Wednesday, January 17, 2018

J/Newsletter- January 17th, 2018

J/121 Seahorse magazine preview“A Single-purpose, Tightly-Focused, Mile-Cruncher- the J/121!”
(Lymington, England)- The new J/121 has been created to allow fast, simple sailing for those who want to spend their time tackling classic ocean races (quickly) as well as local beer can races… and not chasing down a large crew.

Four decades ago a sleek, flush-deck keel boat appeared in the summer race circuits around New England and turned heads with both its looks and its speed around the race courses. Fractional-rigged with a large genoa and balanced sailplan, the J/24 was an instant hit; within a few short years fleets were appearing all over the US and elsewhere, with the top names in the sport enhancing the competition among rival sailmakers fighting for their share of a fast-growing new market for sails.

The newest offering from J/Boats, the J/121, is both a logical extension of other performance designs they have built over the years but also a significant departure for the company. The J/120 brought sprit-boat sailing to the 40ft range two decades ago, and more recently the J/122 brought a more modern and IRC-friendly design to the same size range. Both, however, assumed a full crew of 8-10 people would race onboard, with the sailing systems and interior accommodation arranged accordingly.

While many of us remember the J/24 era clearly, and are still struck by how many J/24s are still out there racing, what people may not remember is that designer Rod Johnstone was not just interested in performance when he drew and built his iconic little design, but also had in mind that this was a boat that could help encourage family sailing. Yes, the J/24 was envisioned to get the family out together on the water, even sleep aboard with its modest but livable accommodation. It was not uncommon in these early days to have crew staying aboard while racing at class regattas…

Times may have changed, but the J/Boats philosophy has not, which is why literally thousands of boats across dozens of different models have been sold under the family brand name – always with one overriding consideration in every design: will this boat be suitable for sailing with family and friends?

“Whether it’s day sailing, buoy racing, long-distance cruising or offshore racing, the family fun characteristic is very much in the J/Boat DNA,” said Jeff Johnstone, company president. He should know: Jeff is one of several second generation Johnstone’s to carry on the family business. Rod’s son Alan has taken on the designing of J/Boats, including the J/121, and Jeff and Alan’s cousin Stuart is active in marketing and also publishes the weekly  J/Newsletter.

Like other global brands, J/Boats’ success is founded on staying in close touch with their customers as they move through the sport. The product line has therefore evolved to remain relevant to their large, well-documented customer base, as well as attracting newcomers with the company’s latest ideas……  Read the rest of the article here at Seahorse magazine website.

J/121 offshore speedster 
Dreaming of Summer?  Winter Boat Shows Update!
(Newport, RI)- With winter reaching out to make life miserable in the northern hemispheres, it’s a great time to dive indoors to a large, warm, exhibition hall and visit J/Boats dealers participating in winter 2018 boat shows to get the latest information and scoop on the newest offerings from J/Boats.  Here is a list of them to add to your future travel plans!

January 20th to 28th- boot Dusseldorf Show
On Display are J/97E, J/112E, and New J/121
With over 300 sailboat related exhibitors, there is no question the world’s largest sailboat show in the heart of Europe is an exciting place to visit.  Das boot, the boat show in Dusseldorf, Germany, takes place from January 20th to 28th, 2018.

On display in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be three choices for J/Tribe aficionados.  For those into performance, the new J/121 Offshore Speedster will be making her European boat show debut; learn why she was chosen SAIL Best Boat- Performance Over 30 feet Award and SAILING WORLD’s Boat of the Year- Best Crossover Award.

And, check out those new fast, comfortable sport cruisers- the J/97E and the J/112E. The next-generation sport-cruisers, the “E” series of the J/97E and J/112E, are proving to be quite popular in Europe.  At the Paris Boat Show, the J/112E had an enthusiastic reception with sailing families seeking to combine the “joy of sailing” with lots of expansive comfort on deck and down below in the sunny interior.   For more Boot Dusseldorf show information.

