Wednesday, November 9, 2016

J/Newsletter- November 9th, 2016

J/70s sailing Worlds2017 J/70 Winter Circuit Update
(Newport, RI)- The J/70 class continues its amazing momentum across several continents.  The J/70 South American Championship is expecting nearly two dozen boats in Algarrobo, Chile.  The advent of a new J/70 builder in Buenos Aires, Argentina is fueling that growth in South America.

Meanwhile, the 2017 winter circuit for J/70s in North America is ramping up with strong interest in all major events that range from December 2016 to May 2017!

Quantum J/70 Winter Series
For starters, the Quantum J/70 Winter Series will again be taking place in Tampa, FL and hosted by the Davis Island YC.  The same deal that was provided by DIYC will again be offered to J/70 sailors- on a first come/ first served basis, J/70 sailors may leave their boats at DIYC for the three events!  The schedule is as follows- December 10-11, then January 7-8 and the finale is February 4-5.  That means J/70 teams can sail just about all winter in Florida!  Register today here at Davis Island YC!

Quantum Key West Race Week
In between the Tampa events, a number of teams will also be participating in the Quantum Key West Race Week, hosted by Storm Trysail Club in Key West, Florida.  That regatta will take place from January 15th to 23rd, with boats having the option to dry-sail out of the Truman Annex or park in the harbor at the Galleon Marina.  If there was ever a destination event that is worthwhile to sail in spectacular Caribbean-type tradewinds and sunny skies- this one is it!  You can register now for Key West Race Week and enjoy a nice discount too.

J/70 Midwinters
After the Quantum Key West and the Winter Series, the J/70 Midwinters will be hosted by St Petersburg YC in St Petersburg, FL on Tampa Bay- an easy “commute” for those boats that have sailed at Davis Island YC.  The Midwinters will be run from February 23rd to 26th.  Register here for the J/70 Midwinters regatta!

Bacardi Miami Sailing Week
Next on the agenda in March is the very popular Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- co-hosted by the three famous sailing clubs on Biscayne Bay- Coral Reef YC, Biscayne Bay YC and Coconut Grove Sailing Club.  The “Bacardi” takes place from March 9th to 11th.  The J/70 class is again invited to participate and sail on their own circle!  By March, spring sailing conditions on the Bay are nearly perfect- 70s during the day, sunny, with seabreezes that often build to 10-15 kts by mid-afternoon!  You can register here for Bacardi Miami Sailing Week!

Charleston Race Week
While “April showers may bring May flowers” in New England, it’s still sunny and warm in the Deep South and there is no better way to spend a lovely weekend in April than to visit “the Belle of the South”- Charleston, SC.  Charleston Race Week will take place from April 20th to 23rd.  J/70 sailors seemingly keep setting records for this incredibly popular event.  For the last two years running, nearly 80 boats have showed up to test their skills criss-crossing sand bars, 2-3 kt currents, and 20-30 deg shifts.  Charleston is a rather unique sailing venue- a mix of lake sailing and river sailing all rolled into one.  Plus, the social activities are second-to-none on the beach at the Charleston Harbor Inn & Marina- the regatta HQ!  You can register here for Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC.

Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta
Finally, what better way to round out the spring sailing season than to close it with spectacularly fun sailing on Chesapeake Bay.    By then, the famous “cherry blossoms” are in full-bloom all across the Washington, DC region and along all the streets in Annapolis.  The mid-Atlantic climate is famous for this naturally occurring spectacle, plus you can take in a bit of history with all the museums in DC!  What is the occasion?  It’s the famous Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD Regatta in Annapolis, MD!  From May 5th to 7th, the Annapolis YC and their clubs (Eastport YC and Severn Sailing Association) roll out the red carpet for all kinds of J/sailors! You can register for the Annapolis NOOD Regatta here!
For more J/70 information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The first weekend of November was marked by a lot of activity taking place on the Pacific coast of America. Up in the Pacific Northwest, the Seattle YC’s Round the County Race, a basic circumnavigation of the San Juan Islands, took place in very challenging weather conditions.  For many, it was to be expected and, in fact, Saturday saw a large part of the fleet having to take a DNF!  A wide assortment of J/crews participated, including J/27s, J/29s, J/30s, J/35s, J/109s, J/111s, J/120s, J/122s, J/145 and J/160.  Down south in classic sunny San Diego weather, San Diego YC’s first weekend of their famous “Hot Rum Races” took place, the “pursuit-style” race starts just off Shelter Island and sends the fleet out the San Diego Harbor channel off Point Loma to a few buoys offshore and return.  Heaps of J/teams sailed with some terrific performances by J/105s, J/70s, J/120s, J/125s, J/109s, J/111s and others.

