Wednesday, March 13, 2019

J/Newsletter- March 13th, 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

While those in the northern hemisphere seem to be experiencing quite bizarre weather across the spectrum, our friends Down Under in South America appear to be enjoying a rather temperate early fall. Along the Pacific coast of Chile, the J/70s enjoyed a strong turnout for their 2019 Chilean Nationals, sailed off Algarrobo, and hosted by the gracious members of the Real Club Nautico de Algarrobo.

Just above South America, the Caribbean sailors saw yet another of their famous winter regattas take place, this time it was in the nearly idyllic setting of Christiansted, St Croix. There, the St Croix Yacht Club, situated on a spectacular beach, held their 2019 St Croix International Regatta with a J/100 and J/24s participating in the festivities.

Moving still further north, the spring regatta season is starting to kick in across North America. Starting in Mexico, the Vallarta Yacht Club held their incredibly fun-loving, totally laid-back Bahia de Banderas Regatta in simply spectacular weather conditions during the four-day event.

Migrating further north to the USA, the Bacardi J/70 Winter Series just finished the third and final event at the Bacardi Invitational, hosted by Coral Reef YC in Miami, FL and sailed on the azure waters of Biscayne Bay….like their counterparts in Chile and Mexico, the conditions were nearly idyllic.

Heading west, the J/105 Midwinters were sailed on Eagle Mountain Lake, hosted by the famous Fort Worth Boat Club in Fort Worth, Texas.

Moving to the Pacific coast again, two regattas were taking place on San Francisco Bay simultaneously, not an unusual scenario for those rabid, passionate sailors in the Bay area. On the northeastern part of the Bay, the Big Daddy Regatta was hosted by Richmond YC, off Richmond, CA, for PHRF handicap classes as well as a J/105 class. Across the Bay to the west, the St Francis YC hosted the first of three events in the J/22 California Dreamin’ Match Race Regatta series.

Finally, moving into the Pacific Northwest, the Corinthian YC of Seattle hosted the second of their three event Center Sound Series, the 27.0nm Scatchet Head Race, with dozens of J/Teams participating.

J/22s sailing regattaJ/22 Midwinter Championship Preview
(Fort Walton Beach, FL)- The J/22 class will be hosting their Midwinter Championship at Fort Walton Yacht Club in Fort Walton Beach, Florida.  The J/22 sailors seemed to enjoy the tremendous hospitality at FWYC in the past and, as a result, the J/22s will have one of their largest Midwinters in years- with thirty-two boats registered to go racing from March 14th to 17th.

Not surprisingly, many of the usual suspects from across the country are making their annual winter pilgrimage south for the regatta; just about all the major J/22 fleets are well-represented.  Some of those leading teams include Mark Foster’s PRESSURE DROP (with Rod “Caracas” Favela and Travis Odenbach as crew); Casey Lambert on BLACKBURN MARINE RACING from Houston, TX; Chris & Jennifer Princing’s TEAM AWARD & SPORTS/ EVIL DR. PORK CHOP from Tawas Bay, MI; Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY from Annapolis, MD; Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 from Youngstown, NY; Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS from Newport, RI; Benz Faget’s FATS from New Orleans, LA; and Farley & Barrett Fontenot on REPEAT from Houston, TX.  That is quite a rough bunch of hombres to have to contend with for the podium!  There are more than a few Worlds, North American, and Midwinter Championships spread amongst that group!
For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/121 Blue Flash sailing Cabo Race 
Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas Race Preview
(Newport Beach, CA)- The 20th running of the 800.0nm Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas International Yacht Race starts this week. This edition of the race will be especially exciting as the West Coast prepares for a huge season of offshore sailing leading up to the 50th Transpac. The first ORR handicap classes start Thursday, March 14th at 1300 hrs, followed by five more ORR handicap classes starting on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Typically a downwind run to Cabo San Lucas, racers enjoy the sunny afternoons and warm, moonlit evenings as they journey down the coast.  The race is a test of weather routing, excellent navigation, and the crew pressing hard 24 hours a day.  For the most part, it is a very reachy race early.  Then, as the fleet makes its way down the coast of Mexico, the winds move further aft and the boats start gybing in northerly winds that can often peak at 15-25 kts during the daytime.

Three very fast J/crews will be on the race track offshore, all hyper-fast reaching machines that have proven to win their fair share of offshore silverware.  Making her race debut will be Scott Grealish’s brand new J/121 BLUE FLASH! After winning its class in the Storm Trysail Club’s Bermuda Race last year, this will be the first true “downhill” test of the J/121 against many of the best SoCal offshore speedsters.

Perhaps the biggest competitor that BLUE FLASH will face is one of the famous J/125s, Viggo Torbensen’s TIMESHAVER from Dana Point YC. TIMESHAVER’s favorite whipping post has been their buddies on the SC50 Horizon. They may now have to add Grealish’s J/121 BLUE FLASH to their “watch” list as they make fast progress down the Mexican coastline.

