Wednesday, January 2, 2019

J/Newsletter- January 2nd 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Happy New Year to “J” sailors, owners, family, and friends!  May you all enjoy a fun, joyous, and successful 2019! Time to go sailing!

The New Year is starting off quickly for members of the “J” community on a number of fronts.  The new J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster was launched at Hamble Yacht Services on the Hamble River in England over the holidays. The latest report indicates that she’s a beauty, sails extremely fast off the wind, and is quite powerful upwind. After an enormously successful debut in the Paris Boat Show in December, she will also be present at the Dusseldorf boot Boat show in January.

The J/70 class is starting off quickly, with a large turnout for the Davis Island Winter Series Act II this coming weekend. Then, the following weekend, two more take place; the YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series ACT IV in Monte Carlo, Monaco and the Bacardi Winter Series Act II in Miami, FL. Many of those teams participating are hoping to participate in the 2019 J/70 World Championship that will be sailed in Torquay, England- check out which U.K. team won their season-long series to get an idea of how serious they are taking the event as hosts!

In the J/Community section below, read about the amazing journey that led an American J/122E from the Pacific Northwest to sail in the famous Rolex Sydney Hobart Race after Christmas, starting on Boxing Day off Sydney, Australia.

J/99 surfing on the Solent, England 
J/99 Speedster Launched!
(Hamble, England)- After the Paris Boat Show in December, the brand new J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster was transported to the United Kingdom where she was commissioned and launched by Hamble Yacht Services in Hamble, England over the holidays.
J/99 sailing upwind off England
J/99 #1 will be sailing on the Southampton Water and the Solent for the next few months. So far, her debut has impressed all those who have sailed her to date! She is a very powerful, fast boat upwind, according to Fred Bouvier from J/Composites in Les Sables d’Olonne, France. And, Paul Heys from J/U.K. remarked on her amazing turn of speed downwind under the big screaming yellow A2 asymmetric spinnaker shown here- hitting 11.7 kts on a reach in 18.9 kts of TWS while sailing as double-handed team; should be quick offshore!
J/99 reaching on Solent, England
Meanwhile, hull #2 splashed over the holidays in Brittany, France for some end-of-the-year sailing. To kick off 2019, the J/99 will be displayed at the Dusseldorf “boot” Show in Germany from January 19-27.

The first boat to North America will arrive in Rhode Island in February and be commissioned for an early season (March) launch. The J/99 will make its North American boat show debut at the Pacific Sail Show in Richmond, CA, April 4-17, 2019.
J/99 reaching with Code Zero and jib off Hamble, England
Please contact Paul Heys at J/U.K. for an opportunity to take her for a demo sail on the Solent (United Kingdom)- phone- +44-23-8045-5669 or email-  Learn more about the J/99 Offshore Speedster here

January Boat Show Announcements!
(Newport, RI)- The first of the new year’s boat shows will be taking place in two widely disparate locations across the world.

The first event is the Chicago Boat Show in Chicago, Illinois that is running from January 9th to 13th at the famous McCormick Place Pavilions on the south side of the city.  Please make sure to stop by and chat with Midwest J/Dealer Stearns Boating about their plans for the exciting J/99 this summer season on the Great Lakes.  Richie Stearns will be at Booth- S719.  To make an appointment to see him, please contact Richie at phone- (847) 404-2209  or email-  For more Chicago Boat Show information
J/99 sailing off England
The next event is the world-famous Dusseldorf Boot Boat Show taking place from January 19th to 27th in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Renowned as one of the major “arts” centers in Europe, it is both a cultural attraction along the gorgeous Rhine River as well as an amazing boat show to attend- the world’s largest by far!

On-site in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be J/Composites and the European J/Boats team, presenting the latest J/99 offshore speedster, the world champion J/112E sports cruiser, and the world’s most successful sportsboat- the International J/70.  For more 2019 Boot Dusseldorf boat show information

J/70s sailing on Tampa BayJ/70 Davis Island Winter Series II Preview
(Tampa, FL)- Will the Russian BOGATYRS be coming back again to defend their title after winning the first event back in December? Or, will the prospect of elevated levels of competition in the new year spook them as they beat a retreat back to less competitive classes?  Time will tell!

