Saturday, October 29, 2016

J/Newsletter- October 26, 2016

J/121 offshore speedsterNEW J/121 Offshore Speedster Update!
(Newport, RI)- It has been an exciting two weeks at J/Boats since announcing the newest 40’ J/121 concept.  Response from sailors around the globe has been tremendous, validating the need for a 40 footer that can be adventure-raced with half the normal size crew.   We’re pleased to confirm that hull plug construction commences in a few short weeks at Symmetrix Composites in Bristol, Rhode Island.

Symettrix 3D CNC machineSymmetrix is the most advanced precision tooling company in New England and will machine both the J/121 hull and deck plugs using the state-of-the-art CMS Poseidon 5-axis CNC bay.  Symmetrix engineers analyze final 3D design models provided by J/Boats using Siemens NX11 CAD/CAM software and will run a series of simulations to arrive at final machining instructions for the 5-axis milling machine. Then the exciting part starts.  First the steel backbone frame with foam blocking is milled to within an inch of the final plug surface and then an epoxy milling paste is applied over the glass covered plug.  The part returns to the milling machine for a second and final precision machining operation to take it to the final surface.  Hand-sanding to 800 grit and buffing to a mirror shine then completes the effort.

From initial steel framing construction, to precision milling operations, to the final polishing the process to build a complete mirror finish hull plug/pattern will take just 7 short weeks.  Production molds will then be constructed in January at CCFC and from there J/121 project development will accelerate through the winter and into spring.  What a great way to kick off the New Year in 2017!

Stay tuned for progress photos and more info about the new J/121 in future J/News issues and at our website.

J/70s sailing offshoreHamburg Boat Show Features Dueling J/70s!
(Hamburg, Germany)- Starting this coming weekend, the Hamburg Boat Show (a.k.a. “HanseBoot”) will be taking place from Saturday- October 29th to Sunday- November 6th.  The German J/Boats distributor, Mittelmanns Werft Gmbh, will be displaying twin J/70s in Hall 6/ Stand B107.

Bo Teichmann from Mittelmanns Werft explained, “We will have one J/70 in the booth and one J/70 in front of the “Meet the Experts" booth.  The Experts Booth will also be providing “live” coverage on Utra HD-TV of the J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga Finale that starts on Thursday and ends on Saturday; courtesy of SAP Sports/ SAP Sailing media crews!
Please contact Henning Mittelmann or Bo Teichmann at Mittelmanns Werft at email- or phone# +49-4642-2722.  For more Hamburg Boat Show (HanseBoot) information

J/105s sailing Lipton CupJ/105 Lipton Cup Preview
(San Diego, CA)- The 102nd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup, San Diego Yacht Club’s signature fall regatta, will be sailed on October 28-30, 2016. Named for the historic yachtsman and tea baron, Sir Thomas Lipton, the Lipton Cup allows yacht clubs’ teams to face off to determine who is the best of the best. It has been the most prestigious trophy contested in Southern California and one of the most coveted on the West Coast since 1903.

Racers will compete in San Diego Bay, allowing plenty of viewing opportunities for friends and family along the waterfront. To ensure fairness, the regatta will be held in a round robin format using equalized J/105s provided by owners of local Southern California boats. There will be a practice day on Thursday, October 27.

Twelve teams from around the country will compete in this year’s regatta.  Representing the California contingent are Cabrillo Beach Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Coronado Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Southwestern Yacht Club, and St. Francis Yacht Club.  Representing the East Coast are Eastern Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club, and New York Yacht Club.

J/105 sailing Lipton CupHost San Diego Yacht Club won last year’s Lipton Cup while St. Francis Yacht Club and California Yacht Club have also won within the past 5 years. Eastern Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club and New York Yacht Club will be vying for their first win of the trophy, while San Francisco Yacht Club’s last win was back in 1916.

Returning SDYC skipper Tyler Sinks is confident that the skills of the 2016 team will help them win the trophy again. Going into the Lipton Cup weekend, Team SDYC will concentrate on sailing well and keeping their heads in their own boat.  "Sailing well is only thing we can control and if we can do that, we’ll put ourselves in a position to win," explains Sinks.

Despite the confidence exhibited by the “locals”, there is no question there are fairly strong teams taking aim at collecting the coveted silver trophy to toss onto their trophy shelves instead!  Leading that charge will be St Francis YC’s Chris Raab with Russ Silvestri as tactician, the winning combination two years ago.  Also in the hunt will be Newport Harbor YC’s Jon Pinckney with Bill (and son Mike) Menninger as co-tacticians (Mike won the J/105 Masters Regatta as skipper last weekend with Pinckney as tactician)- this NHYC duo are formidable talents and nearly won the regatta last year, save for a not highly recommended “left tack” into the channel!!  Two of the eastern sailing clubs also have very competitive teams:  Eastern YC has Bill Lynn skippering with Henry Brauer, Alden Reid and Bob Campbell as their afterguard- all top J/105 sailing talent from Marblehead, MA; and New York YC has Brian Keane as skipper with Stu Johnstone as tactician.

This year's Lipton Cup will feature three days of competitive sailing with a dockside social on Friday, and a Saturday night banquet for competitors and guests after racing. The awards party will take place on Sunday after racing.

Event co-chair, Joanne O’Dea, explains the spirit of the weekend. "Lipton Cup is a fun event because its three days of intense competition on the water — matched with equal enthusiasm for the camaraderie off the water. San Diego Yacht Club is proud to host this event every year and is excited to welcome the visiting teams to our bay."

The Lipton Cup Regatta and San Diego Yacht Club would like to thank its sponsors: Ballast Point, Helly Hansen, North Sails, Pacific Gate San Diego & Zeal Optics.  For more J/105 Lipton Cup sailing information

JFest SouthwestJ/Fest Southwest Preview
(Lakewood, TX)- This year’s turnout for J/Fest Southwest has been nothing short of spectacular!  According to Scott Spurlin, J/Boats Southwest dealer, “the J/24’s are leading the way with eighteen boats signed up - all of which are respecting Kelly Holmes-Moon (who recently passed away) in the best way possible.  It is an amazing group of close-knit sailors this J/24 group!  Plus, the J/22’s have thirteen boats signed up!  The J/105’s will have ten on the line with at least four from out of town! Now that is commitment, traveling with a large oversized boat!  And, the J/70’s will have nine boats, which is a nice fun fleet size- a Kansas City boat is making the trip to join us!”

Host for this year’s J/Fest Southwest is Lakewood YC, a beautiful suburb just south of Houston located on the always-challenging Galveston Bay- famous for chop and warm sea breezes.  The one-design fleets of J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, and J/105s will also be joined by PHRF handicap classes with J/130, J/122, J/109s, J/92s, J/29s and J/27s.

J/22 sailing J/Fest SouthwestThe J/22 class has some great sailors coming from across the great plains of Texas!  Locals Casey Lambert on BLACKBURN MARINE RACING will be up against some good’ole boys like Terry Flynn on TEJAS (a J/22 NA and World Champion), and Mark Foster from Corpus Christi YC on PRESSURE DROP (a J/24 NA Champion), amongst others.  Watch out for the girls from Fort Worth!  They area sailing FORGET ME NOT from Ft Worth Boat Club, with skipper Nataleigh Perez, Wendy Roach, Lynette Edenfield and “rail meat” Nick Perez (the token male, chief chef, and beer server for the gurlz!).

The J/24s are showing up in force with several notable crews from Austin, Forth Worth, Dallas, Houston and Corpus, plus Colorado!  In honor of Kelly Holmes-Moon, it will be Chris Holmes sailing TEAM BAD MOON from Dallas Corinthian YC.  Joining him on the race track will be Jason Seibert’s RODEO CLOWN, Natalie Harden’s GIGGLES, Josh Bowens-Rubin’s ZERO GRAVITY, Jorge Martin-de-Nicolas’ SRAY DOG, and Tim Johnson’s GRAY WOLF.

The J/70s have a small but very talented fleet.  Top crews include Jay Lutz’s ZOUNDS HEARING, Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE, Forbes Durdin’s MOJITO, Alfred Poindexter’s crew from Lakewood YC, and Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING.

