Wednesday, March 11, 2020

J/Newsletter- March 11th, 2020

sunset in ChileJ/Sailing News

The past week of sailing activity saw lots of action taking place off the long California coastline in the western United States. For starters, two J/145s in San Diego sailed Southwestern Yacht Club's Cabrillo Ocean Series finale.  The racing included both PHRF and ORR handicap divisions. Then, starting off in the same waters, two J/Teams (a J/125 and J/145) started the 1,200nm San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race.

Up in northern California, the California Dreamin' Match Race Series just concluded their third of four events on San Francisco Bay. St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the first part of the series in their matched fleet of J/22s, with racing taking place literally in front of the yacht club in a real "stadium-style" scenario. In those same waters on the Bay, J/111s, J/105s, and J/70 sailed in Richmond Yacht Club's Big Daddy Regatta. The event has a unique format; on Saturday, the various PHRF handicap and one-design fleets enjoy up to three quick windward-leeward races. Then, on Sunday the famous "pursuit race" takes place with the smallest, slowest boats starting first in the morning and the fastest boats starting much later.

Over in the southeast, the J/70 Bacardi Invitational was hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club and Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, the fleet of forty-three J/70 teams from ten nations were treated to champagne sailing conditions all weekend.

Still further east in the Caribbean, over 100 yachts from thirty-five countries competed in the 40th St Maarten Heineken Regatta. J/Teams that participated (J/30, J/105, J/109, J/111, J/122, J/121) were treated to four-days of postcard-perfect sailing in the aquamarine waters surrounding the mountainous island of St Maarten.

Finally, swinging way, way east-southeast to our friends "Down Under", we find a J/111 and J/122 continuing to show their transoms to the hottest offshore racing boats in Australia, both adding more silverware to their trophy rooms. A J/122 had a successful outing in Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club’s Bunbury Return Offshore, a 170.0nm race held off the western shores of Perth, Australia. Then, in southeast Australia, a J/111 sailed the 70th "Teakle Classic" offshore race from Adelaide to Port Lincoln, then sailed the Lincoln Race Week; a four-day event sailed in the waters of St Vincent’s and Spencer Gulfs in South Australia.

J/70s sailing Bacardi Invitational Regatta off Miami, Florida
Britain's Ward Tops J/70 Bacardi Invitational

Loe's DIME Crowned Corinthians Winner
(Miami, FL)- A stellar fleet is assembled for the 2020 edition of the J/70 Bacardi Invitational in Miami, Florida.  Hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and Biscayne Bay Yacht Club, the fleet of forty-three J/70 teams from ten nations (USA, Argentina, Italy, Thailand, Brazil, Great Britain, Chile, Germany, Canada, and Mexico) were treated to four-straight days of nearly perfect champagne sailing conditions. Solid breezes, sunny skies, a few clouds, warm waters (72 F) and warm weather (75 F) meant that "shorts, shirts, & shades" were the order of the day every day!

J/70 sailing Bacardi Invitational off Miami on Biscayne Bay.
After starting off the first day with a 2-2-1 tally, the EAT SLEEP J REPEAT team from the United Kingdom (skipper Paul Ward, Ruairidh Scott, Ben Saxton, and Mario Trinidade) basically led the regatta from wire-to-wire over the eight-race series. As the current J/70 World Champions, they finally showed "good form" after getting a few kinds worked out of their system from earlier regattas in Florida where they were having difficulty staying in the top ten. After a fourth race debacle that saw them score their drop race, an 18th place, the team roared back to win yet another race and finish with 23 pts net.

J/70 Bacardi winners- Paul Ward
Notably, the regatta was witness to a meteoric rise for a previously unknown team at the top of the J/70 class leaderboard. Having taken a surprising third place at the J/70 Midwinters two weeks ago, Ryan McKillen's SURGE Team of John Wallace, Sam Loughborough, and Mark Mendelblatt managed to repeat their most excellent performance in the previous event. The SURGE Team were able to sail quite consistently and posted six races in the top five to take the silver with just 28 pts net.

J/70 Bacardi Invitational 2nd place- Surge
Taking the final bronze step on the podium was Bruce Golison's crew of MIDLIFE CRISIS (Steve Hunt, Jeff Reynolds, and Erik Shampain) from southern California. After their first race "down the mine shaft" finish of 26th, they won the next race and were able to post five finishes in the top five to finish just two points back with 30 pts net.

Rounding out the top five were J/70 World Champion Joel Ronning and his talented crew on CATAPULT (Patrick Wilson, Chris Stocke, and Paul Brotherinton), winning the final race and also posting five top five finishes to take fourth place with 35 pts net. Fifth place went to Oivind Lorentzen's NINE from New York with crew of David Shreiner, Lucas Calabrese, and Ian Coleman.