Across the Atlantic, a large number of British teams continued to sail the Hamble Winter Series.  The fifth weekend of sailing was decidedly cooler than the previous four, with much more wintry conditions on the Solent.  J/88s, J/92s, J/97s, J/109s, J/111s and J/122s enjoyed the warm and toasty confines of the Hamble River Sailing Club for the afternoon awards!  Also, the RORC Season Points Championship will be having their annual awards dinner shortly.  The overall season was quite successful for a number of British and French crews sailing their J’s in this highly competitive offshore series!  Participating were crews on J/97s, J/105s, J/109s, J/111s, J/120s, J/122s and J/133s.  Over on the Continent, the Italian J/24 fleet continued their winter series across the peninsula, with reports coming in from the Taranto and the Cervia fleets.

Speaking of J/24s, the Australian J/24 class just enjoyed their New South Wales Championship, held on Bate Bay off Cronulla, 30nm south of Sydney.  The entertaining report arrived courtesy of fleet captain Simon Grain.

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:

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
Dec 10-11- Quantum J/70 Winter Series I- Tampa, FL
Jan 7-8- Quantum J/70 Winter Series II- Tampa, FL
Jan 15-23- Quantum Key West Regatta- Key West, FL
Feb 4-5- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Tampa, FL
Feb 10-12- J/24 Midwinters- Indian Harbour Beach, FL
Feb 17-19- St Petersburg NOOD Regatta- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 23-26- J/70 Midwinters- St Petersburg, FL
Mar 9-11- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 17-19- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
April 20-23- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
May 5-7- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis, MD

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

J/133 winning RORC Season Championship in IRC 2RORC Season Series- J/133 PINTIA Crowned IRC 2 Champion
J/Crews Place in All Four Classes!
(Cowes, United Kingdom)- The RORC Season Points Championship is the largest and arguably most competitive offshore yacht series in the world. Starting almost a year ago with the RORC Transatlantic Race, it consisted of 14 races where over 300 yachts from 15 different nations raced over 6,500 miles. The modern version of the championship is far from domestic as it includes the RORC Transatlantic Race, RORC Caribbean 600, Volvo Round Ireland Yacht Race, the brand new Ile d'Ouessant Race and Rolex Middle Sea Race.

The big winner amongst the J/tribe was Gilles Fournier’s beautiful J/133 PINTIA from France, winning the coveted Emily Verger Plate & Assuage Trophy for IRC 2 Class. Their season was one of the stand-out performances of the year, winning two races overall and topping IRC Class Two in the Cervantes Trophy Race and Myth of Malham where she had a tremendous side-by-side battle during the 230nm race with Lisa, this year's RORC Season's Points Champion. After IRC time correction, PINTIA won by just eight seconds after 38 hours of racing! The largely corinthian team, centered around family and friends from Le Havre, France, continued their winning streak throughout the season, achieving class wins in all five races in which they competed, with third overall being their lowest score!!

"We are a family boat," says Fournier. “PINTIA sails with my daughter Corinne Migraine, my grandson Victor, my two nephews Yan and Thomas Fournier and one of the best Master Laser sailors in the world, Daniel Devos. We are all from the Société des Régates du Havre and it is the best sailing school in France," exclaims Fournier.

What was remarkable about IRC 2 Class was that PINTIA’s performance was matched by six other J’s in the top thirteen!  It was nearly a clean sweep of the top positions in class.  Taking the silver was the Doublehanded duo of Elin Haf Davies and Chris Frost on their J/120 NUNATAK.  Fourth was the Army Sailing Association’s J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER, fifth place went to another J/120- Chris Schram’s MAVERICK.  Seventh went to Andy Theobald’s J/122 R&W, eleventh to another J/122- David Richards’ JOLLY JELLYFISH, and thirteenth went to Chris Daniel’s beautiful new J/122E JUNO!

In IRC 3 Class, it was another Doublehander that took fifth in class, Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J and eighth was Chris Palmer’s J/109 J-T’AIME.

In IRC 4 Class, Robert Nelson’s J/105 BIGFOOT took third overall.  Finally, in the Doublehanded Class, J/crews took four of the top seven!  Leading the group was Davies & Frost’s J/120 NUNATAK in second overall, followed by Nelson’s J/105 BIGFOOT in fourth, Schram’s J/120 MAVERICK in sixth, and Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J in seventh.

