Wednesday, November 15, 2017

J/Newsletter- November 15th, 2017

J/121 offshore speedsterJ/121 Awarded SAIL Best Boats- Performance!
(Boston, MA)- SAIL Magazine has announced the winners of SAIL’s 2018 Best Boats Awards. If there’s one word that sums up the Best Boats Class of 2018, it would have to be “performance.” The boat review team at SAIL magazine determined the new J/121 offshore speedster was SAIL’s choice for Best Boats- Performance 30 to 40 feet. Here is their commentary:

“The J/Boats team are obviously good designers and boat builders. Their record in this area stands for itself.

However, ever since the advent of Rod Johnstone’s iconic J/24 in 1977, they have also shown an uncanny ability to discern what exactly it is sailors are looking for in their next boat: think the J/105 and its then cutting-edge retracting bowsprit in 1991, or the phenomenon that is the J/70 sportboat- eclipsing all other similar designs to date- in just four years!

The latest in this long line of outside-the-box designs is the new 40 foot J/121, a boat specifically tailored to appeal to skippers who are 1) tired of having to round up eight to 10 people to go racing and 2) are looking for something other the usual windward-leeward “sausage” courses that now dominate inshore racing.

To this end, the boat carries a “five-sail” rig that includes a main, jib and removable staysail (like the IMOCA 60 class), to make shifting gears with a crew of as little as five a snap, whether sailing inshore or off soundings. (A Code 0 or A-sail—sails #4 and 5—can be flown off the boat’s retractable sprit). To keep the boat on its feet, designer Al Johnstone has also included an easy-to-use water ballast system that can shift 104 gallons of water (880 lbs. worth) from side-to-side; the equivalent of four bodies worth of rail meat that’ll never call in sick or have scheduling conflicts.

With respect to promoting innovative, fun racing, J/Boats is championing something called “Open Course” racing- middle distance events that offer the best of both inshore and distance events (think the famous Three-Bridge Fiasco regatta on San Francisco Bay). The boat would also be perfect for shorthanded offshore racing, whether it be a shorter event like the Ida Lewis distance race or the Marblehead-Halifax. Oh, and did we mention the boat sails like a dream and is a stunner to boot? A winner in every sense of the word.”   J/121 offshore speedster video here.   Read more about the J/121 SAIL Magazine Best Boats award

J/121 offshore speedster off Newport
European Winter Boat Show Time!
On display, latest J/Cruisers and J/Racers!
(Newport, RI)- With the holidays arriving over the next few weeks, now is the time to be thinking about visiting very cool cities in Europe and checking out some of the latest thinking from the J/Design team!

SALON NAUTIC- Paris, France
Starting in the first week of December, from December 2nd to 10th, 2017, J/Composites will have on display in their booth (Pavilion 1/ Stand 1-G-35) the amazingly fast and competitive J/112E Grand Prix- the latest sport-cruiser from the J/Boats design team.  This latest evolution of the very fast J/112 hull is the one that eclipsed a number of regattas in Europe this past season and is currently running away with the overall lead in IRC 1 class in the famous Hamble Winter series.  Learn more what makes her so fast and so incredibly comfortable at the same time, her finely appointed interior is an eye-opener!  For more Salon Nautic Paris show & ticket information  For more J/112E sport cruiser information

J/112E sport cruiserBOOT DUSSELDORF- Dusseldorf, Germany
At the end of January, from January 20th to 28th, 2018, J/Composites and J/European dealers will have on display the J/97E, the J/112E, and the new J/121 offshore speedster at their booth (Hall- 15 / Stand- B21).  In addition to the J/112E sport cruiser, her smaller sistership, the J/97E will amaze you with her new spacious cockpit (about as large as the 112E’s), large diameter wheel for finger-tip steering response, and her luxurious, open, airy interior that will keep you family and friends coming back for more après-sailing parties on your mini-yacht!   For more J/97E sport cruiser information

Then, be one of the first in Europe to see first-hand the new J/121 offshore speedster- one of the most innovative offshore racing yachts ever in the famous line of J/performance yachts. Her rakish looks, her enormous cockpit, the twin carbon wheels, the novel water-ballast system, all evoke a feeling of “Performance & Speed!”

