Wednesday, June 29, 2016

J/Newsletter- June 29th, 2016

J/109 sailing Vic Maui Race to HawaiiVic-Maui Race Preview
(Victoria, BC, Canada)- Next week, the biennial Vic-Maui Race will start on Thursday, July 7th and send the fleet of just forty boats on a 2,308nm journey across the Pacific to the beautiful island of Maui.  Hosted by the Royal Vancouver YC and Lahaina YC, the fleet starts off Victoria Harbor in British Columbia, heads northwest out the treacherous Straits of Juan de Fuca, then turn left and head straight to the finish line just outside the reef line at Lahaina YC.  The game, as always, is to play the edge of the enormous Pacific High to maintain as fast a VMG angle as possible for most of the race; as a result, most boats end up sailing not the direct “great circle route”, but a course that looks like half an ellipsoid.

The time allowances for the fleet will be calculated from the ORC velocity prediction program, the Vic-Maui Weather Matrix, and a course length of 2,308 nautical miles.  This will result in a single time allowance for each boat for use in the 2016 Vic-Maui Race.

Reed Bernhard’s J/109 MOUNTAIN from Sloop Tavern YC in Seattle, WA will race the Double-handed Class.  The skipper and navigator have ten TransPac races between them, and they look forward to sailing from the great city of Victoria.

In the Swiftsure Lightship Classic Race, Bernhard’s MOUNTAIN took first in ORC Division I in the Swiftsure Lightship Classic Race earlier in the year.  Not only was the race a “qualifier” for the Vic-Maui Race, but it was also a good indicator of the thorough preparation that Bernhard has put into his J/109; all that hard work paid off with their division win.  With the Vic-Maui fleet racing ORC rating rule using a single number, the J/109 could very well be a strong contender for both class and overall honors.  For more Vic-Maui Race sailing information

J/80s sailing match race in helsinki, finlandJ/80 Women's International Match Race Helsinki
(Helsinki, Finland)– The first event of the 2016 Women’s International Match Racing Series (WIM Series) is beginning on Finnish waters as a dozen teams go into combat in the Helsinki Women’s Match for their share of the valuable WIM Series points.  The women are sailing matched J/80s using symmetric spinnakers and poles flown from the masthead.  The teams come from Finland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, France, Netherlands and Ireland.

Hosting the Helsinki Women’s Match is Nyländska Jaktklubben (NJK) – the yacht club that brought the exciting sailing discipline of match racing to Finland already some 25 years ago. In 2011, the European Women’s Match Racing Championship was sailed in Helsinki and in 2014 the club hosted the Youth Match Racing World Championship.

With heavy showers from a dark grey sky, and temperatures far from what you’d expect this close to summer solstice, the participating teams had quite a rough practice session on the waters close to Hernesaari (Ärtholmen), on the southern shores of Helsinki. The weather for Wednesday is expected to offer good sailing conditions to the teams.

Reigning WIM Series champion, American Stephanie Roble and her Team Epic Racing, will not participate in Finland due to job obligations. But they will be back on the coming events, and cannot be counted out already. Four events out of the five on the 2016 WIM Series will count in the total standings, so you can drop out of one and still have the chance of winning.

Since the inaugural season in 2013, the WIM Series have seen half a dozen Volvo Ocean Race sailors, 26 Olympic sailors (including the 2012 Women’s Match Racing Gold Medallists), multiple National Champions and one World Sailor of the Year. To this date, sailors from 23 nations have participated in the WIM Series.

The racing begins Wednesday with the round-robin to be followed by quarterfinals, semi finals and then the conclusion with the final on Friday, July 1st.  For more Women’s International Match Race Series sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

It has been an epic week on the eastern side of the Atlantic.  For one, the world now knows that the “Leave” vote won in a remarkable referendum in the United Kingdom, though not all in the U.K. agreed to the idea; notable dissenters were Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland!  Oh dear, the Eurocrats were not happy.

Meanwhile, the drumbeat of the sailing world beats on, with racing taking place on both sides of the “English Channel”.  For starters, the German J/70 class was hosting the J/70 European Championship.  It was held in conjunction with the famous Kieler Woche, hosted by Kiel YC in Kiel, Germany.  Racing took place on the southwest portion of the Baltic Sea in a bay called the Schilksee.  It set a new record for the J/70 Europeans, with 94 boats participating from fifteen countries, plus there was a surprise winner!  Then, due south of them, the J/80 World Championship kicked-off, which is currently being held off Marina Sotogrande, in Barcelona, Spain- an update is below.  Then, hopping across the “English Channel” (will it get renamed?), the RORC IRC Nationals was taking place off Cowes, Isle of Wight, England; despite stormy weather, there were good performances by the new J/112E (sailed by a French crew) and a fast J/35 (sailed by an Irish crew), plus some flashes of brilliance from a J/122 and J/97 kept everyone honest.  About the same time, the RORC Round Ireland Race, which started and finished in Wicklow, Ireland, just completed and a group of J/109s, J/111, J/122 and J/97 all had fabulous finishes and added to their “pickle dish” collections!  Over on the Continent, the Swiss J/70 Sailing League sailed their Act VI on Lake Constance off Romanshorn, Switzerland in difficult weather conditions.

Tele-transporting time and distance in Doctor No’s time machine (e.g. outhouse), we find ourselves landing in the Land of Oz, a.k.a. Los Angeles.  There, the Long Beach YC and Alamitos Bay YC were hosting the Long Beach Race Week for one-design J/70s, J/120s and J/109s.  Again, there were amazing performances by J/111s and a J/35 in PHRF handicap classes.  Moving back towards the Midwest, the Edgewater YC hosted the Offshore Edition of the Cleveland Race Week for PHRF handicap racing in over eight classes.  Again, more great performances by J/111s, J/88s, J/109s, J/35s, J/34 IORs, J/29s and fun for J/105 one-design class.  Still further east, the Eastport YC on the Chesapeake Bay hosted their One-Design Classic for J/22s and J/70s.  Then, up in Long Island Sound, it was a near wash-out for Riverside YC’s Stratford Shoals Race for J/105 one-designs and a J/122 in the PHRF Doublehanded class- it was such a light airs race, there were few finishers and mostly DNF’ers!

