Wednesday, March 21, 2018

J/Newsletter- March 21st, 2018

J/121 Apollo sailing off St MaartenNew J/121 Offshore Speedster Update
APOLLO Crushes Heineken St Maarten Long Distance Race
(Simpson Bay, St Maarten)- During the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, a newly launched J/121 named APOLLO created quite a stir amongst the offshore cognoscenti that were present in the 100-boat fleet.

The occasion was the traditional opening day race- the Round the Island Race.  Normally a 30.0nm picturesque circumnavigation of St Maarten, the course was changed for CHS Offshore classes due to lighter than normal winds in the 8-13 kts range from the East-Southeast.  The shortened course was approximately 23.6nm, starting in Simpson Bay heading west for 4.5nm under spinnaker to Point Basse Terre leaving it to starboard, a short reach north for 1.3nm around Point Plum, then a long 6.5nm beat up the Anguilla Channel to a turning mark off Bell Point leaving it to port, then a spinnaker run of 6.5nm back to Point Plum to port, around Pt Basse Terre for 1.3nm, then a 4.5nm beat to the infamous “Heineken Gate” and finish line in Simpson Bay.

It was a race course where no one could “hide”, you simply sailed it fast, clean, make smart sail choices, and have good boathandling.  Not much to pick for windshifts upwind or downwind, just sail fast and have fun.

That is precisely what Don Nicholson’s crew did aboard his J/121 APOLLO. They sailed away from their CHS 3 fleet that had the fastest, winningest J/122 in the Caribbean- EL OCASO- and the proven, winning offshore speedster- the J/111 SPIKE from the British Virgin Islands.  In other words, in a gold-plater division full of the best crews in the Caribbean, the J/121 sped away like a horse running for the roses and the barn door!

J/121 Apollo sailing fast off St MaartenLeading at the first mark by well over 2 minutes, APOLLO powered away upwind to open up a substantial lead.  At the top turning mark, they gybe set their large A2 asymmetric spinnaker, and flew downwind.  By the time she crossed the finish line in 2 hrs 50 min 28 secs elapsed time (an 8.34 kts course average), they beat the 2nd place J/122 EL OCASO by 16 min 23 secs across the water and 9 min 11 secs on corrected time.  Needless to say, Nicholson and his crew were overjoyed to have proven in a simple point-to-point race that the J/121 lived up to its billing as an easy-to-sail, fast, shorthanded boat for six crew.

Nicholson commented on their performance with his new J/121 APOLLO after the regatta:

“I’m extremely pleased with our first regatta in APOLLO (J/121 hull #2).  We placed 3rd in CSA 3 Class of both the Gill Commodore's Cup and the Heineken Regatta in diverse and challenging conditions against a fleet of extremely well-sailed boats.

Being scratch boat in the class and crossing the line first in most races was a thrill.  The J/121 handles extremely well, with dinghy-like responsiveness and quick acceleration.  She pointed higher to weather than I expected and we routinely found ourselves both higher and faster than the other boats in the fleet, giving us many tactical opportunities, especially in close quarters at the start.

Downwind she was delightfully fast and competently handled all the sail area we put up.

My crew was awesome and the J/121 provided them a great opportunity to experiment with trim, weight distribution and boat handling so that we got up the learning curve quickly.

Our next regatta will be the St Thomas International Regatta in the U.S. Virgin Islands and the adjacent British Virgin Islands Spring Regatta, where we hope to hone our skills and push the boat to its full potential.

After that, Apollo will return to her homeport of Newport, RI in preparation for the Newport-Bermuda race.  I’m a big fan of the J/121 already and it’s great to be able to reduce our crew numbers and simplify the logistics of the Apollo program.”  Sailing photo credits- Laurens Morel. For more J/121 Offshore Speedster sailing information

J/122 El Ocaso sailing St ThomasSt Thomas International Regatta Preview
(Cowpet Bay, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- If your bucket list includes having a drink at the 2017 Favorite Yachting Bar in the Caribbean, then tick that box with for March 23 to 25 at the St. Thomas International Regatta. Announced on January 3, 50° North, creators of Wight Vodka and Scuttlebutt Europe announced that the STIR-host St. Thomas Yacht Club won its annual contest in a special Caribbean category to recognize bars that were hard hit by the hurricanes last fall.

“It’s an honor to have received this recognition, especially as the Club is still recovering from the after effects of hurricanes Irma and Maria,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield. “As a result, this will not be our biggest STIR, but we can guarantee everyone a special time. For those who have never visited, Cowpet Bay is a beautiful place to finish a race and the Club and its bar are located beachfront here. Plus, for those that are long timers, think back to your first Caribbean regatta and what a great experience it was. We are offering this same vibe this year with an emphasis on ‘simple fun and great sailing’. That’s why we love it here!”

There is no question many sailors are answering that siren call!  For those that enjoyed Caribbean racing in the 1970s and 1980s – or heard the stories and wished you were there – this year’s St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), set for March 23-25, 2018, is the place to be!