In fact, on her last offshore voyage from Annapolis to Newport, double-handed by two experienced offshore sailors, she exceeded 18 kts quite easily with her full main and A4 asymmetric spinnaker in up to 23 kts of wind- and she was averaging 14 kts, that’s cruising!   Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ Outside  For more J/121 offshore speedster information  For more BOOT Dusseldorf show & ticket information

J/122 sailing CaribbeanSt Thomas Regatta Update
BYOB – Bring Your Own Boat! Or, charter!
(St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- Registration is open and a number of good teams are already signing up for one of the all-time “classic” regattas in the Caribbean, St. Thomas International Regatta, March 23-25, 2018, held in Cowpet Bay off the eastern tip of St Thomas.  It is no wonder it is a popular regatta, St Thomas YC truly rolls out the red carpet treatment, making you feel like family, and offer simply gorgeous yachting offshore in their emerald green/ turquoise waters between Cowpet Bay and St John island across the channel. It is an idyllic sailing venue that is easy to get to and also easy to find comfortable places to stay.

If you can’t bring your own boat, charter! The St. Thomas Sailing Center is making repairs to its IC24 fleet and these highly-competitive one-design keelboats (based on the original J/24) are available for teams to charter. In addition, if you want to up your racing game, the Center is holding two North U Racing Clinics – January 31- February 4 and February 28- March 4. Condos and villas are available nearby at the Anchorage, Cowpet Bay and Elysian on “” or “”

Or, check out the charter operators in the Caribbean and Europe that have some swift-sailing vessels available. For example, “Caribbean Races” in St. Maarten offer their J/120 JAGUAR.

Or, you could sail NOISY OYSTER, a highly competitive J/122 offered by Swiss-based J/122 Experience.  And, if needed she’s available with a First Mate that knows how to sail her fast!

Finally, Caribbean Yacht Racing in the U.S. and St. Maarten has its J/122, the very famous EL OCASO for charter- that boat with the amazing NASCAR-like paint job of turquoise blue and flowing racing stripes of orange & yellow down the topsides. Any more J/122’s? Three or more entries can get their own one-design class!

Register now! Pay only US $250 for entries received and paid in full by 5 p.m. AST on January 31, 2018. From February 1 to March 20, the entry fee is US $400.  Questions?  You may contact them directly at email- or or call- +1 (340) 642-3204.  For more St Thomas International Regatta sailing information

J/122 sailing upwindCaribbean Sailing Update
(Lanzarote, Canary Islands)- Each year at this time a mass migration of boats from the continental USA and Europe heads to the Caribbean through numerous rallies and races for sailors that seek a warmer climate.

The two largest events are the “ARC” races (really cruises in company) that are organized by World Cruising.  One leaves the USA from Portsmouth, VA and heads to Nanny Cay in the British Virgin Islands.  The other event, the “granddaddy” of them all is the ARC Europe rally that leaves from the Canary Islands and heads to St Lucia.

ARC Caribbean 1500
The ARC Caribbean 1500 began on November 5th from Portsmouth, VA at the mouth of Chesapeake Bay with eighteen boats sailing 1,500nm to Nanny Cay in Tortola, British Virgin Island.  Included in that fleet is the J/42 MERLIN sailed by Pete Watkins from Boise, Idaho.

The ARC Europe
The ARC + Cape Verdes left Gran Canaria on November 5 and the ARC direct to St. Lucia leaves Las Palmas on the November 19. In all, nearly 200 boats will join the fleet.

The ARC is a ‘must do’ for many sailors, and attracts over 200 boats and 1,200 people every year to sail 2,700 NM across the Atlantic from Gran Canaria to Saint Lucia.

The ARC is for everyone; families with children, tough racers, cruising couples, big boats and modest boats. Crossing the Atlantic together, but having their own adventures. More than just a boat race, the ARC is about friendships made ashore in the two weeks of pre-departure activities continued over the radio net at sea. It’s about arriving in Saint Lucia to be met on the dock with a rum punch and a chilled beer, knowing you have achieved something fantastic - crossing an ocean on a small sailboat.  Participating in this year’s event is the Dutch J/133 JACKY X owned and skippered by Gerard Feenema.  For more ARC Rally sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The second week of November saw hot racing take place down in the Mediterranean.  YC Monaco hosted the second Act of its Monaco Winter Sportboat Series for a large fleet of J/70s, with a lot of close racing taking place on Hercules Bay off Monte Carlo, Monaco.  Then, off to the northwest, the Hamble River Sailing Club held yet another good set of racing on Sunday for their famous Hamble Winter Series sailed on the Southampton Water and the Solent for one-design classes of J/88s and IRC divisions with J/92s, J/97s, J/109s, and a new J/112E Grand Prix team.

Across the big pond to the Americas, we find that St Petersburg YC in St Petersburg, FL hosted the Mallory Cup Trophy- emblematic of US Adult Sailing Championship- in their matched fleet of twelve J/70s.  Then, out west, what is reputed to be the “best race in America” took place north of Seattle- the 30th annual Round the County Race hosted by Orcas Island Yacht Club and the Friday Harbor Sailing Club- it’s about 76nm of racing on Saturday and Sunday with an overnight stay in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island.  Several J/crews that know their way around the islands and the capricious currents took home lots of silverware!  Then, down south in California, the first weekend of the San Francisco Winter Series took place- hosted by Sausalito YC- for one-design fleets of J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s.