Finally, do not count out Seth Hall’s J/124 MARISOL from Newport Beach, CA.  Their team has proven that in lighter offshore races, like the Newport to Ensenada Race or the SoCal 300 sailed earlier in the year, they have the light air reaching speed and narrow, easily-driven hull to sail fast and get a podium finish.
Live YB Tracking of the race here.   For more Newport Beach to Cabo San Lucas Race sailing information

J/70s sailing off MonacoMonaco J/70 Winter Series V Preview
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The fifth and final event of the Monaco J/70 Winter Series will be taking place this weekend from March 14th to 17th, hosted by Yacht Club de Monaco, with sailing taking place offshore on Hercules Bay in front of the famous Casino.

A fleet of thirty-nine highly competitive J/70s from across Europe and other parts of the world will be participating in up to ten races over the course of the weekend. Those teams hail from Monaco, Switzerland, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Ireland, Brazil, Great Britain, Finland, Ukraine, and Sweden.

J/70s sailing off MonacoThe previous regatta for this fleet was the Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse that took place three weeks ago. Winning that event was Monaco’s own Ludovico Fassitelli on JUNDA- BANCA DEL SEMPIONE, with the Irish crew of SOAK RACING (Marshall King) and the Swiss team of JERRY (Tom Studer) rounding out the podium.  However, the two stalking horses behind this trio were perhaps the most formidable of all.  The winner of Act III was the Russian Andreï Malygin skippering MARIA, taking both the Open and Corinthian titles. And, the winner of Act II was the YC Monaco team of CHARISMA, skippered by Nico Poons.

With all five crews hoping to take the overall Winter Series title in the grand finale, it will be quite a battle amongst those teams.  All are well-prepared and are hoping to gain valuable experience as they keep a weather eye out for how they stack up against the world’s best for the 2021 J/70 World Championship that will be hosted by YC Monaco.  For more Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information

J/105s sailing San Diego NOODSan Diego NOOD Regatta Preview
(San Diego, CA)- The 2019 edition of the Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Regatta is taking place this coming weekend from March 15th to 17th, hosted by the famous San Diego Yacht Club on Point Loma.  The regatta has become synonymous with the start of the sailing season for most teams involved in one-design and round-the-cans racing in the San Diego region. It is the premiere event to start the season for various J’s; including the J/70s, the J/105s, and the J/120s.

The forecast is promising, with temperatures ranging from mid 60s F in the day, with predominantly sunny skies and winds varying from 8 to 15 kts from the West to Northwest.  Remarkably, it seems to be a conspiracy to deliver near postcard-perfect conditions ordered up by the local San Diego Chamber of Commerce!

J/70s sailing San Diego NOOD RegattaLooking forward to such “shorts and shades” weather is the largest class at the event, the fifteen boat strong J/70 fleet with participants from as far-reaching as Guadalajara, Mexico; Miami, FL; and Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Teams to look for on the leaderboard should be Pat Toole’s 3 BIG DOGS from Santa Barbara YC; Curt Johnson’s AVET 2.01 from California YC; Jeff Janov’s MINOR THREAT California YC; Chris Raab’s SUGOI from Newport Harbor YC; Fabian Gomez-Ibarra’s VAGAZO crew from Coronado, Mexico; and Pamela Rose’s ROSEBUD from Chicago YC.

The J/105s are fielding a talented fleet of eight boats with many familiar faces hoping to get a jump on their friendly competitors in their first regatta of the year. Many past SDYC NOOD champions and podium finishers are in the mix, including Jon Dekker’s AIR BOSS, Steve Howell’s BLINK, Stew Cannon’s J-OK, and Chuck Driscoll & Tom Hurlburt’s JUICED.

J/120s starting at San Diego NOOD RegattaWith five boats, the J/120s are all about consistency and who’s showing up for the party with a well-oiled machine in the form of crew- trimmers and tactician!  It is never easy to handicap this fleet.  Nevertheless, watch for the usual suspects like John Laun’s CAPER, Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, Ernie Pennell’s MAD MEN, and Tim Hogan’s SHAMROCK to be fighting for the top of the leaderboard. 

In the North Sails PHRF Rally, the J/105 VIGGEN sailed by Tom Fisher from San Diego, CA will be looking forward to their Saturday on the water with family and friends.  For more Helly Hansen San Diego NOOD Sailing Regatta information

J/109s sailing Warsash Spring SeriesWarsash Spring Series Preview
(Warsash, United Kingdom)- The Warsash Sailing Club is about to undertake its annual rite of spring- two events that run from mid-March to the end of April.  The first is the Helly Hansen Spring Series that starts March 17th and runs every Sunday until April 28th.  During the mid-series break, the Warsash SC hosts the Spring Championship that runs over two weekends from April 13-14 to April 27-28.  It is a hugely popular event for J/sailors to get themselves tuned-up for the major summertime events on the Solent and for the RORC Offshore events that run all summer.

The larger J’s are sailing on the Black Group/ Championship course; that includes a large IRC contingent of J/teams sailing J/111s, J/112E, J/122, J/88s, J/92, and a J/99.

J/112E sailing on Solent, EnglandIn the Black Group IRC class are:
  • five J/109s: Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN, David Richard’s JUMPING JELYFISH, and Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN’;
  • four J/111s: Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB, Chris Jones’ JOURNEYMAKER II, Tony Mack’s McFLY, and Simon Bamford’s KESTREL; and
  • Chaz Ivill’s J/112E DAVANTI TYRES and Chris Daniel’s J/122 JUNO.  
All are familiar boats, all famously fast! That should be an interesting class to watch!