The large PHRF Asym class includes Chris Waters’ J/130 SECOND WIND, JD Hill’s J/122 SECOND STAR, four J/109s (Dave Christensen’s AIRBORNE, Albrecht Goethe’s HAMBURG, Andy Wescoat’s HARM’s WAY & Tom Sutton’s LEADING EDGE) and two J/92’s (Dan Sullivan’s LITTLE JOE & George Cushing’s 77).  The PHRF Spin class includes Ray Bentele’s J/29 PRSS TO MECO and Gary Trinklein’s J/27 TOCCATA.  For more J/Fest Southwest sailing information

J/24 sailing off AnnapolisJ/22 & J/24 East Coasts Preview
(Annapolis, MD)- The annual fall J/24 classic will be taking place this weekend on the Chesapeake Bay from October 28th to 30th.  Host for the J/24 East Coast Championship is the Severn Sailing Association in Annapolis, MD.  An enormous fleet of twenty-six J/24s are registered with teams coming from all over the eastern seaboard.  Joining them are seventeen J/22’s sailing their Fall Championship.

Many luminaries of the J/24 class who have participated for years are looking forward to three days of racing on the Bay, enjoying the gorgeous fall colors off Easton’s Point.  Those teams include Erica Beck Spencer’s all-women crew- SEA BAGS WOMEN’S SAILING TEAM from Portland YC in Maine.  Other leading teams include Chris Clancy’s LITTLE MARTHA, Will Davenport’s JABB, Pete Kassal’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, Kevin O’Brien’s FUGUE STATE, Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER, Tony Parker’s famous BANGOR PACKET, and Al Constants’ BLITZ.

There are a number of new faces in the J/22 crowd, such as Brady Stagg, JR Maxwell, Kira Munger, Lorenzo Carrera and Gunnar Gode.  Veterans sure to give everyone a run-for-the-money are Chris Wilson, Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, Todd Salzman, Trevor Perkins and Zeke Horowitz.  For more J/24 and J/22 fall championship sailing information

J/24 sailing San FranciscoThe Great Pumpkin Regatta Preview
(Richmond, CA)- Richmond Yacht Clubs’ Great Pumpkin Regatta, entering it’s 31st year, will be hosted from their newly remodeled and expanded Club House.  The regatta format is unique on San Francisco Bay.  On Saturday, they will have 3 well-run racecourses, and then on Sunday they have their highly popular PHRF Pursuit Race (where slowest boats start first and everyone else chases them down to cross the line first).

The weekend kicks off with Friday night's Family Pumpkin Carving and Pasta Feed.  On Saturday is the famous Halloween Party with great food, great drink, great band and outrageous costumes.  Then, it all ends with trophy presentation and free pu-pus after the conclusion of racing on Sunday.

J/24 off San FranciscoLooking forward to this bacchanalian festival are dozens of members of the J/tribe on San Francisco Bay.  First up is a fleet of J/24s with several famous local teams ready to do battle!  Who will win their perennial fight this time?  Who knows?  But, it’s certain that one of these three teams will sit atop the leaderboard by the end of the weekend- Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS, Val Lulevich’s SHUT UP & DRIVE or Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR.

In the world of PHRF handicap racing, in the fifty-six boat PHRF Racing class is Richard Pipkin’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS, Bill Mohr’s J/124 SPIRIT OF FREEDOM, Nesrin Basoz’s J/111 SWIFTNESS, Gorkem Ozcelebi’s J/111 DOUBLE DIGIT, Bob George’s J/35 KIRI, George Sirogiannis’ J/35 MOJO, four J/105s (David Gross’ NIRVANA, Sergey Lubarsky’s RACE QS/ RUSSIAN ROULETTE, Charlie Abraham’s JAVELIN, Simon James & John Robison’s LIGHTWAVE), two J/88s (Gary Panariello & Ryan Simmons’ COURAGEOUS & Steven Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE), and two J/70s (Mark Thomas’ PRIME NUMBER & Steve Cameron’s 6-PACK).  Hoping to do some damage in the SF-30 class will be Anthony Castruccio’s J/30 WINDSPEED.
For more Great Pumpkin Regatta sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The third week of October was busy across Europe and North America.  In the Americas, four major events were taking place simultaneously.  On the east coast, the inaugural J/70 Corinthian National Championship was held on Chesapeake Bay and hosted by Eastport YC for a fleet of forty-five boats.  Just north of them enjoying rather epic weather conditions was the J/105 North American Championship held on Long Island Sound and hosted by Larchmont YC for a fleet of forty boats from the USA, Canada and Bermuda.  Then, out west on the Pacific coastline, the J/105 International Masters Regatta was held in San Diego Harbor and hosted by San Diego YC for a cast of a dozen characters.  Up in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle YC hosted the Seattle Grand Prix for one-design J/105s and PHRF classes for J/160, J/133, J/120, J/109.

Hopping across the pond, in Great Britain the Hamble River Sailing Club has been hosting its annual Winter Series.  After three weekends, the fleet has enjoyed remarkably good weather.  Participating are classes for one-design J/70s, J/80s, J/88s, J/109s, and J/111s and IRC handicap for J/111s, J/122s, J/97s and J/92s.  Down on the Italian peninsula, the Italian J/24 fleet had winter series regatta in Portofino, Rome, Sardinia, Genoa and Cervia.  Finally, the infamous Rolex Middle Sea Race enjoyed always challenging weather, the 615nm race starts and finishes in Malta and sails around Sicily and several Mediterranean islands- it was yet another amazing outing for the crews sailing on a J/133, J/122, J/111 and J/109.

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:

Oct 28-30- J/105 Lipton Cup- San Diego, CA
Oct 28-30- J/Fest Southwest Regatta- Seabrook, TX
Oct 29-Nov 1- French J/80 Nationals- Pornichet, France
Oct 28-30- Seattle Grand Prix- Seattle, WA
Oct 29-30- J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championship- Annapolis, MD
Nov 5- Hot Rum Race I- San Diego, CA
Nov 5-6- Round County Race & Regatta- Seattle, WA
Nov 12- J/22 Turkey Bowl- Annapolis, MD
Nov 17-19- Bacardi Bermuda Keelboat Invitational- Hamilton, Bermuda
Nov 19- Hot Rum Race II- San Diego, CA
Nov 19-20- J/22 Jamaican Nationals- Montego Bay, Jamaica
Dec 3- Hot Rum Race III- San Diego, CA
Dec 3-4- J/22 Jammin’ Jamaica Regatta- Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jan 15-23- Quantum Key West Regatta- Key West, FL
Feb 10-12- J/24 Midwinters- Indian Harbour Beach, FL

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

J/105s sailing NA'sCanadians Win J/105 Stella Artois North Americans
(Larchmont, NY)- Terry McLaughlin and Rod Wilmer’s MANDATE won the Stella Artois J/105 North American Championship, winning the first five races before ‘stumbling’ with a 2-3 to close the series. The Canadian crew, which included Graham Hicks, Fraser Howell, Evert McLaughlin (Terry’s son) and John Millen, earned their second J/105 North American Championship title in three years.  Larchmont YC hosted the event and LYC’s PRO, Butch Ulmer, led the amazing LYC RC and mark boat crew over the four-day’s of racing.

“If we had another race on this last day in 25-35 kts, we might have worn hockey helmets,” joked McLaughlin. “This was good Canadian weather, and a real test of crew work.” Rod Wilmer added, “We had solid starts, focused on finding a lane and getting clear to stay out of trouble.”

J/105s sailing NA's off LarchmontThirty-seven teams representing Bermuda, Canada, Great Britain and the USA took to the waters of Long Island Sound for the 11 a.m. kick-off of the Championship. McLaughlin and Wilmer, winner of the North American crown in 2014, dominated the fleet. Behind them in race one were the Stone/Breault husband and wife team on GOOD TRADE and Adrian Owles family team on MAD BLUE. Local favorite ECLIPSE earned the silver spot in the middle battle, with David Greenhouse’s SKIPPERDEE in the bronze position. The top three in the final contest matched the top three overall for the day: MANDATE, ECLIPSE and GOOD TRADE.

