Wednesday, November 1, 2017

J/Newsletter- November 1st, 2017

J/Gear items for the holidaysJ/Gear Holiday Special!
A Holiday Special for all J/Boat owners, crews, and sailing friends!  Lots of great gift ideas & clothing for everyone!

Please go shopping EARLY for your custom J/GEAR to ensure delivery in time for the holidays!  You can get a 20% discount if you enter this code- JBH2017xm- when you are ready to check out and pay for your items.  This offer is good until November 19th, 2017 (note- half-models and JBoats custom prints are not included in this offer).  Visit the J/Gear store now-

Bacardi Sailing Week J/70 fleetBacardi Cup J/70 Announcement
(Coconut Grove, FL)- Bacardi USA is pleased to announce a new format in 2018 for the 91st anniversary of the world-famous Bacardi Cup, sailed on the emerald-green waters of Biscayne Bay in Miami, Florida. Started as a regatta for Star boats in Havana, Cuba in 1927, the Bacardi Cup has continued to evolve and change with the times, giving it continued growth and popularity in a sport that has seen numerous regattas come and go.

In 1962, the series moved to Biscayne Bay and in 2010 the event expanded to include other classes in addition to the Stars. Known since 2013 as Bacardi/Miami Sailing week, recent classes have included J70’s, J80’s, and other sportboats from 18 to 24 feet.

J/70s sailing Bacardi Miami Sailing WeekFor 2018, the organizing committee has decided to refocus the series on the original idea of an invitation-only regatta where the best small-boat sailors in the world come together to compete in tight, competitive, thrilling racing with the emphasis on quality instead of quantity. Still sponsored by the venerable Bacardi Rum brand and the Bacardi family, who have been active patrons since the beginning, the series in 2018 will be called the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta.

The Star class as always will have a single race per day on long, demanding legs rarely seen in today’s short course era. Only one other one-design class has been invited to the regatta in 2018: the J/70 class, the fastest-growing one-design sportboat fleet in the world.

As always, days on the water will be followed by hospitality and outdoor parties that only Bacardi can deliver, with great food, tropical music and an open bar with plenty of Bacardi rum.

The Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta will be held March 4-10, 2018 and is being run by a new management company, Twelve MKTG, headed by Sara Zanobini, well-known to competitors in past years as the driving force behind the scenes of the event. She is joined by Miami native Mark Pincus, a US Sailing-certified PRO who is organizing the on-water racing program as he has done in past Bacardi regattas.

For more information about the Bacardi Invitational Regatta, contact Sara:, (305) 510-7024, or Mark:, (305) 915-1438.   For more Bacardi Cup Invitational sailing and registration information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The Halloween weekend provided many sailors the opportunity to explore the wilder sides of their sailing personalities.  In particular, some events centered around the “Best Dressed” boat or crew “treating” themselves to lots of laughter, fun, zaniness, and a few “refreshments” along the way.  Some of the best examples bringing friends, family, and kids together was the Witches Brew Race held by Charleston YC in Charleston, SC- it was a women’s-only skipper race with contests for Best Dressed Boat and Crew! The entire program was managed and organized by CORA (the Charleston Offshore Racing Association)- needless to say, they know how to have fun!  Then, out West, it was the occasion for the Great Pumpkin Regatta for one-design classes of J/24s, J/70s, J/105s and PHRF boats; Richmond YC in Richmond, CA on northern San Francisco Bay hosted the weekend regatta- they, too, had a Best Dressed Crew at the amazing Saturday night party.  On the more serious side of sailing, Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX hosted the J/105 North American Championship on Galveston Bay.  Out west, the San Diego YC hosted an extremely competitive invitation-only club event on their local fleet of J/105s- the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup.  Out east, three regattas were taking place simultaneously in the northern Chesapeake Bay off Annapolis, MD: the J/24 East Coasts and J/22 Mid-Atlantics hosted by Severn Sailing Association and the J/105 East Coasts hosted by Annapolis YC.

Hopping across the big pond to Europe, we find the various J/70 sailing leagues in The Netherlands, Finland, and Italy all completing their summer-long season championships.  The only one left is Germany- hosting their finale in Hamburg next week in their J/70s.  The Dutch sailed their finale off The Hague, The Netherlands.  The Finnish J/70 league finale took place in Helsinki, Finland off Lauttasaari.  The Italians actually ran two events concurrently on the beautiful bay off Crotone, Italy.  First, was the finale hosted by Club Velico Crotone.  Then, following the example of their German colleagues to the north, the “LegaVela Italia” held their kick-off event in J/70s for an Under-19 Sailing League at the same venue- it was a wildly popular event for the youth teams!

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:

Oct 28- Nov 1- French J/80 National Championship- Quiberon, France
Oct 28- Nov 1- J/70 South American Championship- Algarrobo, Chile
Nov 4- Hot Rum Series I- San Diego, CA
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

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

J/105s sailing Galveston BayMOJO Smokes J/105 North Americans
(Seabrook, TX)- The 2017 edition of the J/105 North American Championship certainly had its fair share of surprises.  For starters, the weather in the fall in Texas can be fraught with weather fronts moving like freight trains across the prairies, mowing down everything in their path, yet the next day there can be no wind!

What was the first big surprise?  Plenty of wind for three of the four days!  And, the second one shocked most veteran J/105 sailors- what no one expected was the locals would lead a clean sweep of the podium after ten races run in four days!

Lakewood Yacht Club hosted this year’s regatta at Seabrook, Texas from October 25-29, 2017.  Twenty-two teams participated, nineteen of which hailed from Texas, while the other three very fast, championship winning teams came from California (2) and Bermuda.

In the end, it was Steve Rhyne’s local heroes from Lakewood YC that demonstrated a lot of chutzpah, guiding their appropriately named MOJO around the race track to six 1sts in the ten races sailed to win with a total of 23 pts, 26 pts clear of the next boat!  Crowned as the 2017 J/105 N.A. Champions, it is likely that no one has ever taken the title by such a significant margin.  Here is what happened on the mysterious, muddy waters of Galveston Bay.