RORC Overall- Top 25
The biggest brand presence in the Top 25 was J/Boats with six teams, with JPK second with five and Ker and Sunfast each with four.  There were three J/teams in the Top 10 alone.  Fourth overall was Robert Nelson’s J/105 BIGFOOT sailing in the Doublehanded Class.  Fifth place went to the Army Sailing Association’s J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER.  Eighth was Gilles Fournier’s French family crew on the J/133 PINTIA.  Fourteenth place was Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J, 21st was Chris Schram’s J/120 MAVERICK and 25th was Elin Haf Davies & Chris Frost’s J/120 NUNATAK (all of these last three were sailing Doublehanded, too!).  For the RORC season's cumulative results

J/105 SANITY wins Hot Rum RaceJ/105 Dominates Hot Rum Race I
J/70 Shatters Class Four!
(San Diego, CA)- Twenty-seven J/Teams (24% of the 115 boat fleet) just completed the first of the West Coast’s most famous “pursuit-style” events this past weekend- the Hot Rum Race hosted by San Diego YC.  Winning by over two minutes (a country mile in this race) was Rick Goebel’s J/105 SANITY, also taking the Class 3 win!

Taking fourth in Class 3 was Dag Fish’s J/105 VIGGEN, followe by Tim Fuller’s J/105 STEADFAST in seventh.  In Class 2, the top J/120 was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY in sixth, followed by Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE in ninth and Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER in tenth.

Perhaps an even bigger story than a “classic sprit” boat winning overall was the amazing performance of the smaller J’s.  Winning Class Four quite handily was Fabian Gomez-Ibrarra’s J/70 VAGAZO, and also taking 9th overall!  They were followed by Steve Wyman’s J/70 NUNUHUNU in fourth place and Dave Vieregg’s J/70 SOGGY DOLLAR in fifth position!

The teams all enjoyed their celebrations on the San Diego YC docks in the post-race festivities.  Next race takes place on November 19th.   For more SDYC Hot Rum Series sailing information

Round County startNotoriously Tough Round County Race
(Seattle, WA)- Seattle Yacht Club’s Round County Race has become a tradition in the fall that attracts hundreds of sailors.  It is also quickly gaining notoriety as the NRTC (Notorious Round the County).  As famous Pacific Northwest photographer, Jan Anderson explains, “it can be drift to swift, mild to wild, slump to bump, wet to slightly less wet, cold to cooler, always shifting, always work, always challenging, ALL WAYS fun, never boring!  The fleet is huge, invariably the scenery is stunning, and predictably, the racing is like a chess game in a murky blender!” You can enjoy some of her spectacular photos her.

This year, there were great clusters of boats banging the beach in the breeze going up Blakely shore, and gybing up Stuart.   The fronts came in waves and bombs.  Going for breeze over current seemed to pay both going north up San Juan and then Stuart on Saturday. And, the high road above the rhumb line in Boundary Pass to Patos certainly paid big-time this year.  Said one sailor, “it was certainly an interesting race this year. It had a little bit of everything. From 0-33 knots of winds, big currents and amazing gybing and tacking duels between the top boats!”

The 29th edition of the event circumnavigated San Juan County in two legs. The combined legs were approximately 66nm, starting and finishing at the rendezvous point- Orcas Island YC, in the West Sound at Orcas Island, then racing to an overnight stop in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island.

One of the sailors, Ian Andrews, shares his experience: “What started as a fairly straight forward forecast for Saturday became much more difficult and challenging as the day progressed.

J/120 sailing Round CountyConfusion, along with a 20-25 knot gusty south easterly and a ripping ebb tide, prevented a lot of boats from making it to the upwind start in time. There were late headsail changes and reefs being taken all while 100+ boats were fighting to get across and start their race.

The beat out of Rosario Strait favored the teams that could handle some weather while other teams struggling in the big breeze had a difficult time connecting to the more casual conditions that lingered in the straits of Juan de Fuca.  Almost inexplicably, after getting fire-hosed and powering through 8-foot current rollers, we turned the corner at Davidson rock and parked it up with most of the fleet in what became dead calm conditions and a building, negative current.

We fought it out as best as we could with the guys around us but after hours of going nowhere we pulled the plug. The realization that some boats in our class had already finished the long course while we were still drifting past the halfway point with the time limit looming near was frustrating to say the least.

But there is more to this race than the race, and with the temperature warm amid the setting sun, the motor around the west coast of San Juan Island is always beautiful. That night we enjoyed barbequing in the marina at Roche Harbor and de-briefing the day amongst our team and some of our fellow competitors.