MANDATE reveled in the blustery conditions on day one.  With winds gusting strongly from the east between 16-20 knots, the Canadian team lined up perfect scores in Thursday’s three races to take a five-point lead over second place Damian Emery on ECLIPSE (4,2,2 for 8 points). Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault’s GOOD TRADE was in third with 9 points (2,4,3).

On Friday, a squishy Low slowly moved offshore, dumping torrential rain all over the northeast and sucking all the wind out of Long Island Sound.  A solid attempt was made by LYC’s PRO Butch Ulmer to run a race in the horrendous conditions, but it was to no avail.  LYC RC had to fire off the three cannons to signal the cancellation of the one and only “driftathon” Friday afternoon.

J/105s sailing upwindSaturday was a completely different picture.  For several days, the weather forecasts indicated that a cold front would move over the region overnight and produce 15 to 30 kt winds from the NW quadrant.  Temperatures also dropped into the forties under gray skies.  As the fleet sailed out to the race course, the breeze rapidly built from 12-15 kts up to 18-25 kts by the time boats got to their first top mark rounding.  The enormous windshifts, often accompanied by massive holes or ginormous puffs, produced many rapid changes in the standings as the fleet sailed three windward-leeward races.

MANDATE continued to build a perfect scoreline through five races, until Stone & Breault’s GOOD TRADE won Saturday’s final race. The Canadian team on MANDATE held a nine-point advantage over local Emery’s ECLIPSE going into the final day of racing on Sunday. GOOD TRADE stood at third overall with 21 points.

Trailing MANDATE in the first race was Texan Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE, then ECLIPSE. The familiar three boats of MANDATE, ECLIPSE, and GOOD TRADE comprised the top three in the second match, and again in the next— this time just flip-flopping to GOOD TRADE, MANDATE, and ECLIPSE.

J/105 sailing off Larchmont, NYSunday dawned bright and beautiful, the quintessential, post-card perfect fall colors day in New England.  The forecast called for sunny skies all day with a cool breeze building from the West to 15-25 kts.  Like Saturday, the morning started off with a moderate breeze in the 10-15 kts range.  However, about 15 minutes before the early 10am start time, the wind’s intensity increased dramatically.  By the time the fleet reached the windward mark, many boats were seen getting blown sideways as hammer-blow puffs in the 25-35 kts range started to blast the fleet.  Needless to say, the puffs were so violent, that about half the fleet broached on their first downwind leg; gybing, in fact, became a game of “russian roulette” as teams waited for lulls to execute their maneuvers.

J/105 offshoreThe final downwind run was perhaps the most bizarre of the entire regatta.  Most of western Long Island Sound looked like a “white-out”, with spraying flying off the top of wind-whipped waves- epic conditions, indeed.  Small dogs, cats, birds, everything was getting blown off their chains in Connecticut and landing on the Long Island shore to leeward!  Rounding the top mark in the top three were George & Alex Wilbanks’ REVELATION, followed by the familiar MANDATE and Bill Lackenmacher’s RADIANCE.  Fourth place was ECLIPSE, fifth was GOOD TRADE and sixth was SKIPPERDEE.  The top four boats all gybed within minutes after setting their gennakers, promptly sailing into a massive hole larger than the Sahara Desert!  Meanwhile, GOOD TRADE simply “sent it” in planing mode off to the other side of the course.  After executing a near flawless gybe in 25-30 kts, GOOD TRADE aimed for the finish line doing 15-17 kts boatspeed, spray flying everywhere.  It did not take long for GOOD TRADE to assume a commanding lead as they planed towards the finish.  However, a massive blast of nuclear proportions (35 kts plus) hit them J/105 Mandate- sailing NA'sas they were surfing for home; the boat spun instantaneously into a monster broach with the masthead nearly hitting the water and crew clinging onto the lifelines.  After going sideways at about 5 kts on their side for what seemed an eternity, GOOD TRADE’s determined crew managed to aim the boat back downwind, but the kite never made it- exploding into a thousand torn pieces of expensive AirX nylon.  As a result, the GOOD TRADE crew sailed the last few hundred yards under jib and mainsail to take a 6th place.  Meanwhile, the four leading boats extricated themselves from their hole on the other side of the course and surfed into the finish line.  RADIANCE won the last race followed by Owles’ family crew on MAD BLUE in second, MANDATE in third, SKIPPERDEE in 4th and REVELATION in 5th- quite an enormous flip-flop of the top boats on just one leg!

With the wind conditions getting stronger, LYC’s PRO Butch Ulmer wisely blew off the three cannons to cancel racing for the rest of the day.  Again, over half the fleet broached at some point on the final run and puffs continued to steadily climb into the 30-35 kts range- truly epic, awesome conditions on a bright, sunny day.  No question, many crews were grateful not to sail another race in such demanding breezes.

By virtue of a sixth in Sunday’s only race, Stone & Breault’s GOOD TRADE took second place, winning the tie-breaker with Emery’s ECLIPSE.  Rounding out the top five were Paul Beaudin’s LOU LOU in 4th place and taking 5th place was Adrian Owle’s family crew on MAD BLUE.

Another notable performance took place in the last blustery race. The YOUNG AMERICAN crew, posted an 8th place sailing with a reefed main!  But, that was not by design.  The crew was comprised of all kids under the age of 18 that are part of the Young American Junior Big Boat Team at American YC in Rye, New York.  The skipper, Carina Becker, explained, “As the youngest helmsman competing in this event, I found that the competition did not give me any free passes due to my age. This regatta was four days of intense racing, in which we over came the challenges of a 40-boat fleet. The J/105 class is incredibly friendly and provides great competition for junior crews!”  Her crew consisted of Brooks Daley, Meg Leary, Matt Wallace, Jack Rogan, Nick Hein and AYC coach Peter Becker.

Why the reefed main?  Here’s what happened when their main halyard broke just before the start of the race.

Brooks Daley described her team’s amazing feat of seamanship- “first, it was great to be out there in the big waves and big winds and see our young team step up to the challenge and perform against some big names and top teams.

As for the mast climb, it was all about maintaining composure to get the mainsail ”reef" all rigged. The crew acted quickly and it was really a team effort to get ourselves back racing.  They hauled me up the mast in a harness and I pulled up the main and tied it around the mast above the forestay with a sail-tie! We then reefed the bottom of the main to the boom!  What was most impressive to me was the crew’s ability to maintain focus after such a detrimental loss; the team continued to race hard regardless of our handicap, allowing us to stay in the thick of the race!”  For more Stella Artois J/105 North Americans sailing information

J/70s sailing Annapolis, MDMcChesney Crowned J/70 Corinthian Champion
(Annapolis, MD)- Forty-four all-amateur teams vied in Annapolis, MD for the honor of being named the first ever J/70 Corinthian US National Champion. Peter McChesney’s Alice & WondeRRRland (with crew Alice Christman, Scott Snyder and Shane Zwingelberg) earned that distinction by tallying just 9 points in the six-race series, including three bullets and three second-place finishes.

The regatta opened on Friday with perfect breezes and close battles- truly “chamber of commerce” conditions with sunny skies and 12-14 kt winds on Chesapeake Bay.  Eastport YC’s PRO and regatta management team set a perfect race course and ran three races. 

Working his way to the top of the leaderboard on Friday was local Peter McChesney, who notched a 2,2,1 for just 5 points. Jack Franco’s 3BALL JT won two races, but added a sixth-place tally, landing him in second place overall at 8 points. Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY stood in third with 11 points.

J/70 off AnnapolisFranco got things going with the day’s first bullet, followed by McChesney and the Wulff’s. Behind Franco in race two were McChesney and Henry Filter’s WILD CHILD. McChesney secured the day’s overall advantage by winning the last meeting, as John Wilsey’s SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM and the Liebel/Rubin/Walsh/Britts gang on REACH AROUND rounded out the top three.