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:

Jun 25-Jul 1- J/80 World Championship- Sotogrande, Spain
Jun 30- J/80 Pornic Cup- Pornic, France
Jul 7- Victoria to Maui Race- Victoria, BC, Canada
Jul 8- RORC Cowes-Dinard-St Malo Race- Cowes, England
Jul 8-10- Vineyard Cup Regatta- Edgartown, MA
Jul 9-10- Sail Newport Regatta- Newport, RI
Jul 11- Pacific Cup Race- San Francisco, CA
Jul 11-15- Whidbey Island Race Week- Whidbey Island, WA
Jul 12-16- J/109 North American Championship- Newport, RI
Jul 12-16- New York YC Race Week- Newport, RI
Jul 16-18- J/111 European Championship- Hamble, England
July 22-24- J/70 Great Lakes Championship– Youngstown, NY
Jul 22-24- J/70 Pacific Coast Championship- San Francisco, CA
Jul 27-31- Travemunde Race Week- Travemunde, Germany
Jul 28-31- Marblehead NOOD Regatta- Marblehead, MA
Aug 1-4- J/111 World Championship- Cowes, England
Aug 4-7- J/80 North American Championship- Toronto, ONT, Canada
Aug 5-7- J/27 North American Championship- Oakville, ONT, Canada
Aug 6-13- AAM Cowes Week Regatta- Cowes, IOW, England
Aug 134-14- J/FEST New England- Bristol, RI
Aug 13-19- J/24 European Championship- Plymouth, England
Aug 14-20- Women's J/70 World Keelboat Championship- Rye, NY
Aug 19-25- J/22 World Championship- Kingston, ONT, Canada

J/70 Events:
Jul 22-24- J/70 Great Lakes Championship– Youngstown, NY
Jul 22-24- J/70 Pacific Coast Championship- San Francisco, CA
Sep 15-18- J/70 Rolex Big Boat Series/ Pre-Worlds- San Francisco, CA
Sep 24-Oct 1- J/70 World Championship- San Francisco, CA

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

J/70 Europeans winner- Claudia RossiRossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE Crowned J/70 European Champion!
(Kiel, Germany)- The second J/70 European Championship saw ninety-six boats from fifteen nations sail eleven races over the four day series in everything from stormy weather with epic planing conditions to sunny days with benign, shifty breezes.  Kiel YC hosted the regatta with racing taking place in the choppy waters of the southern Baltic Sea called the Schilksee.  It was a very talent-laden fleet, with multiple European and World Champions in over a dozen classes participating, including the Deutscher Touring YC- winner of the 2015 Deutsche-Segel Bundesliga.  The surprise winner of the event was top Italian woman skipper Claudia Rossi and her PETITE TERRIBLE crew of Matteo Mason, Simone Spangaro and Michele Paoletti.  Claudia sailed an amazing series, she scored all top five finishes and, in fact, tossed a 5th place to score just 29 pts net in ten races- a remarkable 2.9 average!

Day 1 Report
Because of the size of the fleet, the 96 teams were split into four flights that would rotate after each race in order to race each other with 48 teams on the starting line.  After the first race day of racing, several southern European teams were dominating the standings. Stefano Roberti’s PICCININA from the YC Monaco J/70 fleet was at the top of the leaderboard after posting a smoking-hot 2-1-1 scoreline.  They were followed by two Italian crews- Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK (1-2-2) and Claudia Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE (1-4-2).  The best German crew was in tenth place- Sven-Erik Horsch team from Norddeutscher Regatta Verein in Hamburg.

J/70s sailing Europeans- Kiel, GermanyCarsten Kemmling’s HELGA was third best German team on the day in 12th place.  They appeared to be satisfied with the first race day, “Our results were respectable with a 5-15-5. But the Italians and the Monegasque are just slightly faster. It is not much, but they obviously have found better settings. We have been trying for three days to adjust the trim accordingly, but the Italians just have had much more training. The day has not been easy with the current and uncomfortable swells.”

Claudia Rossi was hoping to follow the same successful path in Kiel that her father did two years earlier. In 2014, her father, Alberto, won the ORC Worlds in the outer fjord with his boat ENFANT TERRIBLE.  Evidently, Claudia has the same competitive fire in her blood as her Dad!  In fact, Alberto himself flew to Kiel on Thursday to cheer on his daughter.

Stefano Roberti was as surprised as anyone to be leading the regatta after the first day. "This is way above our expectations. Last year, I was 40th in the Europeans”, said Roberti. "I thought last year, that I could keep sailing with friends, but I soon realized that this is not possible in this class. So I brought aboard three very good sailors that understand dinghies and sportboats- my crew is Enrico Fonda, Ludovic Broquaire, and Filippo Lamantia.  We loved the conditions today; they were very similar to Monaco. The starts also worked well. I can say, it has been a happy day for us!“

J/70 Calvi Network sailing J/70 EuropeansDay 2 Report
For the J/70 sailors, it was a late one on the race area on their second day. In the light and shifty breezes, the race committee managed to start two races, before the wind finally disappeared when they were trying to start the third race. So PRO Thorsten Paech decided to send the crews back to the dock.

The leaders of the fleet changed, with Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE taking the lead with a 1-5 compared to Roberti’s PICCININA with a 4-6.  For many in the top ten, it was the fifth and last race of the day that saw some dramatically bad races posted on the scoreboard.

“It was a day, where you would lose so much by making small mistakes. All forty-seven teams in our group rounded the first mark very close together, and then, if you happened to be on the wrong side on the downwind, you lost a lot,” reported Roberti.  "Since we are a rather heavy team, we are very happy with our boat speed. But Claudia, with her crew, is incredibly fast.“

Even for the new regatta leaders- Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE, not everything went smoothly. In the first race, they were third at the first mark, but they were held from making their gybe by their rivals and lost a few places. “Fortunately, we could fight our way back up to fourth place again. That was good for us, especially when we realized that our opponents had started in the wrong group!”

Oliver Schwall, sailing BROTHERHOOD (founder of German Sailing League), was coming to terms with the idea the teams from the Mediterranean had a higher speed potential. "In the national sailing league we are sailing with basic settings on the J/70, which we are not allowed to change. You immediately notice that these other teams know how to set up their boats better."  Oliver was sailing with his brother Rene, Bo Teichmann and Moritz Jaeger-Roschko (all members of Kieler YC).

At the end of racing on Day 2, the only German crew in the top ten was the team of PIT FINIS with tactician Karol Jablonski on board (a DN iceboat World Champion and Match-Racing World Champion).

