Steve Thurston’s MIGHTY PUFFIN pulled off their class win with a 1-2-1-2 tally.

The Pursuit Racing Division had two races around the inside of Charleston Harbor while the “offshore boats” had to deal with contentious conditions.  In Pursuit Race Spin 1, Bill Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN took third overall and Bob Musor’s J/130 SCEPTRE was fifth place. In Pursuit Race Spin 2, Bob Key’s J/27 AUDACIOUS was 4th.  In the Pursuit Race Non-Spin division, Mark Swatta’s J/30 LAS BRISAS was 6th.
J/70 weather mark video   More CRW sailing video here   For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

J/111 Jitterbug sailing Warsash seriesWarsash Spring Series IV Report
(Warsash, England)- Competition in the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring continues over the past few weekends.  Here are the latest reports.

April 10th weekend
Crews and skippers alike had their work cut out with a SE to ESE wind of 19-24 knots, gusting 28-29 knots and a big spring tide in the Solent, the fourth day of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series.

Black Group classes, except for IRC4, started racing near mark 'Deloitte Sailing Club' and followed a largely windward leeward pattern to and from the Ryde Middle Bank and then up the North Channel for further legs before finishing at East Knoll.

In IRC1, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG was the only one of the three boats leading the class to finish the race. JITTERBUG finished first, with Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL taking second.

In IRC2, the J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT sailed by Paul Ward loved the heavy weather conditions and won her first race in the series.

In IRC3, David Greenhalgh's J/92 J’RONIMO took second by just three seconds and continues to hang on to second overall.

J/109 sailing Warsash Spring seriesFor the J/109 class, it was David McGough’s JUST SO taking the win over Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX in second and Chris Copeland & John Smart’s JUKEBOX in third place.

Racing did not go ahead for the White Group because of the conditions. Some competitors were seen hoisting their spinnakers as they headed back to the River Hamble, only to find themselves sailing horizontally.  One boat broke their mast and they had to be assisted into port. Back at the clubhouse, Chief Race Officer for White Group Peter Knight was heard to say that he was 'comfortable' with his decision!

Hats off to the Spring Series race officers out on the committee boats where conditions at anchor were less than comfortable!  WSC Commodore Nigel Russell presented Champagne and prizes.

April 19th
It was tight racing for the first weekend of the Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship; 110 boats were competing with around 850 people on the water!

A NNW wind dominated in the Solent over the weekends racing. Saturday was largely grey and cold with the wind generally 8-10 knots, dropping away for a time during race three to 5-7 knots and coming up to 12-15 knots at the end of the afternoon. Sunday bought sunshine but a very light breeze from between the W and NNW. Fluky and between 3-7 knots.

J/88 sailing Warsash seriesBlack Group start area was towards the eastern end of the Ryde Middle bank near the 'Roger Swinney' buoy. The four races on Saturday and two on Sunday were mainly windward / leeward courses around laid inflatable marks for the six classes; Fast 40+, IRC1 to IRC4 and the J/109. The race course was swung for each race to suit the prevailing conditions; lots of work for the four people on the two mark laying RIBs!

The J/109 class had several new boats all sharing the lead in a three-way tie on 11 pts each; Robert Stile’s DIAMOND JEM, David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH and Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE!  Sitting 5 pts back is David McGough’s JUST SO and another 4 pts further back is Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX.

The IRC 1 Class saw stiff competition, with Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II posting all top five scores to hang on to 5th position.

IRC 2 saw Paul Ward’s J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT take a fourth position.  Ward said of the weekend's racing: "Courses were all very good and the four race format is exactly what we need to get the boat handling sharpened up at the start of the season. With the wind up and down and swinging around there were a lot of decisions for the race team and from what we could see you got them right and gave us all a really good and challenging day on the water".