J/105 MOJO winning North AmericansDay One
Under sunny skies and with breeze at 10-15 knots, the teams completed four races on the first day. Local Steve Rhyne’s MOJO grabbed the early advantage with scores of 4-1-1-2 for 8 points. Bill Zartler’s DEJA VOODOO put together a solid day with a line of 1-3-4-4 for 12 points and second place. Rick Goebel’s SANIT from San Diego held the third position with 21 points.

Winds began at 10 knots, when Zartler kicked off the regatta with a victory, ahead of two Class Presidents (Past President James Macdonald’s DISTANT PASSION and current President Bill Lakenmacher’s RADIANCE). The breeze built throughout the day to 15 knots. Rhyne earned bullets in races two and three, ahead of Osmond Young and Zartler in the second meeting and in front of two Californians in the third (Bruce Stone’s GOOD TRADE and Goebel’s SANITY). Goebel took the final win of the day, as Rhyne and Rick Schaffer’s DOUBLE DARE rounded out the top three.

J/105 sailing Seabrook Galveston BayDay Two
As the spotlight shined on the Houston Astros for Major League Baseball’s World Series, so did the focus on Galveston Bay.  The locals, MOJO and DEJA VOODOO, continued to dominate the fleet, as seven races were now in the books of the no-throw-out series.

By way of a 1-5-1 on Friday, Rhyne held a nine-point advantage over Zartler (MOJO tallies 15 points to DEJA VOODOO’s 24). Fellow Lakewood Yacht Club member Bill Lakenmacher’s RADIANCE moved up to third overall with 35 points.

It was another solid day on the racecourse with winds between 12-16 knots and puffs into the 20s. Rhyne earned his first of two bullets in the initial contest, trailed by Zartler and Goebel’s SANITY. Stone’s GOOD TRADE seized the win in Friday’s middle battle, as Josh Richline’s VELOCE from Corpus Christi YC and Rick Schaffer’s DOUBLE DARE made the top three. The familiar Rhyne and Zartler were the one/two punch in the last race, followed by Lakenmacher.

J/105 GOOD TRADE sailing NA's Seabrook TexasDay Three
Rhyne’s appropriately named MOJO continued to cast a spell on the fleet on Saturday. Winds at 12-14 knots allowed an additional three races to be completed for a total of 10 so far, with one more on the docket for Sunday.

Rhyne and crew posted another two race wins and added a rare sixth to give the local helmsman 23 points total. With a 26-point advantage, Rhyne had already secured the Championship in a no-throw out regatta!! An extraordinary scenario, to say the least! Zartler’s DEJA VOODOO scored 4-10-11, but maintained a hold on second place with 49 points. Lakenmacher’s RADIANCE stumbled in race 9 with a 15th place, but recovered with a bullet to retain the third position overall with 57 points. Rhyne and Goebel’s SANITY locked in the gold and silver spots in Saturday’s first two contests, followed initially by Osmond Young and then by Stone’s GOOD TRADE. Lakenmacher ended the day on a positive note, as did James Macdonald’s DISTANT PASSION from Royal Bermuda YC in Hamilton, Bermuda and Uzi Ozeri’s INFINITY in the top trio.

J/105 MOJO- winners NA'sDay Four
No races took place Sunday due to lack of wind, but it would not have mattered for Rhyne, who had already wrapped up the Championship.  His crew consisted of Brian Shores, Jake Scott, Joe Taylor, Alan Woodyard and Ryan Glaze. Fellow LYC members Bill Zartler on DEJA VOODOO and Bill Lakenmacher on RADIANCE completed the podium as 2nd and 3rd, respectively.

Rhyne only bought his J/105 in the past year, lured by the strong Fleet 17 in Galveston Bay as well as this Championship at his own club. The conditions did not disappoint over the three sailing days of competition, as winds held in the teens for the duration.

“These were physical conditions, but not unmanageable,” summarized Rhyne. “After we got the lead on day one, we went into conservative mode. We felt we had speed, so we just could not do anything stupid with a no throw-out series. It was about points management.” Rhyne gave all the credit to his team, saying, “Crew is everything on any boat. I think my crew could’ve stepped on any boat and won.”   Follow the J/105 Class on Facebook here   For more J/105 North American Championship sailing information

J/70s sailing Dutch Sailing League 
WSV Almere Centraal Crowned Dutch League Champs
(The Hague, The Netherlands)- The Dutch J/70 National Sailing League- “Eredivisie Zeilen”- had yet another successful year with record participation and an amazing increase in the level of competition.

The leaders of the “EZ” league, Alex Hoeve and Marco de Klerk, had this to say at the finale in Monnickendam;

Dutch J/70 women's sailing team"Throughout the season, we have been able to get high quality sailing amongst our sailing club teams. We have seen the level of competition increase dramatically this year. This is a good development, as we can now sail in heavier wind conditions at any event, thanks to the much-improved sailing experience of the sailors. Most importantly, we see more and more youthful participants joining the “old guard”; this trend is important and fits into the philosophy of the Eredivisie Zeilen!”

In the end, it was the WSV Almere Centraal team that took 4th in the finale to “seal the deal” and clinch the overall title after sailing the five events (Almere, Aalsmeer, Scheveningen, Veere, Monnickendam) with a low point total of 108 pts.  Ironically, there’s was not an easy win since only 11 pts separated them from the 2nd place finishers in the end- Jachtclub Scheveningen.

J/70 Dutch Sailing LeagueFor the first day of sailing on the Gouwzee, the fleet was greeted by a tough breeze blowing an average of 24 kts. Spice it up with lulls and torrential downpours on occasion and you get the picture.  It was very challenging for both the sailors as well as the race committee.  Three complete flights were run.  With such a strong breeze, the big issue was (ironically) the teams maintaining (and anticipating) big puffs with tactical situations. For example, VWDTP had a collision with the SheSails Ladies from Amsterdam. Artur Knuppel said, “it was an unfortunate collision. We tried to dive below SheSails, but a big puff hit us as we bore off. So, we hit them amidships, making considerable damage, we feel so badly for this incident."

The WV Almere Centraal skipper said, “the team is able to make the difference mainly on 'boat handling' and experience. They have been sailing in this event for three years now, and they benefit from it. The plan is to further build the lead, but we can not make mistakes!"