After Saturday’s races were postponed due to high winds on the Chesapeake Bay (25-30 kts!), sunny skies and breeze between 15-20 knots allowed three more races to be completed on Sunday. Reach Around won the day’s first battle, trailed by McChesney and Peter Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE. McChesney returned to the top spot in the final two races, with 3BALL JT and REACH AROUND comprising the top three in both cases.

J/70 Corinthians winnersAs a result, McChesney’s ALICE & WONDERRRLAND won by 11 pts.  Taking the silver spot on the podium was the Liebel/Rubin/Walsh/Britts gang on REACH AROUND with 20 points.  Franco’s slow start on the day came back to haunt them, having to count an 8-2-3 to finish one point back and secure the bronze medal.  Rounding out the top five were Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY in 4th place with 25 pts and fifth was Wilsey’s SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM.  Jenn Wulff was also Top Women’s Skipper for the regatta.

Joe Colling, US J/70 Class Association Past President, summarized, “The J/70 Class may only be four years old, but it has proven to have Championships that serve all levels of the membership. Whether it be a Corinthian division of an open event or a Corinthian Championship like this, there’s a place in this Class for pros and amateurs alike.”   Sailing photo credits- Dan Phelps/   For more J/70 Corinthian Nationals sailing information

J/111 sailing SolentHamble Winter Series Report
(Hamble, Great Britain)- The annual fall offshore classic on the Solent has been taking place over the past few weekend.  The Hamble River Sailing Club is hosting its 35th Hamble Winter Series and, to date, they have been blessed with three mostly sunny weekends for the hardy sailing teams.  The fleet is split into IRC handicap divisions as well as one-design racing for J/70s, J/80s, J/88s and J/109s.  Here are the reports from each weekend- courtesy of Louay Habib.

A chilly start greeted competitors on the first day, but the sun soon warmed up the Solent to deliver an enjoyable day on the water in bright sunshine.

J/97E sailing on the SolentOut on the race area, the wind settled to a shifty 6 knot northerly at start time – but despite the strong tides, there was enough wind to get a race in. This year's series sees a strong entry of winter series stalwarts but also lots of new boats – leaving the podium very much up for grabs in all classes.

To give all fleets a chance to get ashore in good time, the race committee had advised they may reverse the starting order on occasion this year - and thus it was the smaller end of the fleet, IRC 4, that was the first to start.

In all classes, the fleet soon split up the first beat, and a left shift near the top mark lifted those who had chosen that side onto the layline.

The wind eased during the race, but filled in in patches to make for a classic game of snakes and ladders, with gains there for the taking for boats that could take advantage of the wind and tide.

In IRC 3, the J/92S UPSTART (Robin Stevenson) took the second spot.  The J/109s dominated the IRC2 class in terms of numbers – and it was JIRAFFE (Simon Perry) and JAGO (Mike Yates) that took the two top slots.

Paul Ward and crew on the J/88 EAT SLEEP J REPEART kicked their series off to a good start by taking the top spot in the J/88 class. TGIRS (Gavin Howe) and J-DREAM (Richard and Kirsty Apthorp) completed the podium.

J/88s sailing on the SolentCommenting on the day's racing, Paul Ward, secretary of the J/88 Class said: "What a great way to get a busy autumn's sailing off to a good start with a sunny day on the water and good class racing for the J/88 fleet. Thanks to the race team for a great day"

With one race completed, the easing wind and building tide led principal race officer Stuart Childerley to hoist AP over A and send the assembled fleet home for the day – giving crews the opportunity to enjoy the food and drink on offer at HRSC and discuss tactics overlooking the water from the sunny Clubhouse terrace.

PRO Stuart Childerley, commented: "Two new daily prizes have been introduced for this year's series: the ‘Best Start’ of the day, chosen by the race committee, and the 'Top Dog' prize for the best performance, worked out based on the best corrected time over distance sailed totaled over all races of the day."

The “Best Start” was won by Chris Burleigh’s J/109 JYBE TALKIN and the “Top Dog” was another J/109- JIRAFFE (Simon Perry).

J/109 sailing off Cowes on the SolentWEEK 2
Sunday saw the second race day of the Winter Series– which, after a changeable forecast, delivered some champagne sailing conditions– albeit with some choice shifts to stir up the fleets a little. PRO Stuart Childerley managed to fit two races in from a startline in the vicinity of North Ryde Middle buoy. Two races on and in some fleets the pecking order was beginning to show in the overall results. Top photographer Paul Wyeth was afloat snapping away, and more shots will be available on his website,

IRC 2 saw Simon Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE took a first, leaving them only point in the lead.

In IRC 3, Stevenson's J/92S UPSTART added two bullets to their score, taking them comfortably clear at the top overall. Meanwhile, with Jonathan Stevens' J/97 WINDJAMMER took second in the final race of the day.

In the J/88 class, the Apthorp's J-DREAM improved on last week's third place, scoring two firsts to take them straight to the top of the overall standings. Dirk van Beek's SABRIEL JR scored two second places, with Howe's TIGRIS banking two third places.

Competitors swapped tall tales back at the HRSC clubhouse, where the day sponsor, The Bugle pub, was providing the prizes.

PRO, Stuart Childerley announced the special prize winners- one of them was Simon Cavey’s JUST-4-PLAY who was sailing in the Hamble One-Design Championship.

J/92 Upstart sailing off Cowes, EnglandHamble One Design Championships
A chilly northeasterly breeze, accompanied by beautiful sunshine provided near-perfect conditions for the racing in the first weekend of the Hamble One Design Championships, which featured racing for J/70 and J/80 classes. Kathy Smalley, CRO Hamble One Design Championships, commented: 'The lighter winds on Saturday resulted in shifty conditions at the top end of the course- as would be expected from that direction - meaning the top marks were moved constantly to compensate for that and the increasing tides. The stronger wind on Sunday was much more steady.'

The J/70s are a very competitive, yet friendly, class with 11 boats finishing within a minute in one race. The starts were equally competitive and in race 6 a sudden gust of wind at 30 seconds to go resulted in everybody being early and a general recall. The prompt use of the U-flag brought the fleet back under control, and for race 7 the competitors were back to their normal good behavior.

The competitors were undecided on which way to go on the beats and runs, with splits on every race. In race 1 everybody wanted to go up-tide and so chose the right hand mark at the gate, but a quick tweak meant that the fleet were spread for the rest of the weekend.

The course ended with a reach to the finish and with a building wind there were whoops of delight as the winners flew across the finish line.

In the 12-strong J/70 class, four different boats took bullets– but after 7 races it was Mark Lees' JUST-4-SALE that was topping the class, a healthy eight points clear of two boats. Patrick Liardet's COSMIC and Simon Cavey's JUST-4-PLAY were tied on points, with COSMIC just edging ahead on countback– which should ensure some close racing in the second half of the Championships in two weeks' time.

The 8-boat J/80 fleet also had a good weekend of sailing. At the halfway stage, the class was being led by Jon Powell's BETTY - a stalwart of the fleet. But, they didn't have it all their own way. Bullets were also recorded by AQUA J, owned by Terence O'Neil, sitting in 2nd overall, and Michael Lewis' JESTER, who took 3rd for the weekend.

Hamble Big Boat Championships
The first of two weekends of racing in the Hamble Big Boat Championships kicked off this weekend.

IRC 1 also saw some extremely close racing, with boats switching positions all around the race course. After 6 races, it was Simon Bamford's J/111 KESTREL sitting in 2nd place.

J/88 sailing off Cowes, EnglandWEEK 3
Despite a pessimistic forecast, oilskin-swaddled crews enjoyed a day of champagne sailing – with only a few rain squalls to remind them that Autumn is setting in.

A wind direction of around 215 degrees with big gusts under ominous clouds allowed the race team to send the assembled fleets on a course that led them to the north side of the Bramble Bank. Kathy Smalley, assistant race officer, said 'We had a really good day on the water and we couldn't pass up the opportunity to send everyone to a bit of the Solent they don't normally get to sail in – with the Calshot shoreline and Bramble Bank to add some tactical challenges to the race course!'