Read on! The J/Community and Cruising section below has many entertaining stories and news about J/Sailors as well as cruising blogs about those who continue to enjoy the Caribbean and the South Pacific, staying warm while others are trying to stay warm up north.  Check them out!  More importantly, if you have more J/Regatta News, please email it or  upload onto our J/Boats Facebook pag  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Nov 18- Hot Rum Series II- San Diego, CA
Dec 2- Hot Rum Series III- San Diego, CA
Dec 9-10- Jammin Jamaica J/22 Regatta- Montego Bay, Jamaica
Dec 8-10- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Tampa, FL
Jan 5-7- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Tampa, FL
Jan 19-21- J/Fest St Pete- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 9-11- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Tampa, FL
Feb 15-18- St Pete NOOD Regatta- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 17-18- SCYA Midwinter Regatta- Long Beach, CA
Feb 19- RORC Caribbean 600 Race- English Harbour, Antigua
Feb 23-25- J/70 Midwinters- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 1-4- Heineken St Maarten Regatta- Simpson Bay, St Maarten
Mar 7-11- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 16-18- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 22-25- St Thomas International Regatta- Red Hook Bay, St Thomas, USVI
Mar 29- Apr 1- Easter Regatta- Columbia, SC
Apr 12-15- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 8-14- Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta- Gustavia, St Barth
Apr 26-29- J/70 Corinthian Nationals- Ft Worth, TX
Apr 28- May 4- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua

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

J/70 mallory cup winnersSAIL MAINE Crowned Mallory Cup Champion!
(St Petersburg, FL)- The action was fast and furious on Tampa Bay this past week. Twelve teams in J/70s representing their respective Regional Sailing Associations (RSA) across America enjoyed the speedy and highly entertaining racing format, as well as the spectacular weather and racing conditions at the 2017 U.S. Adult Sailing Championship, hosted by St. Petersburg Yacht Club.

Sailors enjoyed a variety of conditions throughout the week, including light air and sunshine to big breeze and rain. Thirty-eight races were completed throughout the weekend.

Sailors were greeted with rain, wind and waves for the final day of racing at the U.S. Adult Sailing Championship for the Mallory Trophy. Seven races were completed to round off the championship series. Great work by the St. Petersburg Yacht Club’s waterfront team who were quick on their feet to repair breakdowns throughout the weekend and keep sailors racing.

In the end, it was Carter White (Portland, Maine) and his team composed of sailors from Sail Maine representing the Northeast Sailing Association, who came out on top in an exciting finish on Sunday. White’s team included Michael McAllister (Portland, Maine), Henry Cole (Freeport, Maine) and Fiona Gordon (Portland, Maine).

Carter and company were ranked fifth after two round robins. They avoided the qualifying repechage round by one spot, as the bottom six teams dueled it out over four races with the top six teams advancing to the championship round and the last two teams being eliminated from contention. The Sail Maine team saved their best for Sunday afternoon as they dominated the 10-team championship round and won by 11 points through 10 races.

“We sailed almost 40 races over four days. It’s pretty crazy,” said White. “I had never skippered a J/70 before so it was a lot of fun. The four of us have never sailed before as a team. Mike and I sail a lot together on the J/24.”

“We had a lot of breeze today, at times, and changing conditions throughout the event from 6 knots to 20 knots. There was a little bit of everything for everyone and the race committee did an excellent job.”

The win for White and his team earns them an entry to represent the U.S. at the Sailing Champions League World Qualifier.

David Loring’s team from Charleston, S.C. representing the South Atlantic YRA placed second. This team featured Jeff Woodard, Amy Woodard and Patrick Wilson.  Finishing third was Trey Sheehan (Chagrin Fall, Ohio), Wilson Stout (Annapolis, Md.), Brad Boston (Sarnia, Ontario, Canada), and Curtis Florence (Lakewood, Ohio). They represented the Inland Lake Yachting Association.

The Championship got underway on Thursday under light breeze. Most of the day was spent under postponement. Racers experienced a Northwest building breeze at 5 to 8 knots later in the afternoon and the fleet managed to complete two races in the first round robin series. Local knowledge paid off for skipper David Mendelblatt (St. Petersburg, Fla./Florida Sailing Association) who won both races to take an early lead.

Friday’s conditions were improved, as sailors experienced a Northeast breeze of 6 to 10 knots. The fleet tallied 16 races. Chris Raab (Huntington Beach, Calif./YRU of Southern California) took command of the leaderboard on Friday and had a six point lead through the first round robin and a five point lead through six races of the second round robin series.

