Wednesday, March 1, 2017

J/Newsletter- March 1st, 2017

J/70 WorldsAUDI Sponsors J/70 Worlds!
(Porto Cervo, Sardinia)- The YC Costa Smeralda, in concert with the Italian J/70 Class, have announced the J/70 World Championship has a major new sponsor for the event!

Riccardo Bonadeo, Commodore of YC Costa Smeralda, has announced that German auto company AUDI, partner of many international sailing events, will be the main sponsor of the J/70 World Championship 2017.

The Audi J/70 World Championship is going to take place in the waters off Porto Cervo from September 12th to September 16th off the fabulous YCCS facility on the northeastern side of Sardinia.  Over 80 teams are expected from across the world, with virtually all European countries represented plus, Asian, North American and South American teams joining what promises to be an epic sailing experience for J/70 sailors.  For more J/70 World Championship sailing information

Heineken race committeeSt Maarten Heineken Regatta Preview
(Phillipsburg, St Maarten)- The first of the signature Caribbean winter regattas will be taking place from March 2nd to 5th off the port of Phillipsburg, St Maarten in the Dutch Antilles.  Over 100 yachts will be competing in the CSA rating classes; J/Teams are experiencing a significant uptick in participation in four CSA classes.  It is not altogether surprising that attendance is up across the board as the regatta organizers have done an amazing job to ensure that on-water sailing is a challenge for all and, just as importantly, the onshore social festivities are simply off-the-charts!  Many of the Caribbean’s top musicians are featured in evening concerts sponsored by HEINEKEN.

J122 sailing CaribbeanYou have to look no further than the line-up of top J/Teams in CSA 2 Racing class to find the crème-de-la-crème in the Caribbean circuit.  With two J/122s, J/120s and a top J/111, the racing will be fast & furious amongst these alpha dogs on the random course circuits offshore.  Coming back to hopefully defend a class win in previous years is the J/122 EL OCASO, this time skippered by Bob Hillier and friends from the USA.  Their stablemate, the J/122 LIQUID will feature her owner/skipper Pamala Baldwin from Antigua YC.  Amongst the J/120s, local Ben Jelic will be guiding JAGUAR around the track in hopes of maintaining pace with the J/122s.  Performance Yacht Racing UK has chartered the J/120 SUNSET with a mixed team from the United Kingdom.  Finally, the potential giant-killer in the class is one of the smaller boats, Sam Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE- a team with J/111 Worlds experience and a team that has learned how to sail their boat much faster.

While the competition amongst the J/crews in CSA 2 Racing class will be ferocious, it looks like Robbie Ferron’s beautifully restored J/39 MICRON will have CSA 4 Racing class all to themselves to fight for J/Boat honors!

Like their colleagues in CSA 2 Racing, the CSA 5 Racing Class looks to be loaded with talent.  Six J/crews will be charging the starting line and mark roundings hard to maintain a fine edge over their friendly foes.  At the top of the class are two J/109s from the island of St Barths, including David Cullen’s POCKET ROCKET and Sophie Olivaud’s ALBACOR IV.  Chasing them hard will be three J/105s, all sailed by top-notch crews from the Americas and the Caribbean.  It’s a formidable cast in the 105s alone; all of them have won something in either J/105 one-design class racing or offshore!  That ensemble includes VUJA DE (Remoc Van Dortmondt from Curacao), WHISTLER (Peter Lewis from Georgetown, Barbados), and SOLSTICE (Jordan Mindich from Long Island Sound, New York).  The real sleeper in this class will be Rob Butler’s J/88 TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Ontario, Canada (they are a top 3 team on the J/88 national one-design racing circuit).

Finally, in CSA 6 Racing Class, one of the Caribbean’s most famous 30-footers has to be the Antiguan crew on the J/30 BLUE PETER/ CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE- she will be skippered Shari & Tanner.  Over time, this J/30 has won or placed in her class over a dozen times in events like Antigua Sailing Week and Heineken St Maarten!  For more Heineken St Maarten Regatta information

J70s sailing off MonacoMonaco J/70 Winter Series V Preview
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- This coming weekend, the YC Monaco will be hosting the fifth and final regatta of their famous winter series hosted on the cobalt blue Mediterranean waters off Monaco.  From March 2nd to 4th, forty-four J/70 teams from across Europe will be competing for both the regatta as well as the series win.  Leading contenders for the overall series include Russia’s leading woman skipper- Valerya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE from Moscow, Russia.