In the eight-boat Corinthians Division, it was Seattle, Washington's Mallory & Andrew Loe and crew of Cardwell Potts and Brian Shores aboard DIME that won the division, even winning the fourth race overall! Second was The Brazilian team on THREE MUSKETEERS (Alberto & Andre Guarischi, and Mario & Pedro Tinoco), then third went to Zach Segal's USA 1154 team (Enrique Quintero, Ashton Hammerlin, and Alex Sachs). For more J/70 Bacardi Invitational sailing information

J/111 sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
J/Crews Sweep Two Classes @ St Maarten Heineken Regatta
(Simpson Bay, Saint Maarten)- Over 100 yachts from thirty-five countries competed in the 40th St Maarten Heineken Regatta. A key event on the Caribbean race schedule, the regatta attracted some of the world’s elite sailors and crews, with fast and furious racing in monohulls, maxis and multihulls.

There was no question that it was a glorious four days of "Serious Fun" from March 4th to the 8th. Crystal clear waters and east-northeast trade winds provided fantastic conditions for spectacular racing just off the coast of St. Maarten. And with Heineken as title sponsor, the racing days blended seamlessly into four nights of exceptional parties and even better concerts from top acts across the Caribbean. The surprise performer at the Awards Finale on Sunday was none other than the famous pop rock rapper "Flo-Ri-Da”.

J/109 sailing St. Maarten Heineken Regatta
Day 1- Perfect Trade Winds
The regatta started on Thursday and the PRO's managed to get in two long races for the fleet. The ENE trades settled in around 10-20 kts on a simply spectacular day of sailing, sunny, warm, with puffy white tropical clouds scudding across the sky. The J/Teams all sailed Course #13 of 17.5 nm, basically a 1.5nm beat, then a tour around the west/ southwest point of the island.

In the CSA 3 Class, Sam Talbot's J/111 SPIKE sailed two excellent races and posted a 1-2 for 3 pts to lead their class. Tied for second was Pamela Baldwin's J/122 LIQUID with a 2-3 tally for 5 pts. Then, Peter Lewis' J/121 WHISTLER posted a 5-6 for 11 pts to be tied for fifth.

The CSA 4 Class commenced with an epic battle for the top of the leaderboard. Just two point off the leaders that are both tied with 4 pts each were Jordan Mindich's J/105 SOLSTICE and Tristan Marmousez's J/109 SANG NEUG, each with identical 2-4 records.

Finally, in CSA 5 Class, Tanner Jones' J/30 has a 1.5-2 for 3.5 pts total to sit in second place.

J/122 Liquid sailing St Maarten Regatta
Day 2- More Perfect Round the Island Weather
It’s an annual highlight not only of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, but of the entire Caribbean yacht-racing circuit. The Round St. Maarten race has something for everyone; challenging currents and geographical features; wildly varying wind speeds and directions; inshore and offshore seaways; and this year, 148 competing yachts, all of which at times seem to be rounding the same mark at the same instant. The round-the-island race has something for every sailor, and appropriately, this year’s running, under sunny skies and ideal 14- to 18-knot breeze, was nothing less than an instant classic.

For such a seemingly complicated set of circumstances, the basic premise for the top racing classes competing on the 39-nautical-mile course decreed for the Race Committee A circle were deceptively simple: keep the islands of St. Maarten and Tintamarre on your right.

For the A fleets, the race was actually like a theatre production or play staged in four acts. The first was from the starting line in Cole Bay, with a short windward leg of less than a mile, and then a spinnaker run down to a turning mark at the island’s southwest corner. From there, Act II was the long beat to weather up the Anguilla Channel and around Tintamarre. The third stanza involved easing sheets and setting reaching sails for the windy stretch down St. Maarten’s east coast. Finally, the fourth and final act commenced after jibing and negotiating a pair of turning marks down the southern flank of the island to the finish.

From the very outset, one thing was immediately clear. "Local knowledge" (the phrase sailors use when describing the home waters they know like the back of their hand) would play a huge role in the outcome. It was a day tailor-made for the formidable crews from St. Maarten and the Caribbean, who regularly ply this liquid territory, to play to their considerable strengths. And play to them they did.

For the Day 2 round-the-island contest, Race Committee A reversed the starting order from Day 1, when the Grand Prix Ocean Racing and Multihull 1 classes kicked off the proceedings, followed by the smaller CSA 1-4 race boats.

Today, CSA 4 was the first to go, and a pair of J/Boats (Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE and Tristan Marmousez’s J/109 SANG NEUF from Martinique) showed excellent pace from the outset.

CSA 3 was next, and Antiguan Pamala Baldwin’s flashy J/122 LIQUID; Sam Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE; and Peter Lewis’s J/121 WHISTLER, immediately mixed it up. LIQUID and SPIKE were locked in some of the regatta’s closest competition, as SPIKE won both races over LIQUID on Day 1 by an aggregate time of less than 25 seconds. Already, an early pattern was emerging: all the leading boats played the shore aggressively, with multiple short tacks up the beach; and it looked like it would be a very, very good day for both Caribbean sailors with that priceless local knowledge, and those sailing J/Boats.