On Saturday, sailors finished the second round robin, completed four races in the repechage round and the top ten teams sailed three races in the championship round. Sailors enjoyed a variety of conditions from medium breeze to start the day, to lighter breezes mid-day and ideal conditions for the start of the championship round. Raab and crew maintained a five point lead over Pat Toole (Santa Barbara, Calif./Southern California YRA) through the second round robin.

Teams qualified by competing at a high level in their respective RSA events. Teams consisted of both men and women sailors.

The league racing format offered sailors quick and competitive races, on-the-water umpiring, no discards, and an improved viewing opportunity for spectators. Every race counted, so consistency was a major factor. Races were approximately 15 minutes in duration. Some of the competitors have likened the format to college sailing in big boats.

First place team was presented the Clifford D. Mallory Trophy and received entry as the U.S. representative at the Sailing Champions League World Qualifier. The top three teams received US Sailing medals – Gold, Silver, Bronze. Teams representing the Southern Yacht Club, Edgewater Yacht Club, and James Island Yacht Club earned the Staton J. Peele, Jr. Trophy for sportsmanship.

Sportsmanship Notes:
  • Southern Yacht Club: Following racing Thursday evening, members of the Southern Yacht Club team de-rigged their J/70 and then assisted the St. Petersburg Yacht Club junior sailors by hauling 20+ Optimist prams out of the water.
  • James Island Yacht Club: Thank you to the sailors from the James Island Yacht Club for assisting in the measuring and tuning of the J/70s Saturday afternoon, prior to the start of the championship round.
  • Edgewater Yacht Club: Thank you to the sailors from the Edgewater Yacht Club for assisting in the measuring and tuning of the J/70s Saturday afternoon, prior to the start of the championship round. In addition, on Sunday sailors from the team came in off the water to assist in the replacement of a forestay; they even offered their personal forestay to the event.
For more U.S. Adult Sailing Championship/ Mallory Cup Trophy sailing information

J/70 sailing off MonacoARTTUBE Leading Monaco J/70 Winter Series
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series attracts sailors from very diverse circuits and backgrounds. This weekend the J/70 class had several star-studded sailors in their midst.  Olympic champion and three-time Laser World Champion Paul Goodison was on Vincenzo Onorato’s MASCALZONE LATINO, while the recently crowned European Vice-Champion in the Star class, Diego Negri, was also present in his capacity as coach. Other well-known names such as Sébastien Col, Match Racing and America’s Cup expert, who has done two seasons on the GC32 Malizia helmed by Pierre Casiraghi (HRH Prince Albert’s brother-in-law), was also in the Principality for the occasion.

However, in the end, no amount of super-star power on any of the J/70 teams could overcome the quick hand and fast sailing by Russia’s top woman keelboat sailor- Valerya Kovalenko skippering ARTTUBE.  She not only won her second regatta in a row, she now has a commanding lead in the overall Monaco Sportboat Winter Series.  Here is how it all happened off Monte Carlo in Hercules Bay.

J70 Monaco winnersDay One
Forty crews returned to the heart of the Principality this past Friday to kickoff the second act of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series. Like the first meeting of the 2017/2018 season, the huge, competitive J/70 fleet was again in the spotlight over the weekend.

In contrast to the first act dominated by Russian crews, this second meeting took place under the sign of change with the presence of a large number of Monegasque crews on the water. The cards were re-distributed after the three races; a day largely characterized by light to medium winds and a short chop on top of a rolling sea.

On board Vincenzo Onorato’s J/70 MASCALZONE LATINO, the British sailor Paul Goodison, Gold Medalist at the Beijing Olympic Games and triple Laser World Champion, was among the forces involved pointing them in the right direction as mainsheet trimmer and tactician. At the end of the day’s racing, there were in first place out of 27 competitors. They were followed by the infamous Russians on ARTTUBE skippered by Valerya Kovalenko, winner of the first Act.  Just behind them in third was Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio skippering G-SPOTTINO from the host club YC Monaco.

j70 sailing off MonacoDay Two
It went down to the wire for the top three on the last day in the enormously talented J/70 fleet. The leader after the first day, YCM’s Onorato on MASCALZONE LATINO had to concede victory to his closest rival, the tenacious team on ARTTUBE, helmed by their very talented skipper- Valerya Kovalenko.

The Russians from Moscow won the previous Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series and have now gotten off to a good start this season by winning Act 1. Peter Harrison from the United Kingdom, skippering SORCHA J, completed the trio at the top, clinching 3rd place. Enjoying the SSW winds that blew 10-12 knots all three days, Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio’s crew on G-SPOTINO was consistent throughout the regatta to finish 4th, just three points adrift of a podium finish.