Teams will be represented from twelve nations, including Austria, Brazil, France, Germany (10), Italy (6), Monaco (12), Norway, Poland, Russia, Switzerland (9), Sweden, and the United Kingdom.  Returning for their fifth event is Brazil’s Mario Soerensen Garcia from the YC Rio de Janeiro.   They have enjoyed the remarkable hospitality of YC Monaco and they are also hoping to repeat their tremendous performance in the fourth act, winning that event by a considerable margin!  Challenging them will be leading contenders from each country, include Klaus Diem’s crew on PFANDER from Bregenzer Segel-Club in Austria; Adrien Follin’s GIVE ME FIVE team from CN de Ste Maxime in France; Tobias Feuerherdt’s ROTOMAN and Max Augustin’s TRE MARKRELLER teams from Germany; Scarpa Germano’s SPORT CUBE from Italy; Eivind Astrup’s NORWEGIAN STEAM from Norway; Pawel Tarnowski’s APOTEX crew from Poland; Valerya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE crew from Moscow, Russia; Jean Luc Leveque’s WATCH from Switzerland; Anders Kemmler’s DYNAMANT RACING from KSSS in Sweden; and Sam Carter’s BRUTUS from Royal Southern YC in the United Kingdom.

Hoping to represent their host club well are talented Monegasque crews from YC Monaco, including Michel Boussard’s SIROCCO, Herve Maiano’s SOPWITH CAMEL, Phillipe Battaglia’s LE REDOUBTABLE, Stefano Roberti’s PICCININA, Anne Rodelato’s JOKER and Pierrik Devic’s PAGET.   For more YC Monaco J/70 Winter series sailing information.

J27 sailing off New Orleans, LAMardis Gras Week Preview
J/27 Midwinters Team Overview
(New Orleans, LA)- From March 2nd to 5th, the “northernmost Caribbean yacht club in the world”- New Orleans Yacht Club- will host the Mardis Gras Race Week, presented by Gulf Coast Bank & Trust Company.  A range of one-design classes and PHRF handicap classes are participating over the weekend on the insanely shifty and choppy Lake Ponchartrain.  The event also counts as the J/27 Midwinter Championship.

A half-dozen boats are participating in the J/27 Midwinters, with teams representing both the USA and Canada.  The top crews from Southern YC include Clark Thompson and Stephan Burnick’s OBLIDIOBLIDA, Merlin Wilson’s ALEGRE and Aaron & Wilson LaGraize’s POCKET ROCKET.  The Canadian contingent fleeing south from Arctic weather conditions north of the border is led by Maddy Beese’s CAN 99 from the Oakville Yacht Squadron on Lake Ontario.

In the other one-design classes, it looks to be Chip Carpenter’s WIZARD from Southern YC is topping the J/22 division and Mark Yancey’s RC AND THE MOON PIES will be battling Troy Cruthirds’ JUS MAGIC for J/24 class honors.

In the PHRF handicap world for offshore keelboats, Benrud Burton’s J/111 ZYDECO will have their hands full taking on well-sailed crews on a Swan 42, B32 and Salona 380.  For more Mardis Gras Regatta sailing information

J70s sailing off Miami, FL 
Bacardi Miami Sailing Week Preview
(Coconut Grove, FL)- From March 8th to 11th, J/70 teams from across the world will again be looking forward to participating in the famous Bacardi Miami Sailing Week, sailed on the pristine aquamarine waters of Biscayne Bay.  Hosting the J/70 fleet will be a combination of Coral Reef YC and Biscayne Bay YC for both on-shore social festivities as well as providing support for volunteers managing the RC and mark boats and regatta PRO.

The weather looks promising for the thirty-six J/70 teams entered from nine nations from Europe and the America’s- USA, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Chile, Italy, United Kingdom, Poland, and Norway.

The South American teams are well-represented by leading crews, including Argentina’s Pablo Despontin; Brazil’s Phil Haegler on CLOUD NINE and Harold Solberg helming VIKING; Chile’s Felipe Robles on LEXUS; and Uruguay’s Ricardo Umpierre sailing XTREME 4U from YC Punta del Este.