J/88 sailing on Solent, EnglandA new Black Group J/Sprit Class includes the following teams:
  • five J/88s: David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM, Tim Tolcher’s RAGING BULL, Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR, Dirk & Dianne van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, and Gavin Howe’s TIGRIS; and
  • David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO and Adrian Johnson’s J/105 FLAWLESS J.
The smaller J’s race on the White Group/ Championship course include the J/70s. Dueling for leadership all spring long should be Doug Struth’s DSP, Paul Ward’s new EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, Graham Clapp’s JEEPSTER, Philip Rees’ BRYN, Calascione/ Ripard’s CALYPSO, Alex James’ POLARIS, and the Ian Wilson & Marshall King duo on SOAK RACING from Ireland.  For more Helly Hansen Spring Series sailing information

J/120's sailing off Detroit 
J/120 Nationals Announcement!
(Cleveland, OH)- Edgewater Yacht Club is pleased to announce the 2019 J/120 Nationals will be held in conjunction with the popular Cleveland Race Week. The Great Lakes J/120 Fleet looks forward to sailing on Lake Erie from June 14th to 16th, 2019. This is a great opportunity for J/120 owners on eastern Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake St. Clair to meet in the middle and enjoy the late Spring sailing that is part of the legendary Cleveland Race Week.

For those needing a tune-up and a great kick-off to the season, head to Bayview Yacht Club for the Bayview One-Design Weekend, and then travel to Toledo Yacht Club for the ever-popular Mills Race and then head to Cleveland for the J/120 Nationals.

As host of the J/120 Nationals, Edgewater YC will provide convenient dockage for all J/120 teams and great racing on the open waters of Lake Erie.  The Notice of Race is posted here.  For more J/120 Nationals information and Cleveland Race Week sailing information

J/Gear 20% off spring special 
2019 J/GEAR Spring ShakeOut!
(Newport, RI)- Spring is just around the corner, believe it or not!  While you are escaping or experiencing the crazy spring weather so far, it is high time to consider getting yourself and the crew ready for another fun summer of sailing on the high seas!

To help get you in full swing, J/Gear is offering to all J/Owners a 20% discount on all crew gear orders through April 2019.

Go here to J/Gear ( and start shopping.  Then, use the following discount code at checkout: JB2019st.   Please note- 1/2 models and Custom J Prints do not qualify for the discount.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

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's sailing off ChileMORENITA Wins Dramatic Chilean J/70 Nationals
(Algarrobo, Chile)- A highly competitive fleet of nineteen boats eagerly rigged up, tuned their boats to perfection, and headed out across the Pacific Ocean to the starting line for the 2019 Chilean SANTANDER J/70 Nationals. Hosting the regatta was the Real Club Nautico del Algarrobo.  As the fastest growing class in Chile since the J/24, and with the best sailors in South America, the J/70 continues to attract the best talent for both skippers and crew. What no one anticipated was the regatta's outcome was going to be determined by a tie-breaker based on the results of the final race.

In the end, it was an incredibly hard-fought regatta for the two protagonists in this year’s J/70 Nationals. Both sailors have tremendous pedigree as both have won many championships in J/24s, Lightings, Soto 40s, and Snipes, to name a few.  Winning the tie-breaker was Mathias Robertson’s MORENITA with a 3-1-4-1 record for 9 pts.  Losing the countback to settle for the silver on the podium was Pablo Amunátegui’s SANTANDER with a 2-2-2-3 scoreline.
J/70 Morenita- Chilean Nationals winners
Meanwhile, the Corinthians Division celebrated their winners José Antonio Jiménez’s team on DARK SIDE.  Here is what took place each melodramatic day on the water.
J/70's sailing Chilean Nationals
Day 1- Friday- Big Seas, Big Battle
The first day of racing started off with winds of 10 to 12kts from the northwest with very choppy seas from a large frontal system offshore. The PRO managed to run two races before the offshore wind finally shut down, a frequent occurrence after a slow moving frontal system passes over the Andes.  Typically, the land heats up in such circumstances and creates an onshore, sea breeze from the west/southwest.  But, that was not the case this time around.

The Robertson brothers, Ro Robles and Pino Cubillos, took the lead at the end of the first day with a 3-1 score for 4 pts.  The Robertson’s are from amazing Chilean sailboat racing pedigree; they are sons of Felipe Cubillos, their father raced in the Portimao Race (35,000nm around the world in Class 40) together with José Muñoz. Tied on points with the Robertson’s was Pablo Amunátegui’s SANTANDER with a 2-2 scoreline for 4 pts as well.
J/70 women sailors in Chile
Day 2- Saturday- Light Air Dramas
On Saturday, light wind conditions offshore persisted, prompting an onshore postponement until 1500 hrs! Desperate to get in at least once race, the PRO sent the fleet offshore at 1530 hrs to get in just one race for the day. Incredibly, it was SANTANDER that maintained their steady pace, with skipper Amunátegui posting yet another 2nd place to take over the lead of the regatta.  Sitting just two points back was Robertson’s MORENITA with a 3-1-4 tally for 8 pts.
Volvo J/70 sailing off Chile
Day 3- Sunday Crazy, Dramatic Finale
The final day dawned with more light winds. The forecasts looked a bit dismal, unfortunately. Again, the PRO had to do an onshore postponement at 0900 hrs that lasted, coincidentally, until 1500 hrs. At that point, the decision was made to make an attempt to get in one more race in about 6 kts of breeze from the normal seabreeze direction of West/ Southwest. The stakes were high, as whatever the outcome of the race, it was going to determine the championship.