J/111 sailing Round CountyDay two started out a lot better for us. The sun was breaking through and we felt ready to redeem ourselves from the previous day’s lack of a finish. The start line was tucked up well between Posey Island and Barren Island and there was a very light southerly just creeping into the area. Unfortunately, with the mass of boats pacing just to weather of the start line with their sails up, the idea of a downwind start would not go so easily.

It took a total of three start attempts to get our fleet on the way. Our goal had been to start at the committee boat end of the line and try to get out to a small wind patch that was lingering not that far away. The first two attempts went well for us but a general recall meant we had to drop the kite and get back to the line and try again. On the final and supposedly “All Clear” start, we got totally hosed as more boats decided to go east off the start line.

We got stuck under some bigger boats and failed to accelerate properly, but that bad start made us realize that a sizable puff was moving in behind us. A quick gybe with our A-1 and we locked into that pressure and immediately jumped back into the lead pack. The whole fleet played the shore along Stuart Island, short gybing as close as they dared to the rocks to avoid the negative current only a couple hundred feet off the shore.

J/120 Time Bandit sailing Round CountyWe played it very aggressively as we were the small boat in our group and could take advantage by staying in longer. Getting around Turn Point was a challenge but we were able to squeak around it cleanly while some boats found themselves in swirling eddies and zero knots of wind.

It was then a tight fetch to Patos Island; with our team opting for the high road to the south as we felt the pressure would be better. Luckily, that paid off. We could see boats to the north off Pillar Point on Saturna Island completely stopped and windless. We made it to the halfway point in a very solid position and from then on it became a beat in building pressure all the way around the rest of the tiny islands and over to the Orcas Island finish line.”

In the ORC Class, John McPhail’s J/160 JAM ended up sixth, with Shawn Dougherty & Jason Andrews’ J/125 HAMACHI in 8th place and John Tenneson’s J/145 JEDI in 9th position. 

J/160 JAM sailing Round County raceJ/crews faired better in PHRF Class 0, with Kevin Welch’s J/111 RECON taking fourth place, followed by Andy & Jamie Mack’s J/122 GRACE in 8th, and Brian Duchin & Kelsey Sheldon’s J/133 TANGO in 11th.

In PHRF Class 1, Mark Hansen’s J/109 MOJO took the silver, followed by John Peterson’s J/109 LEGACY in sixth.  Most of the fleet failed to finish the first leg on Saturday within the time limit!

PHRF Class 2 had six J/35s battling for class supremacy, but the only one to make it through relatively unscathed was Karl Haflinger’s SHEARWATER, getting a fourth in the Sunday race to secure 5th overall for the weekend.  Just like their compatriots in PHRF Class 1, two-thirds of the class had to score a DNF on Saturday.

Similarly, the same scenario played out in PHRF Class 3 with a bunch of J/105 mercenaries taking on 20+ other competitors.  In this case, it was Jim Geros & Mike Campbell’s LAST TANGO taking second in class with the trio of Eric Hopper/ Schenk/ Davis on FREE BOWL OF SOUP hanging on for fourth overall!  Again, behind them all other boats took a DNF in Saturday’s race!

In the “battle of the classics” in PHRF Class 4, Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE AND NOW reigned supreme, taking the silver for the weekend.  In fact, no one finished the full course on Saturday, so the “half-course” times were used in the final standings.  It was truly a game of “chutes & ladders” for this group sailing around the islands!  Ian Andrews report courtesy Scuttlebutt NewsSailing Photo credits- Jan Anderson   Round the County Facebook page  For more Seattle YC Round The County sailing information

J/88 sailing on Hamble and SolentHamble Winter Series V Report
(Hamble, Great Britain)- The Hamble Winter Series might have only taken a week's mid-season break, but the weather had become noticeably colder since the last race a fortnight ago. Nonetheless, a veritable army of competitors and volunteers ventured out onto icy decks for the fifth weekend of racing in the series.  Here is Louay Habib's report:

"Out in the Solent a chilly Northwesterly breeze was funneling down Southampton Water and spreading out into the race area and the start line between Hill Head and East Knoll. The breeze was patchy and came complete with oscillating shifts to keep competitors on their toes and the results ever-changing until the finish.

IRC 1 saw Christopher Daniel's J/122 JUNO take the top spot.  As a result, Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL is sitting in fifth overall for the series.

IRC2 has seen some close racing between the top boats. Simon Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE was third – leaving her only two points behind the leader overall.  Sitting in 5th and 6th place are two other J/109s- Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN and Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN, respectively.