Several European teams will have just finished sailing the final event in YC Monaco’s Winter Series and will be winging across the Atlantic at the beginning of the week to join in for more fun-in-the-sun in Miami.  The leading European teams include Poland’s Krzysztof Krempec skippering EWA; Great Britain’s Martin Dent on JELVIS 7 and Jeremy Thorp on PHAN; Italy’s Vincenzo Onorato helming MASCALZONE LATINO and Marco Salvi on VERTIGO TOO; and Norway’s Eivind Astrup sailing yet another NORWEGIAN STEAM!

The American teams include a number of major regatta and Corinthian leaders, such as Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING from Dallas, TX; Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from Greenwich, CT; Chris Snow and Mary Bridgen’s COOL STORY BRO from San Francisco, CA; Al Terhune’s DAZZLER from Annapolis, MD; Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS from Alamitos Bay, CA; Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE from St Petersburg, FL; Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND from Annapolis, MD; Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY from Rye, NY; John Brim’s RIMETTE from Fishers Island, NY; Pam Rose’s ROSEBUD from Miami, FL; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly, MA; Will Welles’ SCAMP from Newport, RI; and John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES from Riverside, CT.  That range of talent is a star-studded cast of sailors that have all posted top five performances in many races in major J/70 events.  The only question is, which teams will put it all together, avoid the regatta-crushing BFD penalty, and post high average scores to win-place-or-draw!?  For more J/70 Bacardi Miami Sailing Week information

J/111 flying off North SeasJ/BENELUX Europe Sailing Calendar
(The Hague, The Netherlands)- The European sailing calendar for J/Crews in the Benelux region is taking shape for the 2017 summer sailing season.  Teams are enthusiastic about jumping into several major events for some of Europe’s leading offshore keelboat classes; such as J/70s, J/111s, J/22s and J/80s.  Here are the latest events to include on your regatta calendar!  Get busy and sign-up now for lots of fun, both on the lakes and on the sunny, wavy, windy North Sea!

For more information on any of these events or the four one-design classes, please contact our Benelux J/Dealer- Paul Gladdines at Nibor Marine BV- Tel: +31 78 6305505/ Mobile: +31 629239149/

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The past weekend of sailing was characterized by the first vestiges of spring just sniffing around the corner for sailors in the northern hemisphere.  Chalk it up to crazy weather patterns or general global warming, but sailors in the Caribbean as well in Florida and off the California coast were experiencing some seriously unexplainable weather phenomenon.

For starters, the offshore big boat world had two significant events taking place on either side of the Americas.  Off to the east, the RORC was hosting its increasingly popular Caribbean 600 Race, a very cool sprint that starts and stops in English Harbour, Antigua and takes a roughly reaching tour around astonishingly beautiful islands.  Several J/teams took part, but a certain J/122 once again demonstrated its overall capabilities in a wide-range of conditions.  The most bizarre part of this race was northerly winds for a period of time!

On the opposite coastline, the Islands Race in the Pacific Ocean saw the crème-de-la-crème of California’s offshore teams take on a 130nm dash out around their famous islands, going from Newport Beach down to San Diego.  Conditions were challenging but J/crews were up to the task and prevailed in the varying weather to gather quite a bit of silverware.

In the world of one-design sailing, the J/70 Midwinters took place in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the award-winning St Petersburg YC.  A highly competitive fleet took part and managed to sail a six race series in a typical Tampa Bay weather pattern- light, heavy, variable- over a three-day event.  One of the highlight of the series was the advent of seven woman skippers, the highest ever in a sportboat fleet worldwide.  And, notably three of them finished in the top 15 in the championship caliber fleet!

Finally, in Europe the J/24 fleet continues going strong, especially in parts of Ireland, the UK, Germany and Italy.  Recently, the Italy J/24 Winter Series saw significant developments amongst contenders for the J/24 Europeans that will be held later this summer on Lake Balaton in Hungary and for the 2018 J/24 Worlds in Italy.

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:

Mar 2-5- St Maarten Heineken Regatta- Phillipsburg, St Maarten
Mar 3-4- Monaco J/70 Winter Series- Act V- Monte Carlo, Monaco
Mar 2-5- J/27 Midwinters- New Orleans, LA
Mar 9-11- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 17-19- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 24-26- St Thomas International Regatta- St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Mar 27-Apr 2- BVI Spring Regatta- Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Apr 10-15- Les Voiles de Saint Barth- Gustavia, St Barthelemey
April 20-23- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 30- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua
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.