J/122 El Ocaso sailing St ThomasA dozen boats are registered for the third annual Round the Rocks (RTR) race on Thursday. This one-day event, whose course is a 19 mile circumnavigation of the neighboring island of St. John, is a great way for teams to tune up for the main event starting on Friday. Boats sailing in the Round the Rocks race will start off St. Thomas’ east end off Cowpet Bay, sail counterclockwise around St. John, and finish off St. Thomas.

“By popular demand, we brought back the Round the Rocks race this year. This sprint around St John is both scenic and tactical. It’s a great way to kick-off STIR, especially with Rock City Brewing Company sponsoring the race and after-racing Happy Hour,” says regatta director, Bill Canfield.

The twelve-boat race fleet is split into two groups: CSA (Caribbean Sailing Association) Spinnaker and CSA Non-Spinnaker classes.  Sailing in CSA Spinnaker is Don Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO.  Nicholson commented;

“This is the third ‘big boat’ in our program; Apollo replaced my custom 42 footer. We have been racing as a core crew for about 15 years; the core crew being myself, Denise Bienvenu, Paul White and David Malkin, including two Newport-Bermuda races, a Chicago-Mackinac race, and numerous other regattas on both coasts of the USA. But, we have never raced as a team in the Caribbean. So, we are extremely excited to be honing our skills with this exciting new boat in such a wonderful venue. We also have Jeff Johnstone from J/Boats on board for the RTR and STIR.”

Amongst the fleet of forty-five boats for STIR are two very quick J/crews racing the preeminent class in the event- CSA 1.  Continuing their battle offshore and around the buoys during the Heineken St Maarten Regatta will be Nicholson’s J/121 APOLLO and the famous J/122 EL OCASO.  Interestingly, both boats will have mostly new crews!  Robin Team’s crew from North Carolina (winners of multiple Key West Race Weeks and Ft Lauderdale-Key West Races on board their own J/122 TEAMWORK) have chartered EL OCASO and will be vying for class honors in their very tough eight-boat division.  For more S.T.I.R. sailing information

J70 Women's sailing leagueWomen’s J/70 Sailing League Announcement
(Hamburg, Germany)- After the last general assembly of ISLA (International Sailing League Association) in December 2017, the date and the location of the first event of Women’s SAILING Champions League are now set. Kiel Week will host the first Women’s SAILING Champions League from June 16 to 18 in Kiel, Germany.

The first battle of all-women teams takes the stage at the world’s biggest sailing regatta in Kiel, Germany (1,600+ boats!). Up to 24 teams from more than 17 nations will compete in the kick-off event of Women’s SAILING Champions League.

Each of the 17 European National Sailing Leagues gets the chance to send up to two club teams to the event. The organizing authorities, ISLA and SAILING Champions League GmbH, leave the decision which clubs to nominate for the event to the national leagues. Additional spots will be granted as wild cards by ISLA and SCL.

J/70 Women's sailing leagueEach club sends a team of four or five women sailors to Kiel. The familiar format with six to eight J/70 one-design boats, a pairing list and short, spectator and media-friendly races will be used. The races will be broadcast live with SAP Tracking and SAP Sailing Analytics as part of KielerWoche.TV.

Peter Wolsing, President of ISLA says, “We are very excited that the league sailing format is growing so fast. We are happy and honored that our best women’s teams will compete during Kiel Week in June and our best youth teams during Travemünde Week in July.”

Hosting clubs are the four organizing clubs of Kiel Week: Kieler Yacht-Club, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein, Hamburger Segel-Club and Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee. The latter club from Berlin will be responsible for the race management.   Sailing Photo Credit- Lars Wehrmann  For more Kiel Week sailing information  For more Women’s SAILING Champions League regatta information

Farallones islands/ rocksBAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race Preview
(San Francisco, CA)- Fifty boats are entered for the 2018 edition of the infamous Doublehanded Farallones Race, hosted by the Bay Area Multihull Association (BAMA).  It can be a thrilling 58.0nm race, a “pea soup” foggy drifter, a challenging marathon, or a benign cruise.

The course could not be simpler, start in San Francisco Bay in front of Alcatraz Island, go west out underneath the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, around the Farallones Rocks to port (teaming with monstrous great white sharks, thousands of seals, a few zillion birds creating too much guano), then back into SF Bay to the finish line just off the Ghirardelli Chocolate Factory along the waterfront.  What can go wrong with this picture? Well, in a matter of words, plenty.

J/120 sailing doublehanded Farallones raceMost times, the race takes on multiple personalities, going from sunny & gorgeous, to 20-30 kts offshore with terrifying breaking waves, back to an cold wet blanket of pea soup fog with 50 ft visibility, then finishing with a flourish in nuking 20-30 kts wind conditions inside the Golden Gate Bridge.

Because it is such a challenge, it marks the beginning of the season for many sailors on SF Bay.  It is certainly a very popular event for the short-handed sailing crowd after racing their cherished, insane, Three Bridge Fiasco earlier in the year.