J/97 sailing Hamble and SolentRobin Stevenson’s J/92S UPSTART had one of their worst races of the series, scoring a 5th and having to discard that result to remain in the overall lead.  Nevertheless, it is unlikely they will succumb to the depths of despair since they have a handsome lead of 5.5 points over the second place boat going into the final weekend!  Lying in fourth place is David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO and in fifth overall is Annie & Andy Howe’s J/97 GBR 97X- BLACKJACK II!

Gavin Howe's TIGRIS scored their first bullet of the series so far in the nine-boat J/88 class, finishing comfortably ahead of second place- overall leaders Kirsty and David Apthorp's J-DREAM. Third was Paul Ward's EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.  As a result, the Apthorp’s lead may look unassailable, just four points clear of Ward’s team, but anything goes in this highly competitive group!  Howe’s team is only one point back in third!  The series could easily come down to the wire in the series finale!

It's all to play for with three races left to sail in the series. Day Sponsor was long-established winter series supporters One Sails, and Ian Brown handed out prizes to competitors in the HRSC clubhouse, where competitors warmed up with hot food and drink.

Well done to all competitors and to the army of volunteers who braved the icy conditions to deliver some excellent racing!"   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ and Hamo Thornycroft  For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information

J/24 sailing in AustraliaCONVICTS REVENGE Wins Quantum NSW J/24 Champs!
(Cronulla, Sydney, Australia)- “The Shire” (as it is known to the sedentary Australian TV watching population and the people who live there) is an area around 30km south of the Sydney centered on Cronulla that has been known in the past for a bit of “rough and tumble”.  Here is Simon Grain's report of the action:

"It’s a slightly secret place (the Shire) that the rest of the greater Sydney population rarely go to and that’s the way the locals like it. But, things are changing – in a big way. After a few years of Midwinter regattas and a bit of water testing by a few outsiders, the J/24 circus is coming to town in a big way with an expected 30+ boat fleet (the largest in 20 plus years) for the 2017 Nationals in January.

An indication of that was the Quantum Sails 2016 NSW (New South Wales) State Championships, just held over the weekend of the 5-6 November, with plenty of rough and tumble on the water and characters like ‘Hoody’, ‘Bucko’ and ‘Magoo’ neck deep in the proceedings it’s no surprise the regatta was a roaring success.

You can easily miss the yacht club entrance, but you couldn’t miss the 500 plus regular Friday evening revelers on the terrace (apparently it is a great place to meet a new lady friend for the evening) and for the gladiators and crews getting their boats ready for the weekend’s racing in the hot afternoon sun, it did seem like a strange mix of hot sweaty yachties side by side with the tarted up Cronulla youth (and those exploring their on-going mid life crisis’s).

Saturday morning and the balcony belongs to the yachties again but the wind is howling down Gunnamatta Bay straight into the assembled protagonists. A postponement is called and the Wise is thinking about a sit down lunch with cold refreshing wine – Terry is running his two sailing school yachts from his RIB – I decline on the basis of the dropping forecast and the need to be clear headed if we get on the water.

J/24s sailing off Sydney, AustraliaThat’s just what happens and our biggest fleet in years of 22 boats hit the water for the sail out to the start line off the main Cronulla surf beach on the opposite side of the small peninsular that is the southern end of Cronulla. The wind did actually drop for a bit but the three afternoon races were sailed in 15 to 30+ knot SW winds and a huge 3-4m SE swell that grew rapidly in the last race making for some exciting racing with many wipeouts. With huge surf breaking on the main beach on one side of the course and a tsunami like set of waves breaking on the reef on the other side it was, shall we say exciting, for those not normally used to these ocean conditions.

It isn’t strange anymore how the good guys seem to get all the good luck and the names on top of the afternoon’s honor roll proved that experience, cunning and a fair bit of bravery carried the day. Arthur Crothers showing off a new set of Doyle’s and with Shane Guanaria at the helm of Kaotic took the first race by clear couple of minutes from Dave West in Ace and Steve Girdis in Convicts Revenge only 3 sec apart, John Crawford in Innamincka a further 4 sec back in forth, so the usual bunch plus a few that fought it out in most of the following races and formed the top pack of the regatta.

Race two saw a general recall and a black flag, another tough fight with Convicts taking the honours from Innamincka and our own ‘Jet’ (sailed by me and my brave crew) the first of what the ‘cockroaches’ (NSW people) call the ‘Mexicans’ from Melbourne – down south of the border, Kaotic came home forth.

