Wednesday, October 17, 2018

J/Newsletter- October 17, 2018

J/97E sailing off & 48 North Reviews of J/97E
(Seattle, WA)- In the past month or so, readers in both Germany and the USA’s Pacific Northwest have had a chance to learn more about the dynamic, easy-to-sail J/97E sport cruiser.

In Germany, the YACHT magazine took the opportunity to compare/ contrast four current performance-cruisers of the ten-meter class: the J/97E, the Dehler 34, the Diva 34 and the Elan S4. Their hope was to find out if they were cozy or sporty or even better- both.

The four boats were sailed out of Neustadt, Germany and testing took place on the Baltic Sea.

In the first part of the test, the YACHT test crew was mainly concerned with the sailing characteristics of the yachts. In addition to evaluating their performance, it was also about the layouts on deck with all the advantages and disadvantages of handling in a maneuver. There are comparative comments on the equipment on deck and on the quality of the attachments. And the YACHT testers also dealt with the maneuverability under power in the harbor.

J/97E interiorThe second part of the test was about the interiors and comfort. Which of the performance cruisers score in terms of comfort and storage options? The focus of the test was all about cruising. The YACHT test crew also examined the quality of construction and interior design. In the end, part 2 deals with the burning question of whether the bottom line can lead to a clear winner. Not surprisingly, the J/97E not only scored well on the “performance” test, but also was rated highly for its interior creature comforts by the YACHT testers.  If you can listen to German, check out these videos on YouTube here. sailing review video interior review video  Sailing photo credit- Nico Krauss

In Seattle, WA in the Pacific Northwest, there is also a lot of racing on Puget Sound as well as cruising in the gorgeous San Juan Islands. Joe Cline, Editor of 48° North, took a new J/97E through its paces and here is his commentary below.

J/97E sailing under spinnaker“The J/97, in some form, has actually been on the market since the first hull was finished in 2008. It was built to prioritize ease and versatility while maximizing performance under the IRC racing rule. It did so beautifully, with many early wins, and a great deal of positive response from cruising and racing sailors alike, as well as critics (it won Sailing World’s Boat of the Year for Best Club Racer in 2010). Since that time, the boat has gotten a primarily cosmetic design update and is now called the J/97E, but the broad appeal remains. New boats have been selling in the Pacific Northwest, including the one that belongs to Scott McConnell, who is a terrific guy and who took some of the 48° North crew sailing recently on a stunning September day.

Sailing with new boat owners has become a real joy for me; it is so fun to get to know why someone makes the big decision to buy a new boat. In Scott’s case, he’s started in a San Juan 24 before moving into larger cruising boats. Now he’s excited to downsize, and says that having a boat he really wanted to go sailing on – something fast, fun, and easy – was his biggest motivator to choose J/97E. Unlike his other boats, he’s keeping the boat nearer to his home instead of closer to the islands, and he’s LOVING it, sailing more often than he even hoped.

I had a chance to explore the J/97E at the Seattle Boat Show and was truly eager to see her in action. Honestly, of all the boats I’ve tested, the J/97E might be the boat that best suits my personal sailing desires, with its simplicity, speed, and ability to race or cruise, all in a midsize package. I’ll try to keep any personal bias in check.

J/97E sailing upwindThe J/97E is a very sharp design, and approaching the boat from the dock, she really looks quick. I didn’t notice it from the dock view, but once I stepped on deck, I felt the beam. An 11’ beam is not enormous, but it’s quite a lot for a 31’ boat, regardless of its intended use. It’s also somewhat reminiscent of certain J/Boats of old (11’ is the beam measurement of the J/29, and the J/30 is 11.18’). The last sail test I did on a J/Boat was on the J/88, a boat with a clearly different design purpose and a beam of 9.5’. Nonetheless, I found the J/97E notably beamier that the J/88 on deck, in the cabin, and under sail.

The beam on the J/97E is likely a result of the desire to maximize both interior space and rating under the IRC rule. The interior has an efficient and comfortable layout for cruising, which I’ll discuss a bit more later. In addition to the beam, the IRC maximization also can be found in the way the knuckle at the plumb bow sits out of the water, shortening the waterline measurement, but leaving it functionally long when you’re underway. In addition to the beam and the bow design, the boat is also fairly heavy for its length, another design element likely aimed at IRC.

I toured the whole deck layout, and it is really beautiful in it simplicity. Moving around the boat was easy from stem to stern with ample side-deck and room to get under the outboard-set shrouds. I am a huge fan of the J/97E’s cockpit layout, with bench seating forward of the traveler and the more wide-open design aft with dual foot pushes. Since this is a tiller driven boat, the cockpit felt particularly spacious without a wheel pedestal. Different than the original J/97, the J/97E has the traveler on the cockpit floor, which makes movement fore and aft seamless. And with the beam, that bar is LONG! I asked Scott whether they ever use its full length, and he said they tend to keep the car in the middle 75% of the bar, but it’s nice to have options. I agree!

I noted the cleverly rigged in-haulers for the jib. Since the boat has a one-design sail plan with a non-overlapping 105% jib, those in-haulers will be an important device for getting the most out of the boat in lighter breeze. The in-haulers are permanently rigged, and Scott mentioned using them a lot, even while cruising and day sailing. A lot of production boats have moved to non-overlapping sails in a way that leaves many of them wanting power with the stock sail plan, the J/97E will not suffer in the same way.

J/97E sailing upwindWe headed out sailing with a 12-14 knot northerly… we really couldn’t have asked for better. The size of the boat makes the sail setting easy – nothing is too loaded. In the conditions we had, we were quickly into de-powering mode, putting something extra on the halyards, moving cars aft, and pulling on backstay to reduce headstay sag. I found myself wondering about rig tension for the fractional, swept-two-spreader mast – should we have had more, and is this a boat on which owners will want to adjust their shroud tension as the conditions change?

As we set off upwind, I was immediately aware that I could feel when the boat was lit-up and moving, and when it was choked or needed to be powered back up. I love that kind of feel. That said, I found it a somewhat challenging balance, because pushing the boat to feel powered up and fast led us to sail with more heel than was probably efficient. It’s the kind of thing that owners of these boats probably dial in quickly, but it wasn’t super intuitive for me.

I loved playing with the jib set-up. It is so adjustable, and the controls allow for beautiful shape. We didn’t need much in-hauler in the breeze we had, but I’d estimate that you could get at least six inches of play inboard/outboard, which is a lot.

Sailing upwind, I felt the beam again. Compared to the narrower J/Boats designs that I have more experience with (J/105, J/80), I felt like the groove going to weather, at least in our conditions that day, was a bit narrow. It can be attributed most to sailing too heeled, but we actually overpowered the rudder several times going upwind. In spite of those moments, the boat felt maneuverable, and the tiller was never unwieldy. Even if the groove was a little narrow for our set-up, when you were dialed, it was fingertip-control on the tiller.

One of the great things about the hull shape is how good it felt going through the waves. It’s motion was smooth, likely a product of her 8,600 pound displacement. And its way through the water seemed particularly buoyant – the bow stayed high and the deck stayed dry. This is a boat that already has an impressive offshore resume, and this sense of buoyancy would be confidence inspiring in swell.