At the end of two regattas and after 14 total races, Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE tops the leader board for the 2017/2018 YC Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series, a full 43 points ahead of the Italians on SPORT CUBE, followed by YC Monaco member Stefano Roberti on PICCININA.

The next regatta for the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series is December 8th to 10th.  For more J/70 YC Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series sailing information

J/120 sailing off SeattleJ/Teams Cruise Seattle’s Round the County Race
(Seattle, WA)- The Orcas Island Yacht Club and the Friday Harbor Sailing Club their 30th annual “Round the County” sailboat race this past weekend on November  11th & 12th. As usual, it provides the sailors with spectacular views of the enormous snow-capped mountains surrounding the challenging waters of San Juan County Washington. The race is approximately 76 miles with an overnight stop in Roche Harbor, San Juan Island. Due to the great venue, the better winds of November, and the overnight stop in Roche Harbor, the race has become one of the more popular events in the Pacific Northwest.  And, for the dozen-plus J/crews participating, it provided yet another great experience and an opportunity to close out the 2017 season with a few more “pickle dishes & silver” for the “man cave” and trophy room in the basement.

One boat, in particular, celebrated their 20th Round the County Race this year- Bob Brunius’ J/120 TIME BANDIT.  The “banditos” have won their class multiple times (2006, 2009, 2015, 2017) and placed 2nd three times!  Here is Bob’s account of their experience winning this year’s race in PHRF 1 division:

“While many of the regattas in the Pacific Northwest have been seeing a gradual decline in participation over the years, the Round the County has been growing since it's humble beginnings 30 years ago. The race was the concept of local marina owner and past Orcas Island Yacht Club Commodore Betsy Wareham.  This year the race had 123 participants enter. What makes the race unique is the two starts - one on Saturday and one on Sunday with an overnight at Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.  The race finishes on Sunday afternoon at the same place it started on Saturday morning and it runs clockwise around San Juan County on even years and counterclockwise on odd years.

The race is long enough to let the fastest boats in the area stretch their legs and still let the slower rated boats finish the full course most years. With 8 divisions, the rating spread is tight and the fleet sizes are big. The venue is really beautiful and boats often get an escort of Dall's porpoise - or on other occasions kelp! Playing the tidal current is a big part of the strategy and can favor those with lots of RTC experience, or the lucky.  Early November is a bit of the sweet spot on the calendar between the doldrums of summer and the frequent storms of December and January. It all adds up to make a very popular event. Results are based on combined times from Saturday and Sunday.

This marked the 20th year that Barb and Bob Brunius raced their J/120 TIME BANDIT in the event. Most of the boat's race crew are in their second decade of racing the boat and they do understand how to make it go. They were tickled to place 1st in DIV I and 6th overall in the 100 boat PHRF fleet. HINZITE, also a J/120 sailed by Jim Hinz & Peter Dorcey, finished right on the Bandito's heels both days and only 20 seconds behind on combined time!

Our J/120 is still the consummate race boat. TIME BANDIT has been spending more time carrying kayaks and cruising the waters of the PNW in recent years! The design does well at both duties.”  Thanks to Bob for this report.

J/29 sailing Seattle fast!Furthermore, we have a great report from the RTC team from Orcas Island YC and Friday Harbor SC:

“Round the County – America’s Greatest Sailboat Race – yeah, you know, it probably is America’s greatest sailboat race.  There are some cool ones out there that bring in the numbers, the Mac, or the races to Mexico and Hawaii and I’m sure some others as well but as an admittedly biased Pacific Northwest Sailor there is just something special about braving the short days of November to tackle the challenging current riddled swirly wind waters around the San Juan Islands at a time of year most people in America are hunkering down for winter or waxing up their snowboards and making plans for their winter trip.

118 boats were entered by race day and something like 100 of em’ were signed up within 72 hours of registration opening.  So there I am thinking about this, stuck in Everett traffic on Friday heading up to A-town.  My eyes drift up and I’m looking at the bow of my boat in the rear-view mirror and pondering about all the boats delivering to the San Juan’s from every direction imaginable – on their keels and on trailers – from the Pacific Northwest, Portland, Hood River, the Great Lakes and more. The draw for this race is amazingly diverse.  Top level sailors on stripped out high performance rockets on down the line to family and friends on heavy cruising boats to old wooden schooners and crazy fast multihulls; Round the County brings em all out, and you know what, depending on how the conditions align, each type of boat has a chance at the podium.