Forty-seven teams competed in the first event in early December.  It was gorgeous the first day, but a massive frontal system rolled through on the Sunday and eliminated any chances of sailing.  The forecast for this weekend’s event looks significantly more promising.  While a front is scheduled to move through from Friday to Saturday, the southerly winds shifting into the northerly quadrants on Sunday at least promise a full slate of racing for both days.

While Igor Rytov's Russian BOGATYRS earned the overall victory, Greiner Hobbs' DARK HORSE was second, and Doug Strebel's BLACK RIVER RACING was third. In the face of daunting new competition, can they repeat that performance?  Or, will a new “dark horse” emerge and beat everyone round the track to the finish?

On that note, several new teams will be in the mix, like World Champion Joel Ronning on CATAPULT from Wayzata, MN; Bill Draheim’s PONY from Rush Creek YC in Dallas, TX; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Boston, MA; and Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Fort Worth Boat Club in Ft Worth, TX.   For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series II sailing information

Harken J/70 SnubbAIR winchIntroducing J/70 Harken SnubbAIR!
(Pewaukee, WI)- Yes, the rumors you hear are true.  The new Harken SnubbAIR for the J/70 has become class legal worldwide and you may order it today from Harken dealers in the USA or Europe.

At first glance, the new J/70 Harken SnubbAIR looks like a smaller, more efficient and comfortable version of the winch it replaces. That’s true. Plus, SnubbAIR weighs less than half of the Harken B8A plain top it is designed to replace and is 30% lower to the deck.

If you elect to install the available insert, you can crank it with any winch handle.  There’s just one thing: It’s not technically a winch.

SnubbAIR is designed to function like an aggressive ratcheting deck-mounted block. Its wide drum provides lots of line-holding power- much like the monster “air drums” you see on Maxi 100s. And, mechanical advantage can come from the winch handle. But, SnubbAIR trades the height and the weight of a traditional winch gearing for two races of Delrin® ball bearings, which assure that it operates with very little friction, and ratchet mechanics for sheet control. Like a block, it requires no maintenance beyond washing its bearings with soap and water.

Harken J/70 SnubbAIR winch profile“Give credit to J/Boats. They wanted to keep the winches to maintain the ability for mixed and different sized crews to continue to sail the boat at a high level. They recognized that some form of load holding assistance was necessary. They requested we look into alternatives. Ultimately that brought us to SnubbAIR,” commented Harken’s Jim Anderson.

SnubbAIR comes complete with four integral pre-mounted threaded studs to match the bolt pattern of the B8A winch on the J/70 deck. An installation test proved that, start-to-finish, swapping out both winches for SnubbAIR takes less than 10 minutes. All washers and Nylok® nuts required for mounting are included.   Watch Harken’s J/70 SnubbAIR install video here

“We sailed with a test batch of SnubbAIR late last summer. Our initial reaction was, great!” said Ed Furry, President of SAIL22 and an active J/70 class participant as an owner and supplier to the class. “Getting over the SnubbAIR in a tack is much easier. It’s significantly lower. And then you notice the nice, rounded lip on top. It’s going to make a big difference to the cockpit crews.”  See Ed’s J/70 SnubbAIR video review here

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Jan 5-6- Davis Island J/70 Winter Series II- Tampa, FL
Jan 19-20- Bacardi J/70 Winter Series II- Miami, FL
Jan 24-27- J/Fest St Petersburg- St Petersburg, FL
Jan 26-28- Festival of Sails- Geelong, Vic, Australia
Feb 9-10-  Davis Island J/70 Series III- Tampa, FL
Feb 15-17- Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 21-24- J/70 Midwinter Championship- Miami, FL
Mar 6-9- Bacardi Cup- J/70 Winter Series III- Miami, FL