The J/97E is definitely fast. The boat’s instruments were yet to be calibrated, but our handheld GPS showed us beating well above six knots.

After an hour or so of exciting, blissful upwind sailing, we rigged the monstrous asymmetrical that sets off the six-foot telescoping bowsprit made of carbon fiber. We set methodically, trying not to light the boat up until we were ready. Once the kite was up and sorted, then… “everybody ready?” We turned up a few degrees and we were off. The boat felt incredible under spinnaker. On this point of sail, I was in love with the beam. It felt fast and stable. The GPS climbed above seven knots, above eight – easy, under control, and fun! We trimmed by hand except when we really heated up to a reach. Scott and his wife sail the spinnaker double handed, and I can see how that would be no problem.

I was impressed by the minimal stern wave we were creating– our way through the water was smooth. This is important, because the J/97E is not a boat likely to plane. Surf? Sure. But, if a boat is going to displace 8,600 lbs of water, to do so efficiently is a true success. While you’re not likely to spend time on a plane, the boat is certainly still performance-oriented. And remember, this is a cruising boat too!

Speaking of cruising, that interior is perfect for a couple or a family. The beam is a big benefit to the cabin, and it’s really an elegant use of the space. There is 6’ headroom and accommodations for a comfortable cruise. It sleeps six, but that would be cozy. There’s a private double berth aft, and a spacious v-berth that is open to the main salon. The galley is small, but has all the basics: stove, oven, refrigerator, storage. There’s a nice, double-sided seating area in the salon. It has an enclosed head with shower to starboard, opposite the aft cabin.

Scott had just completed a week cruising the islands– they hosted friends overnight, and had a group of six for dinner. He loved it. While it’s not a huge interior by any stretch, it suited them perfectly. When they were cruising, they sailed a lot, taking advantage of the boat’s performance capabilities. In his own words, “We had so much fun!”

In my own words, the J97E boat is pretty awesome. It’s a very attractive boat that is genuinely versatile. It feels powerful, is really fun to sail, and its accommodations are really impressive for a boat of this size and performance pedigree. I couldn’t help thinking that with all of its fun and functionality to go along with the simple sail plan, a crew of four, five, or even six could do something like Van Isle 360 unsupported on this boat and absolutely have the time of their lives.  In short…I want one!!”  The 48 North J/97E boat test story   For more J/97E sport cruiser sailboat information

J/133 sailing Rolex Middle Sea RaceRolex Middle Sea Race Preview
(Gzira, Malta)- Malta has often been described as the ‘crossroads of the Mediterranean’. The fleet gathering for the 50th Anniversary Rolex Middle Sea Race may well help change that description to the ‘crossroads of the world’, certainly the sailing world. Some 55 yachts, representing 25 countries from as far afield as Australia, Canada, Chile, The Philippines, and the United States, have entered to date. There is nothing unusual in this spread of nations. The race, which this year starts on 20th October, has always attracted a polyglot fleet and a walk along the dock is a cultural affair.  

J/121 sailing Rolex Middle Sea RaceNicholas Ibañez Scott, skipper of the Chilean entry ANITA, a J/112E, is returning to the race for a second time having made his debut in the tough conditions of 2017. ANITA was one of only 35 yachts out of 104 starters to complete the 606nm last year. Testament to high quality and construction of the J/112E and the tough streak running through a crew used to the southern straits of Patagonia. One of the elements that struck Scott the most about their first encounter with the race was a sense of belonging. “We feel very much at home here,” he said before the start, putting this down to the warmth and professionalism of the Royal Malta Yacht Club along with the attitude and quality of the competing sailors.

Countries represented in the 2018 Rolex Middle Sea Race so far include: Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States. Amongst the fleet of nine J/Teams, eight countries are represented!

J/122 sailing Rolex Middle Sea RaceIn the IRC Class 4/ ORC 4 Division, three teams are sailing, including the J/133 BLUE JAY III sailed by Matt Stokes from Canada, the J/121 JACKHAMMER sailed by Andrew Hall from the United Kingdom, and the J/133 JIVARO sailed by Yves Grosjean and his French team (note- this boat has been an RORC Offshore Season winners and also Fastnet Race class winner).

In the past, the IRC 5/ ORC 5 division has twice been won by J/122s that have also won the Rolex Middle Sea Race as Overall Champions.  This year’s group includes the J/122 JOLOU sailed by Sergey Senchenko from Russia (double-handed winners in 2017), the J/122 JOY sailed by Cascino Giuseppe from Italy, the J/122 OTRA VEZ sailed by Sean Arrigo from Malta, and the J/112E ANITA sailing with a Chilean team led by Nicolas Ibanez Scott.

Then, in the IRC 6 Class, there are two J/109s vying for class honors; 2HARD is also sailing in IRC Doublehanded class with Martin Hartl from Austria on the helm and JARHEAD YOUNG SAILORS MALTA is a group of youth sailors from the local hosts- the Royal Maltese YC.  For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information

J/105s sailing Lipton CupJ/105 Lipton Cup Challenge Regatta Preview
(San Diego, CA)- San Diego Yacht Club will host the 104th annual Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup on October 26-28, 2018. Twelve teams from the U.S. and Canada will battle for the coveted Cup in a rotation of matched J/105s in a stadium sailing format on San Diego Bay. After each race, competitors rotate boats, allowing for each team to have balanced boat conditions throughout the regatta.

The 12 teams competing this year are: Balboa Yacht Club, California Yacht Club, Chicago Yacht Club, Coronado Yacht Club, Long Beach Yacht Club, New York Yacht Club, Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Royal Vancouver Yacht Club, San Diego Yacht Club, San Francisco Yacht Club, Southwestern Yacht Club and St. Francis Yacht Club.

The San Diego Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup dates back to the early days of yachting on the Pacific Ocean, circa 1900. Sir Lipton Thomas, the famous yachtsman and tea baron, requested that a trophy be created in his name for West Coast yacht racing excellence.

The Lipton Cup trophy can be found at San Diego Yacht Club, won in 2017 by SDYC skipper Tyler Sinks, a now four year Lipton Cup veteran. Sinks explains what he has learned from his years participating in the regatta. “It's a marathon, not a sprint. It's really all about peaking at the right time and trying to improve each and every race.”

J/105s sailing Lipton Cup“The win last year was special because of our loss in 2016. The team was hungry for a shot at redemption and we got it. It's always easier to play the underdog. This year, we're the defending champions, so there's probably some expectations that come with that. Fortunately, we're bringing back the all-star team from last year, plus we've added US Sailing Team Member Nevin Snow, who is stepping in for Erik Shampain. Nevin has won on many levels, including being named the two-time College Sailor of the Year while at Georgetown. We're psyched to have Nevin on board,” Tyler continued.

Lipton Cup Co-Chair Alli Bell states, “The San Diego Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup is a unique regatta that pulls together some of the best sailors from California, the rest of the country, and this year Canada for a weekend of competitive racing. As fierce competitors as these sailors are, we also have a lot of fun off the water. It’s great to see the camaraderie and friendships at the social events.”