Race three and the wind was getting stronger from the SW and the swell getting bigger from the SE, we are sailing in an arena of wind whipped water surrounded by a ring of huge breaking white surf and quite a few of the gladiators are now beaten and returning home. Those who stayed flogged their way upwind and screamed downwind, some successfully and others not so. Many not using their kites. Steve Girdis showed his skill to take a narrow win from Kaotic, Innamincka and Jet.

After three races we were all happy to be going home over mountainous swells and flattening gusts on the top of them as we enjoyed our ice-cold beers – didn’t everyone?

The regatta’s iconic pic came out of the afternoon sailing with (Magoo) Dave McKay’s ‘Stockcar’ lying on it’s side in the middle of the fleet, keel 3 feet clear of the water. This little episode, of course, goes onto his well known list of achievements, like winning the World Moth championships back before most of the fleet were born – (something he is still trading on). Seriously, though he is a good sailor, a past champ and Australian Sailor of the Year – but what were you thinking Magoo – masts should point up!

J/24 sailing off Cronulla, AustraliaIn Cronulla Sailing Club you know the beers are cold and the BBQ hot, it’s the club tradition and it’s a perfect place to be on the terrace after sailing watching the sun go down over Gunnamatta Bay. You’re all yachties – you know what I mean!

Sunday and the forecast is for light – medium SE to E breeze making for glam sailing out into the Tasman Sea off the main surf beach. Three races again in sunshine, swell and perfect racing. If you missed this you need to get thinking about your entry in the nationals, this is stunning stuff.

Convicts is on fire and takes out race four from Innamincka, Kaotic and Stephen Wright in ‘Renaissance’, the first of the local boats to get into the top 4 placings. ‘Renaissance’ is the old ‘Excite Your Senses’ from Sandringham and proves like Ron Thomson in ‘Kicking’ that an older Jarkan sailed well can be very competitive.

Race two and the left out to sea pays big time, ‘Jet’ banged the corner and lead around the course to finish first from Convicts, Sean Kirkjian in ‘Sailpac’ (not having a good regatta) and Kaotic. Local skipper Barry Ryan in ‘Pinot’ who is one of the top local boats pushed the top pack all the way round.

Race three and surprise, surprise Sean Kirkjian in Sailpac (School crew) is at the front from Steve (Wiley Young Dog) Girdis in ‘Convicts’, Kaotic and Magoo in ‘Stockcar’ – finally showing some form!

The fleet had some interesting stats, there was the Thomo Cup (unofficial of course, between brother Ron (Kicking – 7th) and sister Jeanette (Wildfire – 12th). Father Dave McKay (Stockcar – 8th) from daughter Julie (MacKay Marine – 11th). Alejo Morales came the furthest from South America sailing Bandit for the Pacific Sailing School, Marc van Dinther sailing with his Ausea sailing school crew.

J/24s sailing off AustraliaThe assembled and tired, but now lubricating mass of humanity we call J sailors, is finally addressed by the Rear Commodore of the club, otherwise known as ‘Bucko’, and standing on a chair with a voice to slay the noisy Macquart at 30 paces and an irreverence that makes even the most informal in the crowd blanch, starts dishing out the silverware with appropriate stories.

While I still don’t understand the results, Jet is awarded 3rd on handicap, Magoo 2nd and Ron Thomson 1st.

Steve Girdis in Convicts Revenge on 7 points is the 2016 NSW State Champ, Shane Guanaria in Kaotic 2nd and NSW Class President John Crawford in Innamincka 3rd. The first visitor was us in Jet in 4th place – well you have to have a Mexican in the mix don’t you?

‘Hoody’ is Clinton Hood sailing Vertigo, one of the Shire’s gentlemen, and organized much of the sponsors products. Local sailor Barry Ryan became a happy chappie after winning the draw for a reverse cycle aircon unit – well done Hoody and your wonderful sponsors. Thanks to all of our sponsors, Quantum, Sailor Sunscreen, Wet-tech, Aussea Sailing School, Afloat Magazine, Spot-A-Yacht Photography, Cronulla Marina and Pure Aerials.

Fiona Campbell, one of the driving dynamos in the Cronulla class and club and sailing with Hoody on Vertigo, won the well-deserved NSW Woman on Water trophy. On behalf of the National Association, we wish to thank Cronulla SC and all the volunteers and sponsors that made the regatta a huge success.