Going for it are five J/crews from various Bay area sailing clubs.  Hoping to lead the entire fleet home will be Rich Pipkin’s J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS with a mind-numbing -18 PHRF rating.  Chasing him hard will be Reuben Rocci’s J/111 SWIFT NESS.  Then, a trio of J/120s with a number of class wins in this event will be tough to beat, including Timo Bruck’s TWIST, Ludovic Millin’s SAETTA, and Sean Mulvihill’s JAMANI.   For more BAMA Doublehanded Farallones Race sailing information

J/80s sailing off startJ/80 North Americans Announcement
(Forth Worth, TX)- For all ‘ye J/80 sailors across America, Mexico, and Canada, be sure to mark your dance calendar now and get organized for the 2018 edition of the J/80 North American Championship.  The regatta is being held from September 7th to 9th, 2018 and it is being hosted by the Beverly YC in Marion, MA. Sailing will take place on the famous Buzzards Bay, notorious for lots of current, enormous choppy waves and 15-25 kts of west to southwest sea breezes every day!  A perfect venue for the fast, easy, robust J/80 to have a romp around the buoys!  Register NOW - click here!  For more J/80 North American Championship sailing information.

J/80s sailing downwind1st annual J/80 West Coast Championship
The J/80 class continues to steadily grow in the Pacific Northwest region.  In fact, the class is now large enough to warrant creating the first ever 2018 West Coast Championship.  The regatta will take place from April 21st to 22nd, 2018 and the host will be the friendly members of Corinthian YC Seattle in Seattle, WA.  Racing will take place on the always-challenging Puget Sound where you can expect just about any weather condition imaginable in late spring!  Register NOW and get more J/80 West Coast Championship sailing information here.

If you have any questions whatsoever about either event in terms of possible charter boats, accommodation, traveling information, local contacts, then do not hesitate to contact the J/80 North American Class President Ramzi Bannura- email-

J/109 sailing Block IslandEdgartown Race Weekend Adds 'Round-Sound Race
(Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard)- Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend, a Martha’s Vineyard tradition anchored by its ’Round-the-Island Race (’RTI) of eight decades, is adding a new ’Round-the-Sound Race (‘RTS) option for teams wanting to sail a shorter course of approximately 20.0nm around government marks on Vineyard and Nantucket Sounds. The ’RTS adds yet another dimension to Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend and is an attractive alternative for those wanting to go a bit easier on Saturday or just even try short-distance racing for the first time.

The ’RTS will start at 0900 on Saturday, July 21, soon after the final start for all classes entered in the 56.0nm ’RTI, which never ceases to challenge even the best of sailors while simultaneously wowing them with “The Vineyard’s” scenic splendor.

The Saturday of short-distance racing follows two days of popular ’Round-the-Buoy Races (’RTB) in Edgartown’s Outer Harbor. The ’RTB Races were added several years ago to add diversity to its format and extend the fun of Race Weekend on its front end.

Edgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend traditionally attracts entrants from the Eastern Seaboard and beyond, delivering superb racing action for boats 28 feet and longer in classes for IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF (spinnaker and non-spinnaker divisions), Double-Handed, and Classic yachts. Professional teams as well as amateurs enter, and the mix is what keeps the atmosphere upbeat and adventurous.

The deadline for signing up for the ’Round-the-Island or ’Round-the Sound is Wednesday, July 18, 2018. The registration fee for ’RTS is $125 before July 6 and $175 after that date. The registration fee for the ’RTI has been decreased to $250.00 before July 6 and $325 thereafter.

The ’Round-the-Buoy Races registration fee for all classes will be $50 each day. The deadline for each of the two days that those races are held is Tuesday, July 17, 2018. The distance races for each day of ‘RTB are scored separately. Prizes will be awarded for all qualifying classes, including one-design, for those boats that participate in both Thursday and Friday races.

A Mount Gay-sponsored “Jump-Up” party on Friday night (July 20); and prize givings on both Friday and Sunday (July 22) round out the social on/shore schedule for competitors entered in one or more of the racing sessions.  Follow Edgartown Yacht Club Racing on Facebook  For more Edgartown YC Race Weekend sailing information or email contact-

J/Gear special 
J/Gear Winter-Spring Special- 20% Off!
(Newport, RI)- J/Boats’ sailing gear licensee V-Sport is pleased to offer all J/Boats owners and crew their 2018 Winter-Spring Special.

The Special Offer is good from now until April 4th, 2018 (please note 1/2 models, J/Photo Prints and J/Battleflags are excluded from the offer).  To place your order and enter the 20% discount code- “JB2018SP”- please visit the J/Gear website.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Last week produced rather hair-raising weather patterns in various parts of the world.  In the USA, the wildly meandering jet stream has either created little wind or overwhelming low pressure systems that smash the West Coast with big winds, massive waves, and torrential rains that create enormous mudslides.  Then, in Europe, they were hit by another “beast from the east part 2”!

In southern California, it always seems that San Diego escapes the worst of the weather.  In this case, the San Diego YC managed to hold their three-day Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta for one-design fleets of J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s. For the most part, they were blessed with good winds, mostly sunny days, and were able to run ten races for the J/70s in South Bay and six races for the 105s/ 120s offshore of Point Loma.  Further north, the annual J/105 Spring One-Design Regatta in San Francisco, CA was hosted by St Francis YC; they were not fortunate, having to contend with strong spring tides and light winds.  Nevertheless, the StFYC PRO persevered and knocked out 4 quick races.  In the mid-south, the J/22 Midwinters were sailed on Galveston Bay, hosted by the Houston YC in Houston, TX.