In years past the party was Saturday night in Roche Harbor but as the entry list has increased and the party wore out its welcome in the now posh marina of Roche Harbor, the revelry seems to have switched to Friday night leaving everyone especially chipper and ready to race come dock call Saturday morning – for many it’s shoving off at 6am to make it to Lydia Shoals for the 8:30 start.

This year’s forecast was for an OK Southeasterly on Saturday with the currents looking like they will line up well and a bit more breeze forecast for Sunday.  So there we are, ready for the start with our bow pointed 180 degrees from the start line, nose into the current waiting to jibe around at just the right moment and swing up across the line on the moderate Southeasterly.  Two minutes, wait for it, 1:45, 1:30…Ok, helms over, jibe around and come up directly into the new Northeasterly breeze!  That’s how it works back there around Orcas Island, one minute a southerly and the next a northerly…it’s all about the timing.

J/92 sailing off Seattle, WAOff everyone went, to weather now in a light northeasterly, the current behind us – mostly – running the front of the flood past the Peapods and off towards the Sisters and Clark Island.  Little elevators of flooding current pushing random groups of boats out into the lead until the big fast ORC boats began working through the fleet of early starters moving so fast that they sucked the wind along behind them and pulled the southeasterly back onto the race course and the pretty colored sails popped up across the bay.  Boats lined up across the waters from Clements Reef out towards the mainland looking for wind and positive current to give them that simple little edge on their competition.

As we came into Patos Island, now sitting somewhere mid-fleet, we watched the Santa Cruz 33 Muffin do a crazy round up away from the island with their chute flying high at the end of their sheets.  When we arrived at the same spot we noticed the depth coming up and saw the rocks over the side in the clear water – so this is why they rounded up!  Up and around it we went, no issues for us, but later, after the race, I learned that Muffin wasn’t as lucky and had actually hit the rock hard causing the roundup and had quickly found themselves scrambling towards safe harbor to deal with and assess the damage.

Rounding the halfway point at Patos Island brought everyone into Boundary Pass and what looked to be a nice little drag race to Turn point. Pole forward, wind over the port beam at 6 knots, fire up the bbq and have some lunch type of drag race.  But that’s not how the San Juan’s work.  About halfway down Boundary with the upwelling’s of the new ebbing current starting up the winds decided to crap out and we were back to the light weird winds and current elevators that had boats 100 yards from you shooting forward down the course – sometimes on both sides!

The fleet then stacked up again around Turn Point and it was decision time for everyone. Tack over and get into the bay towards Danger Shoal or lay hard on the starboard bow and hold out into Haro Strait and hope for the building ebb to push you along.  Of course by this time the big fast boats had been tied up for an hour or so while their crews were enjoying the hot tub but us common folk were still out there trying to figure out how in the heck to get to the finish line inside Battleship Island with the building ebb on the nose coming out of Spieden Channel.  Many worked up towards Danger Shoals in the now dying southeasterly while a smaller group sailed down Haro to Henry Island before tacking back in along the island and working the eddy and small puffs back North towards Battleship Island, shooting the gap between McCraken Point and Battleship then sneaking across the line in the now surprisingly strong ebbing current.

A bunch of boats made this work well.  Stories went around Saturday night of attacking botmarks, finishing in the wrong direction and dodging current line debris but at the end of everything the days challenges left a smile on most everyone’s faces (except the poor Muffin’ers) as they dropped their heads on their pillows wherever they were staying on San Juan Island.

Sunday dawned much simpler for everyone.  The delivery to the starting area is minimal, the winds looked to be a solid 20 knots out of the Southeast and all everyone has to do is find a lane out of the wind shadowed starting area and push their boats hard around the south end of the islands before popping the chute for the epic run up Rosario to the finish.  Sounds perfect right?  What are odds this will happen in the San Juan’s?

So, off we went with the fleet taking two distinct tactics as they worked south into the building flood current.  Most chose to short tack along San Juan Island in the eddies, tough work with all the traffic but I’m sure it kept the crew warm and excited.  A few in the fleet decided to take it easy and lay on port tack from the starting line until they had to decide between tea at the Empress or tacking over to starboard towards the halfway finish line and on toward Iceberg Point.  Did you catch that – one tack after the start at Snug Harbor and then lay Iceberg Point on the south end of Lopez.  Now those crews were sitting there cold, legs falling asleep, minds and conversations drifting off towards work and that summer vacation they had in Mexico but you know what?  That was the right way to go.  As the legendary Master Bezwick is fond of saying “It ain’t a flyer if it’s the right way to go.”