At the first major turning mark, the wind had eased considerably as the fleet dropped their kites and began the long slog up the Anguilla Channel. Soon, however, the breeze was back on. And it was readily apparent that there were two very clear, and different, approaches to negotiating the channel. The Ocean Racing 1 boats chose to stay outside, in the bigger wind and seas, opting for clear air and straight-line speed while limiting maneuvers. Meanwhile, the smaller boats like LIQUID and SPIKE played a more tactical game, short tacking up the shoreline by the French beachfront towns of Marigot and Grand Case.

As the fleet emerged from the lee of St. Maarten into the open waters surrounding Tintamarre, it was true, blue-water ocean sailing and a stern test for all the competitors. Yachts including the X-402 MYXY and Whistler continued to hold an inshore route, tacking near the breakers off the pristine and empty wilderness of St. Maarten’s northwestern shoreline, far removed from the resorts and cruise ships. Meanwhile, powerful competitors like the Swan 80 Umiko shredded their way past the barren northern flank of Tintamarre. It was all a visual feast.

Once past Tintamarre, it was time to turn-and-burn down the east coast, with spinnakers and reachers once again the sail call for the blazing final legs of the eventful race. When the spray had settled, the day’s big winner was J/122 LIQUID, with a decisive victory in CSA 3 and a third overall in fleet, behind the Ocean Racing 1 yachts I Love Poland and the pesky Cookson 50, Grace O’Malley.

LIQUID owner Pamala Baldwin was effusive in her praise of her longtime crew, but deflected any strategic questions to tactician Hugh Mills, who said local knowledge gleaned from racing in the recent Caribbean 600, where LIQUID was second overall in their class, played a huge role in the day’s results. “We had basically that same tactical beat up the Anguilla Channel and learned a lot,” he said.

“The first leg was just a matter of keeping our speed and short-tacking up the shore to cover the fleet,” he said. “The long downwind stretch was just staying vigilant. The conditions were quite tough out there around Tintamarre, but we ended up laying it spot on. From there we were trying to hold our line inside of SPIKE, they’re giving us some really good competition.”

“It was beautiful,” said Baldwin, speaking of both the sailing around St. Maarten, and of course of the day’s winning conclusion.

J/105 sailing St Maarten Regatta
Day 3- Perfect Round-the-cans Day of Sailing
There comes a point in every regatta, after several races have been recorded and the top contenders have begun to establish their supremacy, when the competition becomes especially critical. For the crews jockeying for the podium, it’s time to put it on the line and make their move, hopefully up the rankings, though that’s not necessarily always the case. For the 40th edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, the third day of competition, with a pair of races, was a huge opportunity to either put up…or not.

It was, as racing sailors like to say, “Moving Day.”

From a starting circle off Cole Bay, Race Committee Boat A sent the two CSA Ocean Racing classes and the Multihull 1 division on a pair of 14.2-nautical-mile races around Pelican Rock with a finish in Simpson Bay. CSA Divisions 1-4 and the two CSA Sportboat classes competed in two slightly shorter 10.4-nautical-mile contests that also wrapped up in Simpson Bay.

Meanwhile, the morning’s early sprinkles gave way to clearing skies and fresh breeze topping off in the high teens. The new wind brought lumpy, confused seas, keeping everyone on their toes.

In CSA 3, all the momentum seemed to be on the side of Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID after their dominant winning performance in Friday’s round-the-island race, which put them in a tie with American Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE. But LIQUID got "spiked", as they finished second in both races to Talbot’s team, who maintain a slender two-point lead over the Antiguans with a final day of racing ahead.

A mere two points separated the top three contenders in CSA 4 as the day began— Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE and Speedy Nemo and MaĆ«lia CEPAC Antilles. With a fourth and a third, however, Speedy Nemo was speeding in the wrong direction, sliding into fourth, while the J/105 SOLSTICE moved into a commanding position at the top of the class with a pair of victories.

J/121 sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
Day 4- Sensational Finale
After four sensational days of racing, parties and entertainment and some of the closest competition ever seen in the long history of this storied Caribbean event, the 40th Anniversary Edition of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta concluded in the same fine fashion with which it started, with the waters south of the isle dotted with tall, white mainsails and billowing, colorful spinnakers of every size and description. With a huge spectator fleet soaking in the visual feast, and a fleet of racing sailboats encompassing everything from Melges 24s to Volvo 70s to cruising catamarans to veteran America’s Cup 12-Meters, it was literally a waterborne Festival of Sail and a fitting way to wrap up the milestone event.

Meanwhile, stationed off Cole Bay, Race Committee A sent the top racing classes on a pair of windward/leeward races south of the island. The folks cramming those spectator craft surely got their money’s worth.

The CSA 3 class consistently engaged in the regatta’s tightest and fiercest competition, and fittingly, it continued on the final day of the event. Talbot’s J/111 SPIKE and Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID traded places on several occasions on the first, twice-around-the-course race. SPIKE's fifth in that race looked to be the death knell to their hopes for overall victory. But, they roared back with a first in the final race, evening the score at 14 points in a tie with LIQUID, who recorded two seconds on the day. The crucial final win gave SPIKE the tiebreaker, in what was easily the event’s closest class!