MORENITA had a fantastic start on the RC side of the line with great speed. From there, they took the lead at the first weather mark and simply sailed away to win the race. Meanwhile, their principal competitor, SANTANDER rounded in 5th place. At that point, it seemed like the regatta was over for SANTANDER. But, the drama was only going to build dramatically as the fleet continued to go around the buoys.

On the first run, the wind went a little to the right and SANTANDER and Francisco Perez’s ELEANOR RIGBY were the first boats to gybe. Andres Ducasse’s TSUNAMI and Juan Reid’s WINDMADE/ DREAM YACHT CHARTERS stayed close to shore, looking for more pressure.

Then, the left shift came in and both SANTANDER and ELEANOR RIGBY had a good recovery, but it was not enough. WINDMADE/ DREAM YACHT CHARTERS managed to gybe and run into the leeward gate in front of SANTANDER; 4th at that moment in the race, but still 2nd in overall in the standings.

On the second windward leg, with good speed, SANTANDER took the left (closer to shore) and both TSUNAMI and WINDMADE/ DYC took off to the right on port tack, despite the left-swinging wind direction. SANTANDER made it work along the shore and rounded the second windward mark in 2nd place.  Next, was TSUNAMI in 3rd, WINDMADE/ DYC in fourth, ELEANOR RIGBY 5th, and Matias Seguel’s VOLVO in 6th.

IF nothing changed on the downwind run to the finish, SANTANDER’s big gain meant they would be winning the regatta!  However, positions could, and did, change!
J/70 Chile team sailing Nationals
Again, the wind shifted into the right in the final 100 meters upwind at the weather mark, so WINDMADE/ DYC and TSUNAMI gybed onto port downwind, onto the favored gybe. Meanwhile, SANTANDER was still in second place, choosing the right side of the course downwind, closer to shore. Notably, the wind was decreasing in pressure and making everything more difficult tactically across the entire course.

In the final approach to the finish line, SANTANDER made two gybes, in front of TSUNAMI and WINDMADE/ DYC.  But, they did not block WINDMADE/ DYC, who was free to sail a faster angle to the RC finish boat.  Incredibly, WINDMADE/ DYC finished in 2nd by one foot (!) ahead of SANTANDER! Thus, putting SANTANDER in between them and TSUNAMI at the finish! Those two gybes by SANTANDER may go down as the “text book” wrong move, hopefully never to be repeated again by the moribund crew!

As a result, MORENITA won, with SANTANDER losing the tie-breaker to take second, with VOLVO third.
J/70s sailing upwind at Chile Nationals
Rounding out the top five overall was also determined on yet another tie-breaker on 21 pts each! Winning that “mano-a-mano” combat was Reid’s WINDMADE/ DREAM YACHT CHARTERS, taking fourth over Ducasse’s TSUNAMI in fifth place. Wow, that last race completely jumbled the ENTIRE top five standings in just 100 meters of the finish line!! Panic and anxiety in Algarrobo!!

Meanwhile, in the Corinthians division, José Antonio Jiménez's DARK SIDE finished 6th overall with only Jimenez family members on board.  Taking second was Patricio Natho’s TRILOGIA and in third was Cristóbal Pérez’s IL MOSTRO.

The Race Committee was managed by Fernando Pérez Spencer and assisted by Claudio Gonzalez and Javier Alias Corniza. The Protest Committee was chaired by Claudio Salvatore. Begoña Gumucio was the PRO for the regatta and also coordinated all the activities ashore. The ex-Olympic sailor was crucial for the success of the championship on the water, social events, and the award ceremony.

On Saturday morning, the 2020 J/70 Nationals host club and town was decided and the two finalists were Algarrobo and Lake Rapel. The Chilean J/70 Class directors are looking forward to sail outside Algarrobo and hope to resolve the logistics scenario to go sailing on Lake Rapel in the foothills of the Andes Mountains; the lake is about 2 hours south of the capital city of Santiago ~ 100 miles.

J/70s sailing Bacardi CupBacardi J/70 Series Gets CATAPULT’ed!
(Miami, FL)- Thirty-seven J/70 teams from ten nations (USA, Argentina, Italy, Monaco, Brazil, Great Britain, Chile, Germany, Canada, and Mexico) sailed the third and final series of the Bacardi J/70 Winter Series- the Bacardi Invitational- this past weekend in simply stellar weather conditions for all three days.  Coral Reef YC hosted the event, in coordination with Biscayne Bay YC, and the combined PRO’s managed to run eight races, much to the delight of the sailors.