J70 sailingHealy Crowned J/70 Midwinter Champion
Andrew & Melissa Fisher- Corinthian Champions!
(St Petersburg, FL)- The fourth J/70 Midwinter Championship was held in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the fabulous race management crew at St Petersburg YC that included PRO Todd Fedyszyn and experienced sailors and famous mark boat drivers like “Tommie”.  The SPYC team had their hands full having to deal with the twin evils of an aggressively starting J/70 fleet coupled with adverse currents and a highly variable weather pattern.  Despite the challenges, the SPYC crew worked hard to get off a six races series in what can only be described as classic Tampa Bay winter sailing weather- random and variable! In other words, the weatherman could have used a Mandelbrot set or Rorschach inkblot test and done a better job!

Despite the considerable odds stacked against them, the fifty-two J/70 teams (44% Corinthian) soldiered forth with great expectations onto Tampa Bay for the first day of racing on Friday.  Sadly, despite many erstwhile attempts to get races off, characterized by none other than several general recalls, the racing had to be cancelled for the day due to lack of wind by midday.  Consider the fact that first gun was at 1000 hrs and you get the picture.  With the forecasted northerly dying by midday, and a very weak gradient flow across the region, there was a “less than zero” chance of racing that afternoon.

J/70s sailing Tampa BayGiven that Friday was a non-starter, the crew at SPYC knew they had to double-down to get the ball rolling.  Saturday’s racing presented its challenges.  The first race was an OK race, given that 30-45 degree shifts from 0 to 7 kts with massive streaks moving onto the sides of the course was considered fair.  The second race was described by quite a few crews as a “non-race”- how else do you describe having the first two boats finish in the dying Norwester when the other 99% of the fleet dropped chutes and finished the last half of their race beating into the initial zephyrs of a southeast breeze to get to the downwind finish line?  Nevertheless, that’s sailing.  It is what it was.  Recognizing the “two race fiasco” that marked the beginning of Saturday, the SPYC crew played the ultimate royal flush hand, waiting for quite some time to let the SW sea breeze to develop and get in one last race before sunset.  That third race was a five-lap affair sailing in 6-12 kts with the entire fleet bathed in the hues of a glowing orange and red sunset at the finish line.  A beyond belief beautiful finish to end the day.

Taking advantage of the “Long Island Sound” conditions in the first two races Saturday was John Brim’s crew on RIMETTE.  They reveled in the light and fluky conditions, posting a 1-1, then scoring a 9th to lead the fleet by a considerable margin at the end of the day with just 11 points.  They enjoyed a healthy advantage over Will Welles’ SCAMP in second with a 2-14-7 for 23 pts and Tim Healy’s NEW ENGLAND ROPES in third with a 16-4-4 for 24 pts. At the end of the day, leading the 20-boat Corinthians Midwinter Championship was James Prendergast’s USA167.

J/70 sailing around mark on Tampa BayBrim notched his first of two bullets as racing began in about 6 knots of breeze. Welles and Joshua Goldman’s BUILDING A followed Brim in race one, and Prendergast and Bryan Cameron’s B-SQUARED in race two (when winds were about 5 knots but shifty). The most consistent conditions occurred during Saturday’s final contest when Ignazio Perez’s ZAQUERO took the top spot, ahead of the reigning Midwinter team of Darden/Hillard of HOSS and John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES.

Given the weather forecast actually showed a real breeze and a real front moving across the Florida peninsula on Sunday morning at around 0400 hrs, the decision was made to start racing one hour earlier than the already early 1000 hrs start time.  Not one team complained.  The “dry front” rolled across on schedule at 0400 hrs, shockingly enough, and as crews headed out to the race course in a chilly 55 F morning, they were greeted by a spectacular sailing breeze in the 12-17 kts range.

Tim Healy’s NEW ENGLAND ROPES posted a 2-1 in the final two races to secure the Quantum J/70 Midwinter Championship. Able to drop a 16th from race one, the team of Healy, Nathan Housberg (bow), Alden Reid (trim) and Marcus Eagan (tactics) kept scores of 4-4-7-2-1 for 18 net points and the victory.  Will Welles’ SCAMP finished a mere point behind Healy in second place, and John Brim’s RIMETTE took third with 28 points.