There was some close racing in all classes – with some split-second finishes. In the J/88s, there was an even closer finish, with Tim Tolcher’s RAGING BULL and J-DREAM crossing the line exactly abreast for an equal fourth place!

In IRC 1, the fleet was extremely close, and despite two boats over the line in the second race the fleet fought all the way to a very tight finish, with only 4 seconds separating 3rd and 5th.

After a close and busy day on the water, it was Christopher Daniel's J/122 JUNO that moved up the leaderboard with a 3rd in the first race and a comfortable win in the second race.

In IRC 2, Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE scored a second and a third apiece, leaving them in second overall for the series so far.

J/88 sailing SolentIRC 3 leaders, Stevenson's J/92S UPSTART, scored a 3rd and a 4th this week and Andy Howe's J/97 BLACKJACK II won a race. Meanwhile, David Greenhalgh's J/92 J’RONIMO filled in the gaps with two solid second places.  As a result, UPSTART still leads the series with the J/92 J’RONIMO in 4th place, the J/97 BLACKJACK II in 5th position and the J/97 WINDJAMMER in 6th.

In the one-design J/88 class, experience paid off for Paul and Marie-Claude Heys' JENGA as they scored two comfortable first places – which moves them closer to the top of the leaderboard. Class captain Paul Ward and crew on EAT SLEEP J REPEART and the Apthorp’s J-DREAM scored a second place each.  Consequently, J-DREAM has climbed atop the leaderboard for the series followed by EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, TIGRIS, JENGA and RAGING BULL.

The J/109 class continues to see Perry’s JIRAFFE leading with Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN second, Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN in third, Tom Chatterton’s RED ARROW fourth and Mike Yates’ JAGO in fifth.

At a packed prize-giving in the HRSC clubhouse, supported by Wadsworth, Stuart Childerley announced the day's special prizes.  The “Best Start” this week went to the Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL! “They had a perfect time on distance run and nailed the first start, bang on the line,” said Stuart.   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ and Hamo Thornycroft.   For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information

J/105 shark tankMenninger Top Dog @ J/105 Masters Regatta
(San Diego, CA)- This year’s International Master’s Regatta, hosted by San Diego YC from October 21st to 23rd, produced far more drama for the masters sailors than anyone might have predicted.  There were different leaders after virtually every race and, at one point on the final day, three teams were tied going into the last race- Bill Menninger, Rich du Moulin and Jon Andron!  Panic on the high seas!  In the end, it was Menninger’s team from Newport Harbor YC that took the Masters crown.

J/105 Masters winnersDay 1
Richard du Moulin led after sailing just two races on the first day.  The SDYC Race committee was only able to run two out of the four scheduled races due to extremely light winds. The wind was at 0 knots at noon which delayed the start of racing by about 2 1/2 hours.

Race one started a little before 2:30pm and five boats were OCS at the start- competitors were noticeably anxious to get going.  The right side of the course was clearly favored upwind. Richard du Moulin (Storm Trysail Club/Larchmont Yacht Club) gained a giant lead upwind which he was able to keep at every mark rounding. Chuck Nichols (SDYC) and Chuck Driscoll (SDYC) were trailing in second and third for most of the race. After du Moulin won the first race handily, Nichols secured second place and Dick Tillman (Melbourne Yacht Club) finished third.

This was du Moulin’s first Masters Regatta and the first for most of his crew. They worked well together and spent a lot of ocean miles- in fact, du Moulin raced the Transatlantic with four of them last year. “It was a great day out there for us. The Race Committee did a good job of getting two races off. We stayed as clear of people as we could and then just tried to go fast. It was a lot of fun!”

At the end of race one, the wind was at 6 knots and patchy, causing the race committee to shorten the course during the middle of the second race. In a repeat performance, du Moulin led the second race, though by a smaller margin-- only about one boat length ahead of Don Trask (St. Francis Yacht Club). Chuck Nichols finished third.

Don Trask, the founder of the regatta, has been to every Masters Regatta, starting as crew before he was old enough to skipper. Trask grew up sailing the heavy winds of San Francisco, but now lives in North Carolina where the wind conditions are light and similar to today. After racing, Trask confirmed, "It’s hard to sail in the light air. It’s always really tricky.”

J/105 Masters in San DiegoDay 2
The second day featured more wind than the first day of racing. The twelve masters sailors experienced conditions that were more typical of San Diego on Saturday afternoon in the City Front racing venue.  There was enough wind on the course to start racing shortly after noon. The wind stayed constant until about 3:00pm when it died down to about 4 knots in the middle of the last race. Despite the dying wind at the end of the day, the SDYC Race Committee was still able to hold all four scheduled races.

Jon Andron (St. Francis Yacht Club) started the day off strong and won the first race. Andron was the only skipper to start on the right side of the course and gained a lead that he was able to keep for the entirety of the race.

Andron explains some of the challenges involved in today's races. "I chose a good lane at the start. The starts are dangerous in the light, shifty wind. If you go an eighth of a knot slower, a guy will roll right over you before you get going.”

Bob Fisher sailing J/105 MastersBob Fisher (Royal Lymington Yacht Club) won the second race also by starting well and keeping that momentum going. "My strategy was getting a good start and going the right way. I want to keep plugging these bullets, having a good time, and meeting with old friends- that’s what this is all about!”  Fisher’s crew consisted of Porky (from Lymington, England), Brent Draney, John Claude, Buzz Blackett and Kame Richards.

According to Fisher, “we did have our ups and downs.  Thankfully, Porky kept up the flow of “advice” and that was important.  Kame was fresh from winning his class in the Big Boat series and was as good a spinnaker trimmer as I have ever had and communicated well.  Buzz maintained a perpetual calm on the foredeck, as did Jean Claude on the jib trim, while Brent was a brilliant organizer.

Starting was our weak point. But, on Race 4, it came to our aid when we were forced to tack away from the Committee Boat and went into a stronger heading breeze on the “mainland” shore.  We surged into an early lead and protected it from there to the finish- hence the bullet!  Despite the frenzied inadequacy of the wind, it was a good regatta once again.”

Bill Menninger (Newport Harbor Yacht Club) won the third race after passing Chuck Nichols (SDYC) on the downwind leg. When asked to describe his strategy, Menninger shared, "I go fast and tried to get to the right a little bit. We’re getting off the line better because there’s more wind.”

The conditions were difficult for many skippers, even for local San Diego sailors like Chuck Driscoll (SDYC). "It’s been challenging to say the least, especially using the different boats with the wheel steering, I’m used to a tiller on a J/105. The wind direction is also challenging. The second half of today went a little bit better. We got a third and then a second. So we’re happy with the way the day went.”

Richard Du Moulin (Storm Trysail Club/Larchmont Yacht Club) won the last race of the day and was, again, leading the regatta overall after the first six races.

J/105s sailing off San DiegoDay 3
After pulling themselves up from 7th to 4th place on Saturday, Bill Menninger (Newport Harbor Yacht Club) and his team posted two bullets today to climb to the top of the 12-boat fleet to win San Diego Yacht Club’s International Masters Regatta. Menninger was sailing with Scott Mason, Jon Pinckney, Steve Schupak, Robert Kinney, and Shawn Patrick.

Sunday’s conditions were unusual for San Diego, featuring cloudy and sporadically rainy skies with little wind at noon. Racing was delayed for about an hour and a half due to 100-degree wind shifts, making Race Committee unable to set a course. Eventually, the wind settled to more typical conditions and Race Committee was able to run two of the four scheduled races.

The delay in racing provided plenty of time for the skippers to reminisce with their crews about past races in their careers, a central theme of the International Masters Regatta. Chuck Nichols (SDYC), the winner of the 2013 Masters Regatta, describes the International Masters Regatta as “a bunch of old characters that come back and talk to you about sailing. It reminds you of how great they were and still are.”