J/70s sailing in storm- Kiel, GermanyDay 3 Report
The third day appeared to have an enormous effect on the points table. In the first race for the Blue fleet over 30 boats were disqualified due to an early start. And several crews were subsequently judged OCS in other races.  But, staying clear of trouble was Ms Rossi’s crew on PETITE TERRIBLE, as she continued her winning ways with scores of 1-4-4 to become the unchallenged leader of the fleet.

No fewer than 38 disqualifications from OCS’s were reported in the list of the 94 teams. Race director Nino Shmueli defended his tough approach, “It was all according to the rules. We are sailing with huge stickers on the bow in the J/70 fleet, so we could recognize all early starters. Even if only one team had started right it would have stood as a race.”

Three races were sailed and so Shmueli was satisfied with the day, remarking that “Despite the thunderstorms and the shifting winds, the full program could be sailed. In the afternoon, the wind picked up a lot. But, we brought back everyone ashore without damage.”

Of course, the emotions of the disqualified teams were a bit different. “It was fully compliant with the rules, but morally questionable,” said Christian Soyka- skipper of the VOICE OF ITZEHOE (a former 4-time X-99 Word Champion).  They were pushed down to 19th place because of their BFD disqualification. “In the yellow starting group, one start had been cancelled.  But, in the blue group, they kept it running. You have to follow a precedent in this case,” remarked Soyka.  “Our objective here was to learn from the best J/70 teams in Europe.  Today, we were wrong, not good. We have never sailed in this wind and with these waves before.  Up until the sixth race we had all top ten finishes!”

The biggest leaderboard climbers on the day were Eduardo Lupi’s TORPYONE from Italy (3-5-2) and Charlie Esse’s BABY J from the U.K. (4-9-3), both sitting on the provisional podium at 2nd and 3rd, respectively.  Also, sailing “lights out” all day in hyper-kinetic mode was Brazilian Mauricio Santa Cruz on MANDACHUVA (4-1-2) with the best record of the day in the entire fleet to catapult them into 5th place overall.

J/70 sailing Europeans- Kiel, GermanyDay 4 Finale
The regatta finished with a packed program of three races. And the weather on the race course made it a perfect day, after difficult wind conditions and a huge number of disqualifications had caused lots of turbulence in the highly competitive class.  By sailing a perfect series of races on the final day, Roberti’s PICCININA counted three victories to end up taking the silver while Gonzalo Araujo from Spain posted a 2-1-5 to vault into the bronze medal to finish off the podium.  Rounding out the top five were Lupi’s TORPYONE in fourth, suffering from having to throw out a Black Flag in the last race, and in fifth was Santa Cruz’s MANDACHUVA.

J/70 European winners podium- Kiel, GermanyClaudia Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE performance was a surprise for the top J/70 sailors and, also, for herself: "I had not expected to win when I came here. We only had the boat since February. But, the crew had an ambitious objective and made us fast!” The young sailor from Italy has been racing for years at an Olympic level in Italy.  Sailing seems to come naturally for her and her family. She remarked that, “Kiel is a very lucky sailing territory for our family! Now, I am looking forward to going home, where my boyfriend is waiting, and we will have a huge party!” Can anyone blame her?  Party-on! :)

Even the second-placed Roberti, sailing under the Monegasque flag, was outshining the sun in Kiel with his happiness, "I am happy with the silver medal. I had never expected to do this well. On the third day, we thought we had given away the chances at the overall title with a Black Flag and moderate results.  Nevertheless, we are happy to be here on the podium!  It’s an amazing fleet of very accomplished sailors!  We hope to participate in the J/70 Worlds in San Francisco and learn more!”

Roberti congratulated Claudia Rossi, "Their team just stayed cool, hardly made any mistakes and sailed a very consistent series.  I enjoyed it here. To be part of this big event in Kiel was lots of fun. Being in the middle of the young sailors from all the Olympic classes in Kiel Week is wonderful, it makes you feel even younger!“    Watch this J/70 European Championship sailing video highlights here.   For more J/70 European Championship sailing information

J/80 youth- sailing World Championship in SpainJ/80 World Championship Update
(Sotogrande, Spain)- Erik Brezellec’s French team COURRIER JUNIOR maintained their lead after the second day of racing the J/80 World Championship in the waters off Marina Sotogrande.  Despite scoring a fifteenth in the first race of the day and closing the day with a convincing first place, they increased their lead over the second place team.

The J/80 Worlds have now reached its halfway point, with five races run over the three days.  Tuesday’s racing was canceled due to storms in the morning and no wind in the afternoon.

J/80 sailing World Championship- Sotogrande, SpainJuan Luis Paez and Pepequín Orbaneja’s CENYT HOSPITAL MARBELLA Team skyrocketed today, climbing from the sixth position to second after scoring a fifth and second place.  Falling down to third was Rayco Tabares’ HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA, finishing second and fourteenth.

Astern of the leading trio are Spanish Jose Maria “Pichu” Torcida’s OXITAL and Javier Chacartegui’s HM HOTELS, who saved the day in the overall standings despite a bad last race of the day for both.

Spanish Colors Lead First Race of the Day
The first race of the day, under average wind southerly conditions, had purely a Spanish color all the way through. The race was overshadowed by the disqualification, before the start, of some favourite teams: J/80s sailing World Championship- Marina Sotogrande, Spainthe French team GANJA (Luc Nadal) and the Spanish crew MOVISTAR (Iker Martinez). Double J/80 world champion “Pichu” Torcida onboard OXITAL did not give many options to his competitors after a very good start.  From there to the finish, they were able to sail their own race and cover his rivals- Tabares’ HOTEL PRINCESS YAIZA (the current world champion) and the Spanish Champion Javier Chacartegui’s HM HOTELS.

France Calls the Shots at the End of the Day
Race 5 was dominated by the French, with Brezellec’s COURRIER JUNIOR leading with unusual authority from start to finish.  They were followed by Paez’s CENYT HOSPITAL MARBELLA Team and Martinez’s MOVISTAR.  In fact, it was a “photo finish” for three Spanish teams all crossing the line simultaneously for MARBELLA, MOVISTAR and AKEWUELE (skippered by J/80 European Champion Carlos Martinez).   For more J/80 World Championship sailing information

J/111 sailing off Cowes, EnglandDark’n’Stormy RORC IRC Nationals
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The sixty-one crews that sailed in the RORC’s IRC National Championship were eased gently into the regatta on their first day, initially with sub-10 knot conditions. However, by the time the fourth and final race was held, the breeze had built to 20+ knots in the gusts. This, combined with a short, sharp chop kicked up by a building flood tide, led to numerous wipe-outs.

