Wednesday, February 27, 2019

J/Newsletter- February 27th, 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

The seventh J/70 Midwinters took place this past week on the beautiful waters of Biscayne Bay.  Fifty teams from five countries participated in what many described as near postcard-perfect sailing conditions for all three days, giving sailors the pantheon of downwind sailing modes (displacement, wing & wing, planing) to test their skills against the world’s best sailors.

In the J/Community section below, read about how the past two J/70 World Champions have been awarded the ROLEX Yachtsman of the Year Award. In 2017, it was Peter Duncan from Rye, New York (for winning the J/70 Worlds in Porto Cervo, Sardinia) and this year’s award goes to Jud Smith from Marblehead, MA, winning the Worlds in his home waters.

Then, sadly, we honor the passing of J/U.K.’s founder and leader- Paul Heys of Southampton, England- a J/Boats enthusiast that loved being on the water, sailing with customers on the Solent for over 25 years.

J/24 Midwinters startJ/24 Midwinters XXXXI Championship Preview
(Tampa, FL)- The 41st J/24 Midwinter Championship is being hosted from March 1st to 3rd, 2019 by Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida.  The thirty-two boat fleet comes from across the USA, Canada, and Japan.

After hosting the three event J/70 Winter Series, the DIYC Race Committee and PRO have become a well-oiled machine, providing good start lines, effective courses, and a fast pace to keep the sailors busy. The J/24s can expect more of their good race management this coming weekend and sail up to four, or even five, races per day given the flat water of upper Tampa Bay and shifty winds.

J/24 sailing team off MiamiSeveral World, North American, and Midwinter Champions will be using the Midwinters as their first major training regatta for 2019.  Many of the seasoned veterans are sailing in this year’s J/24 World Championship that will be held at Coral Reef YC and raced on Biscayne Bay in late October. Those teams include Mark Laura’s BABA LOUIE from Seattle, WA; Tony Parker’s BANGOR PACKET from Washington, DC; Al Constants’ BLITZ from Seawanhaka YC in New York; Rossi Milev’s CLEAR AIR from Port Credit YC in Mississauga, Ontario; John Mollicone and Tim Healey’s HELLY HANSEN from Newport, RI; Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER from Rochester YC in New York; Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM from St Petersburg, FL; Erica Beck Spencer’s SEA BAGS WOMEN’S SAILING TEAM from Portland, ME; Todd Fedyszyn’s SPOONY TACTICS from St Petersburg, FL; and Carter White’s YouREGATTA from Portland, ME.  For more J/24 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/122 sailing Heineken St Maarten RegattaHeineken St Maarten Regatta Preview
(Simpson Bay, St. Maarten)- Over 110 yachts from thirty-five countries will compete in the 39th Heineken St Maarten Regatta. A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracts some of the world’s elite sailors and crews, with fast and furious racing in monohulls, maxis and multihulls.

Crystal clear waters and cooling northeast trade winds give the pristine conditions for spectacular racing just off the coast of St. Maarten. And with Heineken as title sponsor, the racing days blend seamlessly into four nights of exceptional parties. The event is a bucket list must-do! The Serious Fun goes for four days, from February 28 – March 3, 2019!

J/105 sailing Heineken St Maarten RegattaThe St. Maarten Heineken Regatta is as famous for its parties as it is for its racing. Over four nights, some of the world’s top artists take to the stage and ensure that each day of racing starts as well as it ends with the festivities continuing long into the night. So far, Alison Hinds, The Jacksons (originally the Jackson Five), Shermanology and Fatman Scoop have been confirmed with more party announcements to follow.

Looking forward to enjoying all the Serious Fun are a several J/Crews from the USA, Canada, Caribbean, and Europe.  In the CSA 2 Racing class, Roger Gatewood’s team on his J/145 KATARA have already sailed 600nm two weeks ago, having participated in the RORC Caribbean 600 Race that started and finished off English Harbour, Antigua.  Joining them in the class will be Emilio Torres-Requena’s J/130 MAZU from Puerto Rico.