J/70s sailing Dutch Sailing LeagueSitting in second after the first day, Jachtclub Scheveningen’s Tom Kerkhof commented, “it's a lot of fun sailing! We have a 1st place in the first race and a third place in the second race. In our first race today we could benefit from a mistake by WV Almere Centraal, which we caught in the last leg. We kept the boat going hard and played the wind shifts as best we could."

The second day of sailing on Saturday was completely blown out, with winds hitting Force 6 & 7- 40+ knots!  So, the race committee wisely canceled races for the day after an initial postponement to 1400 hours.

For the Sunday finale, only nine points separated WSV Almere Centraal and Jachtclub Scheveningen after 147 races in the course of the 2017 season!  Everyone’s patience was being tested all weekend-long on the Gouwzee- with puffs hitting 32 kts on Friday, 28 kts on Saturday, everyone was hoping Sunday would provide a fair test of the teams. As it turns out, the conditions on Sunday were considerably quieter than the previous days, making it a tactical game in 5-7 knots of wind. Eventually, 24 races were sailed for the weekend.

J/70 Dutch Sailing League winners- WSV CentraalWSV Almere Centraal was hoping to win another title. Team captain John Engelsman said, "Our ambition was to win another title. We also wanted to get the final stage in Monnickendam, but unfortunately, it just did not work. At the beginning of this season, we added four new members to our team. All experienced racing sailors, but every round was another challenge to set up the right team. Until this weekend, we managed to win three rounds, although the margins of winning are significantly smaller compared to 2016.  Even for the Sailing Champions League that we sailed, the margins were quite small between the 36 best clubs in Europe; we finished 9th overall and the podium had a four point spread from 1st to 3rd- amazing!”

Rounding out the top three in the Dutch J/70 National Sailing League was Jachtclub Scheveningen in second place with 119 pts and WSV Giesbeek in third place with 128 pts.   Follow the Dutch J/70 National Sailing League Facebook page   For more Dutch J/70 National Sailing League information

Finnish J/70 sailing league off Helsinki, FinlandÅländska SS Take Finnish J/70 Sailing League Series  
(Helsinki (Lauttasaari), Finland)- The Finnish J/70 Sailing League completed their final event in Lauttasaari, just off the mouth of Helsinki harbor.  Going into the finale, the top team was Åländska Segelsällskapet's first team; they had a solid five-point lead over Mariehamns Seglarförening (MSF), who in turn was just one point ahead of Helsinki's Brändö Seglarea.  However, because of the racing has been so close by the top teams, it was believed by many that it would be hard to displace any of the top three from the podium.

Finnish J/70 sailing league teamThere was no question that Åländska SS crew were confident.  “Our goal is to win the last race. Our team is in really a good mood and the training has gone well. We hope windy weather, because it's our strength,” said MSF Captain Henrik Lundberg.  No question, those were prophetic words for them.

The regatta culminated with the Åländska SS First team taking the overall championship.  Second, was the women’s team from Nyländska Jaktklubben (NJK) and taking third because of a strong performance in the last event was Mariehamns Seglarförening (MSF).

Finnish J/70 sailing league winnersThe teams consisted of four-man crew, whose configurations were different in different races. In the competition, Åländska SS's top team was Daniel Mattsson, Mathias Dahlman, Isak Nordlund and Staffan Lindberg.

Thanks to its victory, Åländska Segelsällskapet will be able to sail to the Nord Stream Race offshore competition in 2018. In addition, the top teams will be able to compete in the 2018 Sailing Champions League qualifying rounds.   Follow the Finnish J/70 Sailing League Facebook page here   For more Finnish J/70 Sailing League information

J/70 Italian sailing league off Crotone, ItalyC.C.A. Dominates Italian J/70 Sailing League Finale
CCA Also Crowned the 2017 Italian League Champion
(Crotone, Italy)- Twenty teams gathered together on the beautiful bay off Crotone, Italy to sail their third and final event of their 2017 Lega Italiano Vela (the Italian J/70 sailing league).  The Club Velico Crotone organized the event.      

Il Circolo Canottieri Aniene was the winner of the 2017 season of the Italian Sailing League. With a flawless series, built with four first, one second and one third in the six races, the CCA team (Lorenzo Bressani, Luca Tubaro, Matteo Mason and Umberto Molineris) dominated the league’s finale.

Italian J/70 sailing league off Crotone, ItalyIt was an extremely tactical first day, with a wildly shifting wind.  The second day had strong winds, challenging the crews, particularly on their boat-handling and planing mode angles downwind.  On the final day, it was a steady, but streaky breeze of 11 to 15 kts. It was readily apparent to everyone on the race track, the CCA team had it nailed all weekend long.

"This season we have rallied hard several times, and we have been able to think about the best strategies and tactics.  We changed Matteo Mason's role, adding to jib trim the role of tactician, too.  It was a winning choice, a necessary one for the high level of this finale, which was well above last year,“ commented Lorenzo Bressani- skipper of the CCA team.

J/70s sailing Italian leagueIn addition, as it always happens in high-level one-design regattas, the training and crew make the difference; as was evident by the performance of the next two teams on the podium. Second place went to the Yacht Club Adriaco- represented by the victorious J/70 Worlds Corinthian crew (Gianfranco Noè, Emanuele Noè, Andrea Micalli and Samuele Maria Semi). Then, placing third was the Circolo della Vela Bari with crew of Simone Ferrarese, Michele Lecce, Corrado Capece Minutolo, and Gianmaria Foglia.

Italian J/70 sailing league- winners"We have an exceptional field of racing sailors,” commented the LegaVela President Roberto Emanuele de Felice.  “It was a perfect venue for racing. A thank you to President Verri and his team- Crotone really did their best to host a wonderful event. Congratulations to the Circolo Canottieri Aniene, which in this finale embodied great spirit and tremendous talent needed. The LIV Formula is outstanding, and it is clear the level of J/70 racing by all clubs is getting much higher."