Race one got underway just before 2pm, once the wind was up to five to six knots. The fleet was split at the start, but the right side of the course was clearly favored upwind. Menninger had the lead at the first weather mark and was able to keep his lead throughout the entire race as the wind picked up to about 10 knots. Jon Andron (St. Francis Yacht Club) and Don Trask (St. Francis Yacht Club) were behind Menninger and eventually finished second and third.

J/105 sailing off San Diego city waterfrontRacing was slightly delayed before the second race so that a proper course could be set in shifty conditions. Three skippers–Menninger, Richard du Moulin (Storm Trysails Club/Larchmont Yacht Club) and Jon Andron (St. Francis Yacht Club)– were in a three-way tie for first place overall going into the last race. The anticipation was visible once the race started and six boats were immediately OCS. Menninger was not among them, which helped him gain a commanding lead. Menninger was able to keep this lead and sailed across the finish line as the 2016 International Masters Regatta champion.

This is Menninger’s first time winning the International Masters Regatta and also the first win from a Newport Harbor Yacht Club skipper. Menninger will be back at SDYC next weekend for the 102nd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup where he will crew for Jon Pinckney on the Newport Harbor Yacht Club team.

Menninger reflected at the end of the weekend, “My overall strategy for these three days was to get better every race. My starts were not very good at the start of the regatta, but they got a lot better by the end. Sailing aside, my favorite part of the Masters Regatta is the camaraderie of the guys that you’ve raced against your whole life, or new guys that you haven’t sailed against yet.”

du Moulin, who had led the event through the first two days of the competition, posted an 8-2 today to slip to second overall, one point off the lead. du Moulin was sailing with Barrett Holby, Bill Campbell, Peter Bauer, Chris Reyling, and Gerard Girstl.  Completing the podium was Andron sailing with Shawn Bennett, Tom Ducharme, Spuds Whidden, Dave Kelly, and Allie Rowe.   Sailing photo credits- Cynthia Sinclair/ SDYC  For more International J/105 Masters Regatta information

J/133 Jivaro sailing Rolex Middle Sea RaceJ/Crews Sweep Class @ Rolex Middle Sea Race
(Gzira, Malta)- Over the past ten years, the Rolex Middle Sea Race Trophy has been won by yachts as large as 86ft and as small as 40ft. Unsurprisingly, the weather plays a huge part in deciding the winner. Changes in wind strength, direction and ocean currents create advantages and disadvantages. The ever-changing scenario creates a very complicated picture, especially when boats are on different parts of the course.

The overall winner of the 2016 Rolex Middle Sea Race is not necessarily the first to cross the finish line. The winner is decided using the IRC rating system, which is used for all of the major offshore races throughout the world. Yachts have their elapsed time corrected according to their potential speed. This gives every yacht a fair chance of winning the overall prize.

Sophisticated routing software programs can estimate the finish time of each yacht.  The software uses the predicted wind conditions and combines that with the predicted speed of the yachts, giving an estimated finish time.

J/122 sailing off MaltaLee Satariano's Maltese J/122 Artie has been the most successful yacht in the last ten years, winning overall on two occasions (2011 & 2014). Looking at Artie's predicted elapsed time of 114 hours, Artie will be a long way behind Rambler 88 on the water, but after IRC time correction, the result is very close indeed. Christian Ripard has been at the heart of Artie's two victories, as tactician and Christian has won the race, as owner or tactician, five times.

“Right now the weather looks like it will suit a slightly bigger and more high performance boat than Artie,” commented Christian Ripard.  “It is looking light especially at the start, and in this race, boats will be side by side, and one will get a puff of wind and be gone, while the other is just in the wrong place and remains trapped. This is going to be a race all about thinking it out- and to be honest- getting a bit of luck.”

Start- The start of the race is one of the most colorful and iconic moments in world sailing.  The Grand Harbour of Valletta, Malta is akin to a stadium offering numerous vantage points both high and low and, of course, on the water.  As the cannons of the Saluting Battery high up on the St. Peter & Paul Bastion signaled each class start, thousands of spectators reveled in brilliant sunshine and the light breeze funneling though the harbour. Organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club, 107 yachts were competing in the 37th edition of the 608 nautical mile Rolex Middle Sea Race.

The first start, comprising the smallest and slowest yachts, showed the way for the rest. The boats starting close under the walls of the recently restored Fort St. Angelo quickly entered good breeze.  The second start included Lee Satariano's Maltese J/122 Artie, which has won the race on two previous occasions.

Day 2 morning-  Overnight, the fleet made good progress up the eastern seaboard of Sicily and this morning the bulk of the entrants were approaching the Strait of Messina.

In the battle for the Overall win on corrected time, the tactically challenging conditions on the first night have been used well by several smaller yachts including a number of the Maltese competitors. Artie was well-placed in the standings as the race approached the 24-hour mark.

J/111 sailing Rolex Middle Sea RaceDay 3-  The lack of wind north of Sicily was attributed to a low pressure system in the Atlantic, which is literally sucking warm air out of the Mediterranean and up over the Alps into parts of northern Europe. Currently in Zermatt, the temperature is higher than usual for the time of year. The southerly wind experienced in the alpine resort confirms this trend in the southern Mediterranean. The wind effect is known locally in Switzerland as a “Föhn”, a generic term for “hairdryer”.  The “hairdryer” is having a considerable effect on the battle for both line honours and the overall win in the monohull fleet.

The stakes are high. Those yachts connecting with the southerly off the western seaboard of Sicily will have an advantage over the rest of the fleet struggling to head west. If so, the scenario will have a tremendous impact on the contest for the overall win on corrected time.

The tactically challenging conditions on the first night were used well by several smaller yachts, including Lee Satariano’s Maltese J/122 Artie, which was leading the fleet at Messina and has made good progress towards Stromboli. However, if as expected, the windless zone on the course spreads east along the northern coast of Sicily, these slower yachts may find their podium prospects severely dented. Of course, this is yacht racing, there is much to play for and no one is giving up just yet.

Day 4-  In what appears to be a private battle between the J/Boats, two-time winners, Lee Satariano and the Maltese crew on the J/122 ARTIE co-skippered by Christian Ripard and Sebastian Ripard was leading by just under 40 minutes from Laurent Charmy's French J/111 SL ENERGIES FASTWAVE. Yves Grosjean's French J/133 JIVARO is striving to keep in touch, currently lying third.

The weather conditions have been a moveable feast, gorging and starving the fleet throughout the past three days. Unsurprisingly, they look set to change again and perhaps decisively in favor of those yachts closest to the finish. The southeasterly wind that has provided a relatively quick passage from Palermo to the finish for the faster yachts is due to fade overnight. If so it will dramatically slow the progress of the smaller yachts, particularly those still to round Lampedusa. Whether this change comes to pass and the effect it has on the fortunes of those in contention for the overall prize will be the subject of tomorrow’s news.

Finish-  After four days at sea, the J/Teams all sailed remarkably well.  In the IRC Doublehanded division, the J/109 2HARD sailed by the duo of Martin Hartl and Harald Wolf from Austria took the silver overall and in the IRC 6 Class took an 8th in division.

The big battle in IRC 5 Class saw the top three J/Teams dominate from start to finish.  Winning class, again, was Lee Satariano’s J/122 ARTIE with Christian and Sebastian Ripard as navigators; the team from Royal Malta YC included Gordon Bugeja, Sonke Stein, Fabio Galea, Jordi Smith, and Matthias Almakerdims.

Second was Laurent Charmy’s J/111 SL ENERGIES FASTWAVE (crew of Benjamin SCHWARTZ, Vincent AILLAUD, Gregory BAUM, Francesco BERTONE, Loic DONY, and Fabrice MERLE) and third was the J/133 JIVARO (with team of Yves Grosjean from France and the Societe Nautique de La Trinite-sur-Mer with crew of Goulven ROYER, Jean-Paul MALLET, Séverin RICHTER, Philippe DELHUMEAU, Andrea PAWLOTZKI, Anne GEOFFROY, Thomas ROBIN, Melanie GAGGERO, and Pietrzak Filip).  Taking 8th in class was the J/122 DAMACLE, with the other J/122s- SELMA RACING and JOLOU taking 12th and 13th, respectively.