J/97E sport cruiser sailing fastJanuary 26th to February 3rd- Seattle Show
For a week, you get a chance to escape the lovely grey, drizzly weather in the Pacific Northwest and pretend it is always sunny, warm, and pleasant by going inside the pavilion at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. Visit Booth WEST 4 to see the easy-to-sail 31 foot sport cruiser that has been taking the European offshore buoy events by storm- the lovely and incredibly roomy J/97E.  On hand to help you chat about the 97E and the latest in the J/Boats range (like the new J/121 Offshore Speedster) will be the team from SAIL Northwest. For an appointment, please call Bob Ross at SAIL NORTHWEST- ph (206) 286-1004 or email-  For more Seattle Boat Show information.

J/Fest Northwest, Seattle, WashingtonJ/FEST Northwest Announcement
Sail Northwest invites you to join them for the comeback of the original J/FEST Northwest! For 26 years, the event produced some of the best racing and after race socializing available on the planet. This two-day regatta (with a Friday night PHRF fun race) is open to all J/Boats owners and crew. Starts will be provided for ONE DESIGN, PHRF AND CRUISING classes. The on the water activities are hosted by Sail Northwest and crew.  Shoreside activities will be in the Courtyard west of the main building on Friday night and at the Corinthian YC Shilshole clubhouse Saturday and Sunday.

Remember, Saturday evening’s dinner and door prize extravaganza, is always a sellout.  So head on down and join them for what Northwest Yachting Magazine called “the most looked forward to regatta of the year,” J/FEST Northwest.

Please contact Bob Ross or Ben Braden with any questions about the weekend’s festivities, sponsorship and racing questions. Phone- 206-286-1004 or email-  They will be at the boat show, visit them to catch up for the new year!

J/24s sailing off BarbadosBarbados Sailing Week Preview
(Bridgetown, Barbados)- The beginning of the Caribbean winter sailing season is marked by the fun and games that are had by all on the wonderful island nation of Barbados.  The famous Barbados Sailing Week is hosted by the Barbados Cruising Club off their enormous harbor in Bridgetown.  There are two events in the event starting first with Barbados Sailing Week from the 17th to 20th of January and is closed with their epic finale- the Round Island Race on the 21st of January.

The event is quite popular with J/sailors on the island.  In the CSA Racing class, is Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER, sailing for the Barbados Yacht Club.  Then, the island is the last known fleet or regular J/24s, as others have switched over to the US Virgin Island’s version called the IC-24.  The J/24 Barbados fleet is quite active, includes a sailing school for kids, and J/105 sailing Barbadosactively encourages participation by sailors and non-sailors alike to join in on the fun.  For this event, four of their fleet of a dozen will be racing; such as Cyril Lecrenay’s infamous BUNGA BUNGA, Robbie Yearwood’s DIE HARD, Gus Reader’s GLORY DAZE, and Neil Burke’s IMPULSE.

At the close of the regatta, sailing the Round Island Race will be Peter Lewis’ J/105 WHISTLER in CSA Division and the Barbados J/24 Club youth team sailing UNDERCOVER YOUTH for handicap honors as well!
For more Barbados Sailing Week sailing information

J/35 sailing offshore35th Anniversary J/35 Nationals Announcement
(Cheboygan, MI)- All J/35 sailors are cordially invited to compete in the 35th Anniversary J/35 National Championship. This year’s championship regatta will be held July 26 through 29, 2018 in Cheboygan, Michigan. North Star Sail Club, Harrison Twp. Michigan is delighted to host this year’s regatta.

Cheboygan Michigan offers a unique opportunity to J/35 sailors to compete in some of the best fresh water sailing in the United States. It also provides you, your crew and your family the ability to take in and see historic Mackinac Island and the Mackinaw Bridge, just a short drive from Cheboygan. You will also be close to of some of the best vineyards and microbreweries in the state.

The city of Cheboygan provides great harbor facilities and a city park with excellent picnic facilities and live entertainment in the evening.

Come and participate in an established / competitive one design series and take in Pure Michigan. For the first time in the 35 years of this competition, Rod Johnstone, the designer of the J/35 and J-Boats founder will be attending.