A stellar fleet was assembled for the event, following on the previous week’s J/70 Midwinter Championship that was hosted in the same venue. In the end, it was Joel Ronning’s crew on CATAPULT from Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota that won the event, with crew of Victor Diaz de Leon, Patrick Wilson, and Chris Stocke.  It was a very difficult regatta strategically and tactically for many of the top teams in the J/70 fleet. Here is how it all went down over the three-day series.

J/70s sailing Bacardi Cup off Miami, FLDay 1- Thrilling, Gorgeous Thursday
It was one amazing sailing day in Biscayne Bay, with typical Miami winter conditions of strong breeze, sunshine and small chop. Racing didn’t get better for the 165 teams racing at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta.

Three races were wrapped up for the J/70 fleet. Three different teams won races and it wasn’t easy task to grab victory amongst such super competitive talent. Owner-driver Carlo Alberini on CALVI NETWORK controlled the leaderboard with scores of 2-6-1 and sat on a 3 point advantage over SURGE (USA) helmed by Ryan McKillen with World Champion tactician Mark Mendelblatt. Two points behind in third was Monaco’s G-SPOTTINO driven by Giangiacomo Serena di Lapigio.

“Beautiful day out there today for yachting in Miami,” said a happy Ryan McKillen on SURGE. “We had a good day, a seventh, a fourth and a third. Our third Miami event, the Bacardi, and then we snuck in the J/70 Midwinters two weeks ago. So, we did a lot of sailing in Miami this winter.”

J/70 sailing upwind at Bacardi CupDay 2- Fabulous Friday
Miami and the South Florida woke up under a cloudy sky with the wind blowing vigorously at 15 to 18 knots from the East/North East. All races started on schedule at 1100 hours across the different race courses on Biscayne Bay. Three races were wrapped up for the J/70s.

Tough and close battles unfolded on the J/70 course, with the top two teams separated by just four points. Italy’s CALVI NETWORK lost their overnight lead after mistakes in their gennaker drop at one leeward gate rounding, giving the opportunity for CATAPULT (driven by Minnesota’s Joel Ronning) to break away into the top spot. But, with two races on Saturday the game was still wide open. SURGE dropped to third place, and was an 11-point deficit to second.

“It was a fantastic day in the bay,” said Carlo Alberini of CALVI NETWORK. “The race course here is always interesting and different. “We’re four points from the leader and we’re not going to make it easy for them tomorrow. This year we celebrate our team’s 20th anniversary that started in 1999. We’ve been to this event many times and it is one of our favorites!”

J/70s sailing downwind at Bacardi CupDay 3- Spectacular Saturday Finale
Miami and Biscayne Bay today showcased the best day of racing as this iconic racing venue said good-bye to the 500 sailors who competed at the Bacardi Invitational Regatta. A great Easterly breeze of around 10 knots, sun shining, warm, and wave chop a lot less than the previous days, made for a perfect race day. All of the classes finished their scheduled races.

In the J/70s, the winners were the team on CATAPULT, featuring Joel Ronning, Victor Diaz del Leon, Patrick Wilson and Chris Stoke. They were the most solid and consistent of the fleet with every score inside the top 3, after discarding their 11th in race 3. They racked up a 16 point advantage over second placed Americans onboard McKillen’s SURGE with Mark Mendelblatt J/70 Bacardi Cup winners- Catapultcalling tactics along with Jon Wallace and Sam Loughborough.  Then, in third was Italy’s CALVI NETWORK with Carlo Alberini driving with crew of Stefano Cherin, Jas Farneti, and Marco Furlan.

Rounding out the top five was Will Welles’ SCAMP in fourth with crew of Zeke Horowitz, Jake Doyle, and Reed Baldridge.  Fifth was the Mexican team on WOODSTOCK, skippered by Fernando Gutierrez, with crew of Willem van Waay, Javier Gutierrez, and Leopoldo Turco.

“This was a very fun team to sail with we all got along very well,” commented Ronning on their win with Team CATAPULT. “This group of people is very good at what they do. We had tremendous fun; we were able to minimize mistakes by keeping the dialogue open and if there were any issues they were taken care of right away. It’s a phenomenal event and one of the premier series in the world. It’s very well organized. We love Shake A Leg, we love Bacardi, everybody is so welcoming and we will definitely be coming back.”  For more Bacardi Cup J/70 Winter Series sailing information

J/105s sailing Midwinters at Fort Worth Boat Club

HOSS Was Boss @ J/105 Midwinters 

(Fort Worth, TX)– The J/105 Midwinter Championship returned to the calendar this year as eleven teams competed at Fort Worth Boat Club in Fort Worth, TX from March 7th to 10th. Locals Glenn Darden and Reese Hillard led the HOSS team to victory with 24 points. They racked up three bullets over the weekend and never finished lower than sixth. Following HOSS in second place was Bill Zartler’s DEJA VOODOO (30 points) and Kenneth Horne’s FINAL FINAL in third (33 points).
J/105 bowman
While being awarded the J/105 Midwinter Championship trophy, Darden commented, “It was a wild three days of tight racing with winds ranging from 3 to 30 knots. Eagle Mountain Lake always makes it interesting!
J/105 HOSS- Darden/ Hillard
I would like to thank my HOSS team! First, my co-owner and long-time shipmate Reese Hillard!  Then, trimmer Jake Scott, tactics and mainsheet Tony Waldon, on bow Peter Philpot, and at the mast Lindsay Scott. They really guided and pulled HOSS to the top.