SDYC Waterfront Director Jeff Johnson expresses SDYC’s pride in the event. “The legion of people that loan their boats, others who gather them, clean them, service them, tune them, rig them, and care for them during the regatta is remarkable. The helpers that just run out on the floating docks anchored in the Bay and hold dock lines and fenders to protect the boats from getting scratched is extraordinary and not like any other event we host during the year. Hats off to their efforts!”

The regatta will feature three days of competitive racing, along with a social event on Friday evening, Saturday night banquet and awards to follow Sunday’s races. The Lipton Cup’s Saturday Night dinner has been known as a “don’t-miss” event for shenanigans and good-natured ribbing between the different clubs in light of the competition.  For more J/105 Lipton Cup Challenge Regatta sailing information

J/120s sailing Halifax RaceMarblehead to Halifax Race 2019 Announcement
(Marblehead, MA)- Plans are well underway for the biennial Marblehead-to-Halifax ocean race with less than a year to go.  The Race will begin on Sunday, July 7, 2019. The committee is working hard to attract another exceptional fleet like the one that set new records a year ago.

Anne Coulombe of the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead and Richard Hinterholler of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron will return as Race Directors. Rear Commodore David Bows of the BYC and Michael Simms of the RNSYS will co-chair next year’s event.

“At the moment there are no significant changes to the race format,” Coulombe says. “But it is always important to follow our communications for any changes that may impact the race.”

Steele Auto Group, the prominent Atlantic Canadian company, is the 2019 title sponsor for the Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race.  Steele Auto Group is based in Halifax and owns 29 dealerships in the region.  "We're thrilled to be a supporter of such a prestigious sailing event here in Halifax,” stated CEO Rob Steele, a member of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron, co-sponsor of the MHOR with the Boston Yacht Club. 

The 363 nautical mile Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race began in 1905. It has been held every other year, except during war time. It caps a full weekend of Independence Day festivities in Marblehead which includes 4th of July fireworks, the Marblehead Arts Festival and the harbor illumination.

The MHOR website is active at Or, you can contact the Race Director at email- or contact Ed Bell, BYC P.R. Chair at email-

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The second week of October saw a lot of sailing activity taking place across the USA from east to west and points in between.  For starters, on the east coast, the 2018 J/109 North American Championship was sailed on western Long Island Sound for the fleet of twenty boats, the event was hosted by the Larchmont YC over four days. Sailing in the same waters, Indian Harbor YC’s annual “Gearbuster Race” was sailed from Greenwich, CT to Stratford Shoal and back for a fleet of PHRF teams, including a J/88, J/120, J/100. South of them, the Annapolis Fall Series held on the Chesapeake Bay over the course of three weekends, including the NSSA Annapolis to Oxford Race, the AYC Race to Oxford, and the AYC Race to Solomons.  The series offered great racing, in particular for a J/88!

Down south along the Gulf of Mexico, this year’s J/FEST Southwest was one of the best ever; with sixty-two boats participating in one-design fleets of J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/105s and the J/PHRF classes had a J/46, J/122, J/109, J/95 and a J/29 racing. Fun for all!

Heading out west, the J/125s had a field day sailing in this year’s “Little Ensenada Race”, hosted by Southwestern YC; it was a quick blast from San Diego, CA to Ensenada, Mexico. Then, up in the Pacific Northwest, the J/24 District 19 Championship hosted by Corinthian YC Seattle and raced on Puget Sound. Simultaneously, the Puget Sound Sailing Championship for J/80s, J/105s and PHRF teams like J/109s, hosted by Corinthian YC Seattle on Puget Sound.

Over in Europe, the German J/70 Youth Sailing League concluded their season finale in Attendorn, Germany with sailing taking place on the Biggesee and hosted by the Flensburger Sailing Club. Over in the United Kingdom, the Hamble Winter Series had a wet, cold second weekend for the IRC fleets racing on the Southampton Water and the Solent.  The one-design J/70 fleet had strong participation as the Hamble One-Design Championship serves as a qualifier for the 2019 J/70 Worlds that will be sailed in Torquay, England.  In the IRC classes, it was close racing for J/88s, J/109s, J/112E, and J/111s.

Finally, over in the Asia-Pacific region, the report from Australia shows that the J/121, J/112E, and J/122 owners are having a wonderful time with their boats collecting an amazing amount of silverware on both coasts.  In short, virtually every single boat won their offshore season openers at their respective sailing clubs. Then, the Royal Hong Kong YC hosted their annual China Coast Race Week with some of the best sailing conditions they have experienced in years on the crazy Hong Kong Harbor.  The regatta was enjoyed by a fast J/111 and a very competitive J/109.

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

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Oct 19-21- J/105 Masters Regatta- San Diego, CA
Oct 19-21- Swiss Youth J/70 League- Tenero, Switzerland
Oct 20-21- J/70 Fall Brawl- Annapolis, MD
Oct 20-21- Puget Sound Fall Regatta- Seattle, WA
Oct 20- Rolex Middle Sea Race- Gzira, Malta
Oct 26-28- J/24 East Coast Championship- Annapolis, MD
Oct 26-28- J/105 Lipton Cup Regatta- San Diego, CA
Oct 27-28- Swiss J/70 Women’s Cup- Tenero, Switzerland
Oct 27-28- J/105 Chesapeake Bay Championship- Annapolis, MD
Oct 27-28- The Great Pumpkin Regatta- Richmond, CA
Nov 1-4- French J/80 National Championship- Pornic, France

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

J/109 LOKI NA winnerLOKI Three-Peats J/109 N.A. Championship!
(Larchmont, NY)- The Larchmont YC hosted the 2018 J/109 North American Championship for a very competitive twenty-boat fleet on western Long Island Sound.  Sailing from October 11th to 14th, the fleet was treated to a very wide range of racing conditions over the span of ten races!  In the end, it was David Rosow’s LOKI team from New York that won the coveted title for the third time in a row!  Rosow’s crew included Adam Klyver, Brian Comfort, Kerry Klingler, Larry Huibers, Ryan Young, and Alexander Quintner.  Winning the Corinthians Division was John Greifzu’s GROWTH SPURT.

In the Open Division, Rosow’s crew from Pequot YC in Fairfield, CT started off with triple bullets; setting such a high standard of performance and tactics that no one else was even close.  They maintained that ferocious pace, scoring two more bullets and two seconds in their scoreline to win with just 40 pts in ten races, not even sailing the last race to win by over 20 pts.

J/109 PartnershipHowever, behind them the story was dramatically different, with the balance of the podium and, indeed, the entire top five, determined in the final race on the last day.  The silver and bronze awards came down to a tie-breaker on 62 pts each between Greifzu’s GROWTH SPURT and David & Maryellen Tortorello’s PARTNERSHIP 3 from Black Rock YC in CT.  On countback, it was GROWTH SPURT that took the silver, with the Tortorello’s settling for the bronze.  The balance of the top five included Albrecht Goethe’s HAMBURG from Lakewood YC in Seabrook, TX in fourth place and Bill Sweetser’s RUSH from Annapolis YC in Annapolis, MD in fifth position.