As a side note to all J/35 owners, the two weeks preceding the North American Championship are the Bayview Mackinac Race and the Chicago Mackinac Race. Two of the best long distance fresh water races anywhere in the world. For more info on these and  For J/35 Nationals registration information

For any questions, please contact North Star Sail Club’s Race Officer- Tony Schornak- email- or cell# 586-201-9574.  Please also visit North Star Sail Club’s website-

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

What’s interesting about this third week of January is that few events are taking place that have wide participation by J/crews.  The principal reason being that it used to be the 2nd and 3rd weeks were the famous Key West Race Week that was bracketed by the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race and, afterwards, the Conch Grinder Cup.  This year only one J took part, a lonesome J/120.  In the meantime, the rest of January is quite busy as events start to kick-off the start of the Caribbean sailing season and the first events in Europe start to roll at YC Monaco off Monte Carlo.

Meanwhile, below are two reports.  One from our fun-loving friends from Down Under, yes, the notorious “convicts” in the J/24 Sydney and Melbourne fleets.  They recently hosted their Australian J/24 Nationals on Sandringham Bay, hosted by the Royal Sandringham YC.  And, in yet another heart-warming development, the Yucatan J/24 Class in Mexico is growing, with a fleet of more than a dozen boats now racing in the past three years!  Below is their report on their recent “Regata Los Amigos de Yucatan”, held in the gorgeous warm, windy waters of “Porto Progreso”. If you get an invitation, go!!

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:

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 Cup J/70 Invitational- 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/24 Australian NationalsOttoway Clinches Australian J/24 Nationals!
(Melbourne, New South Wales, Australia)- Congratulations to Hugo Ottaway and his crew, Paulina Mattila, Gareth Evans, James Tarode and Megan Aulich sailing BRUSCHETTA VI, the new Australian National J/24 Class Champions for 2018.  Here is a great play-by-play account of how it wall went down in the waters of Sandringham Bay off Melbourne, hosted by the Royal Sandringham YC.

DAY ONE- "Glam" Conditions
Racing got underway in “glam” conditions, sunshine and light southerlies. Race’s one and two were light and then in a building, but shifty breeze.  The fleet sailed another two races, making it four total for the day, with the last race sailed in a perfect 15 -16-knot breeze.

Dave West sailing Arthur Crothers’ KAOTIC jumped out of the box in race one for a win from local sailor Simon Grain in JET, with Jeanette Syme in WILDFIRE from the South Sydney Fleet taking out third.

Race two saw Sandringham’s “Mr J24” Hugo Ottaway in BRUSCHETTA VI take the gun from JET again, with Ron Thomson in KICKING third.

As the breeze built in the race, the placings started to change around. Local class President, John Neville, put in a solid performance to take the gun from Jordan Sunkel-Lozell and Kirsty Harris in HYPERACTIVE. Jordan was sailing the Sandringham J/24 Fleet Youth boat SIDETRACKED like a champ.

Race four, the race management team sensibly got ahead of the program with a questionable weather forecast for Saturday. The local J/24 Worlds aspirant Brendan Lee, sailing BY THE LEE, took the gun from Hugo and Steve Wright sailing TINTO, the latest addition to the Australian fleet from Germany.

So, the top five crews after day one were all basically tied!  Leading was Ottoway’s BRUSCHETTA VI with a 2-7-1-10 for 20 pts.  Behind on the tie-breaker was Wright’s TINTO with a 3-4-8-5 on 20 pts.  Then, third was a tie-break on 21 pts with Simon Grain’s JET with a 6-11-2-2 with Harris’ HYPERACITVE with a 9-3-5-4.  One point back in fifth was West’s KAOTIC with a 4-13-4-1 for 22 pts.

That’s what the results say, so what really happened??

JET looked great after the first two races, then faded. But, in a gentlemen’s agreement with John Neville, is one jug up!

Ottoway started badly with a 10th, but won the day, on a count back from Steve Wright– not exactly creaming the day but 1 point ahead of JET and HYPERACTIVE. And, KAOTIC with mixed performances is a further point back.

Looks like Simon likes the light, but Hugo likes the mid-breezes.

Back in the fleet, Chris Ravesi in SANGUINE had an altercation with newcomer Patricio Sepulveda in BAILE de LUNA. Jordan in SIDETRACKED busted a lower shroud when doing rather well near the top mark.