St Maarten Heineken concert bands
“This regatta was just so much fun,” said Talbot, whose crew is based in the British Virgin Islands. “And it was amazing racing with LIQUID, they’re a really, really good team. This is the first multi-day regatta we’ve sailed with SPIKE. We’ve got a great crew that we’ve put together over the years. It’s been a long, slow process, but we made it happen, and I couldn’t be happier.”

CSA 4 Class had incredibly close-racing as well over the course of the four days. Starting in off the first day in fourth place and climbing steadily to the top was Jordan Mindich's New York-based crew on the J/105 SOLSTICE. They closed the final day with a 2-2 to clinch the title in their class.  Meanwhile, their incredibly competitive stablemate, Tristan Marmousez's J/109 SANG NEUG, closed their day with a pair of bullets to simply smoke the rest of the class to garner the silver on the podium.  Yes, a pair of J/Boats swept both podiums in both CSA 3 and CSA 4 Class, a first ever milestone for the regatta!

Meanwhile, in CSA 5 Class, the venerable J/30 BLUE PETER/ ABSOLUTE PROPERTIES sailed by Tanner Jones podiumed for perhaps their 40th time in the regatta, a record that is unassailable in the Caribbean offshore racing circuit!  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/ and Laurens Morel/  For more St Maarten Heineken Regatta sailing information

J/122 sailing off Perth, Australia
J/122 JOSS Tops Bunbury Return Offshore Race

(Perth, Western Australia)- The 170.0nm 72nd Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club’s Bunbury Return Race was recently held off the western shores of Perth, Australia. The fleet started at 5:30pm off Port Beach in North Fremantle. Sixteen yachts raced down the coast, past Garden Island, Mandurah and into Koombana Beach just north of Bunbury before heading north for the finish off South Mole in Fremantle.

The Bureau of Meteorology forecast indicated the winds would be turning to the north and reducing in strength throughout the evening and staying from that direction until the Saturday afternoon sea breezes.

J/122 Joss sailing offshore
Ian Clyne’s J/122 JOSS was ecstatic to place first in Division 1.  “On the water we were neck-and-neck the whole race with the higher rated yachts liked Checkmate, Obsession, and Al Fresco," commented Clyne.

"JOSS was 3rd around the Bunbury return mark with Indian leading the fleet, followed by Weapon of Choice. On the way home the battle continued with numerous sail changes and extremely tight racing.  Fantastic crew effort as we gave it our all,” said Clyne.  Photo credit: RFBYC Media and Sailsonswan

J/111 Scarlett Runner sailing off Australia
J/111 SCARLETT RUNNER Wins Lincoln Race Week

(Adelaide, South Australia)- The end of February saw the start of the 70th "Teakle Classic" offshore race from Adelaide to Port Lincoln. Following the offshore "feeder race", the fleet enjoyed Lincoln Race Week; comprising six races over four days on the waters of St Vincent’s and Spencer Gulfs in South Australia.

The event starts with the 160nm Adelaide to Port Lincoln Race which starts off Outer Harbour in the Gulf St Vincent. Once in Port Lincoln, the teams race on the waters of Boston Bay and Spencer Gulf for a four-day regatta run by Port Lincoln Yacht Club.

Established in 1931, Port Lincoln YC, today, operates very much by its foundation principle-- "To Foster a Love of the Sea".  PLYC members enjoy sailing and racing on one of Australia's best natural harbours. With consistent breezes, Mediterranean-style climate, minimal shipping traffic and only an hour's sail to an aquatic playground of spectacular islands. It’s no wonder the annual event is always a success.

Rob Date trucked his J/111 SCARLETT RUNNER from Sandringham, Victoria to Adelaide for the event.

J/122 Joss winners
Rob said, "It was a great regatta. The race to Port Lincoln was close to typical conditions, although a little windier at the start.  We struggled with our reefing system soon after the start and dropped 30 minutes on our competitors in the 40.0nm upwind section."

Unfortunately, the J/111 then also struggled to set her Code Zero at the start of the next 40.0nm section (needed a Jib top), but along the bottom of York Peninsula the wind gradually went left and the angles improved as the wind freshened.

According to Rob, "Eventually, we set the Black A3 asymmetric, with the crew mantra “Never Go Back From The Black!” In 20-25 knots of pressure and travelling at 14-18 knots, we rode the 4-meter swells throughout the night in pitch black, no moon.  It was a wild ride until dawn, and we had our J/111 back in the hunt. With good navigation, we avoided the fish farms (though some did not).  80.0nm VMG running in 10-14 kts of wind, resulted in a respectable non-podium finish.”

Lincoln Race Week consisted of a total of four windward-leeward races on Monday and Thursday inside Boston Bay in flat water. On Tuesday, the fleet sailed a 40.0nm offshore race and then a 15.0nm inshore fixed mark race on Wednesday.

In the end, winning was SCARLETT RUNNER with five 1sts and one 2nd, discarding the 2nd to win with a perfect scoreline racing under the AMS (Australian Measurement System).