In the Corinthians Division, behind GROWTH SPURT on the podium were Goethe’s HAMBURG in second and Ted Herlihy’s GUT FEELING in third sailing with a family crew from New Bedford YC in South Dartmouth, MA.  For more J/109 North American Championship sailing information

J/122 JOSSJ/Thunder "Down Under"  Winning Offshore Australia!
(Sydney, Australia)- The latest report from way “Down Under” is full of great news from many happy owners racing their boats on the east coast of Australia (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane) and the west coast of Australia (Perth, Freemantle). Here is the report from Ray and Sandy Entwistle from Sydney.

“One of the joys of living ‘Down Under’ is that we get to sail all year round. This past week has seen the end of our Winter Series racing, and commencement of Spring/Summer Series with some great results from our J/Owners from around the country.

J/121 JAVELIN winning Australian offshore eventsJ/121 JAVELIN Wins 2018 Winter Series hosted by the Ocean Racing Club of Victoria, Australia
The ORCV Winter Series is a series of 5 passage races of varying distances, from medium distance races around fixed marks at the top end of Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne to several longer distance passage races to popular destinations for warm hospitality from host clubs, at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron (BYS), Royal Geelong Yacht Club (RGYC), and Hobson’s Bay Yacht Club (HBYC).

Race 5 was to be a Navigators Overnight Challenge where teams were to create their own course by selecting various legs between fixed marks all over the Bay, with the intention of sailing as far as possible in the time allocated, and arrive at the finish line in Hobson’s Bay as close as possible to the finish time of 9:00am on Sunday morning.

The JAVELIN crew was all prepared and had moved the J/121 on Friday to the optimal starting point. However, racing was then abandoned due to gale force conditions on Port Phillip Bay. Owner Mark commented he was, “relieved, though at the same time a little disappointed, as we had spent quite a bit of time getting prepared. However, it was 5 degrees C on the night, so it would have been a pretty freezing overnight session.”

After four races, J/121 JAVELIN was the series winner of the AMS division, winning the Lord Warden’s Trophy. They scored an impressive 8.0 points across the four races. The races were competed in a variety of wind and sea conditions from 5 knots to 25 and flat water to the very choppy, steep waves Port Phillip Bay has to offer. It was a very competitive mixed fleet including an Elliot 15.5, Rachael Pugh 46, Beneteau 47.7, Beneteau 45s, Archambault 40 to name a few.

Owner Mark noted “The J/121 performed strongly in all conditions and, as one would expect, really excelled in the broad reaching winds that prevailed for one of the races.  It’s great getting to know the new boat. There are many sail selection and trimming combinations, so we’re learning something new in every race.”  Congratulations to Mark and his team.

J/122 JOSS wins “George Law Trophy”
On the West coast, the J/122 JOSS commenced the season in fine form winning the “George Law Trophy”.

The first Offshore Racing WA (ORWA) race of the 2018/19 season, the “George Law” was sailed in beautiful sunny fluctuating conditions. 29 yachts were a magnificent sight racing from North Fremantle down the channel towards Rockingham/along the beach to Jarvis Bay & then home to Fremantle.

The J/122 JOSS, simply put, had a “great” day battling on the water with Chris Highman on ‘Argo’, Hugh Warner’s ‘Ocean Ranger’ and the Bishop Boys new yacht to WA Offshore Racing ‘Checkmate’.

JOSS took home Gold winning IRC Division 1 and 1st in YAH Division 1.

A very happy owner- Ian- commented, “congratulations to the crew for the fantastic effort, especially Rees Howell our new Boat Captain.”

happy Australian J/CrewJ/112E ZEST Wins Sydney Harbour Race
 On the East Coast, the J/112E ZEST won her inaugural race in Sydney.

The Sydney sailing season started with cool overcast conditions (well, cool for us at 15C), and winds about 15kn SSW.

Ray and Sandra from J/Boats Australia joined new J/112E owner Stephen and crew for their inaugural harbour race from Sydney Amateurs Sailing Club.

J/112E ZEST was launched just a few weeks ago and Stephen is busy learning the ropes on his new toy.  The inaugural race was held with a mix of yachts in the 26ft to 40ft range, and with the winds being from the SSW meant the course was a zigzag across and up the harbour.

An overjoyed Stephen was very pleased with the result. There are now four J/112E’s on Sydney Harbour, with plans to get together for some fun ‘one-design’ racing over the summer months.

more happy J/sailors in AustraliaJ/122 JAVELIN Tops Queensland Season Opener
Finally, in sunny Queensland, just like their colleagues around Australia, the J/122 JAVELIN also won their season opening race.

On a beautiful Queensland day, blowing 12 to 14 knots from the southeast with a calm sea state, Sally and James’ J/122 JAVELIN powered home to take 1st place on IRC and 2nd on the local PHRF system, against a competitive mixed fleet of yachts ranging from HH42, Kerr 50, Archambault 40’s to Sydney 36’s and Farr 38 to name a few.  A great start to the season for them!”

J/70s sailing Hamble seriesBrilliant, Wet, Cold Hamble Winter Series- Week 2
(Hamble, England)- Anyone who doubted that the wonderful summer of 2018 was at an end has had it confirmed during the first two weeks of the HYS Hamble Winter Series. Rain and plenty of wind from the North has had competitors digging out the layers and the waterproofs.

Saturday saw the start of the Hamble One Design Championships for the J/70 fleet. The forecasts during the week promised average wind speeds of 20 kts with gusts in the region of 30 kts. In order to give the crews as much advanced notice as possible, PRO Roger Wilson and the team met on Friday night to reach a decision. The outcome was that racing would go ahead, but with a delay of one hour to give crews time to launch their boats and make it to the East Knoll starting area.

Racing got underway at the amended, appointed time with twenty-one J70s braving the conditions. All seemed well until a Cowes based yacht club decided to lay a windward gate inside the HODC windward gate causing some confusion at the top of the course. Race Abandoned! Negotiations with the Cowes based club as to where their buoys should be placed allowed Race 1 to go again. This time, despite two disqualifications under the U flag, all went well. The race team managed to get two more short races in and so at the end of Day one everything was back on track. In the J/70s, Clive Bush’s DARCY was in first place with two seconds and third place, followed by Martin Dent’s JELVIS and Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.

J/88s enjoying Hamble Winter seriesSunday brought the IRC yachts to the Race Course for week two of the HYS Hamble Winter Series. As happens from time to time in the Solent, there was a distinct lack of water for Race Teams to run racing. The One Designs once again hogged the area around East Knoll, which meant PRO Kathy Smalley had to disappear to Ryde Bank to give the main winter series boats a decent course in the northerly winds and rain. Fortunately, the committee vessel this week had both gas and sugar to keep Kathy and the team going in the appalling conditions.