J/24s sailing off Melbourne, AustraliaDAY TWO- It's Never Like This!
Yes, It’s Melbourne and, as always, it is never like this!  But, friends, it is what it was!

The day’s weather was an even better re-run of Day One.  Warm sunny and with 7-12 knot southerly breezes and flat water, the stay at homers will be wishing they weren’t.

A little point to note from John Neville’s briefing – he/she who wins the first race of the day commits them and their crew to cooking the evening BBQ at the Ken King Centre.

Yesterday’s problems are all fixed, SIDETRACKED got new lower shrouds, SANGUINE had its bow fixed and BAILE De LUNA was replaced with SCRUMPY, thanks to our very generous Leigh MacLeod.

So it was in Race 5 today that Brendan Lee put his hand up to cook the BBQ with a good win from Steve Wright in TINTO and John Neville in VICE VERSA.

Race Six and Sandy’s ex-President, Newsletter Editor in Chief, resident Scotsman and all round keenest skipper, yelled ‘Och aye the noo’, freely translated this means ‘just now I won me first Nationals race’ and let me tell you folks if it wasn’t for being a Scotsman, the credit card would be out and the bartender shouted “free drinks” on Doug! Well done, Doug!

In a race of upsets, Jeanette Syme in WILDFIRE had a well-deserved second and Warren Campbell screamed into third. Wow!

An amazing thing so far is that no boat is a stand out, every boat in the top half of the fleet has had a shocker and with only one drop in this 12 race series, some of these are going to count. Consistency is the key.

Speaking of that. Brendan Lee has now had two wins and a few shockers– here is one of them, ouch!

But, it could be any one of us trying just a bit too hard. Brendan spent the race outside the course looking at this very same video immediately placed on the Vic J/24 FB site by the amazing Craig Wiley on the start boat. I’m told he looked at it over 20 times just to make sure. What I haven’t told you is that we are all under ‘U’ flag in this start. Bye Bye!

Race Seven and ‘Mr J24’ Hugo Ottaway sailed away from the fleet – and John Neville in second to lead around every mark, Dave West in KAOTIC took third in a long battle from Simon Grain in JET.

In the almost as important Thommo Cup, Jeanette is creaming Ron by 4 points. Jack Fullerton, Sandy’s ‘replaced with new’ man is finally putting it together with a solid 10th place – nice shirts too, Jack. Dave McKay from the South Sydney Fleet is back in 11th, but here and sailing, he tells me he left Sydney with just one crew and put the rest together on the drive down! Well done Dave! By the way, has he told you he was World Moth Champion and Australian Sailor of the Year in 1969– buy him two beers and he will tell you about it! We love you in the class Magoo!

So, you would think that Hugo would be looking pretty good at the end of Day Two. And, he is, but not quite as good as John Neville, sitting just one point above him on 23 points. Dave West is third on 25 points and Simon Grain is fourth on 29 points, clearly the results are close and with 5 races still to go, the result is far from settled.

Well how does it all look? Lets ask Brendan.

Back in the pack, the new members of our Sandy group are finding out what bigger one design fleet racing is all about. It’s hard racing, but it’s fun and everyone is thrilled you guys have joined us! Stick with it, we are better for your participation by far. Robin and Jim Townsend from SA have made the trip over and are, as ever, ardent supporters of the class and the regatta circuit. Next year is your turn and we’ll be there.

J/24 sailing off AustraliaDAY 3- Shifty, Hot & Nuking!
Day three turned most things right around. Gone is the light to medium Southerly, in is the 42 C degree (HOT!) and a 20–25 knot Northerly. Jibs for everyone and for the first time in years, code flag  – life jackets today!

Initially felt with some foreboding by some, the hot Northerly belted the fleet all day. But, it wasn’t the boat and crew crusher some expected.

Kirsty Harris sailing HYPERACTIVE cleaned up the first two races.  They had a very, very close win from Simon Grain in JET and Brendan Lee in BY THE LEE in the first race.  Then, they had a convincing win in the second from Hugo Ottaway in BRUSCHETTA VI and Ron Thomson in KICKING.

A little further back, places 5-8 finished in line abreast with a spread of only 5 seconds (on the score sheet – I would have thought it was less than that). It was another great example of the close racing the class is providing. Thanks Craig!