The largest class competing at the IRC Nationals is the 19-strong IRC Two. In this, the competition is tight at the top. However, it is the new J/112E J-LANCE 12 of France's Frederic Bouvier that was looking most threatening to the class leader YES!

In IRC Three, a standout performer was the J/35 BENGAL MAGIC that won the last two races of the day.  She is also part of the GBR Red Commodores' Cup team.

On Saturday, the wind was expected to be lighter, with 10-12 knots forecast from the southwest. Race Officer Stuart Childerley intended to stage one windward-leeward race and two round the cans. As he explained: "We want to get three races in, because on Sunday it looks quite light and there might be a slight delay too. I don't want to leave more than two races on the table for Sunday, which is why we pushed hard for four races today."

Day Two- Thunder and lightning - very, very frightening!  With micro-storms, intense, frequent deluges, thunder and lightning, conditions for day two resembled an episode from the Old Testament; the Great Flood perhaps.

This made for a "very testing day," recounted PRO Childerley. "It looked really good for half an hour, but then very quickly, shower cells developed, creating havoc."

The fleet was initially packed off on a windward-leeward course. However, as Childerley explained, “for those, you expect half decent conditions to make it fair, while we were seeing a number of shifts and the wind was up and down. Then the wind just dropped out completely. So the decision-making process wasn't in their hands and I abandoned that one."

Unfortunately, from then on, conditions turned 'biblical' as a stream of storms cells rolled across the Solent, causing the wind range to span nothing to 20 knots, with giant shifts.

During a momentary break in the storms, one round the cans race, was successfully completed, albeit with a few stop-starts. While the intention was to hold three races, in fact after some patient waiting by increasingly soggy crew, the decision was made to send the fleet in, after the conditions failed to stabilize.

In IRC Two, Saturday’s surprise winner was Andy Theobald's J/122 R&W, which in yesterday's four races had been unable to finish a race better than 13th. However, today they were on fire, winning their race and the Tiny Mitchell trophy.

In IRC Three, with five races held to date, the British J/35 BENGAL MAGIC was still laying second overall.

To make up for Saturday’s lost races, the aim was to start half an hour earlier for Sunday, the final day of competition, with a warning signal at 0955. The intention was to run two windward-leewards and one round the cans race. The forecast was for 8-12 knots from the southwest.

Day Three - Unlike stormy Saturday, on a slightly more serene Sunday the race management team was able to hold one windward-leeward in 8-15 knots winds. This was followed by two round the cans races in the central/eastern Solent, during which the wind built to 20+ knots, creating a short sharp chop from the building flood tide.

IRC 1 Class the J/111s ended up finishing in 8th place, Jan Van Berne’s Dutch crew on RED HERRING, and in 10th place, Chris Jones and Louise Makin’s British team on JOURNEYMAKER II.

The J/112E J-LANCE 12, sailed by Fred Bouvier and Didier LeMoal, started out by leading the regatta after the first two races, posting a 1-2.  However, the sailing conditions changed significantly for the next five races, putting an enormous emphasis on DDW sailing against current, where the symmetric spinnaker equipped boats could simply slide down the beach with keels 6” clear of the bottom and make big gains.  In the end, for a sport-cruiser, the J/112E showed it had the fastest speed upwind in its class, comprised mostly of JPK 1080s and First 40s.  Her fourth place in such a large, hot fleet of boats did not go un-noticed by the Solent racing cognoscenti.  After their “flash in the pan” performance on the second day, Andy Theobald’s J/122 R&W finished 12th overall.

Finally, the most remarkable performance by a J/crew over the weekend was that by the J/35 BENGAL MAGIC, one of only two boats in the entire class to post all top five races in eight races counted.  They placed second in class.  Fellow J/sailors on the J/92 WILDEBEEST V skippered by Craig Latimer placed 7th and Richard Sparrow’s J/97 ONLY MAGIC took 8th.  For more RORC IRC Nationals sailing information

J/109 sailing off IrelandJ’s Triumphant In RORC Round Ireland Race
(Wicklow, Ireland)- The Round Ireland is Ireland’s premier offshore yacht race, and the second longest race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club calendar at 704nm (only Round Britain & Ireland Race is longer). The first race took place in 1980 with only thirteen boats. Since then, held biennially, the fleet has grown steadily, attracting a record 64 entrants from all over Ireland and the British Isles.

Wicklow Sailing Club were delighted that the Royal Irish Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire, agreed to act as the Dublin host club for the 2016 race. This association with the RIYC was especially beneficial as it enables more and larger competing yachts to be hosted prior to the start of the race.

It also enabled serious characters to have fun and participate in the race at the same time.  One of the more famous happens to be J/109 owner David Cullen.  After being CEO of Ireland’s leading parking provider- EURO CAR PARKS- David credited being useless at football as a kid that led to his decision to get into sailing.  A native of Raheny, he has come from dragging a canoe and windsurfer down the cliff to Kilbarrack Creek to entering his J/109 STORM/ EURO CAR PARKS, into the 2016 Volvo Round Ireland fleet. Thanks to his exceedingly tolerant wife, Deirdre, he was able to devote much of his spare time to sailing and preparing for the race.

Describing his crew as “friends for life,” they have sailed together on a myriad of different boats, from half tonners to Volvo 65s. When asked what they have in common, David answered: “Age and baldness, but also a steely determination to win!”

Why are they taking part in the Volvo Round Ireland?  “Because, it is 18 years since I won the Round Ireland on Jeep Cherokee- a Volvo 60- so it’s a bit overdue. My upcoming 50th birthday inspired me to do something I enjoyed so many times previously, and the fever has spread to my pals.”

J/109 sailing Irish offshore seriesWhat kind of provisions will the crew be keeping themselves fueled with?  “Well, after sampling a few different freeze dried options, they decided the best plan was to indulge in some of Dublin’s best Asian cuisine. Meals will be prepared by Kanoodle Restaurant to be taken on board. The crew has yet to decide who gets the important task of reheating!  They are looking forward to the breath-taking scenery that comes with taking part in the Volvo Round Ireland, but also to the camaraderie, stories and jokes that will no doubt be shared on board.”  Apparently, David was confident there would be no arguments while at sea.. unless anyone disagrees with him!