As ardent TV viewers will know, Orange is the new Black, and so it became on the start line when PRO Kathy Smalley, with a sugar rush, announced the pin to be Orange, when of course, everyone could see it was black. The color was corrected and racing began. To everyone's delight Class 1 got away cleanly for both starts, there being no appetite for an AP in the conditions. The J/112E DAVANTI TYRES sailed by Chaz Ivill and Paul Heys scored a first and second in the two races and is now sitting in second for both the Big Boat Championship and the Winter Series leaderboards.

J/70s sailing Hamble Winter SeriesClass 2 had a contested start in the first race and there was a huge windshift to the left in the second race that many boats missed. Reveling in the conditions was Mike & Susie Yates’ J/109 JAGO, handily winning both races to be leading the Winter Series by 9 pts!  After posting a 6-7 for the day, Gavin Howe’s J/88 TIGRIS is sitting in third overall for the series, just one point off second place.  The balance of the top five includes David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J/88 J-DREAM in 4th and Rob Cotterill’s J/109 MOJO RISIN in 5th. 

The One-Designs were also experiencing the big shifts associated with a northerly in the Solent. The second race had a 40-degree shift just as the boats arrived at the windward mark, which led to a straight-line spinnaker reach down to the leeward mark. This was not tactically taxing, but the serious grins on the crew's faces downwind said it all. In the J/70 fleet, which is also using the event as a World Qualifier, Clive Bush’s DARCY had three first on the day to finish top overall. Wards’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT and Dent’s JELVIS were second and third on the day.

All competitors were keen to congratulate the Race Team for operating in the foul conditions and special praise must go to the RIB mark-laying crews that somehow kept going all weekend.

Next week sees the final weekend of the Hamble One Design Championship, the final Sunday of the Hamble Big Boat Championship and week three of the HYS Hamble Winter Series.  Thanks for contribution from Trevor Pountain.

Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth  Follow the HYS Hamble Winter Series on Facebook here  For HYS Hamble Winter Series sailing information

J/70s sailing J/Fest SouthwestSpectacular J/Fest Southwest!
(Houston, TX)- J/Fest Southwest was a spectacular success this year! Sixty-two boats total; the J/22’s and J/24’s really came out in force! The sailors were treated to awesome sailing conditions both days; in particular, it was windy on Saturday with gusts in the high 20’s, which was tough on humans, sails, and boats.  Reported Scott Spurlin- J/Boats Southwest dealer- “we had a nice sustained downhill ride on the J/88!  Held 17.2kts for a loong time.  Crew was hooting and hollering!”

The J/FEST Southwest Regatta took place from October 12th to 14th, hosted by Lakewood YC.  The event started out with the newly famous “LEGENDS RACE” that was sailed in a “stadium-sailing” scenario right off BARge 295 on Clear Lake, right in front of the club. Five (5) video cameras recorded the live action, broadcast worldwide on YouTube!

As for the sailing, it was Danny Pletsch’s SKETCHY crew that won the fifteen-boat J/22 class by a Texas mile- winning six of seven races.  Taking second was Casey Lambert’s BLACKBURN MARINE RACING with 22 pts and third was David Bethancourt’s USA 1271 with 27 pts.  The balance of the top five was Farley Fontenot and son’s USA 707 in 4th and Dov Kivlovitz’s USA 951 in 5th position.

The seventeen-boat J/24 also saw a near clean sweep take place.  Certainly, the first four races looked like a runaway for Jim Freedman’s MISS CONDUCT crew, posting four bullets in a row.  Thereafter, they stepped off the gas a bit and closed the regatta with a 3-2 to win with just 9 pts. Sitting 7 pts back was woman skipper Natalie Harden and her crew on GIGGLES with a near reciprocal scoreline to MISS CONDUCT, posting a 3-2-6-3-1-1 to close the regatta with 16 pts total.  Taking the bronze was Frank Keesling’s THE DUMPSTER from Dillon YC in Dillon, CO. The balance of the top five was Josh Bowens-Rubin’s ZERO GRAVITY in 4th and David Broadway’s SUPERMAN in 5th place.

Winning the J/70s was not easy for Jay Lutz’s ZOUNDS team.  They were involved in a dogfight with Forbes Durdin MOJITO.  In the end, they both had all top four finishes and dominated the top of the leaderboard.  However, ZOUNDS had an amazingly consistent tally of 1-2-2-2-1-3-3 top score the gold, while the MOJITO boys popped for a 3-4-1-1-2-2-4 for 17 pts to take the silver. Glenn Gault’s SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE started strong with a 2-1-5-3-, but lost their “mojo” on the last day, dropping 5-8-5 to settle for third with 29 pts.

For the nine-boat J/105 class, it followed a similar story to the J/22s and J/24s, a near blitzkrieg for the top team.  In this case, it was John Barnett’s PESTO that started off with a 1-1-1-1, then forgot how to sail in race #5 and score a 2nd, then closed with a 1-1 to win with 8 pts total.  That was an extraordinary performance in what is normally a very tight, close-racing class on Galveston Bay. Taking the silver was Uzi Ozeri’s INFINITY with 19 pts and third was Dennis Kokkinis’ SPITFIRE with 24 pts.  Rounding out the top five was Brad Robbins’ RUMPUS in 4th and Bill Lackenmacher’s RADIANCE in 5th position.

Taking a page out of their J/one-design colleagues success was Jim Demarest’s J/46 SODALIS II. His team of Tom Johnston, Terrill Munkres, Don Lemire, Pedro Gianotti, Sally Thurner, & Scott Demarest won their J/PHRF Class with five bullets in seven races!  Second was JD Hill’s gorgeous J/122 SECOND STAR and third was Dave Christensen’s J/109 AIRBORNE.

In the random-leg J/PHRF Distance division, Alan Bates’ J/105 ZIPPITY took class honors, followed by Doug Love’s J/95 UP TEMPO in second and John McCutchen’s J/29 SUPERGIRL in third.

Watch the J/FEST Southwest highlights video here:

For more J/FEST Southwest sailing and registration information

J/125 sailing offshoreJ/125s Crush Little Ensenada Race
(San Diego, CA)- Hosted by Southwestern YC in San Diego, CA, the “Little Ensenada Race” famously starts off the gorgeous Point Loma promontory and sends the fleet off to that famously fun-loving seaport called Ensenada in Mexico.  It is a fun, fast, easy race for the entire fleet since it amounts to a long day on the water of four 2x windward-leeward races of 1.5nm legs.

Zipping down the shoreline to take class honors in the PHRF 1 Class were the top two J/125s in Southern California- Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER winning by just six minutes-plus over Mark Surber’s DERIVATIVE.

In PHRF 4 Class, it was David Cattle’s gorgeous J/27 BLACKADDER that won her class by 6 minutes corrected.

J/111 sailing off Hong KongFabulous China Coast Race Week
(Hong Kong, China)- The 26th Edition of the China Coast Regatta saw thirty-five yachts compete across seven divisions.  The racing took place in the waters to the east and south of Hong Kong Island, with some islands courses extending into the waters to the east of Sai Kung. The regatta host was, as usual, the extraordinary Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club.