Race Ten was taken out in grand and exciting style by class National President, Ron Thomson, skippering KICKING.

Filling the minor placings in Race Ten were Brendan Lee and Simon Grain.

In any windy day, there are things that just happen. Three people that I know of went into the water, but hung on to be pulled back on board. Steve Wright in TINTO had his bowman and kite pole go over– the pole didn’t come back!

Starting in the strong winds, where you might expect things to get a bit more ragged, it was quite the opposite for most competitors (not all) with no U flag today.

So, what happened on the result sheet? Well, quite a few changes. Sadly for John Neville, yesterday’s regatta leader, a less than a glam day, resulting in a fall from first to third behind new leader Hugo Ottaway and in second place Simon Grain. Still wide open, the first 6 places cover only 10 points and tomorrow sees some serious work still to be done for the title of National Champion 2018.

By the way, what a fantastic job the whole race management team is doing. The racing has been handled brilliantly with fair start lines and a mix of course length and structure. The protest committee has been busy with a few meetings over the last few days. From us to you– well done!! Thanks Guys and Girls of the Sandy team!!

Australian J/24 champsDAY FOUR- Battle of the Century!
Day four was a battle for first between Hugo and Simon right to the very end, with both finishing the last race in the same order as they finished the regatta.

HYPERACTIVE and VICE VERSA both finished on 58 points for fourth and fifth, respectively, an indication of the close racing throughout the regatta.

The last day started slowly with a 12-15 knot southerly, cloudy skies and much cooler temperatures (to everyone’s relief after the very draining 42 degree Saturday). With a shifty wind, a couple of generals and an exemplary attitude from the race committee, after one and a half hours and seven start sequences we finally got away. Jordan, skippering the Sandy Youth boat SIDETRACKED, had an absolute blinder of a race, finishing out front only to suffer the pain of finding he was OCS on a black flag race.

Australian J/24 winnersSteve Wright in TINTO took the gun, with JET just pipping BRUSCHETTA VI right on the line. Race 12 had BRUSCHETTA VI taking out the race from JET and HYPERACTIVE.

The Performance Handicap was won by Robin Townsend in WITCHES THIMBLE from Jack Fullerton in TWO DOGS and Ron Thomson in KICKING.

In the very popular Thommo Cup, once again Ron took the honours from Jeanette 7 – 5. Although, he tells me he got a real scare in the middle of the regatta when it was 4 all!

There are stories too many to mention from the fleet. The standard of racing is awesome, it doesn’t matter where in the fleet, from front to back the competition is full on. And everyone is loving it.

Our Sandy Race Management Team did a fantastic job in sometimes trying conditions. I heard no grumbles, only praise for their very professional work.

Australian J/24 Race CommitteeA comment from Peter Edwards from Cronulla regarding the Race Committee, “For the next three days I got to experience the most proficient, organized, and skilled Race Committee I have ever been involved with. From the top, Graeme Watt and Peter Taylor empower all their team with a cool calm and sense of importance that make you proud to be involved with them.  My thanks go to all the team for allowing me to be part of your team.
Sandringham Race Committee are as good as it gets, if not better, and I had so much enjoyment in being part of it, I really didn’t want to leave!!”

The Vic J/24 fleet did a fantastic job organizing the regatta. President John Neville and the committee put in huge hours, effort and energy into making these Nationals one of the best anyone can remember.

The presentation was held in the Sandy Harbourview restaurant, another very successful evening with El Presidente, master MC and funnyman John Neville.  He lamented that the regatta had not ended when he was winning, but doing a sterling job presenting trophies, cracking jokes and keeping us all in laughter.

Sailing photo credits- Luis Ferreiro- contact him- PH: 0439 353 865 or website-  And, you can see more fantastic pics of the action here-    For more Australian J/24 Nationals sailing information

J/24s off Yucatan, MexicoSail J/24s Off Yucatan!  
Gulf Stream Sailing with Dolphins, Whales, & Sunfish!
(Yucatan, Mexico)- Two years ago, Jorge Ojeda grew weary of racing mis-matched boats with handicaps. He said to his friends, we should all sail the same boat!