In what has been one of the toughest ever editions of the race, with rough seas resulting in 15 retirements from the record 63 strong-fleet, sailing history was made across a series of fronts.  For starters, the three MOD 70 trimarans all set a new Round Ireland record for multihulls, then George David’s RAMBLER 88 also set a monohull record.

Race organizers at Wicklow Sailing Club said it had been an unforgettable week of sporting history.  Theo Phelan, Race Chief (speaking on Friday) said, “The race is not over until every single yacht is back safe and sound across the finish line. There are still 4 boats at sea, which we expect in this afternoon.  The reports from the sailors are that it was a fantastic race, with everything a race should contain.  It started on Saturday afternoon and already by midday on Sunday, they were being hit full blast by 30 knot winds, leading to 11 retirements on Sunday alone.”

J/111 sailing Irish offshore seriesOn Friday evening, the tired but exhilarated sailors attended the awards ceremony at Wicklow Sailing Club.  The renowned sailors’ rum- Goslings- put on a special “Goslings Dark’n’Stormy Reception” to welcome all the crews back.  Needless to say, it was a well-attended and highly popular celebration!

In terms of performance by J/crews, nothing was going to hold them back.  In fact, J sailors placed on the podium in every single class they sailed in!  For example, in IRC 2 Class, the Army Sailing Association’s J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER placed second in class and 16th overall to continue to lead IRC 2 RORC Season Points Championship.  Chris Power-Smith’s J/122 AURELIA finished third in class and 18th overall.

IRC 3 Class, David Cullen’s J/109 STORM won class by nearly three hours corrected time after 4 days, 22 hours at sea (no arguments & great Asian food were the recipe of success!) and also placed 5th overall in the fleet of 37 boats that finished the race.  Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox’s J/109 MOJITO was in 7th place and 14th overall.  They were followed by Chris Palmer’s J/109 J-T’AIME in 9th and the Royal Armoured Corps YC J/109 AJA was 10th in class.

IRC 4 class, Stephen Quinn’s J/97 LAMBAY RULES was 3rd on the podium, finishing the race in 5 days, 12 hours and she also took 17th overall.  As a result, it is interesting to note that J/Boat teams comprised nearly one-third of the top eighteen places overall in this tough, demanding race!   For more RORC Round Ireland Race sailing information

J/70 snuggie bearGood Winds, Good Times at Long Beach
J/111 PICOSA Wins PHRF A, J/35 RIVAL Smokes PHRF B
(Long Beach, CA)– If there were any dusty sailors, following Saturday night’s Mount Gay Rum party at Long Beach Yacht Club, it wasn’t evident in the level of racing on the third and final day of Ullman Sails Long Beach Race Week (LBRW).  The 120 teams greeted the day head-on, with tight racing in 14 classes on three windward-leeward and random leg courses.

Reigning J/70 World Champion, Julian Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO, handsomely won the J/70 division, with Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS in second and Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT in third.

While the big boats bring excitement and cachet to LBRW, the J/70 fleet has drawn some of the big guns too, including World Champion Bill Hardesty on FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO, and John Kostecki – Olympic medalist, America’s Cup champion, and Rolex Yachtsman of the Year – on CATAPULT.  Behind this line-up of super-stars were two perennial SoCal contenders, sitting just 5 pts back and having their outcome determined by a tie-breaker.  Sitting on 45 pts each, Jeff Janov’s crew on MINOR THREAT took fourth place while Bruce Cooper & Shawn Bennet’s USA 32 was fifth.

J/120 crazy sailors“I like to see how I stack up against the pros,” said Corinthian sailor George Hershman, who finished 23rd out of 26 teams. A newcomer to the J/70 fleet with SOLARCOASTER, he said the pro talent provides, “a really great way to learn” for Corinthian racers. The top Corinthian team was Chris Raab & Dale Williams’ SUGOI, followed by Craig Tallman’s JAYA in second, Scott Deardorff’s CAKE in third, Tracy & Christine Usher’s CHRISTINE ROBIN in fourth and Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR in fifth.

As one might have expected, the J/120s yet again had rivalries materialize just for the regatta.  This time around, it happened to be John Snook’s JIM vs John Laun’s CAPER.  They chased each other around the racetrack all weekend and still only ended up one point apart.  Laun’s CAPER crew started out fastest, posting a 2-1-1-3 to be leading going into Saturday night.  However, it was Snook’s JIM team that closed with an identical record of 2-1-1-3 to win class.  Third was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER and fourth place was determined on a tie-breaker, with Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE taking it over Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY.

In the J/109 Class, it was yet again Tom Brott’s Santa Barbara YC crew on ELECTRA that nearly ran the table of seven races, posting four bullets to win with just 11 pts.  Second was Heinz Butner’s RAPTOR team with 16 pts and third was Peter Nelson’s SPRAY from Cal YC.

J/35 RIVAL- sailing Long BeachIn addition to the two one-design fleets, there was intense PHRF racing on both windward/leeward and random leg courses.  In the ten boat PHRF A division, Doug Jorgensen’s PICOSA crew from Alamitos Bay YC sailed a very consistent series to take the class win.  Their sistership, Glen Griley’s STAMPEDE from Kings Harbor YC, placed fourth and Tim Harmon’s J/124 CIRRUS placed seventh.

The PHRF Sportboat division saw Curt Johnson’s Cal YC crew on the J/80 AVET finish an uncharacteristic fourth in class.  But, then again, they were up against much faster boats like a Bolt 37, M32 and C&C 30. They were followed by Steve Maynard’s J/80 IN TENTHS in fifth place.

PHRF B was dominated by a very well-sailed J/35, David Boatner’s RIVAL from Ventura YC.  After winning six races in a row of possible seven, they finally took their foot off the gas and took a celebratory 2nd in the last race to win class by an astounding 13 pts.  Third in class was Scott McDaniel’s J/105 OFF THE PORCH.