“Remarkably, 11 teams had at least a first place,” said LIV Executive Vice President Alessandro Maria Rinaldi.  “This shows the top level talent of all crews! It was clear that CCA had talent and experience, the Club has trained more this year by taking part in the selections at St. Petersburg's Sailing Champions League and at the SAILING Champions final in Porto Cervo. The competitive level was also very high for the other Clubs and for that reason Legavela Servizi will set up a special 2018 bid for sailing clubs that want to train and participate in 2018. A warm and hearty 'Thank You' goes to all the yacht club staff that enabled this event to take place. Thanks Crotone and goodbye to next year!"   Italian J/70 Sailing League video summary   Follow Italian J/70 Sailing League on Facebook here   For more Italian J/70 Sailing League information

J/70 Under 19 youth sailing leagueClub Velico Crotone Tops Italian U-19 J/70 Sailing League Kick-off
(Crotone, Italy)- On October 30, the Kick-off for the Club Under 19 Championship, the junior version of the Legavela Championship, took place at Crotone and also hosted by Club Velico Crotone. The program for the seven competing teams included a full day of training on Monday by Italy’s top J/70 sailors for the youth teams.  Then, the teams sailed a round-robin format of racing over two days, just like the adult sailing league.  This is the report on how it all took place.

Day 1
Fifteen races were sailed in over 12 knots on the first day. The young sailors aboard the new J/70 one-design sailboats welcomed the Legavela format with great enthusiasm and had a true battle in fifteen races.

At the top of the leaderboard after the first day were the hosts of the Velico Crotone Club (captain Matteo Verri, skipper Demetrio Sposato, Gaia Verri, Mattia La Greca, and Beatrice Sposato), thanks to winning seven of fifteen races, they had a 40 pt lead. Sitting in second with 55 pts was Centro Velico 3V (captain Alessandro Franzì, skipper Riccardo Sepe, Gabriele Centrone, Alice Tamburini, and Paolo Iacchia).  Then, sitting in third with 60 pts was Societa Velica di Barcola e Grignano (captain/skipper Maria Vittoria Marchesini, Matthias Menis, Zeno Tarlao, Alice Linussi, and Nicolas Starc).

Italian Under 19 youth sailing league winnersDay 2
On the race course, the Club Velico Crotone youth crew repeated their excellent performance on the first day. Comfortable with the sustained strong winds, they kept the results constant- mostly first places! As a result, the CVC youth U-19 team won the first Italian U-19 J/70 kick-off sailing league event.

Ironically, despite the ups and downs on the results ladder, the top three teams did not change at the conclusion of the regatta.  Second was Centro Velico 3V and holding on to third place was Societa Velica di Barcola e Grignano.

"We are excited about this event, which closes a great week of sailing, beautifully organized by Club Velico Crotone," said the executive vice president of LIV Alessandro Maria Rinaldi. “The young sailors have done their best and have proven to be perfectly capable of handling the J/70s in the sailing league format. The experiment has been successful, and now we are ready to build a circuit for next season, dedicated to mature young people rising to the top of Italian sailing."   Follow the Italian U-19 J/70 Sailing League on Facebook here   For more Italian J/70 Sailing League information

J/105 Lipton Cup winners- San Diego YCSan Diego YC Tops J/105 Lipton Cup Challenge
(San Diego, CA)- The 103rd Challenge for the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup hosted by San Diego Yacht Club invited twelve yacht club teams from California, New York, and Illinois.  After three days of racing, it was “clear as mud” which team was going to walk away with the coveted Sir Thomas Lipton Cup, a massively beautiful piece of silverware donated for this event by the famous “tea baron” from the United Kingdom.  In the end, proving their resiliency yet again in very tough, tactical conditions, it was the young Tyler Sinks leading the host team- the San Diego YC crew- to the overall victory on the last day over their arch-rivals, and nemesis, the 2016 victors Newport Harbor YC skippered by Jon Pinckney.  In this regatta, it has held true that “the opera ain’t over until the fat lady sings”; any one of three teams could have won going into the last race.

All races were sailed on the San Diego fleet of J/105s in North Bay on the normal venue…bordered by downtown San Diego and the U.S.S. Midway to the east, to the south the US Navy’s North Island (without a 1,200 ft carrier this year), and to the north by Harbor Island with the Sheraton Hotels at San Diego Airport.  Typically, with the breeze in the Southwest to Northwest quadrants, the ship channel next to the North Island Navy base is a significant factor for current, mostly westerly flowing at up to a full knot.

This year, the conditions were pretty basic San Diego, light, sunny... 6-10kts from the northwest for the first two days.  The last day was from the south, very puffy, streaky and shifty, and made for some fun shorter legs with up to three laps! Here is how it all went down. 

Day One- Light stuff
Racing in the northern part of San Diego harbor, the SDYC RC/ PRO team managed to run the first four races.  It was certainly a light day with the breeze hanging around 5-6 knots all day. The heaviest air that Race Committee saw was 8 knots, but unfortunately it did not stay for long and competitors were mostly battling in light air with some current. Because of the light air, Race Committee shortened the course during races 1, 2, and 3. Race 4 was not shortened, but the wind was shifting to the right for a large portion of the race.

The sailing was hugely variable because of the fact that almost every team in the event was in the top 3 boats at any given mark rounding throughout the afternoon!

There were four different race winners on this day.  Race 1 went to Commodore Phil Lotz from New York Yacht Club.  Race 2 went to Shane Young from Long Beach Yacht Club.  Race 3 to Chris Perkins from San Francisco Yacht Club.  And, race 4 to Jon Pinckney from Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

At the end of the day, only four points separated positions one through three. Interestingly enough, the top three teams after day one are the only non-California teams participating!  That was another historical “first” for the Lipton Cup!

The top three teams after day one were Chicago Yacht Club with the young Will Holz as skipper in first place; the New York Yacht Club led by Commodore Lotz in second; and Larchmont Yacht Club’s Danny Pletsch in third. Notably, all three of these teams were vying for their first win of the Lipton Cup trophy.

