Wednesday, March 25, 2020

J/Newsletter- March 25th, 2020

After more than a week of "stay at home" living here in Newport, Rhode Island and our partners in Les Sables d'Olonne, France, we sincerely hope that our community of "J" sailors, cruisers, and racers around the world are doing well.

In that time frame, the global pandemic related to Covid-19 virus has certainly gotten worse, particularly in the USA and Europe. The impact on sailing events has been dramatic, with even the sailing Olympics in Japan and the Newport to Bermuda Race being cancelled/ postponed.  

While we weather the storm, please do not hesitate to connect with each other socially over the Internet. There are various outlets for your compassion for sailing and connecting with J/Sailors around the globe. If you have any inspirational thoughts, ideas, or activities to pursue, please share them on any of these pages (there have been some amusing videos posted):

J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster
J/99 Pacific Northwest Debut- "She Rides on Rails"!
(Seattle, WA)- The newest J/99 just got launched this past week for a couple that lives in Seattle, Washington and sails on Puget Sound and points north into Canada. As part of that launching, the Sail Northwest team offered up some of their perspectives on the J/99, thanks to Ben Braden.

"Oh, what to say about the J/99. One word maybe- "rails"! Is that good enough?

Ok, didn't think so.  I've sailed #26 exactly one time now, so I don't have a plethora experiences to share. But, I do have one comparison as I was able to do a demo sail on San Francisco Bay awhile back on the first boat Sail California brought in to the West Coast.

That demo sail was great! From the east Bay in Richmond, CA, we went upwind around Angel Island, leaving it to port. We got some good puffs up by the bridge, then set the chute for the run back downwind towards the northeast Bay.  She maneuvered well and reacted to the puffs, but not so much that you had to scramble to blow something.  

She dug in and sped up in the puffs rather than dropping the deck down and spinning to weather.  This is when I first thought "rails", she's stiff, like being on "rails", she just accelerates forward.

Pop the chute in 16+ kts of wind and she will slide off downwind, pushing 10 kts boatspeed easily.  

The J/99 is simple to drive and smooth to recover when the new guy driving gets excited with things and stops paying attention.  

Cool boat, stiff and responsive was my first impression. 

Here we are in March 2020 doing a mid-distance race on #26 near Seattle; around Blakeley Rock and back in winds ranging from 10 to 18 kts with 2-foot waves. The weather was nothing crazy, or under-powered, just a good mid-range breeze.  

She moved beautifully and was amazingly agile. We started below a First 36.7's bow with a Sierra 26 rocket below our bow, usually a recipe for disaster as we could get squeezed out. Nevertheless, we were able to dial it in and pull out and up on the 36.7, while rolling over the Sierra 26 below us. She just kinda hunkered in off the start and legged out! Cool! Thank goodness!

This being our first sail on the boat against any competition, we began playing with the jib leads and tensions to see how she responded. After some fiddling, trying to set the foot round correctly, and setting the leech better, we found we could really into a good pointing mode with a powered-up groove with some minor tweaks.  

J/99 #26 has the water ballast option. But, with 6 people aboard, and it being our first sail, we wanted to focus on the trim and
tensions first, just taking baby steps to get a feel for the boat.  

We were sitting well at the weather mark, rounding the rock 2nd behind a newer well sailed Wauquiez 40. However, we both lost to the 900 lb. ultralight Sierra 26 on the downwind run; that was to be expected.  The J/99 was very easy to sail low with the A2, probably
too low at times but we're learning the boat still. We were running about 145 to 155 TWA in 10 to 12 knots.

This race ended up abandoned, as the leeward mark wasn't where it was supposed to be when we all rounded it.  

But that's ok, we got to play with the water ballast. A J/109 with genoa up was right behind us, going slightly faster, but on the same pointing angle, paralleling us.  We filled up the starboard (weather) tank, now named "Thelma" (the other one named, of course, "Louise). We did not notice a big change of feel on the boat itself, but when we glanced back, the J/109 was falling behind us and to leeward.  Not that we were pointed higher at the bow, but just slipping less to leeward. In other words, we'd dug in harder on that "rail".