J/122 sailing Heineken St Maarten RegattaAs has happened multiple times in the past, the two famous, colorful J/122s that live in the Caribbean will be going at it again in CSA 3 Racing class.  The protagonists are Pamala Baldwin’s LIQUID (including her international crew of Julian White, Matt Kasorzycki, and Sil Grijpma) and Bob Hillier’s EL OCASO.  Both boats have won many of the top Caribbean events, so watch for this battle royale to drive both boats to the top of the podium!

Similarly, the trio of J/105s in CSA 4 Racing class push each other hard and such tight racing keeps the scores very close.  Those J/105s include WHISTLER (Peter Lewis from Barbados), SOLSTICE (Jordan Mindich from Long Island, New York), and SUNBELT REALTY JENK (Remco van Dortmondt from Curacao). Joining them this year will be the J/30 BLUE PETER/ CARIBBEAN ALLIANCE INSURANCE, sailed by Tanner & Shari from Antigua and Barbuda. Sailing photo credits- Loren Morels. For more Heineken St Maarten Regatta sailing information

J/145 sailing Banderas Bay RegattaBanderas Bay Regatta XXVII Preview
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- In 1524, the Spanish conquistador Francisco Cortés de Buenaventura arrived on the coast of this beautiful bay known today as "Bahias de Banderas". Legends say that 20,000 warriors came down from the mountains above and assembled in the lush valley, into his path. Their bows, decorated with banners in a rainbow of colors, were so impressive that the Bay became known as the “Bay of Flags,” or Bahía de Banderas.

Today the bay is sanctuary to sea life including giant manta rays, sea bass, red snapper, sailfish, marlin, dorado, dolphins and more. Humpback whales come each winter to birth their young, and Olive Ridley sea turtles return each year to the nesting grounds along its shores. In addition, the bay is ringed by mountains and a river valley that is adjacent to the town of Puerto Vallarta; that geography creates a fantastic sea breeze on sunny days, where the wind flows in from the west at 10-17 kts.

J/80 sailing Banderas Bay RegattaAfter sailors discovered this sunny paradise, it did not take long to attract cruising sailors from around the world.  In addition, because of the amazing sea breezes, it has also attracted racing sailors. This year marks the 27th time the Banderas Bay Regatta will be sailed on the spectacular waters off Puerto Vallarta. The emphasis has always been on having a fun and friendly series of races that take place in a serious, professional format.

Hosting the regatta from March 5th to 9th is Vallarta YC that is situated in the northeastern part of the bay called Nuevo Vallarta.  They will provide five full days of racing with up to two races per day.  Some races are windward leeward and others are fun, random leg affairs that take your for a tour around the picturesque bay.

Joining in the fun is a number of J sailors from Mexico and the USA.

J/130 Sirocco sailing Banderas Bay RegattaParticipating for at least the third years in a row in the Big Boat PHRF division are Mike Seth’s J/145 DOUBLE TAKE from Vallarta YC in Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico and Lee Pryor’s J/130 SCIROCCO from Oceanside YC in Oceanside, CA.  One of their eager competitors in class will be a 54 footer called “Mermaid Magnet”!  LOL!

In the smaller boat PHRF division, there are at least two J/80s participating.  A veteran of the BBR happens to be Wayne Zittel from San Francisco YC in San Francisco, CA; he runs the J/World Sailing programs based in San Diego, CA and also Berkeley, CA on San Francisco Bay. Wayne is racing, appropriately enough, J-WORLD 3.  On the beautifully maintained J/80 SHIVA, Rush Faville from Vallarta YC and Bucerias, Mexico will be hoping to give Wayne and crew a run-for-the-money at the top of the leaderboard.

The final day for all sailors, March 9th, will be a full day; no rest for the weary at the end of the regatta! It will start with the final day of racing and end with the fabulous Awards Beach Party. In addition to the presentation of awards to the winners, live music by “Luna Rumba” will accompany dinner and after-dinner dancing. The Italian buffet under the stars has been brought back by popular demand. The evening will end with a bang, as fireworks will mark the end of the amazing week! The Beach Party is open to competitors, crew, and anyone else who likes a great tropical beach party.  For more Banderas Bay XXVII sailing information