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

2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam Champion is DSP!
J/70 DSP UK team
DSP was presented with both trophies at the J/70 UK Class Dinner that was held at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London. L-R Doug Struth, Lauren Mead, Dan Schieber (J/70 UK Class/Louay Habib)

Doug Struth & Geoff Carveth's DSP is the 2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam Champion scoring the best result in both the Corinthian and Open Divisions for the season. The total score for the nine-regatta championship was calculated by the best five results, including the J/70 UK Nationals that was non-discardable. DSP scored the best net points from any team in both the Corinthian and Open Divisions by the finest of margins. Clive Bush's Darcey was the top team in the Open Division, just a single point behind DSP. Ian Wilson & Marshall King's Soak Racing was the runner up in the Corinthian Division, also just one point behind DSP. Martin Dent's Jelvis made the podium for the Open Class, and Fiona Hampshire's Elizabeth was third in the Corinthian Class.
J/70 teams united in UK
“The racing has been so close all season, and we got the rub of the green with the weather especially in the last regatta. We have a relatively light weight team, so we tend to do well in light airs, which was quite often during the season,” commented Doug Struth. “We are absolutely delighted to win the Grand Slam, but the J/70 UK Class has a lot of work to do if we are going to be successful at the J/70 World Championship in Tor Bay next summer. We know that the teams coming from abroad will be extremely strong.”   UK Nationals J/70 sailing video action from VR Sport Media.
J/70s sailing UK Nationals
The J/70 UK Class will continue to train during the winter months, with organized clinics in the Solent and overseas. 2019 will be a massive year for the J/70 UK Class. The Royal Torbay Yacht Club is looking forward to welcoming the J/70 Class to Torquay for the 2019 J/70 World Championship: August 29th to September 6th 2019. The 2018 J/70 UK Grand Slam series provided qualification slots for the first 20 UK teams.  For more details about the J/70 UK Class.   Like & Share the J/70 Worlds Facebook page here   For more 2019 J/70 World Championship sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/122E Joyride sailing off Seattle, WA 
* The J/122E JOYRIDE Goes for the ride of a lifetime!

Considered to be one of the most difficult yacht races in the world, the 628.0nm Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race is an annual event hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia, starting in Sydney, New South Wales and finishing in Hobart, Tasmania. A total of eighty-nine yachts participated in the 74th edition of the race.

A trio of J/crews sailed in this year’s event, including the J/133 PATRIOT (Jason Close from Sandringham YC with crew of Lex O’Connor, Jack Fullerton, Jordan Sunkel-Lozell, Marissa Chalkley, Pete Chalkley, Stuart Moseley, Graeme Smith, Alister Greenwood, Cath Furey, & Greg Coutts.  In addition, the J/122 JACKPOT from Sydney was also sailing with crew of Robert Hale, Matt Gooden, Antoine Martin, Michael Westaway, Piergiorgio Merli, Robert Watson, Harry Atkinson, Antonio Zanin, and Mark Goode.

And, then there were the Americans(!).  Sailing in a “bucket list” event for the entire crew, the J/122E JOYRIDE from Seattle, WA was sailed by her owner John Murkowski from Seattle YC, with navigator Bron Miller, and crew of Quill Goldman, Alexander Fox, Maaike Pen, Robin Slieker, Byron Meseroll, Erik Sjogren.

JOY RIDE has been sailing the Pacific Northwest for the past three seasons in both buoy and long distance races. The team consists of US and Canadian sailors. The crew is dedicated to the adventure of sailing, sharing the same passions and race by the catch phrase: “be safe, have fun and go fast!”
J/122E sailing offshore
When one thinks of serious Corinthian-level offshore ocean racing, four signature events come to mind, namely the Newport Bermuda Race, the Fastnet Race, the Transpac Race and the Sydney Hobart. While these races vary in length from roughly 600 to 2,000-plus nautical miles, they are all time-honored contests that test skippers’ and crews’ abilities to prepare, train and execute as a team, usually in the face of challenging offshore conditions. And, while all four of these races have delivered their share of nasty weather over the years, the Sydney Hobart Race unfurls on the historically roughest patch of water and, as a result, has developed a bit of a matching reputation for nastiness.