A special mention must be made of Mick Reynolds who as a long time driving force of the class at Cronulla has seen it grow from a handful of club handicap boats to a twenty boat class fleet that is now the center of NSW J24 racing. Congrats to you Mick and to all the people you have inspired (and probably annoyed) along the way to build this fleet with you."  For more Australian J/24 sailing information

J/24s sailing off ItalyJ/24 Italy Report
(Rome, Italy)- Last weekend, the weather across the Italian peninsula was highly variable, with some J/24 fleets enjoying great racing, while others (like in Rome) could not sail due to severe weather.  Nevertheless, the winter championship series in several fleets had enthusiastic participation, despite the cool weather.

Cervia (Fleet Romagna)
After two races over the weekend, Francesca Focardi Antonelli’s KISMET is leading the second stage of the Winter Championship- IX Memorial Stefano Pirini- a traditional event that is sailed off the beach in Milano Marittima and hosted by the Nautical Club Amici della Vela (  A dozen teams are participating but no one can seem to match KISMET’s speed and tactics, now leading with a 2-1-1 for 4 pts total.  They are followed by Marco Maccaferri’s KERMESSE in second place with 6 pts and Viscardo Brusori (owner) and Massimo Frigerio’s (skipper) MAGICAL FAIRY in third place with 10 pts.  Antonelli explained, “we were happy to sail two races in about 20 kts of breeze, it was exciting, close racing!”

J/24s sailing off ItalyTaranto
The Sailing Club Ondabuena hosted the second and final day of the Championship VIII for the Taranto J/24 fleet.

"Sunday was characterized by an oscillating wind between 140 and 170 degrees.  The day started at 18 kts of breeze, but gradually decreased all day down to 6 kts for the final races,” explained Bari Marcello Bellacicca, owner MARBEA.  “For the first beat of the first race, there was a lot of indecision as to which headsail to choose.  Most opted for the jib.  But, by the fir run, everyone chose to change over to the genoa for the second upwind leg.  In the first race, Thomas De Bellis Vitti’s FIVE FOR FIGHTING simply sailed away from the fleet.  Sandro Negro’s DOCTOR J was second place and we were third on MARBEA.”

At the start of the second race, there was a disastrous collision between DOCTOR J and Ferdinand Capobianco’s LITTLE DEVIL.  As a result, both boats had to withdraw from racing because of the damages!  The second and third races were characterized by a lot of wind shifts, with FIVE FOR FIGHTING winning both of them.

"It was a beautiful day that allowed us to always start well and take home three wins out of three,” commented a happy Tommaso De Bellis Vitti.  With five victories in six races for the series, FIVE FOR FIGHTING won the regatta quite easily.  Their crew was comprised of Vitti, Andrea Airò, Raffo Perrini, Gabriele Gorgons and Marco Raeli.  Taking the silver was MARBEA, with crew of Marcello Bellacicca, Toni Macina, Franz Impellizzeri, Marco Di Palo and Gianni Del Vecchio.  Despite the collision, taking third was Sandro Negro’s DOCTOR J!  For more Italian J/24 sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/105 sailing NA's* The two leading J/105’s in the 2016 J/105 North American Championship- MANDATE & GOOD TRADE- did a “debrief” with North Sails Regatta Services leader- Chuck Allen.   Terry McLaughlin (Mandate) and Bruce Stone (Good Trade) share their insights on teamwork, boat set-up, and a few must do's to implement during an event.  Read more about it here.

*  The 25,000nm “sprint” around the world, The Vendee Globe, started on Sunday, November 6th from Les Sables d’Olonne, France.  The Vendée Globe is the hardest and most famous sailing race in the world. Nicknamed the “Everest of the Seas”, it involves sailing around the world alone, without stopping and without assistance, setting sail from and finishing in Les Sables d’Olonne, after rounding the three legendary capes: The Cape of Good Hope in South Africa, Cape Leeuwin in Southern Australia and the infamous Cape Horn at the tip of South America. They therefore have to sail twice in the North and South Atlantic – on the way down and on the way back – and sail clockwise around Antarctica by crossing the Indian Ocean and the huge Pacific.

Twenty-nine skippers are sailing the race.  It looks like a one-design race for the top foiling boats.  And, not too surprisingly, at least three J sailors are amongst the leaders- Alex Thomson’s HUGO BOSS, Jean-Pierre Dick’s ST MICHEL-VIRBAC and Morgan Lagravière’s SAFRAN.  All three are sailing the newest “foiling” IMOCA 60s!