J/70 RAF Spitfire sailing Warsash seriesWhite Group saw the first Black Flag of the year raised when the 24 strong J/70 class was too eager to start in the third race and the middle of the fleet pushed out over the start line. The Group raced four races on Saturday but the faltering wind meant only one race could be run on the Sunday despite moving the start inshore from to the Royal Southern buoy.  Russell Peter’s BOB is leading the J/70 class with just 13 pts, winning two races in the process and having all top five finishes.  Second is the J/70 Worlds Corinthian Champions, Simon Ling’s TEAM RAF BENEVOLENT FUND SPITFIRE and third is Ian Wilson’s GILL RACE TEAM.  Rounding out the top five is Jon Calascione’s HARLEQUIN in fourth and in fifth is Nick Phillips’ CHAOTIC.

Mike Lewis’s JESTER is leading the J/80 class, followed by Rachel & Robert Hunt’s JUMBLESAIL, third is Terence O’Neill’s AQUA-J.

Peter Bateson concludes, "Next weekend is the last of both the Series and the Championship. If the advance weather forecast of force 3-4 breezes proves correct, there should be some great sailing conditions to make a climax to this year's event."

April 19- Part 2
For the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series, Peter Bateson, Series Chairman, commented that, “the competition in some of the Black Group classes has really heated up now with many boats which had been leading the series in their class finding themselves in second place this week. The points are really tight between the boats and so it's all to play for as we head into the final races of the Spring Series next weekend".

J/111 Jitterbug - Cornel Riklin sailing Warsash seriesThe weather had provided a complete reversal of racing conditions in the Solent from last week leaving competitors searching for wind on day five (Sunday 17 April) of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series.

The forecast NNW wind of 5-10 knots shifted around 105 degrees extreme to extreme, causing the first race - and in the end the only race- of the day for White Group to be AP'd as the wind had shifted dramatically to the left.

Black Group's start area was around the eastern end of the Ryde Middle Bank with windward / leeward courses laid by inflatable marks. IRC4, which normally starts with the White Group, was moved into the Black Group start area due to the light winds.

In IRC 1 class, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG has maintained her overall series lead with an astounding 10-point gap to second place. However, JITTERBUG sustained some damage in an incident with another competitor and was not able to race on the Sunday. Hopefully, she will be out next Sunday.

J/88 spinnaker reach at Warsash seriesPaul Ward’s J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEAT continues to climb the ladder for the series in IRC 3 Class and now sits in third overall.  Richard Cooper’s J/88 JONGLEUR has been doing the same, is tied for fifth place, and has a good chance for a top five finish.

David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO is now leading IRC 3 Class with 11 pts.  Meanwhile, Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II took a 2nd in her last race and has an excellent chance of hopping into 3rd overall with a good finish next week.

The J/109s still have the same top three boats leading the class, McGough’s JUST SO in 1st with 9 pts with Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX in 2nd with 11 pts and Perry’s JIRAFFE in 3rd with 12 pts.  Who beats who in the last weekend will determine the final outcome of this trio?  Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN’ is 4th with 22 pts and David Richards’ JAZZY JELLYFISH is 5th with 33 pts.

J/70 sailing reach at Warsash seriesThe White Group course was moved inshore from a start at buoy to a start from Royal Southern buoy and the racing was able to finally got underway. But with the wind dying steadily competitors found themselves struggling around the windward mark because of the strong tide. Nevertheless, the racing was tight, with the three J/80's rounding the gate mark within three boat lengths of one another.

BETTY (Jon Powell) continues to lead the J/80 class with a sizeable 16-point lead over JUMBLESAIL (Rachel & Robert Hunt) in second place with 26 pts.  Third for the series is Terence O’Neill’s AQUA-J with 34 pts.

In the J/70 class, COSMIC (Patrick Liardet) is holding on as series leader with just 15 pts in 9 races counted.  INJUNCTION (Steve Venables) is holding onto second place after posting three bullets in three of the last four races.  Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8 is sitting tenuously in third position with 34 pts, just 4 pts clear of Nick Denney’s JALAPENO in fourth.  Fifth overall is Doug Struth’s DSP.