Many amigos were hesitant, but, equally weary of the lack of competition in Yucatán. The small group of sailors believes it was one of their British grandfathers that first brought recreational sailing to Yucatan.  So, los amigos wanted to grow racing, while older members of the yacht club (Club de Yates y Vela de Yucatán) saw no reason.

“In every yacht club there are two yacht clubs,” said Pedro Gianotti. “I know this to be true. In the best scenarios, the groups overlap energies. But, there are the racers and the cruisers, and beyond, the hammock sitters.  And even others, the knife & forkers, and the powerboat guys, and even the fishermen!”

Jorge was determined to change the sailing climate in Yucatán.

That’s when Nacho Cruiser Manzanilla, the club’s Commodore and a locally influential man, stepped in. Nacho and Jorge set a date. They would buy their first J/24 on February 10, 2015!  Together, no less!

J/24s sailing in Yucatan, MexicoThe fleet would grow from there to a dozen boats in two years. While Jorge builds J/24 Yucatan racing, Nacho is working to build a yacht club. Until now, the club would meet in borrowed locations throughout Progreso, the seaside town 30 miles outside of the thriving city of Mérida.

So, by December 2017, I caught wind of Jorge’s invitation to the Regata de Amigos, an annual series of 13 regattas, one held each month, consisting of two or three windward/leeward races.

I flew into Mérida for two days of exploring, a spectacular city for it, and two days of on the water.

Pedro Gianotti, the Argentinian-born UK Sailmaker down from Houston for the weekend, spent Saturday giving a seminar and measuring boats. Saturday night, Nacho organized a holiday boat parade of lights. Pedro spent Sunday coaching the J/24 Yucatan sailors through the Regatta Los Amigos, the 13th and final installment of 2017. After the regatta, the annual award was given to Tomas Dutton and the crew of CARISMA.

Our fearless leader, Jorge, has assumed the responsibilities of his passion, the kind of natural paternity that shines without requiring translation. Gregarious and expressive, when I asked him about the seminar and measurements, he said simply that he was pleased, his fleet having grown [developed] a lot this weekend.

J/24 Yucatan sailorsIt was Jorge who coordinated Pedro’s visit, and who along with his wife and crew, an attractive woman named Mercedes, ushered my own visit. One of four female J24 sailors in the fleet, Mercedes would ask questions during Pedro’s seminar, take notes on the boat’s new list of needs as he measured, and use oil and acrylics to paint the Regatta de Amigos annual trophy, a sunset sailboat scene on a flat cut of oak!

Were it not for their hospitality that brought me there, much of what is special about Yucatán and its sailors would have been beyond my reach. Pedro’s seminar was in Spanish, so for two hours I sat mostly trying to guess the topics with my elementary vocabulary. It turns out I was not alone in translating the words. While South American countries and Spain use Spanish words for the various parts of a boat, Yucatán and Mexican sailors tend to use English words!! How amusing! So, in fact many of the club’s questions for Pedro involved translating his Spanish to their Spanish!

At the Christmas boat parade of lights that followed Saturday’s seminar, Pedro mentioned sailing in a championship regatta once in which he and his three other crew spoke four different languages. When the sail went flapping, a cacophony of words erupted all at once!

J/24 Yucatan Mexico launching tractorOne sailor, who goes so far as to have the definition of the name of his J/24 elegantly strewn down the hull, is French born, Yucatán married, and with American in-laws. He and most my amigos for the weekend moved between English for me as needed, but there were still many more jokes I failed to grasp than those I understood. Instead, I smiled a lot! Moreover, as my skipper Mike Dutton yelled the Mexican-Spanish word for “Hike on Jorge’s boat, Pedro struggled to get his crew to understand the same command in Argentine-Spanish! Needless to say, I was reminded that sailing has but one language.