Catch the last of the ebb on the Canadian side of Haro Strait and then turn left into the eastward flooding current of the Straits of Juan De Fuca.  There they were, this little red Chicken Coup Special Blade Runner, sailing out where they shouldn’t otherwise be – ahead of some much bigger and faster boats.  Yet like everything else in San Juan Island racing it’s all about the timing.  The J/120’s were able to run this move all the way to podium finishes while other boats made it just as far as Lydia Shoals before the wind crapped out and they waited, waited, and waited…  Changed sails, changed again, changed back, waited, found the current building against them and then see a little red chicken coup special ghost in behind them – crap – then look up and see a damned Moore 24 reaching in towards the pin from the right and with their momentum coast in around the pin, jibe and sail off into the building darkness of the east literally hours after they had arrived at the finish area.  The emotions, the challenges, the ups and downs, the friends and foes, the conditions at 48 degrees North in November – put it all together and you have the Greatest Race in America.

Thank you Orcas Island Yacht Club for coming up with this crazy idea of racing around the Islands in November and then actually doing it and sticking with it over all these years.  Each year is different, each year is challenging, each year a different boat has the conditions they need to step up on the podium.  See you all next year.”

With regards to the class results, the top J in ORC Division was the J/160 JAM in 4th place. Taking 6th place in PHRF Division 0 was the J/122 GRACE.  The J/120s went 1-2 in the PHRF Division 1, TIME BANDIT and HINZITE, respectively. The Petersen’s J/109 LEGACY took fourth in the same division.  In PHRF Division 2, the J/35 ALTAIR took 7th place.  The PHRF Division 3 saw a clean sweep by J/crews, led by the J/105 JADED, with the J/92 ZAFF in 2nd and the J/105 LAST TANGO in 3rd place.  The J/33 KEET took 5th place in the same class.  J/29s faired well in PHRF Division 4, with HERE & NOW taking a 2nd and CRAZY SALSA placing 4th.  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson-   Follow Round County Facebook page here   For more Round County Race sailing information

J/70 Christine Robin- women's sailing crew!J/Crew’s Chillin’ in Frisco
(Sausalito, CA)- The annual San Francisco Bay One Design Winter Series kicked off last weekend thanks to Jeff Zarwell's REGATTA-PRO race management and Sausalito Yacht Club. The local San Francisco Bay fleet of J/70s, J/120s and J/105s enjoyed sunshine and mild breeze on the first race day of the weekend series that sails on the second Saturday of each month- from November thru February.  The San Francisco Bay summer wind and fog machine has turned off for the winter and unless it's a storm front, conditions on the Bay can be delightfully balmy on the Berkeley Circle as they were this past weekend. Jeff provided this report on the first weekend of racing:

“It was typical fall weather, the forecast was for no wind in the circle until 12:30-1:00 when a westerly was to come in with 12-15 kts of breeze.  So, it was no surprise at 11:00 that an un-forecasted northerly (310 at 4-5 kts) was coming down San Pablo Bay, unforeseen by meteorologists.

The RC was in a quandary as to what to do.  With a westerly forecast in an hour and a half, there was good reason to believe any race started at 11:30am could very well end up abandoned as the northerly typically shuts down before the westerly comes in.

In postponement, Zarwell was driving around the bay looking for signs of a westerly developing ANYWHERE.  At the same time, everyone seemed to be sailing well in the light northerly with almost no current.  Looking up San Pablo Bay there were no signs of the northerly breaking down any time soon either.

J/70 women's sailing team- San Francisco, CARealizing the natives might be getting restless, the RC decided to roll the dice and get everyone sailing in the northerly, with expectations of having a 90 degree course change at some point during race 1.  All the fleets were started and the breeze was still holding.

Ultimately all six fleets had two challenging, yet pretty fair races with a northerly that never broke down.  That is until 3:30, well after the last boat had finished.  At that point, it did not shut down; rather it made a graceful swing over to the west.

All in all, it was a beautiful day, reasonably warm, flat water and that fall lighting that lets you know summer is over.

Looking forward to the next race in the series on December 9th. Let’s see if we can get more of you out there in December for some challenging light air racing!  It’s the best time to train new crew and keep you on your game during the winter months.”

According to Christy Usher, skipper of the J/70 CHRISTINE ROBIN, “two of the five J/70s that signed up for the series raced this past Saturday. As a result, it was a fun match-race between Tom Thayer's RAMPAGE versus my all-women crew on CHRISTINE ROBIN (Terre Layton, Dana Riley and Jessica Chase).  After sailing a few short races, both teams traded wins in the light and tricky conditions.”

And, Tom Thayer had this to say about the day’s racing:

“The day started out cool and over cast with a discouraging glassy look to the water.  So, after we rigged the boat, we got at the Torqeedo and slowly headed toward the racing area.  Our conversation on board was mostly jokes about the lack of wind.  But half way out the wind started to fill in, building to about 8 knots allowing us to practice our jibes and wind-on-wings on the way.  The racing was on!