That said, it’s tough to beat “The Hobart” when it comes to dramatic race courses, beginning with the race’s iconic Boxing Day start (December 26th) in Sydney Harbor, followed by the long run south along the coast and the crossing of Bass Straight, a place where the seafloor rises much closer to ocean surface, often creating big waves.

Once across Bass Straight, racers pass the iconic “Organ Pipes” at Tasmania’s Cape Raoul, and then make a final push up the Derwent River to the finish line and, depending on when one finishes racing, the start of some well-deserved New Year’s celebrations.

While all participating sailors must negotiate these same conditions and race course challenges, North American sailors have a significantly higher hill to climb, given their antipodean position relative to the starting line. This, in turn, requires a significantly higher level of planning, boat preparation and crew commitment, as well as the confidence to take on an entirely new course and challenge the Aussies at a game that they invented, and which they play at an incredibly high level.

Enter John Murkowski, the owner and skipper of the well-sailed, Seattle-based J/122E JOY RIDE, and the lone American-flagged entry in the 2018 Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. While Murkowski and JOY RIDE are no strangers on Puget Sound’s sailing scene, they first made international news by winning the Vic-Maui 2018 race on corrected time. Impressive, yes, but even more so given this was Murkowski’s and JOY RIDE’s first Vic-Maui race.

Sound like a familiar challenge? caught up with John prior to the Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race.
J/122E Joyride off Seattle, WA
Joy Ride on her home waters of Puget Sound - photo © Nick Callanan

What was your impetus to travel Down Under and compete in the Sydney-Hobart?

Three years ago, we sat down and outlined a race plan for the program. In addition to our normal local races, we wanted to add a significant challenge event to each year.

Two years ago, that event was the Van Isle 360. The Van Isle is a two-week stage race with a mix of one-day races and multi-day races around Vancouver Island. It has every challenge you would want from racing, with inland island-driven wind, huge currents associated with the meeting of flows around the island and a huge offshore component with three multi-day races on the West Coast of Vancouver Island.

After winning the Van Isle, we set our sights on the Vic Maui race from Victoria Canada, to Maui, Hawaii this last July. The spacing of the races allowed us to upgrade the boat to new safety requirements, train the crew and optimize our sailing plan.

The Vic Maui was a 13+ day race for us with unique conditions comprising 10 days of upwind beating (highly unusual wind conditions), large winds and sea states as a tropical storm collided with the normal Pacific high, days of light-wind frustration and a final three days of riding the trade-wind craziness.

We corrected over our competition and became the first boat to ever win both the Van Isle 360 and the Vic Maui races (and hold both titles at the same time as they run in off years). With the boat in Hawaii already it seemed like the best opportunity we would ever have to enter the Sydney Hobart.

Sailing is a big part of the Pacific Northwest [experience] and it feels great to be only the fourth boat from [Seattle] to ever make the effort to get to the Sydney Hobart. It felt like a shame to just sail her back home [from Maui] when there was new water and new adventures waiting farther ahead.

There are other great races to do and we are already to start planning for what will happen after Sydney. We’re beginning to like the idea of shipping the boat to the Atlantic and competing in some of the iconic races available there.

My end goal is to race across the oceans against the best competition available, and to never have to sail the boat back home.

How long have you had the boat, and what other big events have you done with it?

I ordered the boat new four years ago and had it built to my specifications by J/Composites in France. My father and I did the final inspection in their yard and then we had it shipped here to Seattle.