Hopping across the Atlantic Ocean, the Warsash Sailing Club had to cancel the start of their popular Winter Series on the Southampton Water and the Solent due to insanely crazy weather and high winds.  Meanwhile, farther south in lovely sunny Spain, two J/70 winter series were completed.  Club Nautico de Vigo, the site of the 2018 J/70 European Championship, hosted the Vigo J/70 Winter Series in Vigo.  Then, the Barcelona J/70 Winter Series in Barcelona hosted by Club Nautico de Barcelona, completing 29 races in five events!

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:

Mar 22-25- St Thomas International Regatta- Red Hook Bay, St Thomas, USVI
Mar 28-Apr 1- J/24 South Americans- Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina
Mar 29- Apr 2- SPI Ouest France Regatta- La Trinite sur Mer, France
Mar 29- Apr 1- Easter Regatta- Columbia, SC
Apr 6-8- ALCATEL J/70 Cup- San Remo, Italy
Apr 7-8- J/FEST San Francisco- San Francisco, CA
Apr 12-15- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 8-14- Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta- Gustavia, St Barth
Apr 21-22- J/80 West Coast Championship- Seattle, WA
Apr 21-22- Van Uden Reco Regatta- Medemblik, The Netherlands
Apr 26-29- J/70 Corinthian Nationals- Ft Worth, TX
Apr 27-29- Newport to Ensenada Race- Newport Beach, CA
Apr 28-May 1- Grand Prix de Saint Cast- Saint Cast, France
Apr 28- May 4- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua
May 2-6- J/24 North American Championship- Charleston, SC
May 4-6- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis, MD
May 4-6- Yachting Cup- San Diego, CA
May 8-12- J/22 European Championship- Laveoc, France
May 11-13- ALCATEL J/70 Cup- Porto Ercole, Italy
May 14-19- J/70 North American Championship- Valle de Bravo, Mexico
May 18-20- North Sea Regatta- The Hague, The Netherlands
May 24-28- J/Cup United Kingdom- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
May 25- Storm Trysail Block Island Race- Larchmont, NY
May 25-28- The FIGAWI Race- Hyannisport, MA
May 26- Spinnaker Cup Offshore Race- Belvedere, CA
May 26-28- Swiftsure International Yacht Race- Victoria, BC, Canada
May 26-28- U.K. J/24 National Championship- Poole, England
May 28-29- Coastal Cup Race- Santa Barbara, CA
May 31- SoCal 300 Race- San Diego, CA

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

J/70 sailing San DiegoGorgeous, Sunny, San Diego NOOD Regatta
Close Racing for J/70s, J/105s, and J/120s!
(San Diego, CA)- The 2018 edition of the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta took place from March 16th to 18th, hosted by the famous San Diego Yacht Club on Point Loma.  The promising weather forecasts for the weekend were fulfilled, providing the racers great sailing, both offshore south of Point Loma and also in the flat waters of South Bay in the eastern part of San Diego Harbor beyond Coronado Bridge.

Winning the J/70s on the final day was Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE.  Stew Cannon’s J-OK nearly swept the J/105 class.  And, John Laun’s J/120 CAPER kept it consistent to top their class. Here is how it all went down over the three-day weekend.

J/120s sailing San DiegoFriday- Postcard Perfect!
Optimal conditions on San Diego Bay made for a solid first day of racing. This was the second of five stops in the nation's largest and longest-running sailboat racing circuit, now in its 30th season.

Nearly half of the regatta’s entrants participated on the first day of racing and the rest join them for races Saturday and Sunday. In the J/70 fleet, the largest of the weekend, local sailmaker and professional sailor Chris Snow and the crew aboard COOL STORY BRO lead the fleet with 11 points after three races.

Snow credits a conservative approach and good boatspeed to his team's early success in a traditionally competitive fleet.

"The rule of thumb is you can't win the regatta on the first day, but you can lose it," Snow said. "Sailboat racing is a game of risk versus rewards, and the best strategy is to not take a big risk at the start [of each race] and let your boat speed do the work for you. So our strategy was to have a good solid day and not make any mistakes."

Despite shifty conditions for the first race of the day, team COOL STORY BRO placed first. The wind strengthened for the following two races. Snow said the favorable conditions made it easier for his team to “to get out in front, which takes a little bit of the stress out."

With seventh- and third-place finishes in the following races, Snow led the class by a single point. The J/70s are laden with top sailors and, according to Snow, it's still anyone's game.

"This fleet is very competitive, and that makes it fun for everybody. If you finish in the top 10, it's an accomplishment."  Tied for 2nd were Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE with a 9-2-1 and Chris Raab’s SUGOI with a 6-1-5.

The Santa Barbara Yacht Club (SBYC) Youth Team, a crew of high school-aged sailors participating in the regatta, shared Snow’s perspective. The youth team is currently placed ninth in a class full of veterans and pros. Echoing Snow's strategic insight, SBYC's tactician Payne Donaldson, 16, said his team's game plan is to "go fast, sail conservatively and start well."