Once we got to the race area, we searched for other J/70s, but could not find any.  So now, the jokes were about finishing first and last at the same time, port tacking the fleet, and general recalls. Fortunately, Christine Robin made an appearance just before the scheduled 11:30 first gun.  While it would have been great to have more boats, with two boats we could use the races to continue to refine our rig tune, trim settings, weight placement and driving technique in the light air.

The Regatta Pro/ Sausalito YC team, under the direction of Jeff Zarwell, did their usual great job of setting up a course.  Given the light air, we were given ¾ mile legs.  But the short legs allowed for more boat handling with course 4 (double sausages) for each of the two races.

J/105s sailing San Francisco BayRampage got a good start in the first race.  We were able to use a high mode to force Christine Robin to tack for clear air.  But that was a mistake on our part because as soon as they were free to sail their own race.  Christy Usher and her crew found a fast, high mode that was devastating.  They went on to win the race by a large margin.

But we continued tweaking or boat, going to a sloppy loose rig setting for the second race as the wind died down.  We also got more power from the jib with a little less halyard tension.  And, we got even more aggressive with our weight placement.

The result of all of this was that we could come closer to hanging with Christine Robin in the second race.  They still beat us around the first windward mark, but we were closer.  They jibed soon after the mark rounding.  By doing so, we thought they were going the wrong way.  Despite our intent of staying with them to maximize the opportunity for two boat testing, we couldn’t resist the temptation to separate on starboard.  By the time we reached the leeward gate, we had made a substantial gain, that we were able to hold onto for the rest of the race.

So a successful day for both boats.  Christy had little experience at the helm before, and had to have gained considerable confidence with the excellent way she had the boat performing.  Rampage was able to continue up the light air learning curve, especially with our weight placement and luff tension adjustment.  And both boats ended up with a 1st and 2nd place finish (or is that first and last?)!”

The J/105s have the largest fleet registered with sixteen teams.  Leading after the first weekend was the duo of Colin Miller and Peter Baldwin on BIG BUOYS  with a 2-2 tally for 4 pts.  Sitting in second with a 1-6 for 7 pts is Sergey Lubarsky’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE.  Then, rounding out the top of the leaderboard is Phil Laby’s GODOT with a 7-3 for 10 pts.

Like the J/70s, there are five J/120s registered, but only two showed up for the first weekend.  It was a match race between Steve Madeira’s big green machine- the mighty MR MAGOO- and Timo Bruck’s white wonder- TWIST.  After two races, the Magoo Maulers took two bullets to start off their series well.

Similarly, the J/24s had a match race scenario between Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS and Richard Stockdale’s FROGLIPS.  It seemed the Froggers kept leaping ahead of the twisted up Octopus, taking two bullets to start their series.  For more San Francisco Winter Series sailing information

J/97E sailing on SolentMore Winter Sailing @ HWS
(Hamble, England)- Competitors for the sixth weekend of the Hamble Winter Series enjoyed more racing with the Hamble River Sailing Club, supported by OneSails.

In IRC One, Chaz Ivill's J/112E DAVANTI TYRES scored their fifth bullet of the series, and was yet again the fastest boat around the track in any class after IRC time correction. They are now leading their class by the considerable margin of ten points.

In the J/88 Class, Avia Willment’s team are sailing remarkably well, scoring a sixth bullet for the series.  They, too, are leading their class by an enormous margin of ten points. As a result, Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS is holding on to 2nd place with 16 pts net. They are followed by Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR in third place, just three points adrift.

In IRC Two, Simon Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE continues to sail fast and consistent.  Despite missing three races, their blistering pace of three 1sts and a 2-3 have them now sitting in third place just 2.5 pts away from the silver.

In IRC Three, Annie & Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II have two drop scores after ten races sailed, giving them a comfortable leading margin of 5 pts.  Second is Robin Stevenson’s J/92S UPSTART with 16 pts net.

Racing at the Hamble Winter Series continues with weekend #seven on Sunday 19th November.  For more Hamble Winter Series sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/95 cruising* J/95 (hull no. 15) owned by Paul Eckel has won both the Bird Key Yacht Club and Sarasota Yacht Club first in class and first overall trophies. Continuing a string of victories, "Encore" sailed by Doug Fisher and Paul Eckel took home the Sarasota Bay Cup by finishing first in class and first overall racing in the Mote Marine Laboratory Regatta in April.

Last week the J/95 Encore finished first in class and first overall to take the Sarasota Yacht Club 2017 Invitational and is now inscribed on the perpetual trophies in both clubs. Thanks for this contribution from J/95 owner Al Agachinsky from Sarasota, FL.