Back at SDYC's guest dock after racing, Chicago Yacht Club skipper Will Holz shared his successful strategy for the day.  "Today it was all about grinding back from bad situations. If I found myself in 9th or 10th at a mark rounding, I tried to grind one boat at a time to get rid of those double-digit races. We focused on our starts for the most part; if you had a good start, you were likely rounding top 6. Other than that, we just tried to stay fast and I tried to let my crew run the boat while I steered. We have a lot of talented sailors on board, so I tried to put ourselves in a position to let them rumble."

Philip Lotz, skipper and 2017 Commodore of the New York Yacht Club, shared what it was like to win the first of the twelve scheduled races for the three-day regatta.  "Race one was the first race out of the shoot for us. We had a clean start, we got going a little to the left, and we actually stayed in the middle of the race course on the first leg, trying to connect the dots on the breeze lines. We were one of the first boats at the weather mark and we got to the downwind left on the spinnaker run. We got lucky there with more breeze, came in first at the gate, and held that lead for the rest of the race."

The team from Larchmont Yacht Club, skippered by Danny Pletsch, had some challenges today, but is still third going into Saturday. "Overall, we did well today although we made a few different mistakes that got the umpire involved. Aside from that, we feel that we sailed really well and we feel good. Right now we are in the power of 3s- we got 7th the first year and 4th last year so now it's win or go home. We're pumped for tomorrow."

Day Two- Roller-coaster Scorelines
The second day started out similarly to the previous day’s conditions. The marine layer burned off by 10:00 am and wind at 3-5 knots greeted the racers heading out to the course by 11:00 am. The race committee worked hard, managing a very busy San Diego Bay and was able to get five races off, completing Race 9 around 5:00 pm.

With clear skies and a clear start, the first race of the day got underway and Long Beach YC was ahead right off the line. The team was able to maintain their lead the entire race and secured the top spot. Competitors learned early on that the left side of the course was paying as they followed the leader on the second beat. Long Beach skipper Shane Young said of their victory, “Our game plan was to keep it clean, minimize mistakes, get off the line and we did exactly what we planned.” Meanwhile, San Diego YC continued where they left off yesterday finishing second and Newport Harbor YC got into a consistent groove finishing third and decided that was as low as they were going to go the rest of the day!

Race 6 began with another clear start and Southwestern YC found themselves second row off the line and threw in a tack briefly before returning to join the rest of the fleet on the left side once again. San Francisco YC and San Diego YC had an excellent match race starting at the first weather mark rounding. At the leeward gate, both boats rounded simultaneously and tried to make gains on their second upwind leg. San Diego YC took the win and got their first taste of the top spot in the 2017 regatta.

Balboa YC, eager to improve their streak of ninths, had an aggressive start and was OCS for Race 7; but, was able to make it up and finish third. St. Francis YC also managed to improve their score for the third race of the day. During a flurry of protests at the second windward mark rounding, St. Francis YC was able to stay focused, with clean maneuvers and round the mark in second before setting off for their final run to the finish. They crossed the line in second to secure their best race of the regatta so far. Newport Harbor YC also capitalized at the second windward mark rounding while their fellow competitors were making penalty turns and they took first for race seven. Skipper Jon Pinckney said, “With everyone slowing down, it opened up the lead for us... we were the benefactor of a huge pile up at the weather mark. Sometimes the luck goes your way in the Lipton Cup.” Surely, the Newport Harbor team hopes that luck continues into the final day!

Racers had some external challenges in Race 8 with some major shipping traffic; thankfully, all boats were able to maintain their course. SDYC jumped ahead and Coronado YC got in the game for a top three spot. After the first weather mark rounding, all teams stayed to the left side of the course and Coronado YC decided to go right. Three year veteran Lipton Cup skipper Patrick Powell later said, “I think this was the first race you had to go right a little bit and we played the shifts really well.”

Race 9 got off to a rocky start with a postponement followed by a general recall. Once the boats were off the line, they were ready to sail fast. Cal YC was first to the windward mark on the first beat and held the number one spot until the finish. Newport Harbor YC landed in second and Larchmont YC improved from placing fifth in Race 8 to third in the final race of the day.

Day Three- Dramatic Finale
The final day began with a postponement while breeze filled in from the South. The SDYC Race Committee was able to get the first race off at 1:45pm setting a shorter, 3-lap course across the bay that was key in achieving all 3 races needed to complete the regatta.

The sun was just breaking through the clouds at the start of Race 10. Chicago YC was OCS, St. Francis YC won the boat end, and Larchmont YC had a great start at the pin; but was soon rolled by San Diego YC. Chicago YC recovered from their start moving into third at the first windward mark rounding. With lots of lead changes throughout the 6-leg course, it was anybody’s race. Cal YC found themselves in great pressure sailing deep on the second run. They were able to keep that momentum and secure the top seat in the first race of the last day. Larchmont had an impressive race as well, finishing second, their best race of the regatta. This morning, main trimmer, Chad Corning, talked about going into the final day, “It’s a hard regatta, the Lipton Cup, to stay consistent. So, today we just want to get some good starts.”

Consistency came into play in Race 11, as there were not nearly as many lead changes throughout the race. The fleet stayed in the middle to right on the course and there was a change of course to the right for the 3rd leg. At the finish, the results were completely shaken up from Race 10 as Cal YC went from first to twelfth and Coronado came up to take the top spot. Balboa YC also made a big leap to second whereas they finished eleventh in the previous race. Meanwhile San Diego YC and Newport Harbor YC earned a fourth and a sixth respectively for both Race 10 and 11, fighting their point battle further back in the fleet.

At the start of the dramatic 12th and final race of the series, San Diego YC was sitting in first place overall with 47 points, Newport Harbor YC in second with 48 points, and San Francisco YC in third with 55 points. And in the event of a tiebreaker, Newport Harbor YC would have had the edge.

It was very quiet as the Race Committee sent the boats on their way up the course. The fleet was even off the line and New York YC was in the lead at the first windward mark rounding. Newport Harbor YC made their way through the fleet on the first three legs and approaching the second windward mark rounding were in the lead, but were just under the layline. As they stalled and slowly managed to get around the mark, Chicago YC and San Diego YC were able to pass by. Chicago YC lead the pack for a little while until Coronado YC sailed in front on the last run of the regatta getting another first. San Diego YC came in at seventh and Newport Harbor YC in tenth resulting in a 4 point overall win for the San Diego team as they won the regatta and brought the Lipton Cup trophy back home to SDYC.