J/70 Santa Barbara YC Youth TeamAfter an impressive second-place finish during the first race, Donaldson’s teammates faced a few "communication and boat set-up" issues in the day’s second race. "But we came back with sixth place during the third race, so it was a good day. We sorted out the problems we needed to."

As one of three youth teams in the J/70 fleet, the young sailors were sailing to qualify for the US J/70 Youth Championship this fall, defending the club's 2017 title.

"We picked this event because it's one of the closest qualifying events and one of the first," said crew member Caden Schivlauer, 16. "The team was here last year and we know this venue pretty well, so it just felt natural to come back."

Photo L to R: Payne Donaldson (captain, tactician), Paul Harteck (Skipper), Chris Kayda, Caden Scheiblauer, Kyla Murphy. Note- Payne and Chris were part of the Santa Barbara YC 2017 championship team at the first U.S. J/70 Youth Championship in Newport, RI.

J/70s sailing San Diego South BaySaturday- Shifty, Rough Day Offshore
Saturday was a challenging day on the water for the hundreds of sailors competing in the eleven classes. Sailors faced shifty winds and rough seas on two race courses set on the ocean off Coronado Island.

San Diego-native John Laun, the 2015 Helly Hansen NOOD San Diego Overall Winner, found the conditions demanding, but he and his crew aboard CAPER established a comfortable lead in the J/120 class, which saw four different boats win each of four races.

“It was a great day,” Laun said. “The sea state was very confused for the first couple of races in particular. There were big wind shifts and big changes in wind direction, so it was very challenging.”

Those big shifts resulted in an abandoned race. But, the wind eventually shifted westerly and held steady with more reasonable oscillations,

Behind Laun’s CAPER with a 2-1-2-2 tally for 7 pts, it was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER in second with a 5-2-1-4 scoreline for 12 pts and sitting in third was Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE with a 3-3-4-5 score for 15 pts.

The ten-boat J/105 fleet got rolling on Saturday as well.  It has been tight racing, as illustrated by the roller-coaster scorelines of the top three boats.  Leading was Stew Cannon’s J-OK with a 1-5-2 for 8 pts, followed by Rick Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR in second with a 4-3-4 tally for 11 pts.  After an awful first race, Tom Hurlburt & Chuck Driscoll’s crew on JUICED re-grouped and, ultimately, posted a 10-2-1 for 13 pts to sit in third for the day.

Meanwhile, the large J/70 class produced a few more winners and a few luckless outcomes, too.  Leapfrogging into first place was Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE, adding a 1-8-3-2 to their record to close with 26 pts total.  Dropping down to second was Snow’s COOL STORY BRO after posting a 4-5-12-1 for the day for 33 pts total.  Then, top woman helm- Pamela Rose from Chicago, IL- guided her ROSEBUD team to a 5-4-8-3 tally for 35 pts total.  Dropping off the face of the Earth was Raab’s SUGOI team scoring a dubious 3-13-13-13 on the day to drop them out of second and, in fact, out of the top five- rough day for the Newport Beach crowd!

J/120s sailing offshore San DiegoDay 3- Sunny, Gentle Breezes for Finale
Continuing to maintain their composure on the last day was Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE.  They maintained their lead with a 12-2-4 to win the J/70 class with 44 pts total.

“The J/70s are always tough,” Greenwald said, touting that the fleet this weekend boasted several world champions. “South Bay is really fun because it’s flat water but the shifts come quick. It was a very exciting weekend. It feels good to win, but just being here is a privilege.”

The Snow/Brigden duo on COOL STORY BRO closed with an 8-5-7 to finish with 53 pts.  Just one point back in the bronze position on the podium was Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT; it was quite a comeback to hop on the podium for Janov’s team, closing fast with a 1-4-1 for 54 pts in total!  Climbing like a Phoenix arising from the ashes of defeat and destruction the previous day was Raab’s SUGOI, clearly going for redemption and blitzing the fleet with a smokin’ hot 2-1-2 tally the final day for a total of 59 pts- good enough for 4th place!  Rounding out the top five was Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO from Mexico with a total of 66 pts.

In the J/70 Corinthians Division, it was Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO team that won the title; followed by Craig Tallman’s JAYA in second, and taking third was the incredibly well-sailed Santa Barbara YC Youth Team, skippered by Paul Harteck.

In a somewhat unusual scenario, after scoring just the three Youth teams participating in the regatta, it was the King Harbor YC FLY Team skippered by Kyle Collins that scored as top Youth team for the event by just one point over the Santa Barbara YC Youth Team.  Third was the Newport Youth Team skippered by Max Mayol from Newport Beach, CA.  As a result, the King Harbor YC youth team qualifies to go to the U.S. J/70 Youth Championship to be held in November 2018 at St Petersburg YC in Florida.

In the J/105 class, the standings for the three lead boats from the previous day did not change.  Stew Cannon’s crew on J-OK kept up the pressure on the fleet and closed with a 1-2 to take the J/105 title.  Also, closing with a 2-1 was the Hurlburt/ Driscoll duo on JUICED to take the silver.  Finally, Bergmann’s ZUNI BEAR had a good regatta to close with a 5-6 and secure the bronze.