Race Week is just as much about the social side of sailing, with Port Lincoln being home to the country’s largest commercial fishing fleet, a diverse aquaculture industry, and undoubtedly a seafood lover’s paradise, with some of the freshest and most sought-after seafood in the world. Additionally, there are award-winning wineries, local goodies, and an incredible diversity of coastal activities and ocean experiences such as shark cage diving, swimming with sea lions, rugged coastlines, breathtaking coastal views, perfect beaches, native wildlife and so much more.

Evening events included the Teakle Winery Skipper's Dinner on Monday. Clean Seas, Kingfish, Yamaha Generators, Boston Bay Winery sponsored the entertainment and BBQ on Tuesday.  Scarlet Runner and Shark House sponsored the dinner on Wednesday, with thanks to Kim Clark, Ralph Czabayski (Shark Diving), and Coffin Bay Oysters for their generous donations. Then, on Thursday's Awards Presentation Dinner, Port Lincoln Hotel was both host and sponsor of the event.

On Friday Scarlet Runner sailed back to Adelaide on a joyous 10-12 knot beam reach, all be it in 3-5m rolling seas from the south pole! Rob is now planning to truck Scarlet Runner 2500km up to Queensland ready for Hamilton Island Race Week!

J/145 Palaemon sailing offshore
J/145s Dominate Cabrillo Offshore Series

(San Diego, CA)- Sponsored by Southwestern Yacht Club in San Diego, CA, a fleet of two-dozen offshore racing thoroughbreds enjoyed a three-weekend series of long offshore day races called the Cabrillo Ocean Series.  The racing included both PHRF and ORR handicap divisions.

J/145 Palaemon- Hasl family
In the end, the J/145 PALAEMON sailed by Rudy and Philip Hasl (above) won both the ORR and PHRF Divisions. The Hasl team on PALAEMON narrowly edged out another J/145- Robert Pace's ANDIAMO 2. In fact, PALAEMON took their victory due to their 1st place finish in the final PHRF race on Saturday, March 7th.  In the ORR Division, PALAEMON came out ahead of the custom Nelson-Marek 50 Blue Blazes and the custom Davidson 52 Pendragon.

J/145 Katara sailing offshore
Puerto Vallarta Race Update

(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- There are two J/Teams sailing the 1,200nm San Diego to Puerto Vallarta Race this past week in what has become a "drift-fest" for the first half of the race, but building breezes towards the latter half. Mark Surber's J/125 SNOOPY has been doing well, as well as Roger Gatewood's J/145 KATARA.

KATARA's team has been keeping up a very good PV Race blog each day.  Here is their link.

To give you an idea of what life is like on an offshore 46-foot racing boat, here are a few excerpts below for you to enjoy:

Friday, March 6, 2020, 1530
Position:  32 19N 117 9W
Speed:  8.5-9 kts
Distance to go: 986.1 nm
Weather: Sunny & Almost chilly - just gorgeous
Winds: 8-11 kts
Sail Package: Full Main, A1 reaching spinnaker.

And we're off! The start today at 1200 PST was light and uneventful. We fetched the edge of the harbor and before we knew it, we were cracking off just a few degrees and hoisting the new Tweener Code 0. Trent and Daniel muscled it up and Louis did the hoist. We picked up speed there, but it was only an hour before we were seeing the afternoon shift, we expected and were calling for the A1 reaching spinnaker.

Roger appeared to have a great time on the helm for the start and first few hours of the trip (It's his Birthday, btw, for those that done know!).

Trent is driving right now with Roger and Louis trimming the kite. We've already got several of the Green watch (JA, Neil, Daniel, Ron) below for their first rest session so they're ready to take over at 1800 PST this evening.

Very very light sea conditions with the breeze fairly light as well. Our current target for the rest of the afternoon is to try and lift off the coast to ensure we don't get stuck in the dead air region near shore overnight We anticipate a gybe sometime in the middle of the night to play back in towards the coast to play with the sea breeze tomorrow afternoon as that builds.

The boat is clean and dry and everyone is in great spirits so far. Less than 1,000nm to go!

Saturday, March 7, 2020, 1845
Position:  29 1N 116 10.7W
Speed:  5-7 kts
Distance to go: 783.62 nm
Weather: Partly cloudy and chilly
Winds: Variable 280-310 @ 5-9 kts
Sail Package: Full Main, A1 reaching spinnaker, Spinnaker Staysail.

What a gorgeous day on the water for KATARA. While it was mostly cloudy most of the day, and even a bit chilly, we had an awesome day. The weather gave us slightly more pressure than we were anticipating, and we hope we've capitalized on that to get us south as quickly as we can.

All helmsmen and deck teams seem to be having a great time. I've seen wide grins from Louis and Trent specifically. Another big hit with the crew is the bean bag chair we brought alone for the spinnaker trimmers. Instead of avoiding spin trim duty due to standing or cricking your neck it looks to be one of the more popular postings. We've got a bunch of sails stacked on deck as well which have made for a pretty enjoyable sun bed for those off watch.

We've done some minor housekeeping and line management to make sure we stay on top of everything and we've gotten most of the crew several long uninterrupted sleep sessions.