San Diego YC had a tough first day of the regatta but improved throughout, seeing their best scores Saturday, which put them neck and neck with Newport Harbor YC, the defending 2016 Lipton Cup champs. After the victory, San Diego YC skipper, Tyler Sinks, said, “It feels like redemption. Having won and lost once before – it’s definitely more fun to win than to lose.”

SDYC Commodore John Reiter talked about the win and regatta. “The future of the sport is in provided boats. We had visionaries back in 2010 that helped to make this event one of the best of the best. The 2017 Lipton Cup win was a great way to cap off a strong year.”  For more J/105 Lipton Cup sailing information

J/24 East Coast Championship off AnnapolisSISU Wins 39th Annual J/24 East Coasts!
Julian Tops J/22 Mid-Atlantics
(Annapolis, MD)- Over the “pre-Halloween” weekend, the Severn Sailing Association held its 39th annual J/24 East Coast Championship.  Simultaneously, they also hosted the J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championship.  Off the mouth of the Severn River on Chesapeake Bay, both fleets enjoyed a lot of racing over the weekend, with J/24s sailing nine races and the J/22s seven races.

What was not surprising was who won the J/22 class, a long-time leader, Brad Julian from Youngstown YC in Youngstown, NY.  What surprised most everyone in the J/24 class was to see James Bonham’s SISU defeat several J/24 class championship teams (of note- Bonham did have two-time J/70 World Champion crew Willem van Waay in the cockpit and past J/24 East Coast Champion skipper Todd Hillman as “rail meat”).

J/24s sailing off Annapolis, MDThe J/24s had twenty-five boats registered for their 39th J/24 East Coast Championship; a terrific turnout considering the class was also celebrating 40 years of J/Boats (e.g. J/24s), too! The teams came from as far away as Bermuda, Nova Scotia, Florida, Maine, New York and the usual suspects from the local Chesapeake Bay fleet.  It was not an easy win by any stretch of the imagination for Bonham’s SISU crew; in fact, it was a three-way battle for at least the first six races.  After the first six races, SISU’s tally of 3-2-1-1-2-1 for 10 pts was just four points in front of perennial J/24 class champion, Tony Parker and the infamous BANGOR PACKET crew.  Parker’s tally was an equally impressive 1-1-3-3-3-3 for 14 pts.  And, just as good in those six races was Travis Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER with a 4-3-2-2-1-2 tally for 14 pts.  However, thereafter, the “wheels fell off the shopping trolley” for Parker and Odenbach.  Parker’s crew misfired in race 7, adding a 7th to their scoreline, while Odenbach’s crew “sent it down the mineshaft” in race 8, adding a 9th to their scorecard.  In the end, consistency paid off for Bonham’s all-star cast on SISU, closing with a 1-2-5 to win by five points.  Second was Parker’s BANGOR PACKET and third was Odenbach’s HONEY BADGER.

J/22s sailing off Annapolis, MDUnlike the J/24s, the top three J/22 teams on the leaderboard were all very close until the last race.  In fact, the final race for the J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championship determined the ultimate outcome.  Going into that race, Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS was leading with 18 pts, followed by Brad Julian’s USA 677 with 19 pts and Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY next with 20 pts.  By winning the last race, Julian’s USA 677 crew snatched the title away from Marshall’s BAD NEWS, who scored a 4th in the last race to drop to 2nd.  Todd’s final race 3rd place kept them in 3rd overall.  Sailing photo credits- Sarah Parker.   For more J/24 East Coast and J/22 Mid-Atlantic Coast Championship sailing information

J/105s sailing regattaAnother “White Out” @ J/105 East Coast Champs!
(Annapolis, MD)- Over the 28th to 29th October weekend, seventeen J/105s took to the line to battle for honors as the 2017 J/105 East Coast Champion.  The host Annapolis YC and its amazing volunteers put on another great weekend of sailing, managing to get in five races for the fleet.

Winning the regatta handily with two 1sts and a trio of 2nds was John White’s team on USA 113, with a total of just 8 pts.  Working hard to stay with them all weekend was the duo of Cedric Lewis & Fredrik Salvesen on MIRAGE, posting yet another amazing record of 4-1-2-1-3 for 11 pts total.  Then, rounding out the podium was Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV, winning a tie-breaker on 21 pts each with Carl & Scott Gitchell’s TENACIOUS.  Andrew had this to say about the event, “Thanks to our awesome crew- Jenny Holzer, Christina Mayor, Terry Reese, James Beatty, and, particularly, all-star tactician Ray Wulff- for a great event.”  For more J/105 East Coast Championship sailing information

J/105 sailing Great Pumpkin RegattaJ/Wildness @ Great Pumpkin Regatta
(Richmond, CA)- Richmond Yacht Clubs’ Great Pumpkin Regatta, entering it’s 32nd year, is a bit of a mini-Woodstock for the San Francisco Bay area.  For starters, it is celebrating Halloween and what is there not to like about Halloween in the Bay area for its extraordinary, eclectic collection of people that often have an “alternative” viewpoint on the world- like, “yes, aliens do exist!”  Secondly, the Bay in the fall can also have wildly bizarre weather as it transcends from its legendary nuclear-winds sailing conditions in mid-summer, to light airs/ no winds in the winter and pouring a gazillion gallons of water per second from the heavens.

The 32nd Great Pumpkin Regatta had a bit of a mix of all the fall weather you can imagine.  Not much sun, that is for sure. Mostly grey, leaden skies, with generally light airs, but some occasions enough breeze for J/70s to plane a little bit on tighter reaches.   On Saturday, the fleet enjoyed three well-run races in classic “around the cans” scenarios in the fabled “Berzerk-ely” Circle. More importantly, the Saturday party was replete with great food, great band, and some equally outrageous costumes.