Laun’s team on CAPER ran away with the J/120 class, sailing very consistently to close with a 2-3-2 to win with just 12 pts.  Nichol’s CC RIDER team also hung in there with a 4-4-1 to hold on to their second place.  However, third place was up for grabs all day long, with a new team looking ready to grab the bronze.  Nevertheless, those efforts proved elusive for most boats, with Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN sailing like “mad men”, taking a 3-1-4 tally straight to the podium to seize the bronze for the regatta.  Coincidentally, it was anyone’s guess who would get that final medal as only 2 pts separated the three boats from 3rd to 5th. Tim Hogan’s SHAMROCK took 4th and Hasl’s HASL FREE must have fallen from grace with the sea, dropping down to 5th place.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/ and JOY Sailing/ Bronny Daniels.   For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/22s starting MidwintersFoster Crowned J/22 Midwinter Champion
(Houston, TX)- Four J/22 World Champions finished in the top five of the 2018 J/22 Midwinter Championship, an event hosted by Houston YC and sailed on the muddy waters of Galveston Bay.  However, it was 1999 Champion Mark Foster on PRESSURE DROP who edged out fellow Texan Terry Flynn on TEJAS to earn the title on a tie-breaker.

Both teams had 23 points net, but Foster’s bullets secured the top spot. Fellow past World Champions Mike Marshall on BAD NEWS and Chris Doyle on THE JUG 4 1 finished third and fifth, respectively, with Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER in fourth.

Thirty-nine teams completed eight races on Friday and Saturday, however light winds today did not allow the final scheduled contest. With 39 boats on the line, this attendance matched the highest for a J/22 Midwinter Championship since 2008.  Here is what transpired on those first two days.

J/22 Midwinters off Houston, TXDay 1- Light and shifty
Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER led the field after day one. Four races were completed in a smorgasbord of conditions from overcast clouds to sun and winds from light and shifty to solid breeze between off and on rain showers.

Doug Weakly’s HNL opened the regatta with a bullet, ahead of HONEYBADGER Flynn’s TEJAS. Marshall’s BAD NEWS earned the next victory, with the two Doyle’s behind him— Kevin’s MO’MONEY and Chris’s THE JUG 4 1. Chris Doyle took race 3 followed by Odenbach and Marshall. Race 4 saw some new names with Foster’s PRESSURE DROP at the top followed by Danny Pletsch’s SKETCHY and Chris Doyle in third.

As a result, Odenbach’s team of Justin Damore and Kris Werner were leading with a 2-4-27 for 15 pts.  Following in second was Chris Doyle’s crew of Will Harris and Adam Burns from Youngstown YC with a 9-3-1-3 for 16 pts.  Sitting in third was Marshall’s crew with a 5-1-3-8 for 17 pts.

J/22 crew sailing at chute setDay 2- More Light stuff
On what was the penultimate, then final day of racing, the luck of the Irish on St Patrick’s Day was with Foster’s PRESSURE DROP. Posting a line of 1-3-4-3, Foster won the day and moved to the top of the leader board tied with his old friend and Texas neighbor Terry Flynn on TEJAS.

After a postponement ashore, racing started just before noon. In light but steady winds, race five was won by Foster’s PRESSURE DROP, with Flynn’s TEJAS and Alexander Hanna following in second and third. Pletch’s SKETCHY jumped to the top spot in race six followed by Kevin Orff’s TROUBLEMAKER and then Foster. Then, Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER took race seven followed by Flynn and Doyle’s MO’MONEY. As the conditions continued to improve, the RC squeezed in an eighth race that was won by Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1, followed by Flynn and Foster, respectively.

J/22 spinnakersAs a result, with no winds on Sunday, Foster’s team of Brian Babbit and Matt Romberg on PRESSURE DROP were declared the J/22 Midwinter Champions!  Flynn’s crew on TEJAS- Brett Allred and Bryan Clark lost the tie-breaker to secure the silver, while Marshall’s BAD NEWS rounded out the podium in third position.  Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER team of Justin Damore and Kris Werner took 4th and Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 took 5th place.

Foster enjoyed battling it out with friend Flynn, who he has known more than 30 years. “We have sailed together in many Championships,” said Foster. “Terry was sailing the boat I won the Worlds in (hull 707), and I was sailing the boat Terry won the Worlds in (hull 1501)!”  What a coincidence!

Top woman skipper at 7th overall was Nataleigh Perez’s crew on FORGET ME NOT from Fort Worth Boat Club- Alex Crowell and Blake Billman.  Second women’s skipper was Anne Lee’s HELMS A LEE from the host Houston YC, and third was Jessica Lombard’s FOLKA from Hudson YC in Quebec, Canada.  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/70s sailing off BarcelonaBarcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Series Finale
(Barcelona, Spain)- This past weekend marked the fifth and final act of the Barcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Sportboat Series in Barcelona, Spain.  In the end, the Real Çlub Nautico de Barcelona managed to run twenty-nine races, much to the delight of the sailors that looked forward to their monthly races.