All indications point to Roger having a great time. The report I got was that his birthday at sea was a great one.

The next 36 hours looks less promising. There is an area of high pressure that's being driven by a larger area of low pressure just outside it right on to our race course. As the breeze begins to clock right this evening and in to tomorrow morning we expect to see the velocity die off. We'll be approaching Cedros island sometime in the middle of tonight and will continue to analyze the latest weather files for options after that. Current thinking is that if, as the sun rises, it looks like it's going to be a clear day, we make for the beach and hope to capitalize on any land breeze that develops in the late afternoon. Other than that, I think it'll just be a matter of concentration for our deck teams to make sure we keep her moving along best we can in variable conditions.

In a dramatic divergence from previous races we've had a professional chef pre-prepare all of our meals for the trip and then vacuum seal them. Preparation entails nothing more than a pressure cooker with some water for about 15 minutes to heat them back up. Last night was Beef pot roast, tonight was grilled chicken, rice, and green peas with dinner rolls. Everything has been a huge hit with the team so far. I believe two pastas and a pork meal of some sort are on the remainder of the menu.

Wish us luck in dealing with this light air zone over the next 36-40 hours. We all hope you're having a great weekend so far - I know we all are

Sunday, March 8, 2020, 2000
Position: 27 35N 115 36W
Speed:  5-7 kts
Distance to go: 696.7 nm
Weather: Partly cloudy and chilly
Winds: Variable 345-005 @ 5-9 kts
Sail Package: Full Main, A1 reaching spinnaker, Spinnaker Staysail. Plugging in the Tweener on its tough luff for probably future deployment

Good morning shore friends!

While you were, hopefully, comfortably nestled in bed overnight the watch standers here on Katara were busy. The early evening hours saw pleasant breeze and good conditions as we played our target downwind numbers and tried to get as much south as we possibly good in an attempt to set ourselves up to deal with this area of high pressure currently descending on us. In the middle of the night JA's watch (Neil, Daniel, and Ron) executed a textbook gybe over to pot tack after we watched the wind shift NW to NNW. We are currently off a polar target plan and are now sailing a heading which should see us intercepting the coast by early afternoon in an attempt to capitalize on a potential land breeze this afternoon while there is near 0 wind further offshore due to this High that's sitting over us.

This is one of the driest races any of us can remember. I don't think we've taken a single wave anywhere on the boat. It's chillier than some of us imagined, and Foul Weather gear is still in use for the wind blocking properties

Last night's dinner was a hit: Grilled chicken, green peas, and rice. The daily breakfast burritos seem to be a crew favorite - we just finished feeding everyone a couple a piece. Sausage, egg, and cheese.

JA's watch just came off for some well-deserved rest (that 0200-0600 watch is a tough one) and Roger's team (Sam, Trent, and Louis) are now in charge of the boat for the next 4 hours. Roger is on the helm still looking to be having a great time.

We've sent Trent and Louis to the bow to prepare our Tweener sail for hoist with the anticipation that as this high progresses we will see breeze continue to shift to the right. We've also got a kelp watch set back up as we have seen several clusters come by. The boat is carrying a kelp stick and a flossing line and the first afternoon saw Sam trying to show some of the younger bow guys how they were used. A skill that apparently takes some finesse and practice. I'm sure they'll get it.

If you're the praying type send up a request to help us avoid the worst of the dead zones associated with this high through this afternoon and in to this evening.

Monday, March 9, 2020, 0800
Position: 26 4.4N 114 3.9W
Speed:  7.5-9kt
Distance to go: 568.8 nm
Weather: Partly cloudy and Chilly
Winds: WIND!!!! Glorious, GLORIOUS, WINNNND! Variable 060-080 @ 7-10kts
Sail Package: A1, wait no, Tweener?, Nope, that's not it either. Light Medium Genoa! Yes! That's the one!! Zoom Zoom

Wind. You glorious, GLORIOUS wind. All yesterday afternoon and much of the evening found Katara attempting to claw her way south in 0-2kts of breeze from what seemed like 600 different directions. At least several helmsmen (looking at you, Neil!) did involuntary 720s as the boat rolled around her keel with no control whatsoever.

Never to be outdone JA's overnight watch pushed like hell and managed to answer Roger's team's 3.5nm (in four hours...) with a terribly sad, but still more impressive, 7.4nm. Redoubling their efforts Roger and his watch of Sam, Trent, and Louis came back from behind with much strong numbers on the following watch.

After midnight things improved somewhat and we're now power reaching down the line near 8kts. The forecast is again bleak starting at or near 1100 and lasting again through much of the afternoon and evening.

I've offered exclusive access to the last box of Oreos for whatever team puts up the best standings today. Those have proven quite popular and here's hoping they're willing to fight for them. Peanuts are the only thing aboard which have been rationed and we've hidden the stash to keep Capt. Roger fed and happy for the remainder of the trip.

Just before sunset we picked up some kelp on the rudder and Dan and Neil deployed the Kelp stick with deft hands to clear our issues and streamline the water flow again.