Annabel Shove presented Champagne and prizes from Rolly Tasker Sails who have provided the winner's champagne throughout the Series.   For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series and CrewSaver Spring Championship sailing information

J/111 JBoss at Voiles de St BarthJ/Sailors Cruise Les Voiles de St Barth
(Gustavia Harbour, St Barths)- From the 11th to 16th April, the beautiful French island of St Barths played host for the 7th edition of Les Voiles de St. Barth.  This year’s event was notable for what it lacked, namely plenty of wind!  Unusual conditions prevailed for the sailors as much lighter winds than forecast jinxed the fleet, making for an exasperating week of sailing for most boats.  One day was even canceled due to no wind!  While the beach parties raged, other prayed for breeze to round out the week, but it never happened.

J/105 sailing Voiles de St BarthIn CSA 3, Eddy Chalono’s J/111 J-BOSS from Martinique managed to post a strong comeback after taking an 8th place in their first race, sailing fast & furious to post two deuces and take the bronze in class.  Similarly, the J/120 JAGUAR sailed by Vladimir Kulichenko from Moscow, Russia also had a slow start in race 1 with a 9th, but came back with a 3-5 to finish a respectable 6th overall on a tie-breaker over Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID team from Antigua.

Like their classmates in CSA 3, the J/109 POCKET ROCKET skippered by David Cullen from St Barths/ Ireland took 4th in CSA 4 class with a scoreline that showed improvement every race.  Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER from Barbados sailed consistently to take 6th in class.   For more Les Voiles St Barth Regatta sailing information

J/105s sailing Seattle Puget Sound seriesGorgeous Puget Sound Spring Series!
(Seattle, WA)- It was one of those rare weekends that everyone dreams about sailing on Puget Sound.  The famous local sailing photographer, Jan Anderson, commented about the weekend, “first, the wind forecast helped us choose which day to show up, and then Mother Nature delivered a gorgeous weekend! And hey, those that came out sailed their hearts out … what fun! Hope you enjoy these images!

J/109 sailing Seattle Puget Sound seriesHosted by Corinthian YC Seattle, the sailors came out in droves to experience a sunny weekend with nice breeze both days.  The J/105 class had a great turnout and it was Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE crew that took class honors with three 1st and two 2nds in their scoreline.  Second was Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO with two 1sts, two 2nds and a 3rd.  Jerry Diercks’ team on DELIRIUM were, indeed, delirious with glee winning the last race to snag third overall.  The rest of the top five included Chris Phoenix’s JADED in 4th place and David Cohen & Lance Rummel’s INCONCEIVABLE in 5th position.

In the PHRF handicap world, we find Stu Burnell’s J/109 TANTIVY place third in Class 2 with Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA taking 5th position.  They were followed by Brian White’s classic J/35 GRACE E in 6th place.

In PHRF Class 5, it was the battle of the “29s” yet again!  This time, it was Patrick Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW taking the silver just one point back from first place! Fourth was the Kaplan/ Erickson/ Moynihan/ Sandler crew on the J/29 WINGS.  Four J/80s were sailing, with David Schutte’s TAJ MAHAL snaring 6th and Lek Dimarucot’s UNDERDOG in 7th place.   Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson/ JanPix   For more Puget Sound Spring Regatta sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Bob Johnstone* Bob and Rod Johnstone to be honored by the Mystic Seaport Museum this October 22nd!  Mystic Seaport will present its 2016 America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats. Given annually by the Museum, the prestigious award recognizes individuals or organizations whose contribution to the history, arts, business, or sciences of the sea best exemplify the American character.

The Johnstone’s will receive the award Saturday, October 22, at a gala dinner held in their honor at Mystic Seaport. The gala will be the first and only dinner held in the Collins Family Gallery of the new Thompson Exhibition Building prior to its ongoing use to display exhibits. The Rod JohnstoneAmerica and the Sea Award Gala is the single largest fundraising event for the Museum. Proceeds from the event benefit the mission of the Museum to inspire an enduring connection to America’s maritime heritage.