In the J/70 fleet, it was Javier Scherk on GUNTER that won the final weekend, setting a blistering pace with a 1-1-2-6-1 tally to win by a large margin.  Finishing second for the weekend and winning the overall series was Luis Albert Solana skippering PATAKIN from Club de Mar Palma Mallorca.  Second for the winter series was Massimo Rama’s JENIALE EUROSYSTEM, an Italian skipper and crew that had been Italy’s J/80 National Champion.  Then, rounding out the podium overall was David Marco’s REBUFF from RCN Barcelona.

Barcelona Winter series winners in J/80 and J/70The clear, runaway winner of the finale and the overall J/80 Winter Series was Gonzalo Morales’ BRIBON MOVISTAR with top skipper Marc de Antonio; they managed seventeen 1sts and seven 2nds out of 29 races!  Finishing a comfortable second overall was top Spanish woman skipper Silvia Ravetllat on AKEWELE from Club Nautico de Balis.  Taking the bronze was another top leading woman skipper, Rosa Artigas, sailing Luis Corbella-Jordi’s MIKAKU from RCN Barcelona.  For more Barcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Series sailing information

J/70s sailing off Vigo, SpainEl NOTICIA Repeats in Vigo J/70 Winter Series
(Vigo, Spain)- After seven weekends of racing from October 2017 to March 2018, hosted by Real Club Nautico Vigo, the Vigo J/70 Winter Series saw a repeat winner in the form of El NOTICIA, sailed the Cantabrian Pichu Torcida (past J/80 World Champion) and Luis Martín Cabiedes from Madrid. They started off by winning the first weekend and never looked back, dominating the series from beginning to end and winning four of the J/70 Noticia winnersseven acts.  As a result, they were declared winners of the Linde Sogacsa Trophy.

"We are very satisfied with the result in the Linde-Sogacsa Trophy winter series, especially since this season has been very windy; a weather condition where we were weakest last year.

Thanks to the changes we have made, we have improved a lot in the big breeze! We want to take this opportunity to thank and congratulate our sponsor and RCN Vigo and all those who have worked hard to organize this event of such high level,” commented Pichu Torcida.  “We hope to see you all again soon for the Spring Series and, even, the J/70 Europeans in June!”

J/70 sailing off SpainSecond place overall went to Luís Bugallo’s MARNATURA, skippered by José Luís Freire.  They were one of the few boats that could give “los amigos” on NOTICIA a run-for-the-money during the entire series.

Perhaps the biggest surprise of the series was the performance by ABRIL VERDE sailed by Luis Pérez Canal from the host Real Club Náutico de Vigo.  They sailed all seven events and were clearly the top Corinthian team as well.  They are looking forward to the Europeans being sailed in the same waters in June.

Rounding out the top five were Juan Deben’s LAGUARDA & MOREIRA (skippered by Gonzalo Araújo’s) in fourth place and Manuel Bermudez De Castro’s SOLVENTIS taking fifth place.

J/70 rounding weather markAfter the Linde Sogacsa Trophy Winter Series, the Vigo fleet will begin their "Spring Series" in two weeks.  That event will be great training leading up to the 2018 J/70 European Championship being held from June 9th to 16th. If you have not yet done so, please be sure to REGISTER here for the J/70 Europeans- 62 boats from 15 countries are already registered!

Follow the Spanish Vigo J/70 Fleet here on Facebook  For more RCN Vigo J/70 Fleet sailing information

J/105s sailing San FranciscoARBITRAGE Wins J/105 Spring One-Design Regatta
(San Francisco, CA)- The San Francisco J/105 Fleet is alive and growing with 25 teams on the starting line for each mid-winter race and 25 boats competing this past weekend in the St. Francis Yacht Club’s Spring One Design, its opening fleet racing regatta of the 2018 season.

It was an uncharacteristically light wind regatta due to little gradient, as the Central Valley has not yet heated up. Despite the resultant light winds and strong, building tides, the race committee managed to pull off three races on Saturday and one on Sunday.

J105 winners- ArbitrageThe fleet welcomed returning owners Tim Russell and Ian Charles, both highly experienced skippers who had sold their J/105s a few years ago while attending to growing families.  In the past few months each of them bought a well-prepared used J/105, shipped them to San Francisco, and jumped right into the front row for each race.  Nevertheless, Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault on ARBITRAGE #116 turned in a consistent score line of 4-2-3-3 to win convincingly with a total of 12 points.  They were followed by Tim on NE*NE #3 (Lowell North’s and Dennis Conner’s old “superboat”) with 20 points and Ian on MAVERICK #385 with 22 points, with Shannon Ryan and Rolf Kaiser on DONKEY JACK #26 in fourth with 26 points.  Completing the top five was Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION with 27 pts.   Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray
For more J/105 Spring One Design Regatta sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/24 women's Seabags sailing team*  Erica Beck Spencer created the SEA BAGS WOMENS SAILING TEAM several years ago to give women a greater chance to experience top-level competition in the J/24 class.  Based out of Portland, Maine, she has traveled thousands of miles and had several dozen women from all over America sail on her team. Here is here latest update after she sailed the J/24 Midwinters in Miami, Florida:

“The Sea Bags Women’s Sailing Team Kicks Off Their Fourth season at the J/24 2018 Midwinter Championship in Miami!!