J/70 sailing under spinnaker“This is the first time we’ve sailed together, so we were learning the whole time just how to work together and how to get our trim and tune right,” summarized Healy. “Slowly, we started to get everything down. We had some light breeze, but today was a little breezier with some chop. We were getting used to the settings so we could power through the chop.”

Three more races took place Sunday in breeze between 8 to 17 kts under clear, chilly skies. The day’s race winners were the Darden/Hillard team on HOSS, Ignacio Perez’s ZAQUERO (from Mexico) and Healy.

“Today was beautiful,” Healy said reminiscing on their final day’s performance. “We got up early, got out early and took advantage of the breeze. The Race Committee did a great job.”  Of interest for your Tampa Bay WetNotes, they went left virtually every time on the first windward leg in every race and started left, too!  It’s a Tampa Bay secret in dying northerlies- - - maybe, maybe not.

Of the seven women skippers competing, the largest yet in any major J/70 regatta, three finished in the top 15 overall.  Nearly winning the last race was Darby Smith’s AFRICA, posting a 2nd to take 6th overall with a 19-6-6-6-53-2 record for 39 pts net (inc toss race).  Second woman skipper was class newcomer Pam Rose, she sailed ROSEBUD to 8th place with top USA Match Racer Taylor Canfield calling tactics; she had a 11-7-8-17-11-9 scoreline for 46 pts net.  Third woman skipper was 14 yr old Madelyn Ploch on USA 88, sailing with her father Mark Ploch, taking 14th overall with a 21-18-10-22-8-3 tally for 60 pts net.  Notably, without throw-outs in the event, all three women would have finished in the top 11 overall- Pam’s ROSEBUD tied for 5th, Madelyn’s USA 88 in 10th and Darby’s AFRICA in 11th!

The regatta was held with J/70 Class Rule C.3 modified so that the entire crew was limited to no more than one member who is classified as ISAF Group 3. The 52-boat fleet was comprised of 20 all-Corinthian teams (44% of the fleet), won by Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from Long Island Sound, followed by Charles Bayer’s LIL’GRIZZLY in 2nd, Bryan Cameron’s B-SQUARED in 3rd, David Mendelblatt’s USA 39 in 4th and the SPYC JUNIOR SAILING TEAM’s Blaire McCarthy in 5th place (they were also the top youth team).  For more J/70 Midwinters sailing information.

J/111 sailing Islands RaceJ/Crews Sweep Islands Race
J/111 Wins PH3, J/125s Dominate PH2!
(Newport Beach, CA)- The 2017 Islands Race was hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club on February 24 & 25. Sailors from all over the Pacific Coast eagerly anticipated the event.  The 130nm dash began February 24, with competitors starting off Long Beach Harbor, head west around Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands and into the finish off San Diego’s Point Loma.  The race has become one of the West Coast’s signature offshore races, but this year’s event featured considerable visibility and scenery for those on board, yet disappointingly light winds for the last third of the race.

Skies were clear enough at the start on Friday that competitors and Race Committee could see all the way to Catalina with startling clarity due to the stormy fronts that have been blowing through Southern California over the past few weeks. Most boats started in about 8 knots of wind out of the northwest and winds increased as boats moved around the course to San Clemente Island. The breeze peaked at about 14 knots at San Clemente and got progressively lighter and came from odd directions (east) as boats approached the finish. Only 14 of the 24 boats entered in this year’s race finished since many boats turned their engines on and confirmed their “did not finish” status.

Despite the light winds, there was still a fair amount of competition out on the water. Said one sailor, “It was a spectacularly brilliant evening to be on the water. Every star was out! The fact that there was no moon was actually a blessing because the skies were so clear. We thought the deck was going to get wet, but when the wind started to come off the shore, we realized that was why it was so dry. So not only did we have dry decks, but we had clear skies and we don’t normally get that. It was a very pleasant evening to be out on the water.”

J/125 sailing Islands RaceThe J/125 TIMESHAVER used the Islands Race as a practice event for the Newport to Cabo Race in March. Crew member Keith Magnussen explained that one of the highlights during this year’s race was the rivalry between the three J/125s.