Summer of Love sailing off Richmond, CAIronically, this year marked the 50th Anniversary of the “Summer of Love” edition (remember Woodstock??) of the Great Pumpkin Regatta, just as the region’s Indian Summer came to an abrupt end. Days of highs in the 80's on the San Francisco Bay with light tranquil winds were replaced with a stout, cold onshore wind, ushered in by a very dense fog bank, causing many to reach in the their closets for the heavy foul weather gear not worn in months.

Enjoying the racing and the awesome “après-race” festivities were a range of J/sailors from across the Bay area- J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, and sailing PHRF classes- J/80 and J/30.

In the seven-boat J/70 class, it was David Schumann’s BOTTLE ROCKET from San Francisco YC truly blasted-off to the front of the fleet; posting straight bullets for an easy win.  Similarly, Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE from Richmond YC dropped all deuces to complete the day in second place.  Then, amazingly, it was Mark Thomas’ USA 29 from Richmond YC that posted all thirds to round out the podium.

The J/24s were a bit less stratified than the J/70s.  In fact, it was a bit of a donnybrook for the top three boats.  After the smoke cleared, it was rockin’ woman skipper Val Lulevich and her crew on SHUT UP & DRIVE that won with a 3-1-1 tally for 5 pts.  The boys behind her ended up tied for the silver at 8 pts apiece.  Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR posted a 1-4-3, good enough on count-back to overcome Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS with a 2-2-4 scoreline.

Amazingly enough, the J/105 class had a virtual identical scenario play out as the J/24s.  Winning was Ian Charles’ MAVERICK with a 1-1-2 for 4 pts.  However, tied at 8 pts each was Sergey Lubarsky’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE/ RACEQS.COM and Jamie Isbester’s ENERGY on 8 pts each.  The Russians won that tie-breaker.

In the SF-30 Class, Tony Castruccio’s J/30 WIND SPEED was sailing fast, had a shot at winning, but did not sail the last race and settled for the bronze in their class.  Then, in PHRF E class, Tim Stapleton’s J/80 PK beat just about every crazy sportboat one could put on the starting line, Open 5.7, Ultimate 24, M20, Rondar K6, etc.     Thanks for contribution and sailng photos from Erik Simonson  For more Great Pumpkin Regatta sailing information

J/120 Emocean celebrating Witches Brew race on HalloweenWitches Brew Race- Dress for Success!
(Charleston, SC)- Every Halloween weekend, the Charleston Ocean Racing Association hosts its annual “Witches Brew Race”.  This year, it took place on October 29 in Charleston Harbor in a for-fun, random-leg race around various government markers.  The regatta rules stipulate- “all helms-persons shall be female.  Boats without female helms-persons shall be disqualified.”

In addition to the highly competitive harbor course racing, there was a costume contest adjudicated by the Race Committee (note- the Race Committee does not take candy for bribes, just rum!).  Special prizes were awarded to the top three “Best Dressed Boats” and “Best Dressed Crew.”

J/105 enjoying Witches Brew Halloween raceThe start time at 1300 off the Carolina YC dock saw the PHRF A fleet take off in good breeze.  Ten minutes later both PHRF C and PHRF D classes were also on the track, the first two fleets sailing Course 7 (longer) and Class D sailing Course 1

The conditions for the race were a bit rough on the women skippers and mostly women crews!  In the end, they held their composure in the 15 to 30 kts winds at the top mark!

In the PHRF A class, the Self’s J/105 RUCKUS took the silver.  Then, in the PHRF D class, the Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN also took silver, followed by the Swatta’s J/30 LAS BRISAS in third place.

However, the most important trophy for most boats was the Costume Contest for “Best Dressed Crew & Boat”.  By popular vote, it was a tie for second place between the “Astronauts” (on the J/105 RUCKUS) and the “Wonder Women” (on the J/120 EMOCEAN).  A great time was certainly had by all afterwards with copious amounts of Halloween food and refreshments for all.  Sailing Photo Credits- Priscilla Parker    Follow CORA’s Facebook page here   For more CORA Witches Brew Race sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/145 owners in Seattle, WA* We recently received a report regarding how a J/145 is fairing in its current home in the Pacific Northwest- Seattle, Washington area.  Here is the sweet note from Edie & John Tenneson, owners of the J/145 JEDI:

“We wanted to give you an update on our J/145 JEDI.  We have had her for five years, having brought her up from San Diego in October 2012 (formerly "Rain Cloud"). We have enjoyed racing in the Pacific Northwest doing longer distance races such as Swiftsure and Round the County, local mid-distance series such as the SYC Tri-Island series, and competing in buoy racing in PSSR (Puget Sound Summer Regatta) and PSSC (Puget Sound Spring Championship).

J/145 JEDI sailing Puget Sound off Seattle, WAWe just finished fourth in the Seattle YC invitational Grand Prix this past weekend, holding our own against two TP52s and a RP55.

We now race in the ORC division. New sails, constant learning, and great teamwork have lead to many successes.

Our 2001 J/145 is a powerful, all-around cruiser and racer that is a thrill to sail.  She is now the only J/145 in the PNW, and we are proud to have her and be part of the J/Boat family!

Note- our boat name may have its inspiration in the famous characters of Star Wars, but it’s also a conjugation of our names “John + Edie = Jedi”.

We hope you enjoy some recent photos of her in Puget Sound, thanks to our friend and amazing photographer- Jan Anderson from Seattle.  All the Best, Edie and John Tenneson”

J/70 sailing league and MarkSETBot* J/70 Sailing League using MarkSETBot for automated race course management!

Wally Cross has seen the future and wants to share the view. Here he reports on what may be the next big thing in our sport.  Wally comments on this evolutionary product:

“Three automated buoys from MarkSETBot, two operators and one RIB – that’s all you need to run a regatta with a true course every time. The MarkSETBot buoy is changing the management side of yacht racing.

Despite heavy reliance on volunteers, many yacht races have significant expenses that are making the events cost prohibitive.

When I read in Scuttlebutt about the village needed to run the Etchells Worlds, the PRO/organizer was appropriately proud of all the help which made the regatta a success, but when you consider the cost of travel, hotel and food for more than 20 RC people, the event budget quickly swells, and the expense even exceeds the cost of purchasing these automated buoys.