It is astonishing how much there is to learn in the sport of sailboat racing. Before, throughout, and following an event there are new things to consider, things to tweak, and other people to watch and learn from. We analyze video and photos following the event to see how we should better trim our sails the next time we see those same conditions. We capitalize on every opportunity to improve our practice: be it talking to each other about what we could do better, getting to know the pros in the fleet, and asking them as many questions as they’ll allow, learning from our fellow Corinthian sailors who are better than us and getting advice from them, and we attend every dock talk with notebook in hand, questions at the ready.

As the skipper for an all-women’s team I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished in just over three years. In fact, the recent 2018 J/24 Midwinter Championship in Miami marked the beginning of our fourth season together.

Exactly four midwinters ago we picked up Jess Harris’s new boat in Annapolis, towed her to Davis Island, named her “Wait For It…”, rigged her, tuned her, and got her in the water. So much was new to us, or at least new to us being the ones in charge of the finer points of putting all this together. It’s easy to not really learn something when someone else is in charge. Just getting on the water was an accomplishment to be proud of.

But, finally in the very first race, with all the excitement and anticipation, we started aggressively and slowly one by one, boats passed us and we came in dead last. I was not expecting to do well, but last?! I was not expecting that either.

J/24 women's teamThe next day I got to the club early and got some help from Will Welles.  Hands down he is one of the greatest J/24 sailors of this era.  He helped tuning the boat, and that day we improved, dramatically! In one race, we rounded the windward mark right behind Will. It was one leg, but it filled us with some hope of the promise to come. We had a fast boat, and some skill on our team, we just needed lots of time to figure out how to get it all together. At this first event, we finished 24th out of 27th if memory serves me correctly. Not last!

I believe some of the reasons we’ve been able to improve as much as we have includes the fact that I am never ashamed to ask for help with tuning. I’ve improved tremendously in this essential task, but only because I’ve asked for help over and over again. Some guy friends have teased me about this fact, but I think more guys who have skill levels equal or less than mine, should ask for help. When a male friend from Portland, our home, got a new-to-him J/24, I was able to give back by sharing some tuning advice with him.

Is this a difference between men and women- that women are more willing to ask for help? I don’t know, but I think all newbies should ask for help. Why the hell not!? I am honored when someone asks me questions. Maybe it is unique to the J/24 fleet, but everyone is very helpful.

One friend we’ve made along the team’s journey is Alain Vranderick from Canada, a Star sailor.  We fondly call him “coach”.  He said to me somewhere in the beginning of our campaign, “first you put together a good leg, then a good race, then a good day on the water, and finally you put together a good event.”

Our progress feels slow because we all want to be doing better- but, what we’re doing is no easy task. We’re bringing a team of six women together, all of whom have day jobs, and some have families- none are professional sailors. Many of us are sailing in relatively new positions on a J/24.  Plus, I am relatively new to skippering keelboats. Our tactician is new to being in this role. We’re competing against teams who have been doing this a lot longer and the great teams typically have sailed together for over six years.

Every event we go to we’re learning and growing as a team. At midwinters this year, we struggled, and I was disappointed with our results- but a lot of learning happened.

women J/24 sailors downwindGeoff Becker (World J/24 and Lightning Champion), another person who I’ve asked approximately a zillion questions to, was able to watch us come down wind (we won’t say why he was able to do this…) and took some photos of our team.

He found me post racing and talked about our speed downwind. He pulled up this photo on his phone (IMG 3294) and talked about how the shoulders of our spinnaker were too high and compared them to the other boats around us.

He said, “We’re all taught that the clews should be matched, because that is a nice way to teach kids, but you actually want the leading edge to be a little tighter than the back edge. The pole end will be slightly lower than the clew. This will keep the front edge more stable and keep the boat from bouncing around as much.”

He added, “The wind flows from luff to leach of spinnaker so you want the back edge more open than the front edge. Certainly, the spinnaker end should never be higher than the other side.” He also shared these rules:
  •  Keep pole flat (play around with upper and lower ring to find that level spot)
  • Clew never past the head stay
Finally, he challenged us that in roll gybes you can actually hook the clew on the forestay and have that anchor the spinnaker as you roll, until you get the pole back on, but I’m not sure I totally get how to do that. We may need to have Geoff on board for some coaching to see how that one works!

For more information about improving spinnaker trim check out this great article, Spinnaker Trim for Speed Sailing by Mike Toppa and Gary Jobson.

As part of our commitment to give back to the sailing community, especially to those who want to go from being good racers (most of us) to better ones, we write about what we’re learning along the way on our From Good to Great  blog.

We’d love you to follow along at website or on the Seabags Sailing Team Facebook page.

So, we didn’t finish as well as we’d like in Miami, 19th out of 35. There is so much more to learn and yet we had fun. How could we not? It was 85 degrees, some of us swam, we sailed near dolphins, the location was stunning, and we shook off the winter months of not racing together. Looking forward to a great season with much learning and growth. We hope you’ll follow along on the journey.”  Sailing photo credits- Connie Bischoff/ Geoff Becker/ Chris Howell
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