“A lot of the boats converged around San Clemente Island so there was quite a bit of competition which was really fun. After we got around San Clemente Island, we saw about 10-12 knots of breeze which pushed us into the morning when the wind died down. We were in no air for about 4 hours, then the breeze came back and we had all of our class with us. We battled with our sister ship Derivative and also had the other J/125 Resolute behind us.”

In the end, the J/125s crushed their PH2 Division, taking three of the top four spots.  Winning class was Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE from Coronado YC, with a corrected time of 1:1:29:41.  Just 4 minutes corrected time behind them was stablemate Viggo Torbensen from Dana Point YC, guiding TIMESHAVER across the line first, but taking the silver based on handicap.  The third J/125 was Tim Fuller & Trevor Baylis sailing RESOLUTE to 4th on corrected, 37 min 28 sec behind.

Crushing it overall as well as in PH3 Division was Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA from Los Angeles YC.  In class, they won by 21 minutes corrected over a Summit 40 and Class 40.  Overall, PICOSA took 4th place, being beaten by three 70 ft sleds!  Sailing photo credits- San Diego YC/ Bronny Daniels-  For more Islands Race sailing information

J/122 sailing RORC Caribbean 600 raceJ/122 Crushes RORC Caribbean 600
(English Harbour, Antigua)- It was an awe-inspiring start for the ninth edition of the RORC Caribbean 600.  The fleet started in magnificent conditions with the largest ever-offshore fleet assembled in the Caribbean enjoying sparkling conditions. A southeasterly breeze, occasionally gusting up to 15 knots and a relatively calm sea state provided conditions for the perfect start with some close battles on the water.

Ed Fishwick's J/122 REDSHIFT ON EL OCASO nailed the pin end, continued to lead at Green Island and, ultimately, took the gun at the Antigua finish line for 1st in IRC 2 Class and 1st in CSA 2 Class! In CSA Overall, REDSHIFT took 5th and in IRC Overall they placed 6th- a fantastic performance considering it was an “all big boat” race!

Fishwick's crew consisted of Nick Cherry, Robert Hillier, James Holmes, Ed Males, Luke Patience, Alan Roberts, Nick Bubb and Tom Whicher.

"We have competed in this race with classic trade wind conditions, but this year we had a massive variety in weather on the course from big breeze in squalls, to fickle light winds. The guys did a fantastic job and we all agreed that this was the best 600 we have ever done. The whole crew was sensational," commented skipper, Ed Fishwick.

"I couldn't have picked a better offshore race than the RORC Caribbean 600. It was a really cool experience, a great bunch of guys and my first offshore race," exclaimed Olympic 470 Silver Medallist, Luke Patience, a REDSHIFT crew member.

Islands Race humpback whales"Day one we saw a water spout, hump back whales; it was all kicking off, just epic! It was wonderful steering a boat at night, sailing by feeling the flow underneath you. The watches just flew by, I really enjoyed the race and it was very inspiring. The difference between offshore and Olympic sailing is that this is relentless; you are at it day and night. Where the two are wildly different is that with offshore sailing you are not in control all the time, you have to give a good handover to the next watch. However both disciplines require that you never take your foot of the gas."

The RORC Caribbean 600 came to its traditional conclusion with a memorable prize-giving party at Antigua Yacht Club. Class winners were presented with a fine array of silverware, decanters, medallions and an engraved English Harbour Rum decanter for every boat! The RORC were delighted to have Shirleen Nibbs (Consultant to the Ministry of Tourism) and Colin James (CEO of Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority) at the proceedings to present the trophies to the winning crews.

Michael Boyd, Commodore of the RORC, thanked the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, Antigua & Barbuda Tourism Authority, Antigua Yacht Club, all sponsors, the 80+ volunteers and supporters of the race, as well as the 800 competitors from over 30 different countries for taking part in the 9th edition of this class offshore race.

The party continued late into the night with dancing to the sound of Asher Otto and Itchy Feet, by which time the majority of the fleet had finished the race and were able to join in the celebrations.