What was most interesting was to see how the ORC Overall scores worked out amongst the various J/teams.  While the J/122 ARTIE took 5th overall with a corrected time of 2d 20h 56m 11s, it was just over 1 minute corrected time over the J/111 SL ENERGIES FASTWAVE after 600nm+ of sailing!

The JIVARO Experience
What was the experience like to be sailing in this year’s exasperating race?  Here are some excerpts from the J/133 JIVARO blog that was posted on a daily basis by Yves Grosjean, skipper/owner of the J/133 JIVARO:

October 18- With a huge sigh of relief we got moving again at 7:54pm … after the morale had sunk to its lowest since the start of the succession of stop- and-go endured since we reached the first patch of calms in the lee of Etna at 9:27am.

We started the day quite high as our choice to aim for the katabatic winds supposedly flowing down the Catania Valley in the late hours of the night seemed to have worked well, allowing us to catch up somehow with the leaders of our class. We watched gleefully the boats to our right slow down and then hit the calms first.

But then what next?  How could we avoid the calms to come?  Right or left?  Keep to the coast of Sicily or aim for the possibly more stable breeze off the coast of Italy?  The two looking equivalent, we chose to stick to the left.

Alas (I skip here a few episodes – more than 10 hours) we finally discovered that the boats that had chosen the right side had done much better than us. And the morale further dropped when we saw the boats both on our right and our left start gathering speed while we remained becalmed in the middle!

That’s just how frustrating racing in light winds can be!

From the crew of JIVARO, well rested and fed owing to our shore support, and eager to fight back!

October 19- The night started at a slow pace with the smoke of the Etna lit up by the last rays of the sun to the West.

The wind gathered strength as we entered the Traffic Separation Scheme of the Strait of Messina just before 10pm.

On rounding Capo Peloro at 11pm, it had built up to a nice 25 knots, which was driving us at more than 12 knots at times – our highest speed since the start of the race. But this was having my heart beat faster for other reasons: the upper wind speed for our light A1.5 spinnaker is only 14 knots! So, I summoned all crew on deck and a nice peeling was swiftly executed under the stars. With our A2 runner up, we were elated to see the breeze hold until the late hours of the night.

As dawn was breaking, the shadow of Stromboli with its cloud of smoke emerged due East!

October 21- morning- a new crewmember has joined Jivaro as we approached Lampedusa.  After a few nautical miles and some well deserved rest, he flew away ahead of us, leading the way to the last landmark before the final run towards the Maltese finish line.

October 21- evening- as we are about to clock 4 full days of race, we feel at last alive again! Maybe we will regret it tomorrow when the gale force winds are due to hit us but for the time being we saw with great relief the wind finally pick up as expected (more or less …) this morning.

We sailed past Pantelleria quite painfully during the night. We gave it a very wide berth to avoid the wind shadow we expected particularly developed due to heavy and cold air on the island in the middle of the night. This strategy worked well already two days ago in the lee of the Aeolian Islands. It was once more pretty nerve-wracking but did allow us again to catch up with our dearest competitors the other J- Boats Artie, Fastwave and Juno.

The Italian Coast Guards have been transmitting Gale warnings since yesterday … we were hoping to catch the fore-runners of the stronger wind system soon after rounding the western end of Sicily and get back to Malta in just a few long surfs (so to speak …). This is also what the weather files were initially showing. But as usual, they proved inaccurate in the details and requiring a good deal of interpretation to match them against the observed weather. Apart from a few gusts due to a distant thunderstorm as we crossed the Castellammare Gulf the weather remained excruciatingly light.

This being said, more cloudy conditions started to settle from yesterday as we rounded the Egadi Islands and the atmospheric pressure has been going down slowly but surely since Monday. The pressure has just started rising again this morning around 9am, as we crossed just another lull followed by a textbook 90 degrees anti-clockwise rotation of the wind, now WSW 10 to 12 knots. So, we are now expecting the wind to progressively return to NNW and gather strength up to 20-25 kts by the end of the day (with more to come tomorrow).

We still have our light spinnaker up and are now exceeding 9 knots at times. There are now 50 miles left to Lampedusa that we should reach before sunset. This being said, we are enjoying the dry conditions and the temperature is very nice, even at night. A light vest is enough for the night and none of us had to wear their body warmers yet. The sea state has also remained very pleasant all through except for a short sea from the South that shook our spinnaker badly yesterday after the Egadi Islands.

The “dry” packaged meals (that need water) are finally OK- - barely so, for our French palates not so used to this kind of fast food. It is indeed the first race where we did not prepare our freshly cooked and vacuum packed menus. Anyway, we are glad we left Malta with our holds full of these and also with full water tanks! We could even allow short fresh water showers! We also applied the “dry race” rule that I have just decided to reject!  Next time, I will allow some measured rounds of wine, beer or whisky– provided all the crew commits are behaving!

We have managed to pass the J/111 EL ENERGIES FASTWAVE during the night!  But, we are struggling to increase our lead. And with the J/122 Artie, overall winner of last years’ edition, we came within a mile of them several times, but soon, lost ground again very systematically. The speed of these two boats is just impressive.

From the crew of JIVARO, more upbeat than ever!  We hope to at least beat our two classmates (J/122 and J/111) boat-for-boat!  They are both smart and fast!”  For social media coverage- check out Rolex Middle Sea Race on Facebook  For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information

J/133 sailing off SeattleJ/Teams Sweep Seattle Grand Prix
(Seattle, WA)- The 40th Annual Seattle Grand Prix Regatta took place last weekend on Puget Sound, hosted by Seattle YC.  The fleet enjoyed two gorgeous days of sailing in relatively light winds on the Sound.  Amongst the J/tribe, there was one-design class racing for J/105s and there were two PHRF classes for the J/160, J/145, J/122E, J/111, J/109s and others.

The “big boats” in PHRF 2 Class saw the famous and beautiful J/160 JAM; owned and skippered by John McPhail from Gig Harbor YC, win their class with a steady 1-1-3-2 record for 7 pts total.

J105 sailing off SeattleIn the IRC 3 Class, it was Brian Duchin’s J/133 TANGO from Seattle YC that took first on a tie-breaker with a 4-1-3-2 tally for 10 points.  Their record was identical to John Murkowski’s beautiful J/122E JOY RIDE from Seattle YC, who had to settle for second place based on who-beat-who in the last race!  Taking 6th was Ron Holbrook’s J/133 CONSTELLATION and 7th was Jerry Woodfield’s J/109 SHADA.

James Geros’ LAST TANGO won the J/105 one-design class with a 1-1-2-5 for 9 pts total.  Chris Phoenix’s JADED was second with a 2-5-1-6 for 14 pts.  Third was determined by a tie-breaker, with Lance Rummel’s INCONCEIVABLE with a 5-4-7-2 for 18 pts taking it over the famous FREE BOWL OF SOUP campaigned by the trio of Schenk/ Davis/ Hopper.  Fifth place was taken by Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM.  For more Seattle Grand Prix sailing information

J/24 sailing off ItalyItalian J/24 Winter Series Report
(Portofino, Italy)- There was a lot of J/24 sailing taking place this past weekend across the Italian peninsula.  J/24s were sailing their winter series in Sardinia, Rome, Genoa and Portofino!  Here are quick summaries of the activity taking place in each region.

Porto Rotondo, Sardinia
After the long summer break, the Sardinian J/24 Fleet got busy again. Over the weekend, the fleet sailed their XXIII Regatta of the Legionaries.  The fleet of twelve boats sailed three races on Saturday and on Sunday enjoyed their traditional “coastal race”- a random leg event that goes around various government buoys offshore along the spectacular coastline of Sardinia.

Saturday’s racing started off with very little breeze.  However, by the second and third races, the “sirocco” winds got much stronger and the fleet enjoyed a warm, dry 10-14 kts of wind for the final race of the day.  Sunday’s racing for the Legionnaires trophy saw good breeze, with the J/24s all finishing after one and a half hours of sailing.