It's still cold. Too cold for the Floridians' taste anyways.

Morning position report shows us first in class. While that's certainly helped morale, we've got a LOT of sailing left to do and we're keeping everyone focused on the prize. We should hit the halfway point mileage wise here later today.

The cabin is still dry and warm and the sea state, even with heel, makes rest cycles pretty pleasant.
For more Puerto Vallarta Race sailing information

J/22 match racing off St Francis Yacht Club
Breault Leading California Dreamin J/22 Match Race Series

(San Francisco, CA)- San Diego Yacht Club and Long Beach Yacht Club have again joined forces with St Francis Yacht Club to continue another year of the popular California Dreamin’ Series. A three-stop regatta designed to provide more opportunities for West Coast match racers, this series helps competitors gain experience in fully-umpired competition. The overall winner will be invited by Long Beach Yacht Club to its prestigious Ficker Cup 2021, itself a qualifier for its Congressional Cup, a stop on the professional World Match Racing Tour.

Nicole Breault of St Francis YC and her team of Molly Carapiet, Hannah Burroughs and Karen Loutzenheiser won all of their matches to win the second stop of the three event California Dreamin’ Series match racing sailed at the St. Francis YC in its matched fleet of J/22s.  Also from the St. Francis, Dominic Bove finished second with the support of Cassedy Lynch, Isabelle du Moulin and Nolan Van Dine. Matt Whitfield of Penarth YC (Wales, United Kingdom) finished third.

Caliornia Dreamin J/22 winners
From left to right: Karen Loutzenheiser, Nicole Breault, Hannah Burroughs, Dominic Bove, Isabelle Dumouline, Cassedy Lynch, Nolan Van Dine

The 2020 California Dreamin’ Series Race dates are:
  • February 1–2 (J/22s): San Diego Yacht Club
  • March 7–8 (J/22s): St. Francis Yacht Club
  • April 18–19 Ficker Cup: Long Beach Yacht Club
  • May 9–10 (J/22s): StFYC will host the USMRC Qualifier, a Grade 3 event open to anyone who wishes to participate.
For more California Dreamin' J/22 Match Race Series sailing information

J/111 Skeleton Key sailing upwind
J/111s Dominate Big Daddy Regatta

(Richmond, CA)- Richmond Yacht Club in Richmond, CA hosts one of the more entertaining regattas on San Francisco Bay every spring- the Big Daddy Regatta. The event has a unique format and great entertainment on both Friday and, especially, Saturday evening. On Saturday, the various PHRF handicap and one-design fleets enjoy up to three quick windward-leeward races. Then, on Sunday the famous "pursuit race" takes place with the smallest, slowest boats starting first in the morning and the fastest boats starting much later.

For Saturday's buoy-racing, the fleet enjoyed good breezes and the Richmond YC PRO managed to run three races.

Winning PHRF A Division of seven boats was Peter Wagner's J/111 SKELETON KEY with an eviscerating 2-1-1 tally for 4 pts. Six points back with a 6-2-2 for 10 pts was Nesrin Basoz's J/111 SWIFT NESS.

Enjoying a similar dominating performance in PHRF E Division was Peter Cameron's J/70 KANGAROO JOCKEY with a 2-2.5-1 scoreline for 5.5 pts total.

The J/105s enjoyed a duel between two boats with Dick Maclay's YELLOWFIN taking class honors with a 1-1-2 for 4 pts over Chris Kim's VUJA STAR that posted a 2-2-1 for 5 pts.

For Sunday's Pursuit Race, the two J/111s sailed well to both finish in the top ten in a fleet of seventy-four boats! Top J/Crew was, again, Wagner's SKELETON KEY in fourth place, followed by Basoz's SWIFT NESS in seventh place.  For Big Daddy race results   For more Richmond YC Big Daddy Regatta sailing information

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Mar 5- Puerto Vallarta Race- San Diego, CA
Mar 10- SORC Miami to Eleuthera Race- Miami, FL
Mar 17-21- St. Augustine Race Week- St. Augustine, FL
Mar 19-22- J/22 Midwinter Championship- New Orleans, LA
Mar 20-22- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 26-29- St. Thomas International Regatta- St. Thomas, USVI
Mar 30- Apr1- BVI Spring Regatta- Road Town, Tortola, BVI
Apr 12-18- Les Voiles de St Barth Regatta- Gustavia, St Barthelemy
Apr 17-25- EDHEC J/80 Sailing Cup Regatta- Port du Crouesty, Arzon, France
Apr 23-26- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 26- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua, West Indies
May 1-3- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis, MD
May 27-31- J/24 North American Championship- Blue Point, NY
Jun 11-14- Helga Cup Ladies J/70 Regatta- Hamburg, Germany
Jun 12-14- Chicago NOOD Regatta- Chicago, IL
Jun 20-21- J/70 East Coast Championship- Cape May, NJ
Jul 26-Aug 1- J/70 World Championship- Marina del Rey, CA

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

J/70 IGY Marinas sailing at St Maarten Heineken Regatta
* The J/70 IGY MARINAS sailed in this year's 40th anniversary St Maarten Heineken Regatta. The regatta was blessed with four-straight days of post-card perfect sailing conditions.