In sailing as in life, it is all understood through analogy. Mike referred to an electric guitar during the tuning seminar, insisting his boat worked the same way.  In addition, at one point, Tomas shared a story about the race to create a pen that would work in space. If you recall, the crazy American’s at NASA spent tons of money investing in research to make that space pen; meanwhile the Russians simply used a pencil!! Haha! The moral? Do not let the language stop you from accepting Jorge and Los Amigos de Yucatán invitation to race. They are ready, and at 6.5 km, the port of Progreso is the world’s longest, offering a warm bathtub about nine feet deep and averaging 20 knots of perfect regatta time!
For more Yucatan J/24 Fleet sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/70s sailing Quantum J/70 Winter Series in Tampa Bay J/70 “Fast Lane” Tips from Tim Healy- J/70 World and Midwinter Champion.
The North Sails one-design roster boasts impressive credentials; Olympic medalists, World, European, South American, and North American champions. Fortunately, for any J/70 sailor, their One-Design experts are big fans of sharing their tricks and tips to get around the race track.

J/70 World Champion Tim Healy has been sailing in the Davis Island Winter Series and wrote-up his expert advice for maximizing crew technique in flat-water marginal planing conditions.

The J/70 Class came back for the action at event #2 of the Davis Island Winter Series in Tampa, Florida. Starting the event off with a bullet, Joel Ronning’s Catapult was ready to take on the 52-boat fleet. A cold front kept things on the chilly side, but with a nice 12-18 knot breeze out of the NE and flat seas, ideal conditions for all teams would be presented for the weekend. The competition was as high as usual. Sailors were eager to get off the line in a clear lane so they could choose their own destiny. After six races, Catapult lived up to their name and stayed clear of the fleet, scoring a total of nine points after one discard. Still having no races out of the top five the entire weekend, they were untouchable and had unbelievable speed. The XCS-1 mainsail, the J-6 jib and AP-1 spinnaker was a common weapon of choice for J/70 teams in the top ten.

Tim Healy and North Sails team seminarAs always, teams had their share of tricks to get them around the race course. North Sails Tim Healy joined John Heaton’s Chicago YC-based team EMPEIRIA for the weekend and shared some tips with everyone afterward. Here is what he had to say about maximizing crew technique in flat-water marginal planing conditions.

Tips for Marginal Planing Conditions in 12-18 knots, flat water

At the top of the beat, it is important to recognize what side of the course has best pressure.

Plan A: If no jibe is the call, then complete a normal set and quickly determine if you are in a planing puff or not, keeping in mind that you still have to protect your lane to weather.

Plan B:  If you decide on a quick jibe, set up on the offset leg so you won’t get overlapped to windward with any boat. It is also important to sail higher, early in the offset leg, so the spinnaker can be set before the offset mark and fill as early as possible. This will allow a jibe at the offset mark to ensure no one will jibe inside you.

If you are in a planing puff, leave the jib out. Once you get planing get more vang on to maximize your power by keeping the main leech from spilling open. You should notice your leech telltales starting to stall then ease off a bit. This will give more power once you are up on a plane, allow you to sail lower while planing and will keep you planing longer as the wind fades off.

J/70 in planing modeThings to keep in mind on crew weight placement:

In marginal or ”lazy” planing conditions, keep crew weight forward. The three forward crew should only move fore and aft in the cockpit section in front of the winch. Helmsman should be hip up to winch to-two feet behind it. The less wind the farther forward the entire crew needs to move.

As your planing puff dies, turn up gradually to maintain power and heel angle. If puff continues to die and you need to start searching up for pressure/power, look upwind and determine if there is another puff coming quickly that you can connect with. If a puff is not coming your way, then quickly go into displacement mode.
  • Furl jib
  • Bear away to max downwind angle
  • Ease main out and adjust vang for proper twist
  • Weight in for a flat boat and weight max forward
  • Make sure your backstay is fully eased
When your are in displacement mode, it might be a good time to think about going wing-on-wing. This will allow you to ride the 8-13 knot puff back down to the center of the course and away from the pack. It works well in these marginal planing conditions because it allows you to separate from other boats that may be searching too high to stay on a plane. You will be sailing close to DDW, while they are sailing high (on a reach) searching for the next planing puff. This is an opportunity to gain a lot of distance from your closest competitors.