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Mar 6-9- Bacardi Cup- J/70 Winter Series III- Miami, FL
Mar 7-10- J/105 Midwinter Championship- Fort Worth, TX
Mar 14-17- J/22 Midwinter Championship- Fort Walton Beach, FL
Mar 12-16- Miami to Havana Race- Havana, Cuba
Mar 14-17- J/70 Monaco Winter Series V- Monte Carlo, Monaco
Mar 15-17- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 22-24- St Thomas International Regatta- St Thomas, USVI
Mar 29-31- BVI Spring Regatta- Roadtown, Tortola, BVI
Mar 30- Apr 5- J/24 North American Championship- Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Apr 11-14- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 28- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua

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

J/70 Relative Obscurity win MidwintersDuncan Dominates J/70 Midwinters VII
(Coconut Grove, FL)- Fifty J/70s enjoyed postcard-perfect Biscayne Bay conditions for three days, with breeze on from the southeast to south in the 8 to 17 kts range and sunny most of the time! The regatta was hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club in Miami, FL, and was a qualifier for the 2020 World Championship to be hosted by California Yacht Club (2 Open berths and 1 Corinthian berth).

One team enjoyed the conditions much more than anyone else in the fleet; winning by an amazing 16 pts over the star-studded fleet was J/70 World Champion Peter Duncan and his incredibly talented crew on RELATIVE OBSCURITY; sailing with Peter were two-time J/70 World Champion crew Bill Hardesty and Willem Van Waay from San Diego, CA, along with ace bowman Will Felder.  This quartet of rock stars started off winning the first two races and never looked back, counting five 1sts in their eight-race scoreline for a total of just 18 net points!

In the Corinthians Division, it was the Argentinean team on JUICY that won by just 3.8 pts in a closely fought battle with two other boats- DONKEY McFLY and RIP RULLAH.  JUICY was skippered by Francisco Van Avermaete, with crew of Carlos Lacchini, Galvan Geronimo, and Rafael De Martis.  Here is how it all went down over the three gorgeous days of sailing.

J/70 Midwinters start off MiamiDay 1- Sunny and breezy
The anxious fleet of J/70s reveled in gorgeous Biscayne Bay conditions on Friday as the J/70 Midwinter Championship got underway with three races.  Miami delivered its renowned weather with sunny skies, temperatures in the low 80s and winds between 8-14 knots.

Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY laid its claim to the top spot by knocking out two straight bullets and adding a fourth for only 6 points so far. Following Duncan, Bruce Golison’ MIDLIFE CRISIS and Brian Keane’s SAVASANA were locked in a tie for second and third places at 15 points each. Scott Sellers’ DONKEY McFLY started off atop the Corinthian division with an enormous lead.

The day’s overall top three were the same group leading the way in the Championship’s opening battle: Duncan, Keane and Golison. Trailing Duncan in race two were Kevin Downey’s Mr. PITIFUL and John Heaton’s EMPEIRIA. Golison earned the victory in the final contest, ahead of Heaton and Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT.

J70s sailing downwind off MiamiDay 2- More Sun, More Breeze!
A fresh breeze in the mid-teens on Biscayne Bay made for an exciting day for fleet, with plenty of planing rides all over the race track. Three more races were completed, bringing the total to six, five of which were won by Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY.

Now able to drop a fourth, the Rye, NY-based skipper counted five bullets for a mere 5 net points. Keane’s SAVASANA moved solidly into second place with 19 points, following consecutive second-place finishes today and discarding an eight. Three points back was Heaton’s EMPEIRIA that earned redress points in the opening race and followed with a 7-3 to sit in third.

Sellers’ DONKEY McFLY continued to hold the top spot in the Corinthian division and was in 20th overall in the Open Division.

Duncan’s team appeared untouchable after two days of racing, hanging on to a comfortable 14-point lead. Looking ahead at them in the day’s first race were Ryan McKillen’s SURGE and Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT. The trailing teams in the middle duel were Keane’s SAVASANA and Michael Goldfarb’s WAR CANOE. And completing the top three to end the day were SAVASANA and EMPEIRIA.