LBRW maintained its reputation as a favorite west coast regatta, thanks to great competition and race management, bookended by lively parties where long-time friends mingle and compare racing notes.  For more Long Beach Race Week sailing information

J/70 women sailorsSV Kreuzlingen Leads Swiss J/70 Sailing League II
(Romanshorn, Switzerland)- This past weekend, the Swiss Sailing 2nd League of twelve teams were competing in Romanshorn for the hope to qualify for the Swiss Super League.  The top three teams after the first regatta (Seglervereinigung Kreuzlingen 1st, Seglervereinigung Bottighofen 2nd, Bordée de Tribord 3rd) were hoping to maintain their position, if not improve upon them by the end of the weekend sailing on beautiful Lake Constance.  Throwing a monkey wrench into the proceedings was the fact that the weather forecast for the weekend was mixed- good winds but the possibility for thunder showers!  In the end, the shifty winds and nervousness of some teams to maintain good pace got some into trouble and others onto the podium!

The first day of racing brought about a wilder, more variable weather pattern than what anyone predicted.  In the morning, it was blowing lightly from the southeast.   However, the wind was not enough to get the first race in.  Then, the breeze died and refilled from the ENE and permitted the fleet to sail five races.  The light wind specialists for each team were asked to sail the J/70s and trim the sails with feeling. The Yacht Club Luzern achieved this best and was leading by early afternoon.  Then, the wind shifted still further north and freshened considerably.  The frontal system that was predicted to move through the region all of a sudden materialized over the mountain peaks.  All around Lake Constance, afternoon thunderstorms developed and the storm front went from Säntis eastward across Lake Constance.  After the storm front had passed, there was a beautiful evening southerly breeze that enable the final rounds to be completed for the day.

Swiss J/70 winnersAfter a botched first race, the SV Kreuzlingen team strung together straight firsts to be leading after a total of 13 races sailed. Segel-Club Enge was in second place and just two points further back was YC Luzern.  Sitting in fourth place was the all women crew from SV Thalwil- they were smart, light and fast!

After a long day of sailing, all participants- sailors and volunteers- enjoyed some refreshingly cold beers and a barbecue at the Festhalle.

On Sunday morning, a cool northwest wind started out nicely, but gradually blew itself out by midday.  The first races were won by YC Luzern and Zurcher YC and the girls on the SV Thalwil team were also up to the task, posting another second place.  The Segelclub Romanshorn’s PRO tried in vain to get another race started, but ultimately had to send everyone back to shore with just 14 races completed.

As a result, SV Kreuzlingen won the second round of the Swiss Sailing 2nd League, winning a tie-breaker on 14.67 pts each over Segelclub Enge.  Third was YC Luzern, fourth the women’s crew from SV Thalwil and fifth Zurcher YC.  That outcome meant a wholesale changeover in the overall series leaderboard for most of the fleet!  While SV Kreuzlingen had now won two events in a row, Segelclub Mannedorf and SV Thalwil are tied for second with identical records of 4-6 each.  Fourth overall is Bordee de Tribord with a 3-8 tally and fifth is Segelclub Enge with a 10-2 record.  More excitement soon for these dozen teams dueling it out on gorgeous Swiss lakes up high in the Alps!  For more Swiss Sailing 2nd League information

J/88 Spaceman Spiff sailing off Cleveland, OHGreat Cleveland Race Week!
J/Teams Sweep Three PHRF Divisions
(Cleveland, OH)- Like they did the weekend before, the Edgewater YC rolled out the red carpet and did a fantastic job of hosting the “Offshore CRW” this past weekend.  The regatta was blessed with four good days of racing with winds ranging from 4 to 20 kts from a variety of directions.  The format was made fun for everyone, mixing up “random leg” offshore buoy racing with finish lines on the inner harbor just outside the iconic Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Cleveland Brown’s football stadium along Cleveland’s picturesque waterfront.  The weekend finished with two days of windward-leeward course, providing each team a chance to demonstrate their knowledge and diversity sailing both offshore and around-the-cans races.

J/120 sailing off ClevelandThe regatta started off on Thursday with spectacular weather.  After racing, the Edgewater YC hosted their infamous “Ragin' Cajun party,” where they served up spicy, spicy gumbo with Tito's Vodka and Regatta Ginger Beer- a helluva concoction known as an “American Mule” (a.k.a.- it does give you a kick in the proverbial booty!).  On that note, everyone seemed to enjoy the camaraderie and no matter how many American Mules were served, it was pretty clear that a number of J/crews were going to knock it out of the park out on the water!

Exhibit number one- the J/111s swept the podium in PHRC C Class!  Rob Ruhlman’s J/111 SPACEMAN SPIFF was 1st, followed by Don Hudak’s CAPERS in 2nd and Jeff Davis & Bob Knestrick’s SHAMROCK in 3rd.  Fourth was the beautifully restored J/39 BLACK SEAL sailed by Seth & Kevin Young.  Tim Yanda’s J/120 VIVA LA VIDA was 6th in class.

J/Teams nearly pulled off the same scenario in PHRF D class.  Winning was Paul Matthews’ J/35 WHITEHAWK with Mark Saffell’s J/36 PAINKILLER in 3rd place.

PHRF E Class saw David Koski’s J/109 USA 77 win class counting just straight bullets in six races!  Second was the duo of Doug Moose & Jim Sminchak racing the brand new J/88 SPACEMAN SPIFF.  Chris Mallett’s J/109 SYNCHRONICITY took 5th place, while Charles & Andrew Drumm’s J/100 D2 took 6th position.

J/105s off ClevelandIt was an all J/gangsta’s affair in PHRF F class, made up of three J/29s, two J/34 IORs and one J/70!  Quite an eclectic mix of new and old designs from three different decades!  In the end, Brett Langolf’s J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP won class counting all 1sts in their six races that counted (one toss was permitted).  Second was yet another J/34 IOR boat, Dave Krotseng’s BONAFIDE.  Third was Cindy & Tom Einhouse’s J/29 OVATION, followed by John Zelli’s J/70 FREE ENERGY in fourth and Aarne Lillo’s J/29 AQUARIUS in fifth position.

Finally, in PHRF G class, Rich Galaska’s J/30 BREEZIN’ took third position, managing to win the first race of the regatta along the way!