J/70 IGY Marinas sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
The J/70 was sailed by Garth Steyn and his island crew of:
  • Rien Korteknie- tactician/ mainsail, he's 72 years old sailed with Garth for 20 years)
  • Brian Deher- spinnaker and jib trim, has been sailing 4 months, did sailing with Garth through the sailing school, he is also regional director of IGY Marinas)
  • Kippy Guilders- foredeck, been sailing with Garth for four years
Commented Garth, "I have owned the J/70 for 9 months more or less and love it! I have done a lot of sailing on the Melges 24 that I owned for years. However, I love sailing the J/70 much more!"

J/70 IGY Marinas video
Watch their awesome highlights reel of sailing their J/70 at St Maarten Heineken Regatta.

* #MoreKidsOnSailboats. That is the "hashtag" created by J/34 IOR owner of KNEE DEEP IV in Cleveland, Ohio- Brett Langolf. Brett and his wife and kids were asked by the U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum 2020 to do a presentation on "How to get more kids sailors involved in sailing" during their annual conference in San Diego, CA.

The Langolf family has been instrumental in getting dozens of kids sailing offshore from their local community, sailing both evening "beer-can races", as well as sailing larger weekend regattas and offshore races up to 290.0nm- the Bayview Mackinac Race on Lake Huron.

According to Langolf, "we had a great sailing industry presentation. What a huge success! And, THANK YOU for the J/Calendars and J/Stickers, they were fantastic....very popular! Here are a couple of videos from the presentation and an overall report. We are working on a written article about key takeaways from the conference."

#MoreKidsOnSailboats @ Sailing Leadership Forum 2020 highlights video

Watch "Getting more kids on board - what every sailboat skipper should know!"

* J/70 Heavy Air Tuning and Sailing Tips
When the breeze increases, a different set of skills are required. North Sails expert Allan Terhune, who called tactics on the winning TEAM VINEYARD VINES at the J/70 Midwinters in Miami, explains some lessons learned from a windy weekend.

J/70 Team Vineyard Vines wins J/70 Midwinters
Sailing in Breeze – Upwind
The key to speed upwind is keeping the boat flat and balanced. This is achieved two ways: rig tune and trim.

Rig Tune
We were at the top of our tuning guide most of the weekend to keep our headstay tight. One key factor is the backstay gross tune; make it TIGHT. You need to have enough throw to pull backstay on, in order to flatten out the main. Many teams took the slack out of their gross tune but didn’t make it tight. Also, I heard many people did not go to the top of the tuning guide. If this was not the weekend to go there, I don’t know what would be!

Once the rig is tuned, the goal is to keep the helm balanced, and also to be able to burp the main in the puffs to eliminate heel. The key to this is the jib sheet. If you have the sail max in-hauled like you would in lighter conditions, the main would immediately luff in puffs, forcing the bow to go down. To compensate for this, we sailed with less inhaul, and moved the lead forward one hole. This may seem counter-intuitive, but it keeps the leech correct and makes the foot powerful enough to get through the chop. We made sure the leech was close to the middle band on the spreader at all times.

We then played the in-hauler to get through waves and puffs. Our main luffed very few times, and we talked all the time about keeping the boat balanced.

As for mainsail trim, it was easy to over-tighten the outhaul and not have enough power through waves. We found that having max backstay was always faster and having enough vang on made it easy to play the sheet. We tried to NEVER let the main luff or flog. You have to be using both sails to be balanced and fast.

Sailing in Breeze – Downwind
Wow was that fun or what! Seriously though, it was HARD work!

A few things to remember off the wind in big breeze:
  • Keep a constant angle of heel of 10-15 degrees. Too much heel and you wipe out, too little and you slow down and bear off too much. You have to keep the apparent wind forward.
  • Jib trim is crucial. Molly did a great job of always keeping the jib full, but also knew when to blow it if I lost the kite.
  • Jibing: Speed is your friend. The worst thing you can do is bear off and slow down and load the boat up right before a jibe. That is when you wipe out.
  • Steer around waves and surf whenever possible. Finding a good rhythm with the trimmer and talking about the angles is the best way to identify the path of least resistance.
  • Stay in the puff. We all work so hard upwind to go .1 or .2 knots faster, but if you miss a puff downwind you will be 2-5 knots slower. The tacticians who keep their eyes out for the next puff make HUGE gains.
This regatta was a great reminder that the J/70 is truly a team boat. Everyone has a role, and if one person is not carrying their weight, the boat does not succeed. For success in heavy air, you need to develop a different set of skills. And practicing with your team when it’s windy is the only way to get better.

John and Molly Baxter's TEAM VINEYARD VINES crew of Ben Lamb and Allan Terhune were the 2020 J/70 Midwinter Champs after a relentless eight-race battle in a variety of very windy, testing conditions with gusts up to 30 knots! For more information on J/70 heavy air sailing
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