The Fort Worth Boat Club ran a top-notch event, and PRO Dwight Bengston and his race management team did an outstanding job in getting in eight quality races in three days!  Thanks to everyone again, it was lots of fun!”
J/105s sailing Midwinters at Forth Worth Texas
Added Matt Arno, J/105 Chief Measurer, “It’s not often you get to race in three different seasons in three days. Winds from 0 to 40 knots and temperatures from 40F to 80F gave us the full range of conditions. Despite that, racing was tight for the whole regatta.”

Rounding out the top five was Dwight Horton’s BEAUTY in fourth place with 35 pts, just two points from third. Then, Rick Schaffer’s DOUBLE DARE took fifth with 38 pts. It was very close racing for the teams in 2nd to 5th place, the last two races seeing their positions flip fast like a game of “chutes and ladders”!  Sailing photo credits-  For more J/105 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/105 sailing off Puerto Vallarta, MexicoGorgeous Bahia de Banderas Bay Regatta!
(Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico)- This year’s Bahia de Banderas Regatta will go down into the history books as yet another almost perfect weekend of sailing on the gorgeous waters off Puerto Vallarta.  Thirty-seven boats in six classes enjoyed postcard perfect weather every day.  The Vallarta YC, based out of Marina Vallarta, provided excellent race management, waiting for the seabreeze to build by noontime before sending the happy-go-lucky sailors out to sea for their races each day. In the end, it was a clean sweep of the top spots by J/Teams in the PHRF Performance classes.

J/145 sailing Banderas Bay RegattaIn PHRF Performance A class, Mike Seth’s beautiful dark navy blue DOUBLE TAKE cruised to both line and handicap honors with a 5-1-1 tally for 7 pts overall.  Following in their wake each day was Lee Pryor’s maroon J/130 SIROCCO, posting a 4-2-2 for 8 pts to take the silver.

Meanwhile, in PHRF Performance B class, Bart Smit’s beautifully maintained J/105 SINFONIA NAUTICA simply eclipsed their fleet with straight bullets for a total of just 3 pts in three races!

Finally, the J/80 One-Design Class enjoyed good racing.  Easily taking the class win was Wayne Zittell’s J-WORLD 1 with straight bullets for 3 pts total.  Second was J-WORLD Team 2 and third was J-WORLD Team 3. Follow Bahia de Banderas Regatta on Facebook here   For more Bahia de Banderas Regatta sailing information

J/80 sailing in Seattle, WAChallenging Scatchet Head Race
(Seattle, WA)- The second race of the Center Sound Series is now on the books, a three-race series hosted by Corinthian YC of Seattle.  The start on Saturday was at 10:00 AM and the fleet had to contend with light airs and lots of current.  The 26.0nm course left the starting mark buoy to port, round Scatchet Head Lighted Gong Buoy (LL#16555) to port, and finish by leaving the finishing mark buoy to port. J/Crews faired well in the challenging race and augmented their series scores to remain in contention for the overall series in a number of classes.

PHRF 2 Class is comprised of five J/80s and a J/30 in the 11-boat class.  Currently leading in the top two spots are Phil Dean’s J/80 RUSH with a 1-1 for 2 pts and in second is John Sezer’s J/80 RECKLESS with a 3-2 for 5 pts.  Rounding out the top six are David Schutte’s J/80 TAJ MAHAL in 4th with a 2-8, Richard Demmler’s J/80 TASTES LIKE CHICKEN in 5th with a 7-3, and Derek Storms & Cindy Gosset’s J/30 OUTLAW is sitting in 6th with a 4-8.

J/105s sailing off SeattleClass 4 is the nine-boat J/105 class.  As usual, it is very close racing with three boats tied on 4 points each for the overall lead.  That trio is Chris Phoenix’s JADED with a 3-1, Bucky Rezabek’s RACERS FORMALLY KNOWN AS HERE & NOW with a 1-3, and Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE with a 2-2.  The balance of the top five has Tom Kerr’s CORVO in 4th with a 5-4 and Allen Hughes & Shauna Walgren’s CREATIVE with a 4-6 in 5th place.

In PHRF 6 class, Don Leighton’s J/35 beautifully refinished TAHLEQUAH is sitting in a comfortable 2nd place with a 2-2.  Meanwhile, Stephanie Arnold & Chuck Queen’s J/33 DASH is hanging on to 4th place in PHRF 5 Class with a 3-7.