After the four races were tallied, ITA 405 SURRAU VIGNE from Club Nautico Arzachena is leading, followed by ITA 241 LIBARIUM sailed by Roberto Dessy and in third is ITA 431 LNI CARLISLE owned and sailed by David Gorgerino.

Cervia, Rome
This past weekend was the beginning of the Winter Championship for the Roman J/24 fleet.  The first regatta was racing for the IX Stefano Pirini Memorial Trophy, organized by Circolo Nautico Cervia.  The racing took place offshore in front of the famous Milano Marittima beach.

"On Sunday we were able to have only one race characterized by light winds from offshore.  There were considerable changes in the leadership of the race,” explained the Rome’s J/24 Fleet Captain.

Ten crews took to the water for this first regatta. The victory went to Marco Maccaferri (CNAdVCervia) sailing ITA 402 KERMESSE.  Second was ITA 424 KISMET owned by Francesca Focardi Antonelli (CNAdVCervia) and skippered by Luciani Antonelli.  Third place was ITA 382 sailed by Mauro Martelli (CV Ravenna). Fourth place was ENG 473 MAGICAL FAIRY co-owned by Viscardo Brusori and helmsman Massimo Frigerio.  Sitting in fifth place was ITA 400 CAPTAIN NEMO sailed by Domenico Brighi.

J/24 sailing offshoreGenova (Genoa Portofino Fleet)
The Club Nautico Marina Genova Aeroporto hosted the first winter series event that was held over three weekends for fifty boats in ORC Handicap and J/24 one-designs. 

The final day was marked by a north wind around 15 knots, overcast with drizzle and scattered sea only slightly ruffled by the wind. The race course was positioned brilliantly by the CNMGA race committee, which was once again started with a high-degree of punctuality and great technical and tactical execution.

It was a close fight from the first day of the championship between ITA 303 JUST A JOKE (co-owned by M.Buffa and T. Costa- LNI Sestri Ponente) and ITA 235 JAWS (co-owned by M.Mori and L.Varini- CV Elbano).  The racing was quite close between these two and the results were not settled until the final day and the final race of the championship, the outcome coming right down to the wire on the last leg!  In the end, JAWS beat JUST A JOKE by winning the last race to secure the championship on a tie-breaker with a 2-2-1-1 record for 6 pts.  JUST A JOKE had to settle for the silver because their record of 1-1-2-2 for 6 pts meant they lost the last race to JAWS!  An exasperating scenario for them, but, as they say, “that’s yacht racing”!

Taking third for the regatta was ITA 357 LANDFALL sailed by Simone Moretti, fourth was ITA 307 FINALLY sailed by Olga Finollo, and fifth place was taken by ITA 483 X5 skippered by Antonio Criscuolo.  For more Italian J/24 fleet sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
IC24s at Bigger End* Hot Competition and Warm Camaraderie at Bitter End YC’s Pro-Am Regatta!  This year marks the 30th edition of this adult fantasy camp held annually in the British Virgin Islands, being sailed from October 22nd to 29th.   The event has an all-star line-up of world-famous sailors that take on the resort’s guests as crew!  How fun could that be?!  What is the common denominator for all seven “pros” sailing in the event?  You guessed it- all have sailed, raced, crewed or won World Championships on various J’s over the course of time.

Ed Baird – Two-time America’s Cup winner (1995, 2007), six Pro Am titles, and World Champion in the Laser, J/24, and TP52. Ed competed in the inaugural Pro Am, and this year will be inducted into the US National Sailing Hall of Fame.

Steve Benjamin – US Sailing’s 2015 Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year on the heels of winning 11 major one design and offshore events and has raced various J’s like J/22s, J/24s and J/105s.

Taylor Canfield – Two-time Pro Am winner and current defending champion, Canfield competes at the highest level of the international match racing, and is currently ranked #1 in the world.  Taylor grew up in St Thomas and has raced locally on various IC24s, J/24s, J/22s, J/70s and J/105s.

Dave Ullman at Bitter EndJJ Fetter – A two-time Olympic medalist, four-time US Rolex Yachtswomen of the Year, and competitor in the 1995 America’s Cup. JJ has raced J/22s, J/24s.  JJ was an inductee in the 2015 class of the US National Sailing Hall of Fame.

Anthony Kotoun – Winner of 13 World, National, and North American championships in various one design classes, but most notably was the winner of the J/24 World Championship, sailed in the famous Newport Fleet #50 J/24 fleet for decades and has also raced J/70s in the Worlds and Midwinters.  Plus, he was the 2014 Pro-Am titlist.

Dave Perry – Five-time US Match Race Champion along with countless National and North American titles. Among the leading rules advisors in the world, Dave is a noted author on the subject and in high demand as an advisor for America’s Cup and Olympic teams.  Dave has raced J/22s, J/24s, J/105s, J/35s and J/44s.

Dave Ullman – With World titles in the 470 (3) and Melges 24 (1), Dave has won national championships in nearly all the prominent one-design dinghy classes. Dave won the MORC Internationals in J/24s and has raced J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/105s and J/120s. Through his work with the US Olympic team, Dave was selected as 2015 US Sailing National Coach of the Year and this year will be inducted into the US National Sailing Hall of Fame.

A variety of sailing and social events combine professional sailors with amateur resort guests amid the splendor of Caribbean sailing. There is even an event that excludes the pros: the Scuttlebutt Sailing Club Championship.  And, coincidentally, the Master of Ceremonies for that event and the Pro-Am happens to be Tom Leweck, founder of the Scuttlebutt Sailing newsletter and also a long-time J sailor- ranging from J/22s, J/24s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s in the Southern California offshore circuits and MEXORC in Puerto Vallarta.  Learn more about the Bitter End YC Pro-Am Regatta here

* Eight Bells to a beloved J/24 sailor- Peter Bream.  Dr. Peter R Bream of Jacksonville, Florida passed away after his battle with cancer on October 24, 2016. Peter was born in Erie, PA on July 14, 1946. His family moved to Chapel Hill, NC not long after, where he grew up a Tarheel fan.

He started sailing in 1963 in Cape Cod on a Sunfish while visiting his cousins. His father purchased him a Sunfish, and Peter loved spending time on the water any chance he could. His first regatta that he attended was the Governors Cup in 1968, sailing a Jet 14. Peter moved to Birmingham, AL in 1976 and found his way to Lake Logan Martin and the Birmingham Sailing Club. At that time, he was sailing a Tanzer 16.

A local named Loy Vaughn convinced Peter to purchase a Thistle (#1658) and join their one-design fleet. A short time later, Peter purchased a wooden Thistle (#1321) that he raced with his wife Lynn and son Peter Jr around the southeast. In 1980, Peter accepted a job in Jacksonville, FL where he was active in the Thistle fleet and also the PHRF racing scene.

He purchased a J/24 (#2502) in 1982 and began racing it on the St. Johns River. He did very well on the J/24 in the river, but he would soon learn that there was a long way to go to do well on a national one-design level. Peter traveled to Key West for the 1997 Midwinters, bringing along his Thistle buddies to crew for him. It was a shock to see how all of the other boats were prepared compared to his. He had fun but finished in the back of the pack. A goal was set! Peter was determined to build a team that could compete with the best. At that time, his boat (2502) was named Tarheel, but Peter, being the leader he was, renamed the new boat (5287) Team Tarheel to reflect that concept. Team Tarheel sailed well regionally, but lacked that national level result. It took many years, but Peter and Team Tarheel achieved Top 10 results in National, North American and World Championships, and won consecutive Midwinter Championships in the J/24 Class.

A few of his many other sailing accomplishments were a fourth place finish in the 1991 Thistle Nationals sailing with his wife and son, and winning the 2003 Thistle Midwinter East regatta as a forward crew at age 57. Peter is survived by his wife Lynn, son Dr. Peter Bream Jr. (Mary) and daughter Mary Chupp (Charlie). He has seven grandchildren, three step-grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. His Memorial service will be held Saturday November 5, 2016 at 10:00 am at Assumption Catholic Church in Jacksonville, Florida.

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.