Key West was one of my favorite regattas until it became too expensive to run. Block Island also is one of my must sail events. However, according to Dick Neville, the cost of volunteer help to run all the courses is over $100,000.

Not only is the traditional way of running a regatta expensive, it also is slow and rarely perfect. Another drawback is the downtime between races, waiting for courses to be set and reset. When on the water, sailors would rather be racing.

J/70 sailor Wally Cross- Grosse Pointe YC sailing directorI recently ran a J/70 Stadium Sailing event at the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (Detroit, MI) in partnership with Benjamin Klatzka, USA president of the Premiere Sailing League (PSL). We teamed up with Kevin Morin, inventor of the MarkSETBot, and ran an all-automated race course using three mobile MarkSETBot marks. PSL intends to use MarkSETBot at all future stadium sailing events.

Three moveable marks can make a windward leeward course complete. The self-propelled MarkSETBot buoy is approximately 6 feet by 4 feet in size and motors at four knots. The mark’s standard battery has an average life of eight hours, with larger battery options available.

Controlled by a smartphone, the buoys move independently, in pairs, or as a group. A course is set by simply pointing the connected phone at the wind or by using wind instruments on the mark to research trends and then set a bearing based on the data. Once set, the MarkSETBot locks on a GPS location and holds position.

We held 18 races at the J/70 Stadium Sailing event with 12 teams in less than three hours. With only a five-minute crash course on using the MarkSETBot app, Benjamin controlled the setting of the marks using a smartphone, moving them independently and as a group. The starting line easily became gates, transitioned to a finish line and then moved back to the starting line for the next race.

The MarkSETBot were put to good use with constant changes to the course based on wind speed and changing wind direction. Just prior to one start, the wind shifted 90 degrees. With a conventional race course, it would have taken up to half an hour to adjust the marks. With MarkSETBot, Benjamin was able to instruct all marks on the course to shift 90 degrees. The complete course was changed in under 60 seconds, and we were ready to race again.

How can you run a regatta with only three marks, two people and one boat? Here’s how:
  • Three MarkSetBots are needed. One MarkSetBot acts as the windward mark and the other two act as the start/gate/finish.
  • Two people manage the racing: one is responsible for scoring and controlling the marks and the other is the PRO.
  • One RIB is needed for on-the-water judging and sighting start and finish lines. In the future, this could be done via drone without the need for a RIB.
How is this better than traditional mark set boats?
  • Fewer RC boats and people required
  • Faster course changes – rapid changing of course direction with no effort, leading to a more precise course
  • Fewer marks necessary – start marks can be repurposed to become gates and finish marks in under 30 seconds with the tap of a button
  • More accurate and easier deep water mark setting
  • Better wind information – displays current and past wind readings without having to radio to the mark set boat
If you are interested in the history behind MarkSetBot, Kevin Morin conceptualized the automated buoys while racing on Cass Lake at the Pontiac Yacht Club. This inland lake is shifty to say the least, and race committee work is a nonstop job. Often, courses are set less than perfect just to get races going.

This new technology eliminates some of the challenges faced by race committees in locations where the wind is shifty, volunteers are scarce, or the water is too deep to set an anchor. These issues often force them to set a course that is less than ideal or, sometimes, cancel racing entirely.

Our world is changing fast with new innovations. Just as cars will soon be able to drive without a person steering, buoys for sailboat races can be autonomous too. I’m thrilled about this new technology that will result in better races and eliminate the waste of both money and time. “  Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt Sailing News.

Team Vestas- winners Volvo Ocean Race- Leg 1* Congrats to Newport sailing duo Charlie Enright and Mark Towill and the rest of the VESTAS 11th Hour Racing crew (including Newport Shipyard’s Nick Dana, son of Charlie Dana- owner of the yard) on their first leg win in the Volvo Ocean Race!

VESTAS 11th Hour Racing won Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race, crossing the finish line in the River Tagus in Lisbon, Portugal with a 2.5 hour time cushion over the second place boat.

It’s a tremendous victory for American skipper Charlie Enright and his team, who earn 8 points for their efforts (including a one point ‘bonus’ for winning the leg).

It wasn’t easy. The wind shut down on the final approach, and an early morning lead of 34-nautical miles over second-placed MAPFRE was whittled down to 10-miles, with the finish in sight.

Nevertheless, the crew on the VESTAS 11TH Hour held their nerve; tacking and zigzagging towards the line, into agonizingly light headwinds, and finally securing victory.

“It’s incredible,” said Mark Towill, Team Director, from on board the boat moments before the finish.  “What a way to kick off the event. it’s been an incredible performance for the team… It’s been a challenging leg. We still have a lot to improve and long way to go… Today is our day, we’ll enjoy it, but then we have to get back to work and focus on the next leg.”

J/24 Champion Charlie Enright skippering Team VestasCharlie Enright is the third American skipper to win Leg 1 of the Volvo Ocean Race. The others were John Kostecki, on illbruck in 2001-02, and Paul Cayard on EF Language in 1997-98. Both of those teams went on to an overall victory – so the omens for Charlie Enright are certainly good.

Vestas 11th Hour Racing – which carries US and Danish flags – are the first American flagged team to win Leg 1. They are also the first Danish team to win a leg.

“We have a long way to go certainly, but this was a good way to start,” said skipper Charlie Enright. “SiFi (navigator Simon Fisher) did a great job. He didn’t really make any missteps. But every sked is nerve-wracking, especially when you’re stuck in a river going backwards!

Team Vestas 11th Hour Racing sailing Volvo race“But we pride ourselves on not getting too high or too low and I think we executed that on this leg. It’s about having confidence in ourselves and committing to the process and now we’re starting to see the results of that.”

From a J/Boats sailor perspective, it’s interesting to note the top three boats were all led by very experienced J/sailors.  Charlie Enright was a J/24 World champion; the second place skipper- Xabi Fernández of MAPFRE and the third place skipper- Charles Caudrelier on Dongfeng Racing Team- both have had extensive experience sailing J/80s at a National and European level.

The next leg, a 7,000 nm course from Lisbon, Portugal to Cape Town, South Africa, starts November 5th, 2017.  For more Volvo Ocean Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.