J/70 sailing fast off Miami, FLDay 3- Wash, Rinse, Repeat! More windy fun in the sun!
After posting a 2-7 on the final day, Duncan’s crew on RELATIVE OBSCURITY sealed the deal to win the seventh J/70 Midwinters and simply sailed for home, while the rest of the 49-boat fleet sailed one beautiful final race.  Meanwhile, Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS finally got their “mojo” going. His crew (Steve Hunt, Erik Shampain, and Jeff Reynolds) crushed the final day with three bullets, hurdling them up the leaderboard into second place overall with 34 points. Keane’s SAVASANA team (Tom Barrows, Chuck Swanson, and Mack Bryant) placed third with 46 points. Rounding top five were Joel Ronning’s crew on CATAPULT (Victor Diaz de Leon, Patrick Wilson and Chris Stocke) and Heaton’s EMPEIRIA team (Zach Mason, Joe Morris, and Ian Barrows), fourth and fifth, respectively.

“It’s really all the practice and all the little things that make the big difference,” Duncan summarized regards their team effort on RELATIVE OBSCURITY. “You have to do those very repetitively, and it becomes second nature. So, when you have to make big decisions, it’s easy.”

Duncan explained the team’s conservative approach, saying, “we came off the middle of the line, went straight as far as we could go. If we could hold our lane, it was very positive.” While 2017 J/70 World Champion Duncan excels in a variety of conditions, they do like more breeze. “These boats are great to sail, and when there’s 50 boats or more, it’s very exciting!”

Winning the Corinthians Division was Van Avermaete’s JUICY team from Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Second was Seller’s DONKEY McFLY crew (Polk Wagner, Harrison Turner, and Owen Beckley) and third went to Willis’ RIP RULLAH team (Mike Whitford, Matt Clark, and Pat Hitchins).

Since the event was a US qualifier for the 2020 World Championship to be hosted by California YC, the two Open berths were awarded to Bruce Golison and John Heaton, and the one Corinthian berth went to Scott Sellers.  For more J/70 Midwinters VII sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Jud Smith wins Rolex Yachtsman of Year Congratulations to Jud Smith! He was named 2018 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year!

J/70 World Champion Jud Smith (Gloucester, Mass.) was selected as Rolex Yachtsman of the Year for his sailing performances in 2018.  He follows another J/70 World Champion receiving the award in 2017- Peter Duncan.

The selection follows the announcement in January of the three men who were shortlisted for these prestigious awards and recognized as sailing’s top performers of the year by US Sailing.

The slate of finalists, nominated by members of US Sailing and determined by US Sailing, was presented to a panel of 28 accomplished sailing media professionals and past winners of the awards, who analyzed the merits of each finalist and individually voted to determine the ultimate winners using a weighted point system (1st place vote – 5 points; 2nd place vote – 3 points; 3rd place vote – 1 point).

Rolex Yachtsman of Year leadersFor the first time ever, it was an all J/Boats slate for the final trio: Jud Smith tallied 116 points, including 20 first place votes. Placing second was 2018 J/22 World Champion, Zeke Horowitz (Annapolis, Md.), with 86 points and seven first place votes. Will Welles (Portsmouth, R.I.), 2018 J/24 World Champion, finished third with 50 points and one first place vote.

Smith will be honored on February 28 at the Rolex YoY Awards Ceremony hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, where he will be celebrated by family and friends, teammates and crew, past winners, 2018 finalists, sailing dignitaries, and representatives from US Sailing and Rolex.

He will also be presented with specially engraved Rolex timepieces and designed picture frames of the winners commemorating their outstanding 2018 accomplishments.

J/70 Africa- Jud Smith winning WorldsAt the age of 62, Jud Smith (Gloucester, Mass.), becomes the oldest winner of this esteemed award. He was 61 at the time of his team’s win at the 2018 J/70 World Championship. Smith is now a two-time winner of the award, earning his first Yachtsman of the Year award in 2006.

“I do consider my age as my biggest challenge,” said Smith. “However, I just have to work on my fitness and health much more than in years’ past. Instead of worrying if I’m good enough to be competitive, I worry if I am fit enough to be competitive. I now spend much more time in the gym, since that’s my limiting factor. Mentally, the game is less daunting than when I was younger.”

Smith continued his assessment of where he is in his competitive sailing career and how it remains, more than ever, a team sport to him. “To be competitive at the top level requires sailing with the best young sailors in the world. There a lot of 25 to 50-year-old talented sailors that make it possible for my generation to continue to compete. It’s a pleasure to be able to race with such a talented and committed group of young sailors. If it wasn’t for them, we’d be playing shuffleboard.”