Once the next puff is identified as a ‘planing puff’, wait until it hits then it’s time to take immediate action:
  • Unfurl jib (under trim till planing to keep it from disturbing the air flow around spinnaker).
  • Turn boat up to get planing at the same time all the crew weight is moved to the weather rail.
  • Find the correct heading based on heel angle. No more than 12 degrees of heel when puff hits then less than 10 degrees to get planing. Keep in mind that a planing boat should be flat and have no more than 10 degrees of heel.
  • Spin can be eased to see curl when puff first hits. When planing trim in to eliminate that curl. Only test curl from time to time. This keeps the spin leech from twisting too far open and de-powering.
  • Once planing, trim vang on and trim in the jib, being careful not to over-trim.
Here is the article from the North Sails One-Design website

J/70s sailing Tampa Bay winter series* Tim Finkle—  Lessons from the Winter J/70 Circuit
The growth of winter racing for one-design classes in Florida has helped to extend the sailing season for northern competitors, but doing well in these events means overcoming new obstacles. Along with additional travel logistics, the body and mind must be transitioned from snow shoveling to race ready. Not always easy.

Tim Finkle of RCR Yachts is competing in the three-event Quantum J/70 Winter Series with weekend racing in December, January, and February in Tampa, FL. After his result in the January event came a bit short of his goal, here are some of the lessons he hopes to apply at the final event next month.

“Practice is important. Almost all of the teams went out at some point on Friday and had some tuning, practice starts, or just boat handling practice. We did not, and with a new team, that was a mistake. But, we all have jobs and other commitments, so that is the case sometimes.

Don’t start in traffic. With 53 boats on the line, it is tough, but the line was long enough so it was possible to find low-density areas. We didn’t always do that and it made it tough to live in tight lanes off the start. In a big fleet, it is about being free off the line to get to the side you want or being free to tack on the first big shift to cross a big pack of boats. We could never really do that and when you fall back into the middle of the fleet, it is hard to work out of because you don’t have clear air.

Start in the front row. In a fleet that uses Velocitek ProStarts that produces time and distance readings, everyone knows where the line is. It’s not okay to be a few meters off as that will result in being spit out the back. You have to be on or even over in some cases, especially if you have some boats around you for cover. We found that even just a few feet back was not good enough.

Don’t be afraid of the Black Flag. They use it a lot in the J/70 fleet to avoid general recalls. The U-Flag is also used, which is the same as a black flag but that you can restart in a general recall. This event did not have any black flag penalties, which surprised me when looking at the results. The RC was using the U or Black every single race. That either means that it worked and the boats all laid back (I doubt it) or they weren’t calling the line that closely. My take away is that I was too hesitant and didn’t push the line hard enough.

Have a pre-start routine and don’t get lazy. The RC did not waste a lot of time between starts, so that made it even more critical to get your stuff in order between races. There was not a lot of time to drink water or go to the bathroom and sail off the starting area. You had to get back into your routine, checking the line, pinging the ends, looking for wind, tuning the rig, etc. If you were not ready, the 5 minutes goes by very quickly and you will find yourself wishing you had done more prep before the start. Missing a shift and being on the wrong end of the line is very hard to dig out of.

Take what is given. There were times when we had a game plan but did not execute. We may have wanted to get to one side or another but couldn’t get there or worse, chased across the middle of the course to get to the side. Sometimes you need to sail the side you are on and do you best to stay on lifted tack and use what is given to get to where you want to go. It’s not always easy especially if you don’t have good lanes to do it, but chasing something and going for leverage for a big gainer doesn’t work that often.

Trim settings. We did not keep good records from the last regatta and sort of had to start over on that with a new trimmer. We should have made better notes so that when a new trimmer comes aboard, we can hand them the notes so they know what marks to trim to, where to set the jib cars, how much to in-haul, etc. in different conditions. This is not a knock on our trimmer, who is excellent, but it’s just hard to expect someone to step in and know the best settings if they have not trimmed the sails on this boat before; that’s unrealistic.

Work hard to the end. This is an area where we did well this weekend. When we found ourselves deep in a race, we did not quit and kept working at it, trying to make gains until the finish. We caught a lot of boats by communicating and working the boat. I was proud of the guys for keeping it positive and working together. You can’t control everything around you, but you can control your own boat, so it’s important to focus on what you can control and make the best of it.”
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