J/109 sailing Seattle Center Sound SeriesTolga Cezik’s J/109 LODOS is the top J in PHRF 7 class, sitting in a tie for 4th place with a 4-6.  Then, in PHRF 8 class, Andy Mack’s J/122 GRACE is sitting in a tie for 4th with a 3-6, while the Dougherty/ Andrews duo on their J/125 HAMACHI is just behind them with a 5-5. Finally, in PHRF 0 “big boat” class, we find Bill Fox sailing the gorgeous navy blue J/160 JAM into 5th place, giving them a 4-5 tally for the series and tied for 4th place.  Not bad for a “cruising/ racing” boat racing against a trio of TP52s, and a custom RP55!  For fabulous photos, check out Jan Anderson’s portfolio here  For more Corinthian YC Seattle Center Sound Series sailing information

J/105 one-designs sailing San Francisco 
Light Airs Big Daddy Regatta
J/120 Smokes Class, J/105s Battle!
(Richmond, CA)- The Big Daddy 2019 Regatta marks the 34th year of mark racing on Saturday and a Pursuit race on Sunday hosted by Richmond YC.  All mono-hulled keelboats with a Northern California PHRF rating of 280 and below were invited. Fleets over 5 boats may be given one-design starts on Saturday. The Sunday Pursuit Race is always a scream.  Then, après’ racing is perhaps the most popular part of the regatta; a great dinner and party with live band on Saturday night and breakfast for all on Sunday morning!

The sailing on San Francisco Bay in the late winter/ early spring is often not something to write home about.  It can be light, foggy, drifty, cloudy, ugly, rainy. Or, it can be simply a spectacular 10-15 kts sunny day at 70 degrees!  Such is the rights of spring-time weather on the infamous Bay, where “summer” in July can be 52 deg on the water blowing 30 kts (e.g. windchill way, way lower than light air cool days in the spring!).

Enduring the challenging scenarios were a flock of J/crews ranging from J/24s up to J/111s.  In the PHRF B “big boat” class, it was David Halliwill’s J/120 PEREGRINE from San Francisco YC that took class honors with straight bullets.  Second was last year’s class winner, Nesrin Basoz’s J/111 SWIFT NESS from Richmond YC that took three deuces to secure the silver.

In the J/105 one-design class, Chris Kim’s VUJA STAR from Richmond YC swept the series with straight bullets. Taking second with all deuces was Eric Patterson’s KESTREL from San Francisco YC and taking the bronze was Dick Maclay’s YELLOWFIN from Berkeley YC.

George Sirogiannis’ J/35 MOJO from Richmond YC sailed consistently to take 5th place in PHRF C Class.

Then, in PHRF E Class, the J/70s were doing battle with other sportboats, with the J/70s ultimately ruling the roost.  Winning was Mark Thomas’ J/70 KANGAROO JOCKY from Richmond YC with a 1-2-2 for 5 pts, with Tom Thayer’s J/70 RAMPAGE from Richmond YC posting a 7-1-1 for 9 pts to grab the bronze.

Finally, a classic J/24 won PHRF F Class!  That honor went to Richard Stockdale’s FROG LIPS taking the gold with a 1-2-1 for 4 pts. Sailing photo credit- Rolex/ Kurt Arrigo.  For more Big Daddy Regatta sailing information

J/22 sailboats match racing on San Francisco BayVELA RACING Wins J/22 California Dreamin’ Regatta
(San Francisco, CA)- The first stop of the annual California Dreamin’ Series, March 9-10 at St. Francis Yacht Club, had racers dreaming of classic San Francisco Bay sailing. However, two days of rain, variable wind, squalls, lightning and squirrely current didn’t deter local match racing champion Nicole Breault and her team of Molly Carapiet, Karen Loutzenheiser and Hannah Burroughs. The four women, known as Vela Racing, bested the fleet of eight, scoring 11 bullets in 12 races – losing just once to Breault’s husband, Bruce Stone, and his team of Spencer Paulsen, Stephanie Wondolleck and Halsey Richartz, who finished third overall. Second place was nabbed by Chris Nesbitt, sailing with Drew Guay, Michael Nicoletti and Kara Voss.

Nicole Breault- J/22 Match Race winner“It was very challenging out there,” said Breault, who’s the top-ranked women’s match racer in the United States. “The theme of this weekend was ‘this is so weird,’ which accounts for all the variables, the currents, the cross-currents. We’ve been sailing together for a long time and we’re trying to gear up for the Nations Cup, coming here to the St. Francis on April 10-14. This was a great warm-up for us and lays a solid foundation for the year.”

Stone credited his win over Breault and his Day 2 picket fence to “risk minimization,” sailing away in the pre-starts as he observed the other competitors getting to the line too early in the flood tide. The strategy boosted him to a podium finish.

Principal Race Officer Jeff Zarwell was profuse in his thanks to the umpires, who hailed from throughout the West Coast and Canada, and the race management team who endured challenging mark sets in unpredictable currents caused by the freshwater run-off of recent rains coursing over the saltier flood tide. “We hadn’t even gotten to max flood and it was already ebbing,” he exclaimed on the second day, which delayed mark-setting for some of what turned out to be the final heats when the wind shifted and then died and lightning spiked across the Bay, putting an early end to racing.

J/22s match racing San FranciscoAmerica’s Cup veteran Russell Long, who finished near the back of the pack, said the weekend’s racing “got his adrenaline going” and praised the maneuverability and responsiveness of the Club’s J/22s, compared to the keelboats he’s accustomed to racing in the past. “Match racing has really evolved from when I used to do it,” he said. “The game is more aggressive now than 30, 35 years ago. It’s a pleasure to see the ability of some of these young people.”