Since then, we have done hundreds of local races with her including the Vic Maui, Van Isle 360, multiple Swiftsures, Southern Straits, Center Sound Series, Winter Sound Series, Around the County etc. We have steadily been able to improve as we have learned the boat, replaced all of the systems with our own and I’m excited to see what this crew can do with her.
J/122E Joyride off Seattle's Olympic Mountains
Joy Ride on her home waters of Puget Sound - photo © Jan's Marine Photography

Can you tell us about your Sydney Hobart preparations? What, if any modifications did you have to do to the boat to get ready? Any new sails? Also, had you already accomplished a lot of this work before the 2018 Vic-Maui, or has the Sydney Hobart race been an entirely new chapter for the boat?

We rode the boat hard in the Vic Maui and had to spend a month in a yard in Hawaii getting her back to pre-start form. The Vic-Maui is a Cat 0 race and, as such, has additional safety requirements than Sydney Hobart, so the boat is very well-prepared for the race.

There are some different versions of requirements than what we have already met, so we are currently getting her back to race form after the sail from Hawaii to Sydney (more damage). Our sail [inventory] has been very extensive from the start. We did add a new main sail for the Vic-Maui and a new A5 but, otherwise, she has been built to race for several years.

Are you sailing with the same crew that you raced to Hawaii with? Also, what kind of training and crew preparations/safety courses have you guys been doing to get ready for the Boxing Day bash?

We have had the same crew for several years, with dozens and dozens of races together. Half the crew did the sail from Hawaii to Sydney and is there now working on the boat. We have all had our safety-at-sea course, multiple first aid certificates etc. We believe we are well prepared for what is coming; but we’ll see.

Has anyone onboard ever done the race before, or will this be a first-time experience for all involved?

Just like Vic-Maui, we do not have any [crewmembers who] have done the race before. We discussed this at length prior to the Vic-Maui as some of competing boats had 30-40 races under their belts when you combined their crew experience. In the end, we decided that the continuity of the crew trumped the addition of a new crew member with prior race experience.
J/122E off Swiftsure Race starting line
Joy Ride on the starting line of the 2018 Swiftsure Race - photo © Image courtesy of John Murkowski/Joy Ride Collection

What aspects of the race are you most looking forward to? The start? Bass Strait? The Organ Pipes?

I love the starts of big races. For us around here, the start of Swiftsure every year is the highlight with over a hundred boats, the Canadian Navy (committee boat), bands and crowds on shore etc. I’ve watched every Sydney Hobart race I can, and I’m most looking forward to the entirety of the start and the excitement that comes with that many people, preparation and energy coming together.

What are your personal and team goals for this race?

Joy Ride has always operated on three goals that I learned long ago as a mountain guide: Be Safe, Go Fast, Have Fun.

As long as we stick to those goals in that order, our individual and collective goals will be accomplished. The results will be what they are.

In the mountains it could never be just about the summit as the mountain didn’t always allow you to get there. It was always about the journey and the people you choose to share it with. I think this race like all of our recent races will also be about the journey and the people we get to share it with.
J/122E Joyride reaching off Seattle, WA
Joy Ride and her bigger J/Boat sister JAM, a J/160, battle for position - photo © Jan's Marine Photography

What are your post-Hobart plans? Will you stick around Oz and do some cruising, or will you and the boat be headed back to Puget Sound?

I have twins due a few weeks after the race and will be flying home ASAP to make sure I’m around for their births. The boat will stay in Sydney until our next race plans are determined. The current plan, assuming the twins are settled down, is to ship the boat [to the UK] in time to compete in the 2019 Fastnet.

Anything else that you’d like to add, for the record?

It has been a great experience already with the local race organization being incredibly helpful and accommodating of our transit from Seattle and welcoming us into Sydney. I wasn’t able to participate with my crew in the delivery to Sydney and, as such, haven’t been on my own boat since finishing the Vic-Maui. I’m very much looking forward to being back on the helm with the crew of Joy Ride.
Thanks for the contribution from SAIL-WORLD News.   A few comments from the owner of J/122 "Joyride" prior to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race   For more Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race sailing information
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