“Over the past 39 years, the Johnstone family and their company have influenced American yachting and sport of sailing in incomparable ways. They have established a record of accomplishment that few will ever challenge, and they have instilled in countless Americans a passion for enjoying time on the water with family and good friends aboard good boats,” said Steve White, president of Mystic Seaport. “For these reasons and many more, Mystic Seaport is proud to bestow its America and the Sea Award to Bob and Rod Johnstone – J/Boats.”

To purchase tickets or a table, or to inquire about corporate sponsorship or dockage for the event, please contact- or call 860.572.5365.  More information on Mystic Museum website here.

J/46 Bravo sailing Caribbean* J/46's cruising all over the Caribbean!  According to Tom Babbit, the happy owner of BRAVO (J/46 #24), “after a raucous offshore leg to the Caribbean, we have encountered no fewer than six J/46s that are down here for the "season”!  Holy Smokes!  What fun!  Great folks and great celebrations everywhere we go, one of the major benefits of being part of the J family!  We look forward to reconnecting with at least some of these folks this summer in Camden!  Please contact me at-”

According to Tom, those enjoying the steady sun and breezes include:
  • Rob and Melanie Shaw on #14 Jazolo (UK)
  • Glenn and Elsa Gustafson on #25 Windara (Michigan)
  • Herni Van Miele on #40 Jent (Dutch)
  • John and Anne Burnett #43 Folie a Deux (San Francisco)
  • In Nanny Cay, #23 (USVI)
  • Tom & Jane Babbit, Bravo, #24 hailing from Camden, Maine
J/46 crew of Bolero sailing Pacific!* Speaking of J/46s and long-distance sailing!  The J/46 BOLERO with crew of Tom Perry, Eric McClure and Jorge Morales (owner) left Dana Point, CA on Wednesday, April 20 to participate in the Pacific Puddle Jump.

According to Eric, “we are participating in the Pacific Puddle Jump which is supported and sponsored by Latitude  Jorge is a member of Dana Point YC, he is a four-time Transpac veteran and has many ocean races to his credit.  Eric has owned a J/24, a J/29 and currently has a J/35 and has done five Transpac’s and many offshore races, too.  Eric is member of Alamitos Bay YC.  Tom is rock star crew with many years of racing to his credit.  The boat has been impeccably prepared to do this voyage. We plan to sail to the Marquesas Islands and cruise those islands and then sail to Tahiti!

J/46 sailing south PacificBy the way, after leaving on the 20th, our voltage regulator to the stove wasn't working properly so we stopped in to San Diego to fix it. As you can see from the stern of the boat, we have all the comforts of home!  So far, the boat speed is pretty amazing, in 19 knots of breeze, were reaching along doing 9.5 knots all day!

Also, we are leaving about the same time from San Jose del Cabo in Mexico is the J/130 ITAJIME from San Francisco, CA with owner Alan Robin and friends.”

And, here’s a timely note we just received from Alan Robin, the proud owner and skipper of the J/130 ITAJIME, hull #29, also sailing the Pacific Puddle Jump! 

J/130 Itajime sailing south PacificAlan said, “I am the third owner of #29 and am preparing to leave from San Jose del Cabo to cross to  French Polynesia. I thought that you would be interested in knowing that although this is my first Pacific Crossing, it is Itajime's third. #29 was first purchased by John Moore and commissioned as Breakin' Wind in the San Francisco Bay and sailed through the South Pacific to New Zealand. Robert and Kim Milligan purchased #29 in New Zealand, renamed her RAM and sailed and raced it throughout Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific sailing back to the SF Bay in 2012.

I purchased her in January, 2014 renamed her ITAJIME and have been actively sailing her up and down the Pacific Coast and am now preparing to cross again in the next day or two.