Day One
There were perfect conditions across the race track with blue skies and a 10 to 15kts northeasterly breeze. 28 boats took to the race track, which was located southeast of Hong Kong’s Lamma Island.  All IRC racing divisions sailed one windward / leeward and an islands course.

J/111 sailing off Hong KongThe first race of the day saw many competitors get a feel for the conditions, with sailors tightening up their drops by the end of the race. For Race 2, sailors were sent on 19 to 32nm course depending on their division. Given the wind direction, sending yachts from Yuen Kok in the direction of the Ninepin Islands made for a giant windward/ leeward with a few obstacles in the way– just islands!

Day Two
The breeze picked up for the second day.  A 20-25kts northeasterly breeze greeted the sailors as they reached the race track, which was located to the southeast of Lamma Island. The IRC Racer classes sailed three windward/ leewards and had four retirements in the first race of the day, which looked to mostly be spinnaker-related issues.  IRC Premier Cruiser sailed two islands courses and HKPN were given one windward/ leeward and an island course.

As the day progressed, the breeze moderated to around 15kts and the sunshine came out making for the best sailing conditions Hong Kong has to offer. In IRC 2 Class, Richard Van Den Berg’s J/111 JUGGERKNOT was tied for first place.

J/109 sailing Hong Kong regattaDay Three
Another superb day of excellent conditions; 15kts, sunshine and blue skies.  Racing got away smoothly with all IRC Racer and HKPN divisions sailing one windward/ leeward and one islands course ranging in distance from 10 to 16.5nm. The islands course took the fleet on a beat towards a windward mark and reaching to an ocean mark before rounding Beaufort or Sung Kong and finishing off Bluff Head near Stanley.

In the end, the J/111 JUGGERKNOT skippered by Richard Van Den Berg took second place in IRC 2 Class.  Meanwhile, over in IRC 3 Class, the J/109 WHISKEY JACK sailed by Nick Southward also took the silver in IRC 3 Class with his crew of Peter Albert Baer, Nigel James Clark, Joakim Josef Gip, Sam Johnathon Phillips, Nicholas Johan Southward, and Alec Peter Tracy.  Congratulations to all!  For more China Coast Race Week sailing information

German J/70 Youth Sailing LeagueBayerischer YC Top German J/70 Youth League
(Attendorn, Germany)- Over the past weekend, the Yacht-Club Lister, hosted the finale for the German J/70 Youth League on the Biggesee in Attendorn, Germany for twenty-two teams from across the country.  Winning the finale was Flensburger SC, but winning the overall youth J/70 league series was Bayerischer YC 2 team.

Going into the final regatta, it was going to be a battle for the top three spots.  It was the BYC Team’s regatta to lose, based on their initial performances leading the fleet with a tally of 6-2-4 in the first three events.

Nevertheless, it was Muncher YC’s strong youth crew that overcame a 10th in their first series to post a 1-5-2 to nearly topple their rivals from the top of the podium in the overall youth championship series.  The MYC crew ended up in a tie for the series silver position with VS Wansee 1 Team on 18 pts each, with MYC winning the tie-breaker and VSW taking the bronze.  Rounding out the podium were Bodensee YC Uberlingen in 4th with 22 pts and Flensburger SC in 5th for the series with 24 pts.  For more German J/70 Youth League sailing information

J/105s sailing on Puget SoundBlustery Puget Sound Sailing Championship
(Seattle, WA)- The Saturday of CYC-Seattle’s PSSC regatta this past weekend was one for the ages– 18-22 knot winds, big waves, bright sun, grins galore, and at least one tragedy averted.

When Stuart Burnell J/109 TANTIVY realized crew member Brian Perry fell overboard, into the spinnaker, there was a moment of panic. “Where in the hell is Brian?” he thought. “If he’s wrapped in the chute, in the water,. . .” It was one of the those sailing moments that gets etched in a skipper’s mind, even skippers just reading this. What had started as an irritating, slow chore of clearing a wrap in a spinnaker after a gybe gone wrong, became a potential tragedy.

Brian, it turned out, was sitting in the spinnaker in the water after the boat apparently rolled. A few seconds later he squirted out from the spinnaker behind the boat, relatively unharmed. But that wasn’t quite the end of it. It turns out that as a member of the cockpit crew on the J/109, Brian wasn’t wearing a PFD. He’d come forward to help clear the wrap. And TANTIVY wasn’t exactly set up for a quick takedown and man overboard retrieval, with the spinnaker half down and the crew all out of position.

Enter Scott Malone. Malone, who makes a habit of heading out when it’s blowing hard, was out bombing around in his 13′ RS Aero, enjoying blasting around among the big boats. He was near TANTIVY as they rounded the weather mark and thought he would make a go of keeping up with them. They started to scoot away, but wrapped their chute in a gybe, and he thought he saw his chance to catch up. Instead he saw a head pop out of the water.

J/105s sailing off Seattle, WA“I took a land sight behind him and went over. But I actually lost sight of him. It’s amazing how hard it is to see a guy in the water.” When he located the MOB again, Perry waved him to sail in and help. Brian hung on to the side of the Aero until TANTIVY, now under power, and a CYC Whaler, turned after about 5-10 minutes. Perry wasn’t eager to let go of Malone’s Aero, but eventually made it to TANTIVY where he was retrieved.

Burnell, who wrote about a previous man overboard recovery a couple years ago here on Sailish, said, “we are re-thinking TANTIVY’s life jacket policy!!!” And Malone, who’s crossed oceans singlehanded, came away struck by how difficult it is to actually see a person in the water. There was at least one other MOB, ironically on the other J/109 SHADA.

This all seems like a great reminder how important it is to wear a life jacket in gnarly conditions and how vital it is to do regular MOB drills. And it doesn’t hurt to have a skilled dinghy sailor trailing right behind you.

Once in a while, not nearly often enough, Seattle comes through with Saturday’s conditions. Puget Sound was carpeted with whitecaps, and you can see from Jan Anderson’s photos the day made for some great sailing. A total of 56 boats actually sailed the event, with three PHRF classes and five one-design classes, four of which made up the south course right off Shilshole Bay Marina. Once again, CYC somehow set the courses in the deep water and waves and got in 9-11 races for all the fleets. Kudos.

If Saturday was a day for the boats that could plane, Sunday was sailed in equally perfect, if somewhat more sedate sunny conditions. The 9-boat J/105 fleet reveled in the conditions, with Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE team winning easily.  Second was John Aitchison’s MOOSE UNKNOWN and third was Chris Phoenix’s JADED.  Rounding out the top five were Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM and Jeff Pace and Philiippe Le Mouel’s LIFTOFF in 4th and 5th, respectively.

The increasingly active J/80 fleet saw John Sezer’s RECKLESS win the class with seven bullets in his 11-race scoreline!  Second was Bryan Rhodes’ CRAZY IVAN and third was Mike Gridley’s RAVEN.