Alex Thomson- Hugo BossHUGO BOSS
Alex grew up sailing in the United Kingdom on the South Coast and for years could be seen racing on a variety of J’s, fine-tuning his one-design and offshore skills on J/24s, J/80s, and J/109s. Alex is not just someone who dives off the top of a mast in his best suit (although it takes skill to dive 29 metres while moving) for the PR requirements of his sponsor- Hugo Boss. That picture was seen around the world on Internet, but Alex has greater sporting ambitions: he wants to become the first British winner of the Vendée Globe.

He does indeed have what it takes with a foiling boat built by Green Marine in England. In the last race (3rd in 2012/2013), Alex Thomson showed everyone that he could make it to the podium with a second-hand boat. He is often shown as an example of what can be done with an older boat by his peers.

IMOCA 60 Hugo Boss Vendee GlobeBut this was not the only moment of glory along the way for Alex, who can boast an exciting past. This fan of speed grew up on the South coast of England and back in 1999 became the youngest sailor to win the crewed race around the world, the Clipper Round The World Race, which he achieved at the age of 25. Forced out of the Vendée Globe twice in 2004 and 2008, this is now but a distant memory. Alex is a phenomenon, able to push back his personal limits and those of his boat. Just like when he smashed the solo Atlantic crossing record or sailing double-handed came in second in the Barcelona World Race. The British sailor is certainly determined and very experienced. Like Vincent Riou and Bertrand de Broc, this will be his fourth attempt when he lines up at the start of the Everest of the Seas. He really wants this one to be the big one. He is certainly up there with the favorites. One day, a non-French sailor will indeed win the Vendée Globe. Alex Thomson may be the man to do it.

Jean-Pierre Dick- sailing Vendee GlobeST MICHEL-VIRBAC
Jean-Pierre was famous for racing hard, fast and aggressively in J/24s for nearly 20 years, racing across France and the U.K., nearly winning a J/24 Europeans one year.  JP also has had experience racing in the highly competitive J/80 class in France.  According to JP, “If you try hard enough, one day it will pay off!”

The tall fair-haired sailor has everything going for him: loyal partners, plenty of talent, always charming and friendly, a lot of experience… This will be his fourth attempt at the Everest of the seas. On two occasions out of his four attempts, he was so close to the podium. Jean-Pierre Dick has shown he is the master of double-handed sailing. He has won both of the big double-handed races: the Transat Jacques Vabre on three occasions in 2003, 2005 and 2011 and the Barcelona World Race twice, in 2008 and 2011.

Sailor of the year in 2011, the sailor originally from Nice has a rather different background from the others. A postgraduate from the elite HEC school, he is a qualified vet and at the start of his career, Jean-Pierre seemed more interested in racing around the buoys, even winning the Tour de France in 2001!   But, he went on to become a real ocean racer, capable of sailing solo around the world.

Safran- Morgan LafabrieveSAFRAN
Young Morgan had been sailing all season in the French J/80 championship against many of the best one-design sailors in France.  That focus and experience has been paying off so far in the race.

Could Morgan repeat the success of a certain François Gabart?  He could win the Vendée Globe on his first attempt while not yet 30. Like Gabart, Lagravière will be setting out around the world on a new generation boat designed to win. Like Gabart, the skipper of Safran cut his teeth in dinghy and then Olympic series sailing, before a brief and yet successful time in the Figaro circuit, where he made it to the podium twice in three seasons in the very demanding Solitaire race.

Just as at ease around the buoys as offshore, Lagravière was confident about handing in his application in the selection process in 2013 to replace Marc Guillemot, a post that was sought after by some of the major names in ocean racing.  But, it was Morgan who got the job and took up the helm of the new SAFRAN. A dream come true for this lover of extreme sports, who spends most of his time out on the water. It is not uncommon to see him kitesurfing or racing a J/80, foiler Moth, paddle boarding or windsurfing in Quiberon Bay. As he goes from one type of machine to another, it is above all because he enjoys it, but it is also a good way to build up your skills to be used on other boats, including of course, the 60-foot IMOCA.

It all happened very quickly for this sailor, originally from Reunion Island, who had no hesitation at the age of 17 of leaving the island to take up an education in sport and sailing and then to become a professional. Unlike François Gabart and Armel Le Cléac’h, the two who led the way in the last Vendée Globe, Morgan Lagravière has not trained as an engineer. He admits he is less of a scientist and does things more by feeling and intuition when sailing. Morgan is a very methodical worker. Practically a rookie in the IMOCA circuit, he is very friendly and open ashore, Lagravière becomes a killer out on the sea. He will set out with the intention of being up there with the frontrunners.

Follow these sailors here on their epic battle racing around the planet.

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.