In the J/105 class, Chip Schaffner’s FALL LINE won convincingly, posting six bullets for a final tally of 6 pts.  Sailing fast, but not fast enough to catch FALL LINE, was Robert Mock’s UNBRIDLED, settling for 2nd with 11 pts and Jim Uhlir’s TRIO finished third.   Sailing photo credits- Dave Mathias/ Reaching Leg Photo.   For more Cleveland Race Week sailing information

Slow, Hot Stratford Shoal Race
(Riverside, CT)- It was not to be, based on the NOAA weather forecast.  And, indeed it wasn’t.  For once, the weather forecasters got it right.  Lightish breezes all weekend and warm weather means only one thing on Long Island Sound- a perfect “mill pond”.  Great for powerboaters, fishermen and wakeboarders.  Not so hot for a fleet of offshore racers hoping to sail the Riverside YC’s 85th annual running of the Stratford Shoals Race.  The attrition rate was so high, that is had to be a record number of DNF’s as teams simply dropped out due to little or no wind on the Sound.  Nevertheless, some boats persevered in the mind-searing conditions to collect their silverware come hell or flat water!

Starting with the J/105 one-design division, there was only one finisher in the fleet, with George & Alex Wilbanks’ crew on REVELATION taking the class title by default- just for finishing!

The scenario was true for the rest of the divisions sailing PHRF handicap.  In the PHRF Double-handed division, Chris Hall’s J/122 WILY SILVER FOX grabbed the silverware for second place.  And, that was about it for J/teams!  Over a dozen J/crews took the DNF and headed home.  For more Stratford Shoal Race sailing information

J/22 sailing off AnnapolisThrilla’Minute Eastport One-Design Classic
(Eastport, MD)- While many of their friends were drifting around Long Island Sound, ironically, the Chesapeake Bay sailors enjoyed good racing all weekend and were able to sail four races in each one-design division of J/22s and J/70s.  Kudos to the host, Eastport YC, for persisting each day to provide fun racing over the weekend.

Winning the J/70 division was Jennifer Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY from Annapolis YC with a consistent 3-2-1-2 record for 8 pts.  Hoping to reel her team back in was Peter Firey’s PHOENX from Annapolis YC, but they could only manage a 1-4-2-3 for 10 pts to secure second.  Third was Todd Jenner’s AYC crew on TEA DANCE SNAKE with a 2-5-4-1 tally for 12 pts.

A cast of characters appeared to have a go at around-the-cans racing in the J/22 fleets.  Starting from the post position in first and never looking back after the racing was over was Eastport YC’s Chris Gaffney on COMMITTED- indeed, they were committed to getting just 1st places!  Second place went to Annapolis YC’s Gunnar Gode on his mighty steed- USA 977- with a 2-5-2 record for 9 pts.  Third was taken by Trevor Perkins from Severn Sailing Association on SLOW SHOW, posting a 4-3-4 for 11 pts total.  For more Eastport YC One-Design Classic sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
*  To Bermuda or Bust!  The story of how the J/160 PIPE DREAM, Scott Piper’s magnificent cruising yacht that hails from Coconut Grove, Florida, managed to hang out in New York City for yet another day and have even more fun (or more angst) before heading off across the wild blue Atlantic Ocean to that little gem in the middle of it all- Bermuda.  Here is their story:

“Subject: Pipe Dream Bermuda
Date: June 24, 2016 at 6:52:21 PM PDT

Our decision to delay our departure from New York City by one day was based on a nasty weather report. This was a very last minute decision.  With the last day in New York suddenly free, we got tickets to the Broadway Show "Aladdin". The show was wonderful.

Mary made it very clear she wanted New York pizza, saying there is nothing like it anywhere else. My nieces, who live in New York, recommended "John's Pizza” only three blocks from the theater. I have a hard time walking any distance, so Mary, LLoyd and I took a "bicycle taxi".   Lee, Kelly and Lee's husband Andrew contacted us and they joined us. All worked out very well-- lovely girls.

We didn't get back to the boat till 9:30 PM by Uber. We left the dock early the next morning. We went to Liberty Landing Harbor to top off on fuel. The Clipper ships were there, which was fun to look at. The Clipper ships are a group of identical boats that sail around the world  and amateur adventurers can do some of it or all of it for $1.00 a mile.

We sailed by the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, then into the open Atlantic on Monday. The first day was easy, but by nightfall the wind was building.

To make a long story short, the next two days, Tuesday and Wednesday, were awful. The wind was ahead of the beam and the baseline wind speed was 35 kts, with gusts up to 39 kts! This should not present a problem for the 53 ft Pipe Dream and, in reality, it didn't. We were always safe and nothing broke, and we were going fast.

On the negative side, the seas and the Gulf Stream were confused and large, and hit us from different directions. White water frequently rolled over the boat, even filling the cockpit sometimes. It felt like being in a giant washing machine. This resulted in sudden exaggerated motions making any movement in the boat a gymnastic exercise.

Three of our five man crew "fed the fish" and I'm not naming names, but none were Pipers.  It was saltine crackers only for everyone.

After two days of misery, we got out of the Gulf Stream and things gradually improved. Indeed, the last half day was a lovely sail into Bermuda. We cleared customs at 11:30 PM and anchored in calm water harbor for the night. It would have been perfect except everything onboard was soaking wet including sheets and mattresses.

Today, June 24, 2016 we spent the morning drying the boat out. Oh yes, on our last day motor sailing in, something hit our prop causing significant vibration of the boat. So, Jason dived and found a huge piece of shredded synthetic fiber surrounding the prop. Amazing the prop worked at all.

Anxious to get to a dock and do laundry, we motored from St. Georges to Hamilton. Here we are Med moored at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club with the entire race fleet for the Newport to Bermuda Race.

There were awards and a big party tonight sponsored by Gosling Black Seal Rum, and was open to the public. There were two bands, food and a thousand people walking the docks sightseeing. We had Dark’n’Stormies and ate, but were too tired to stay and party. Sally Browne flys in tomorrow night. The America's Cup boats  are doing speed trials tomorrow so we will go out to watch them. The day after that, our CCA Cruise starts, which is what brought us here in the first place! More later!”

* Giving Back to the Sport You Love.  Juniors Learn Big Boat Safety and Skills with the help of J/Boats owners in the Chesapeake Bay.

As the first week of summer program sailing started throughout the region, 18 students from throughout the Chesapeake and as far away as New York came to Annapolis YC to learn about Big Boat safety and skills at the Junior Safety at Sea Seminar, conducted by members of the Chesapeake Station of the Storm Trysail Club.

This program, started in 2002 by the Storm Trysail Foundation in memory of Jamie Boeckel, is pledged to educate junior sailors on the proper methods and equipment used for efficient and safe big boat and offshore sailing.