The win at J/70 Worlds in 2018 was his second consecutive win at this highly competitive regatta. In 2017, Smith won the J/70 Worlds as crew for Peter Duncan, who went on to win Yachtsman of the Year honors in 2017.

“I had the opportunity to campaign in 2017 with Peter Duncan, along with Willem van Waay and Victor Diaz for the J/70 Worlds in Porto Cervo (Italy). It was not only a privilege, but a daily clinic with such a talented team, and it served as an ideal vantage point to know how to prepare my own team and boat for the 2018 Worlds at my home club.”

The 2018 J/70 Worlds, once again, featured a deep fleet, including 91 teams from 18 countries. On the final day of the event, the wind failed to deliver sufficient breeze and the standings were deemed official. The top three teams in the final standings were separated by only three points through 11 races.

J/70 sailor Jud Smith and Worlds crewConsistency truly paid off for Smith and his crew aboard AFRICA. They didn’t win any races, but they placed in the top 10 in five races and top five in two. Smith edged Bruno Pasquinelli by one point and Jack Franco by three. Duncan, last year’s winning skipper, placed fourth overall.

“We have the utmost respect for all of the other teams,” said Smith. “Anybody could have won this regatta, and we respected that. I would like to thank my team. We have worked really hard, training for this event all year long, and we have been together through thick and thin. It was a real privilege to race with such a talented group of sailors in a World Championship at my home club for an opportunity of a lifetime.”

Smith posted podium results at other top J/70 events in 2018, including first place out of 57 boats at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Marblehead, MA; second place out of 47 boats at the Bacardi Cup Invitational Regatta in Miami, FL; and third place out of 27 boats at the Newport Regatta in Newport, RI.

Sailing has always played an important role Smith’s life. He grew up in Marblehead, Mass. and started sailing with his father, David Smith, at a young age. David was also an accomplished racing sailor. He won an Olympic Gold Medal at the Rome 1960 Games in the 5.5 meter event as crew.

“Sailing was such a big part of my life growing up at Pleon Junior Yacht Club during the summers and frostbiting Interclub dinghies in the winters,” added Smith. “I met my wife, Cindy, frostbiting in Marblehead. She’s a very good sailor herself and serves as our J/70 fleet secretary.”

“We continue to race the J/70 together in Marblehead every chance we get. Massachusetts Bay and Salem Sound is still my favorite place to sail, where no two days are the same. There’s always a new wrinkle to work out, which makes it challenging.”

Previous J/Sailors that have won the award since the 1977 introduction of the J/24 include, Dave Curtis, Ken Read, Ed Adams, Betsy Gelenitis (Allison), Bonnie Shore, Susan Dierdorff Taylor, John Kostecki, Lynne Jewell, Allison Jolly, Larry Klein, Jim Brady, Kevin Mahaney, Cam Lewis, Ed Baird, Dave Ullman, Augie Diaz, Hannah Swett, Sally Barkow, Kevin Burnham, Bill Hardesty, Brian Porter, Terry Hutchinson, Stephanie Roble, and Annie Haeger.  Not bad company to keep for Mr Smith!! Sailing photo credits- Tim Alan Clark-

J/UK founder Paul Heys* We are deeply sorry to share the devastating news that long-time friend and colleague Paul Heys of J/UK passed away unexpectedly on Monday, February 25th, 2019, while on vacation in the Caribbean with his wife Marie-Claude.

It would be impossible to put into words just how much Paul will be missed and how much our hearts and prayers go out to Marie-Claude, Gemma, Paul’s family, and everyone at J/UK.

Paul’s lifelong devotion and passion for sailing is second to none, and his legacy will live on through everyone who knew and loved him, the numerous J/one-design fleets and annual J/Cup regatta he founded, and the many other thousands of sailors he inspired.

J/105 guide for speed, boathandling, etc* Going down to the J/105 Midwinters soon?  Here is a good compendium of speed tips, tricks, and how to sail faster from the North Sails J/105 team.  It is a good “pre-season” primer and reference to get you and your team going in the right direction and faster, sooner!  Most of the ideas are quite practical and apply to whatever sails you may have.  Read more here.
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