The California Dreamin’ Series brings together eight teams from around the US to compete in a double round-robin format. The next stop will be at San Diego Yacht Club on October 5-6, 2019, followed by Long Beach Yacht Club on November 2-3, 2019.   Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray   For more J/22 California Dreamin’ sailing information

J/24s sailing CaribbeanJ/Crews Sweep St Croix International Regatta
(Christiansted, St. Croix, USVI)- The St Croix Yacht Club, situated on the sensational sandy beach on Teague Bay in St Croix, USVI, just completed its popular St Croix International Regatta last weekend.  The event takes place over three days.  On Friday March 8th was Capt Nick's Race; a salute to Captain Nick Castruccio "Tail Hook Nick" and sharing his life long passion for racing and the sea.  Then, on Saturday and Sunday, it was International Regatta, two days of fun, fast and exciting mix of CSA handicap racing for the whole family.  The fleet enjoyed an array of courses set in picturesque Buck Island channel.

In the CSA Spinnaker class, Peter Stanton’s J/24 CRUCIAN CONFUSION all four races in the Capt Nick’s Race and five of the six races in the Regatta, winning class quite convincingly.  Mirroring those scores all three days was Mackenzie Bryan’s bright red J/100 BAD GIRL, with all 2nds and one 1st to take the silver.
For more St Croix International Regatta sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/145 sailing Caribbean 
* J/145 #9, now called KATARA, is returning to her racing roots under new owner Roger Gatewood from Tampa, Florida.  She will be flying the Davis Island Yacht Club flag out of Tampa Bay. Their 2019 schedule includes the Pineapple Cup, the RORC Caribbean 600, the Heineken St Maarten Regatta, Antigua Race Week, and culminates with the Transpac Race in 2019 that is celebrating its 50th year!

So far, they are getting faster and faster. In the Caribbean, they raced the CSA rating rule measured with a 157% genoa! Yikes, that has not helped their cause in the 15-25 kt trade winds! They are now getting re-rated for a 105% #3 jib like all the other competitors for their final Caribbean event.
J/145 sailing off St Maarten
Sean Motta, navigator of KATARA, explained they were first at every windward mark in the Heineken St Maarten Regatta and the fact they had no time to re-rate her for the CSA Rule after getting her shipped J/145 Katara training on Tampa Bayfrom the Pacific Northwest USA to Antigua.  Nevertheless, a quick “back of the napkin” calculation by Motta indicated they could have won “the Heineken” with their #3 jib.

After Antigua Race Week, KATARA will head downwind in the easterly tradewinds to Panama.  Transit the Panama Canal, and continue their delivery up to Los Angeles for the start of the Transpac Race on July 10th, 2019. They will get rated for ORR for the Transpac Race. Thanks for this heads-up from Sean Motta, navigator of KATARA!  Enjoy their Tampa Bay sailing video here on YouTube

* Team MBR (McGuffin Brothers Racing) Racing a J/24 to Alaska!?
J/24 Race 2 Alaska team McGuffin Brothers
It was in 2018 that four brothers in their late teens/20’s stopped whatever activity they were doing on Salt Spring Island (British Columbia), stared at the R2AK Race that swarmed around their island, and reached a collective conclusion: “There is an undefinable but compelling reason that we are drawn into this adventure,” and Team McGuffin Brothers Racing was born out of its own name.

At ages 18, 19, 19, and 22 years old, they are dead even with youngest team to ever enter.  The team members include Cianan McGuffin, Finn McGuffin, Callum McGuffin, and “brother in arms” Conner Ekelund.

Who are these ripped young’uns from the generation Millennials? Combined, they are sailors who dinghy train on 49ers every week, paddle a SUP 40 miles at a clip, hike the trails, paddle dragon racing canoes, amongst many other outdoor activities.

Short version: these guys aren’t waiting for life to happen, they’re happening to life.

Our favorite part: their goal is to use their soon to be R2AK-glory to springboard themselves into the world of professional sailing.

Their words: “We don’t see how Oracle Team USA could refuse us after we’ve completed this race!”  Two words: Larry Ellison.

While their guidance counselor might have just drank the other half of the bottle, she can rest easy on her desktop knowing they at least chose a boat well-suited as any for taking them to the land of salty opportunity. The J/24 might be the world’s most ubiquitous racing sled for this or any race.  Its got a keel to keep the wet side down, flared sides to keep the saltwater off the dry side, and a tiny cabin to create a bubble of sleepable moistness between the rain and sea. There are over 5,400+ of these things charging around the buoys worldwide.  If you run the numbers, like we didn’t, literally at any given moment there are no less than seven J/24s sailing or nearly sailing somewhere around Mother Earth!  That’s astounding! As far as we know, so far not one of them has gone engineless to Alaska! Cool.

Note- these guys will be using oars, or maybe propellers driven by bicycles, in addition to other things to propel themselves along the tortuous route to the finish line.

Follow Team MBR and their sailing exploits on Facebook here  For more McGuffin Brothers Racing Team information  For more Race 2 Alaska sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.