The day’s introductory remarks by noted yachting journalist Angus Phillips included fresh news of how a junior crew on board the 41-foot High Noon crossed the finish line in the 635-mile Newport-Bermuda Race as the second-fastest monohull behind the massive 100-foot Comanche. This was quite a feat, and worthy to note that these juniors were also trained in the Storm Trysail program.

A morning of class room training on principles conducted by Dobbs Davis was followed by hands-on dockside demonstrations led by Peter Sarelas on fire extinguisher and flare use, as well as inflation of a full-size life raft. Crews were then formed to adjourn to four boats for an afternoon of practical training on three J/105’s – Art Libby’s DOG HOUSE, Pen Alexander’s MORE COWBELLS, and Angelo Guarino’s CRESCENDO – as well as Jim Praley’s J/120 SHINNECOCK.

On board instruction on boat and sail handling, as well as practicing Crew Overboard drills, were led by coaches Pete Carrico, Brad Cole, Woody Brumfield, Art Libby, Andy Hughes, Angus Phillips, Elliott Oldak, and Ross Dierdorff. After two hours of sailing and training, the four teams raced on a simple one-lap course that had to include performing a Crew Overboard drill before finishing...More Cowbell won both races.

After returning to the dock and over pizza served at the debrief, each team elected their own ‘most-improved’ crew member to receive a hardcover edition of Jim Kilroy’s KIALOA US-1: Dare to Win, in Business, in Sailing, in Life, courtesy of Trice Kilroy and the National Sailing Hall of Fame.

Another interesting note from the debrief: when asked what was the most important principle among several taught this day, the most common answer was communication and its importance at building team work. Coming from this group of Opti, Laser and 420 sailors, this bodes well for the future of big boat sailing.   For more information on Junior Safety at Sea seminars... click here.

Sailing J/22s with friends* Giving back to the sport of sailing we love!  War veterans of all stripes all around the world in the Navy, Army, Marines, Air Force face countless struggles in life.  Sailing provides an amazing platform for “team building”, “team recognition”, “love & friendship”.  In the UK, there are examples like the RAF Benevolent Fund Sailing Program- its most visible programs being the J/109 and J/70 programs- like Simon Ling’s J/70 RAF SPITFIRE program.  Or, the J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER program. Then, there are great Police and Navy programs in Chile, Peru, Argentina, Brazil, France, Italy, Spain and Germany, to name a few, that are sailing on J/24, J/80s and J/105s.  Have you ever visited Antarctica via Porto Williams, Chile or Ushuaia, Argentina?  Chances are your “safety officers” and “coast guard” are none other than Chilean/ Argentinean navy officers that have trained in J/24s as part of learning “the sea”!!

In the USA, there are a number of such programs, including the Warrior Sailing Program and others.  Here is another one to consider. . .

Veterans find camaraderie at Annapolis Sailing Clinic— When Marine Corps veteran Hector Cardona heard about a sailing clinic designed to assist veterans as they transition to civilian life, he said he couldn’t sign up quickly enough, even though he had never sailed.

Cardona was among eight veterans, transitioning service members and wounded warriors who participated in the nonprofit Valhalla Sailing Project’s first two-day clinic to teach veterans the fundamentals of sailing and racing, held on the Chesapeake Bay here June 25-26.

“I’ve lost a lot of friends to suicide,” Cardona said, explaining that he came to the sailing clinic in his quest to find activities veterans can learn to do together.

It’s difficult for veterans to re-enter the civilian sector when the one relationship they crave is missing: the brotherhood of their battle buddies, said Marine Corps combat veteran Mike Wood, Valhalla’s executive director.

Valhalla assists military veterans by filling the need for a squad atmosphere through formations of four-person crews to sail and race as teams, Wood said, noting the organization is operated by combat veterans who are sailboat racers.

Wood said he believes the veteran suicide rate is a reflection of that missing squad system. “We hope to get them back in a core group,” he said of Valhalla’s goal to put veterans in the integrated teamwork and social atmosphere of sailing.

Learning to sail and race as a crew member, Wood said, prompts similar emotions service members experience as members of the military’s brotherhood in arms. “You rely on each other [in battle],” he said. “With sailing, everyone has a job … and you have to know everyone’s job if you have to step in as needed. And you learn to excel.”

And as with military missions, sailing success is based on communication and being able to predict each crew member’s actions to “execute the job successfully, which almost mirrors a squad,” he said.

“It also gives them names in their Rolodex to call” when something in life goes awry, Wood added. The organization, he said, is developing crews to keep veterans together to build the core structure and camaraderie they’re so used to relying upon.

As new members are introduced to the clinic, Wood said, the veteran-sailor crews will mentor the new recruits. Sailing is a year-round activity, and racing begins in the fall when the wind picks up, he added.

“With repetition come the pursuit of perfection,” Wood said. “Service members are dialed into perfection. They figure out what went wrong and fix the problem for the next mission.”

Cardona said he related to feeling alone without his squad, and he, too, emphasized the importance of “knowing your role so you do it automatically and successfully.”

After a brief introductory classroom session, the veterans gathered into two groups of four-person crews, and with an instructor on both sailboats, all eight veterans -- experienced or not -- took the helm while their new crewmates fell into position and assumed other duties in first morning session.

Following a barbecue social with 30 volunteers and Valhalla staff, the crews gathered for more class instruction and were back on the water, honing skills quickly.

“By the end of the clinic, it was like these vets have been sailing together for years,” Wood said in a Facebook post. “The bonding, camaraderie and skill they displayed was astounding. To top it off, some of the vets have secured spots on race boats in Annapolis!”  Wood said he was proud of what the veterans accomplished in just two days.

“And, I am beyond excited to hear that they all want to continue building their skills and become one of the premier racing crews in the area,” he added.   Thanks for the contribution from Terri Moon Cronk

Paul Heys on J/Boats in the United Kingdom and future sailing development* With the fleet waiting for breeze ashore for the last day of the Landsail Tyres J-Cup 2016 in the Hamble River, hanging out at Royal Southampton YC, Key Yachting's Paul Heys gave an update from the regatta and the J/Boat scene in the United Kingdom.   Paul offers a good perspective on how the sport of sailing and J/Boats, in particular, are evolving into the “new” United Kingdom offshore of Europe.  Watch this saiiling interview on Facebook here:

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.