In the PHRF handicap racing world, Stu Burnell’s J/109 TANTIVY managed a 4th in PHRF 3 class and Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW virtually eclipsed PHRF 5 class with seven bullets in 11-races to take the win.  For more Puget Sound Series Sailing information

J/88 sailing off Annapolis, MDJ/88 Wins Annapolis Fall Series
(Annapolis, MD)- The Chesapeake Bay comes alive in the fall when the weather gets a little cooler, weather fronts start moving in faster from the west, and the winds increase significantly.  For Chesapeake sailors, it is their favorite time of year to sail on the Bay, often with warm waters and big breeze.

We got a report from J/88 owner Bill Walczak, sailing on his beloved HORNET.  Bill commented, “in the last four races, we got three 1sts and a 2nd. We had up to twenty-four boats racing in PHRF A2 class.  HORNET stung them all!  The J/88 is a really fun PHRF platform!  Here is what happened in each race.

Annapolis to Oxford: we had 18-23 kts downwind for 16 miles then reach with 3 mile upwind, 30 miles. That race was a scream, nearly a full-on plane for most of the race!

AYC race to Oxford: it was light; we had 3-6 kts abeam and downwind. We were 4 miles ahead of 14 boats in class when the RC abandoned the race, such a bummer! We were 1/4 mile from the shortened finish! That was our first ultralight air race and were all surprised how well our J/88 HORNET performed.

AYC race to Solomons: it was another windy race. We had 20 kts plus for 40 miles downwind, then we reached across the bay to the Pax river and finished. We won by 5 seconds corrected for the Overall win and crushed our A2 Class.

We have been lucky with downwind planning conditions, but other planning boats have not kept pace with us.

Last year race to Oxford we had 17 miles upwind and struggled against the Navy 44s.  However, once we turned the mark to reach off with a code zero, we simply took off and finished first by 6 seconds overall and won class. Very fun boat! Love it!!”  Thanks to Bill for his enthusiastic report from his experiences sailing on the Bay!

J/88 sailing GearbusterJ/88 Wins IHYC Gearbuster
(Greenwich, CT)- One of the more popular end-of-season offshore races on Long Island Sound is the Indian Harbor YC’s infamous “Gearbuster Race”.  The race sounds easy, just a 46.0nm course eastward down the Sound from Greenwich, CT to Stratford Shoal and return.  Some years, the fleet can take a beating on swift-moving storm fronts.  This year, it was pretty benign and very quick for some boats.

The report from Drew Hall’s J/88 NEVERMORE was similar to their colleagues on HORNET.  Said Drew, “we had a scream in the IHYC Gearbuster on our J/88. We were 1st in PHRF 3 Class beating 49-foot boats and were 11th overall.

We sailed very fast to Stratford Shoal and back. The wind was 8-14 knots with flat water. We were using a small flat Code 0 for 90% of the race with angles 45-75 AWA. Kerry Klingler from Quantum Sails designed the sail for us, my goodness it was quick! We wanted something to fill the gap when you are cracked off with the jib and not into the larger code sails. Worked like a charm!  Especially when we could double-slot with our jib, too!”

In addition to the J/88, other J/crews had a great race.  In the PHRF Doublehanded Class, Barry Purcell’s J/27 LUCIDA won their fleet of eleven boats. Then, in PHRF 2 Class, Brian Spears’ J/120 MADISON took the bronze on the podium.

J/24s sailing off Seattle, WASauer Tops J/24 Seattle District 19 Regatta
(Seattle, WA)- The J/24s continue to have fun up in the Pacific Northwest.  In this year’s District 19 Championships sailed on Puget Sound and hosted by Corinthian YC Seattle, the twenty-boat J/24 class had a blast cruising around the race track as part of the CYC Seattle’s Puget Sound Sailing Championship.

Here is the report from Jakob Lichtenberg who was sailing on HAIR OF THE DOG.
“The regatta, the venue and the time of year offers a fantastic framework for an epic “end of year” one design competition. With good reason to expect breeze of varying strength, oscillations and a bit of tide. All of this with the expectation of a dash of October Pacific Northwest rain and a cold beer from the club house after racing.

Twenty J/24s signed up for the event, and at stake was the championship as well as a World qualifier spot for next year’s 2019 World Championship in Miami, FL. Friday night offered extra focus on preparation, inspections of boats and rigorous review of eligibility of boat (class certificates and a ton of other stuff that we tend to forget in between these big regattas). Good news! We now all have tight lifelines and paper work on file with the club.

The day started out with breeze and we all had to feather a bit to hold the boat flat.  We got three good races in and as expected had to balance our strategy: On the inside we found a bit more tide relief, but the pressure on the outside was just a bit better overall. Over the day, the breeze died down and at the 4th race we ran out of wind and had to abandon after a 45 minute upwind. Dinner and drinks at the clubhouse was great. Pete Sauer won the day in borrowed boat Self Abuse with a solid 1st, 2nd, 1st.  Michael Johnson in Pearl was 2nd and finally Mark Laura’s Baba Louie in third.

J/24 winnerSunday
Again good breeze.  Everyone wearing their best genoas and fully hiked. Lots of races and lots of drama with tons of boats called back for OCS (the “around the ends” rule became routine for the day), and the usual compression at both windward and leeward marks leading to even more drama. And finally, the tugboat that decided to run a 600 ft floating dock over the top mark. The competition remained tight and before the last race Pete in Self Abuse found himself ahead by just one point to Scott Milne’s Tremendous Slouch and the boats in 3rd, 4th and 5th were all within striking distance of the trophy – which lead to a dramatic last race!

In the end, Team SELF ABUSE won, skippered by Sauer with crew of Key Jeffcock, Alex Simanis, Joe Greiser and Joe Wilderman.  Second was Scott Milne’s TREMENDOUS SLOUCH just two points behind and in the process secured themselves a berth for Worlds in Miami (as Pete already had a berth from earlier in the year winning Western Regionals). Then, third was Mark Laura’s BABA LOUIE.

From our perspective on HAIR OF THE DOG, it was just a fantastic weekend. It was a privilege to race against a number of the top J/24 boats. Boats that have not just participated, but done well at Worlds.

Here is what we learned.  First, it sucks to rig a boat in the rain. The hoist is still out to get our Windex. Port gives way for starboard, unless port is absolutely dead in the water and on the mark.  Also, it is cheaper to hit an inflatable mark than a fellow J/24.  It sucks to have to return under spinnaker to restart under an OCS recall a good minute up the first leg. That a full day of sailing, followed by a haul of the boat, and de-rigging makes for an exhausting day.

Thank you everyone for a great weekend. To the traveling boats that made it to Seattle. To the strong class measurers and registration team Michael, Noel, Christa, Kelly, Alice, and Melanie. The entire CYC organizing authority lead by Matthew Wood. And of course the on-the-water RC team lead by Geoff Pease that got a ton of races thru in tricky conditions (with lots of sailors him offering “advice”).  A personal thank you to the protest committee that twice listened to our ranting and correctly (and mostly gently) explained why our cause did not ‘stand up in court’.”

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide

J/70 sailing worlds* The J/70 WORLDS debrief from NORTH SAILS offers many lessons learned from what may have been the toughest regatta ever sailed by most teams.