I love ITAJIME and continue to be blown away by her performance, stability, and comfort. Unlike many cruisers, she is a joy to sail and very comfortable. I love passing other sailors with my sails up while they are motoring muttering about the lack of wind. She is truly a sailor's cruising boat. You can follow us on our blog at  Thank you for designing and building such a lovely, durable and fun boat!”

Please be sure to follow along with BOLERO and ITAJIME on their great adventure across the South Pacific- more information here!

J/22 Warrior Sailing Team at Charleston Race Week*  The Warrior Sailing Team participated in the J/22 class at Charleston Race Week.  Here’s a nice story from Grace Raynor at The Post & Courier newspaper in Charleston.

“Upon first glance, Ben Poucher knows it’s not obvious. Another sailor would physically have to peel his or her eyes off of the racing course ahead and actively look into the Warrior Sailing Team’s boat in order to fully see the difference.

Even then, Poucher said, there’s still a chance it’s not noticeable.

“We have two amputees and a blind guy and myself on a boat,” Poucher said. “So that would be four people, six legs and six eyes.”

Poucher is the director of Warrior Sailing, a program that first began in 2013 and was created to teach ill, injured or wounded military members — active or retired — about sailing. And on Sunday, the final day of Sperry Charleston Race Week, Poucher and three veterans finished third in their division, sailing a J/22.

Poucher, the coach, was joined by Scott Ford, David Caras and Sammy Lugo.

Ford, who served in the Navy for eight years, worked the mainsail. He’s been legally blind since 2005.

“I got a vaccine for Japanese encephalitis,” he said. “And had a reaction.”

Caras, an above-the-knee amputee, and Lugo, a below-the-knee amputee, were in charge of operating the jib and steering the boat, respectively. Caras flew in helicopters for the U.S. Coast Guard for more than two decades, while Lugo served in the U.S. Army for nearly nine years.

“I got injured in Iraq in 2007 — IED explosion,” Lugo said. “I’m a below amputee on the left and I have multiple fractures, so I have a bunch of hardware in my right knee and I had a patella replacement.”

The trio of veterans all realize they’re different physically, but with Poucher’s help, they’ve mastered the art of sailing in a manner that caters to each of their strengths.

The result is a well-oiled machine, where everyone has a specific job and each teammate is expected to help the others along the way.

Ford relies heavily on his hearing when he operates the main sail, as well as his lower half, which allows him to discern which way the boat is angled.

“The heel of the boat is critical in making the boat go straight forward as opposed to sliding sideways,” he said. “Hearing the waves, the sound of the waves on the sound of the boat (helps).”

Caras has figured out a way to hang on the sides and the rail of the boat for balance purposes, without falling overboard himself.

“I’m a lot more mobile now and comfortable with my balance,” he said.

And Lugo serves as the eyes of the team, making sure it stays on course as he steers.

Ford said there’s a part of Warrior Sailing that reminds him of being back in the unit — the camaraderie, the teamwork and the sense of outspokenness are all present on the boat, just as they were when he served in the military. Political correctness goes out the door and other people’s feelings aren’t a factor when it’s race time.

“In the military, it’s really, ‘Who cares about your feelings?’” he said. “‘Let’s get the job done.’”

His hope is that those who see the Warrior Sailing team are inspired — realizing that a physical disability is something that can be conquered. The group has no plans to slow down anytime soon.

“My response to that is even though you have a disability, you can overcome it and you can be out on the water enjoying the air and adventurous experience of sailing,” Ford said. “We got knocked down three or four times this week and that was pretty incredible.”

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.

* The J/40 HERON REACH sailed by Virginia and Jerry is participating in the Blue Planet Odyssey project and have recently joined them in the Marquesas Islands in the Eastern Pacific.  Learn more about their adventures and experiences here-
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 AVATAR headed for the Caribbean, again, for 2015/ 2016!  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 regards their various improvements and refit to the boat (see above).  They will again be based at Proper Yachts in St John, US Virgin Islands.

Bill & Judy Stellin- sailing J/42 Jaywalker* Bill & Judy Stellin were interviewed 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.