The RORC Caribbean 600 has quickly become an important event in ocean racing circles in the course of its short history and a 'must do' race on the calendar of those who take their ocean racing seriously. The RORC Caribbean 600 circumnavigates 11 of the Leeward Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe. The race has grown steadily in its nine-year history and the 2017 edition has a new record entry of over 70 boats.  For more RORC Caribbean 600 Race sailing information

J/24s sailing off ItalyItalian J/24 Winter Series Report
(Rome, Italy)- The Italian J/24 class continues their winter series across the peninsula from north of Rome down to the heel of the boot east of Sicily.  Many teams are continuing to train harder and harder as the 2017 European J/24 Championship will be held just about in their backyard- on Lake Balaton in Hungary a short drive north of a few hours.

The FIVE FOR FIGHTING Team continues to lead their winter series in Taranto, led by their crew of Thomas De Bellis Vitti, Elia Masi and skipper Andrea Airò.  Thanks to another trio of victories in three races they have consolidated their position as overall leaders after a total of sixteen races with just 13 pts total!  Chasing them in second overall, but with not enough time left in the year to catch them, is JEBEDEE skippered by Luca Gaglione and owned by Nino Soriano- they have 22 pts total.  Sitting in third with 34 pts is DOCTOR J with helmsman-owner Sandro Negro guiding his team around the course.  Rounding out the series top five are Marcello Bellacicca’s MARBEA with 59 pts sitting in fourth place and Ferdinand Capobianco’s LITTLE DEVIL in 5th with 61 pts.  In a fortnight, there are just two weekends left for sailing, so no one is expecting the top five to change very much at the end of the series.

J/24s sailing on Lake Garda, ItalySARDINIA
In the Puntaldia fleet, eleven crews are participating in the beautiful waters off the port of Puntaldia.  Three weekends of racing have now been completed.

According to the Chief of Sardinia’s J/24 fleet, Marco Frulio, “Three races were held with very fickle winds that changed from the north to the west, with gusts that swept the race course.  The race committee, composed of Sandro Ricetto, Pietro Sanna, Karin Paternost, Carlo Puddu and Teodoro Salvatore Corda, were able to conduct three good races.  As a result, it was very difficult for the crews to establish the favored side of the course.  Difficult for everyone, that is, except for VIGEN SURRAU skippered by Aurelio Bini that managed to post a 2-1-1 to rule the day!"

As a result, the current series standings have VIGNE SURRAU in first followed by NORD’ESTE in second, CARLOFORTE in third, BOOMERANG in fourth and STRAIGHT BOTTA in fifth place.

Italian J/24 sailorsROMA/ ANZIO & NETTUNO
This past weekend saw the end of the winter series for the Roman fleet that sails out of Anzio & Nettuno.  The Italian Navy team of LA SUPERBA (skippered by Ignazio Bonanno with crew in Simone Billette, Branciforte Alfredo, Francesco and Vincenzo Picaro) again winning overall.  It was a rough and tumble nine weekend series with many top crews competing.

Taking second overall was the Hungarian crew of JUKE BOXING, comprised of Miklòs Rauschenberger, Balmaz Litkey, Tamas Peter Akos Pecsvaradi, and Tamas Richter.  This team is in serious training mode for the J/24 Europeans in Hungary as well as the Worlds for the following year in Italy.

Third overall in the series was another crew that featured top Hungarian helmsmen or tacticians- PELLE NERO owned by Paul Cecamore from Nettuno YC.  While Farkas Litkey (a Soling World Champion) did not skipper the last weekend, it was Hungarian National J/24 Champion Gabor that guided them onto the podium.

The rest of the top five included PELLE ROZ in fourth place, skippered by Gianni Riccobono, with Sergio Strippoli on tactics.  Fifth place was Peter Max Noons' JULIUS CAESAR.

According to Federico Miccio from JUMPING JACK FLASH, "A weak wind initially delayed by the start by an hour on the last weekend of the series.  But, it still allowed the largest J/24 fleet of Italy to sail two more compelling races, much to the delight of everyone on this final weekend.  We were lucky since it was such a shifty breeze!”

"It was a Sunday characterized by little wind that continued to shift,” explained LA SUPERBA’s skipper Ignazio Bonanno. “Immediately after the first general recall, the Committee raised the black flag. At this point, our strategy was not to win the weekend, but to win the series by keeping our margin of 9 points over JUKE BOXING. We wanted to risk as little as possible against these ferocious competitors! Thank goodness, we got a 3rd and 2nd and we knew we had mathematically won the winter series! We are very satisfied with our performance against such top-notch, world-class competitors.  The Hungarian crews are strong, fast and smart!  Now our goal is to win the first regatta of the Italian J/24 National Circuit to be held at Anzio from March 31 to April 2. The regatta provides the winner the bonus award of being the first qualifier for the 2018 J/24 Worlds in Italy (as host country, Italy is entitled to 24 slots)."