Eastern Yacht Club welcomed 91 teams from 18 different countries, and sailors had an exciting variety of conditions for the eleven races in four days. The allure of such an event was too much to pass up, and more than a dozen North Sails experts were on the starting line. Whether crewing for clients and friends or organizing their own team, the depth and expertise of our J/70 experts was on full display with many on the podium and even more in the top 10.

NORTH SAILS asked some of the sailors in the event to share both their impressions and lessons from the J/70 Worlds.

STAMPEDE- Max Skelley- 2nd overall

NORTH: Managing that many boats and keeping top finishes throughout the event is an impressive feat. What were the key things that you attribute the consistency Stampede was able to deliver?

MAX: We knew going into the event that we had really good upwind speed. Having Tim Healy as our tuning partner throughout the summer was a big help with narrowing down rig tune/sail trim settings. Being able to use our speed to dig our way out of tough spots began to dictate our tactics . We always tried to start in low density areas somewhere near the middle of the favored half of the line, not being so leveraged to one side that we couldn’t dig our way out if the shift didn’t go our way.

On race five we were persuaded to start at the windward end because the two previous races, hard right was really paying. We were able to win the start at the windward end and were first boat to tack to port, which was the race-winning move in the two previous races. Unfortunately, the left came in hard on the first beat and we rounded in the 50’s. We were able to fight back to the low thirties but the race still ended up being our drop race. We learned a lesson about risk / reward and stayed away from the ends for the remaining of the event using patience and speed to consistently get to the front of the fleet.

STAMPEDE- Eric Doyle- 2nd place

NORTH: You are a boat speed guy. What were the keys to helping keep the boat going fast?

ERIC: We had worked hard all summer on our rig settings, we had confidence of when to change the rig tension for the wind strength. I was trimming the jib and one interesting trim technique that we started during the worlds was that we rarely moved the jib lead. It lived in the #6 hole 95% of the time and we just used the halyard to adjust and jib sheet tension to fine tune the jib.

In the heavy air races, when a lot more halyard was required, we had to ease the sheet about an inch and use the appropriate amount of in-hauler, less in the big puffs and more in the flatter, lighter spots. When it was lighter and we eased the halyard to make the jib fuller overall, it lowered the clew, effectively moving the lead aft, so we trimmed about an inch harder on the sheet and used more in-hauler. It seemed to work better as it is impossible to change the lead without tacking, but the halyard and sheet are readily accessible at all times.

NORTH: How important was it to make sure your tuning was spot on and was there ever a time where the conditions didn’t match your setup and, if so, what effect did that have?

ERIC: We always looked to set the boat up to be fast for the first half of the first beat so that we could hold a lane and get to the first weather mark in good shape. Most of the time it worked out but on the 4th day with all the rain squalls coming through and huge changes in velocity, after the first race we just went with a slightly tighter rig from base, +4 and +3, and used the backstay, traveler and boom vang much more aggressively. When the boat felt bad for Bruno, we made sure to remind him that we were out of tune and that he just had to deal with it! In the big fleet with lots of chop, in general it was better to get caught a little on the loose side than too tight.

Team 3 BALL JT- 3rd place Allan Terhune

NORTH: After four days of racing and 11 races the top three teams all had over 100 points and were within three points of each other. Your team had some big scores early in the event. What turned the week around for your team to get back to the top of the leaderboard?

ALLAN: For sure the regatta didn’t start as we hoped. The big thing for us was not to panic and to take a look at everything to see where we could improve. We talked to our training partners and other folks and realized we had to be more drastic in our rig adjustments for the waves and wind. It was a hard event. It was not easy to get finishes in the 20’s.

The regatta was a good lesson in the fighting until the end and that the event is never over, till it’s over. If you would have told me that we would start with 18,22,25 and go into the last day three points out of the lead, I would have said you are nuts. It proved that World Championships are marathons and you have to keep pushing. Our team did that well. We always kept adapting and trying new things.

We were one of the few teams to use the North J-6 jib, and I think it was the right choice for us for sure. We found it gave us more range for the conditions there. It was a sail we were very comfortable with and we were glad we chose in the end.

TEAM ANY COLOUR- Zeke Horowitz

NORTH: Crewing for your friends, the Furnary Brothers, what setup did you find worked best to help them get in the groove to be consistently fast?

ZEKE: We used the XCS-2 Mainsail and we busted out a J-2 High Clew for the first time at this regatta. We were extremely happy to find the transition to the J-2 High Clew to be quite easy. It’s a beautiful, forgiving sail with all the modes you need. We stuck pretty close to the North Tuning Guide and found the setup to have the power we needed to fight through the big waves and chop while being easy enough to de-power and keep the groove nice and wide for Scott on the helm.

In the higher winds, we made sure to fine-tune our lowers so that there was no mast sag at the spreaders and if anything, a hint of poke to weather. This helped us achieve maximum head stay tension even when the main sheet had to be eased. Keeping the boat flat (both upwind and downwind) was HUGE.

NORTH: The J/70 Worlds was a challenging regatta. What did your team do so well to get a top 10 finish and what needs work for next time so you don’t “leave any points on the water”?

ZEKE: For sure this has to be the most challenging regatta I’ve ever competed in. The depth of talent was insane and the sheer number of boats made it all the more difficult. Not to mention some pretty wild conditions! I think every single team felt that they left a myriad of points on the table – I know we did.

One thing we talked about as team before the regatta is that we wanted to play every decision in the race as if we were trying to just be top 20. We knew that if we averaged somewhere in the top 20, we’d be very happy with the result. So all our big picture game plans, tactical decisions, and boat handling maneuvers were made with conservative strategies, (except for the time we crashed into Tim Healy at the weather mark-Sorry, Boss). Scott and Evan Aras (main trimmer) did a fantastic job with starting and we knew that if we could be punched off the line, that would most likely get rid of about 50 boats that had bad starts.

From there it was really just about lane management and looking for opportunities to put the boat in places where we could make gains.

One thing that would really help us next time is continuing to improve on downwind modes. There are so many different modes to consider off the breeze and it’s amazing how much can be gained and lost by doing it correctly.


NORTH: What did you learn about North’s standard J/70 designs this week that J/70 sailors should know when thinking about investing in new sails?

TIM: We used the XCS-2 mainsail, J-2 High Clew jib and the AP-1 spinnaker. I chose them because I believe they are the fastest and most user friendly sails available. They allow for the power and speed to acceleration of the line in choppy conditions and to power up quickly out of tacks. The J-2 High Clew is slightly fuller than the J-6 and is less weather sheet dependent which, I feel, makes getting “top speed” trim correct more quickly and easily. It was used on many of the top ten boats. The J-6 is also an excellent sail finishing 1 point out of 1st in second and 3 points out of first in 3rd! The J-6 can create the same power as the J-2 High Clew with slightly more weather sheet.

My recommendation to someone ready for a new set is to go with the J-2 High Clew for a more user friendly sail and the J-6 if you like to be more active with weather sheeting. Add to Flipboard Magazine.