J/34s sailing off Sicily, ItalyCERVIA
MAGICAL FAIRY continued to consolidate their lead in Cervia’s winter series.  With a 1-1-2 for the weekend, the team of owner Viscardo Brusori and helmsman Massimo Frigerio on MAGICAL FAIRY are beginning to walk away from the fleet with a commanding lead.

However, CAPTAIN NEMO that is co-owned by Domenico Brighi and Guido Guadagni rose to 2nd place in the series standings after nine races after posting a 1st in the second race of the day. As a result, third in the series is KERMESSE sailed by Marco Maccaferri, fourth is KISMET sailed by Francesca Focardi Antonelli and fifth is Mauro Martelli.

The Cervia Winter Series championship has three more weekends of racing- the 5th, 18th and 19th of March.

On a beautiful spring day and almost cloudless sky, it took a long time for the wind to build up to 5 kts so that a race could be started for the anxious fleet.  Finally, at 1122 hrs, regatta PRO Alexander Altini fired off the first gun of the day.  The race had a starting line off Scoglietto and the first mark was 1.5nm in the channel of Piombino.  The shifty NW wind made for an exciting first, and only, race.  Despite a thrilling duel to the finish, Enrico Gambelunghe’s BE’BEEF had to settle for a second place.  The PRO Altini tried twice more to get races going, but the fickle winds would not cooperate.

Smiles and good humor were not lacking in the post-race festivities ashore.  Again, the crews were treated to a delicious pasta dish with fish in the headquarters of the Italian Navy League- "The Grigolo”- where President Alexander Schezzini wanted to extend a special “thank you” to the regatta PRO Altini for his valiant efforts to get in good races for the local Elba J/24 fleet.

J24s sailing off Rome, ItalyLAKE GARDA
Sailing off the quaint, beautiful and historic lakeside village of Brenzone, the Lake Garda J/24 fleet saw Louis Gozzo’s JAM declared the Winter Champion on Lake Garda after a “nail-biting” series.

Fifteen crews took part on Lake Garda’s winter J/24 series, hosted by Circolo Nautico Brenzone.  After a total of eight races on the lake, the victory went to Gozzo’s crew thanks to an amazingly consistent series score of 3-1-1-6-2-3-1-5 for just 11 pts net.  However, their win was not an easy one as their arch-nemesis, DEJA VU, won the last race of the series to close to just one point off the overall lead!  Third place went to J-OC owned and skippered by Fabio Apollonio (Fleet Captain of the Garda J/24 fleet).  For more Italian J/24 Class sailing information-

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/24 Team Tarheel- J/24 Midwinter Champions* Mike Ingham’s TEAM TARHEEL, J/24 USA 5287, won their first-ever 2017 J/24 Midwinters Regatta that took place at Eau Gallie YC on the beautiful bay just south of the famous Cape Canaveral, home to NASA’s famous Saturn V-B moonshots and home-base for the extraordinary Space Shuttle missions.

Missing from last week’s report was the winning team’s awesome collection of silverware and pickle-dishes they accumulated during the event.  Here’s a great photo of the team basking in the glory and sunshine on that glorious day!  Congrats to TEAM TARHEEL- job well done!  Serious rock-stars!!

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."


J/42 sailing off France* 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 and points further around the Blue Planet Earth.  Here is their latest update (December 2016) from Bill & Kathy:

“We completed a three year tour of the south pacific and sailed from Hobart Tasmania back to Seattle in the fall of 2012.  After two seasons of local cruising, we decided to truck the boat to Rochester NY.  In the summer of 2015, we sailed out the Saint Lawrence seaway and down the east coast of Nova Scotia and the US, with a few months in the Bahamas that winter.  This past summer, we crossed the Atlantic with stops in Bermuda and the Azores, making landfall in Falmouth, UK.  We have worked down the coast of France, Spain and Portugal and are now in Lagos Portugal.  We plan on passing through the Straits of Gibraltar and spending a couple seasons in the Med.”

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.
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