We gave the helm to the foredeck man (yes, I know that can be dangerous), but it was OK this time! He enjoyed driving the boat and being "in the back of the bus", instead of on the "pointy end". We then played around with the ballast tanks to learn how they shifted and filled. We were trying to figure out what to expect in a no-pressure situation. It was really a great first day on the water in a stiff fun boat.

What a great concept! Build a boat that is fast, stable, enjoyable, open, easy-to-sail, cool-looking, comfortable below, and put it on "rails".  She's a big boat in her 32 feet. She reminds me a lot about my first rides on a J/35 way back in the 80's.  I'm looking forward to seeing what the three J/99s coming into the Pacific Northwest will do with themselves- #26 is here, two more coming!"  For more J/99 shorthanded speedster sailing information

J/Gear- J Marmot shirt special
J/Gear March 20% OFF Special!
(Newport, RI)- The "J" Marmot Zip Layer brings quality and performance to a zip-top that can be worn alone or under a protective shell. It is a sleek and handy long-sleeved jersey when the breeze kicks in.

The "J" Marmot Zip Layer comes with the J/Class logo of your choice and can be customized with your boat name and or sail number for the entire crew!

Available in Black, Marine, or Red in sizes from Small to XXL.   Check it out here on the J/Gear website.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

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

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
#MoreKidOnSailboats! The new calling card for kids on offshore boats
(San Diego, CA)- Brett Langolf, owner of the J/34 IOR version called KNEE DEEP in Cleveland, Ohio, was asked to do a presentation at the U.S. Sailing Leadership Forum regarding "how to get more kids on sailboats" using the new hash-tag #MoreKidsOnSailboats! Here is his latest report:

"Hosted in San Diego this year, the 2020 Forum is the foundation for making things happen in American sailing and we were honored to be invited and speak at this conference. Just like a day on the water, we traveled with the whole crew! The Langolf family was off to San Diego.

Brett & Katie Langolf family #morekidsonsailboats
Our #MoreKidsOnSailboats began as a fun way to collect and share our kids’ adventures on our J/Boats and has now turned into a national rally cry to grow the sport we all love. It was (and is) very exciting to be on the front line, share our experience and learn from some of the leaders of the sailing industry. Below is what we learned from kids across the country…

Top 10 Ways to Get More Kids on Sailboats:
  • “Snacks! Candy” - Set them up with snacks & drinks. Trust us, your adult crew could use some gummy bears also (sour gummy bears, especially).
  • "Just Ask Us” - Kids want the opportunity to be a part of a crew.  Skippers need to reach out and set a plan with the child. Be explicit about your crew expectations so the child can be successful.
  • “Give me a job!” - Assign the child a buddy on board! As the buddy, encourage the child to ask questions! Nod and smile, even if the kids say something outrageous!
  • “Make sailing fun” - Yep, it is fun to win but not at the expense of a tense experience.  Leave the yelling for another day and keep the experience relaxed and positive.
  • “Make it safe” - Look for grant opportunities soon from More Kids on Sailboats to outfit your “under 18” crew.
  • “Keep it comfortable” - Set the kids and yourself up for success. These extras still weigh less than your beer. They will forget stuff, throw a couple of freebie regatta sunglasses, some sunscreen and hats to the kids.  They love gear!
  • “Make us feel valued” - Ask for the kid’s opinion on everything from sail trim/course to music selection.  We aren’t saying you need to heed their opinion but asking it goes a LONG way.
  • “Gear us up” - Supply your regular kids with crew gear.  Maybe some one size fits all items like hats.
  • “PLEASE STOP YELLING” - This literally takes the wind out of the sails for kids. 
  • “Capture it for us” - We are living in the digital world.  The younger generation especially likes to share their experiences with their peers on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc).  Embrace it. Take lots of photos & videos and share everywhere!! This is free advertising for your boat, your club, your crew and the sport.

Dun Laoghirie Harbour, Ireland- where's Waldo??
Keeping Sailing & Boating Safe in Days of Social Distancing

(Dublin, Ireland)- Over in the land of lucky leprechauns, our friends in Ireland are always thinking of clever ways around any obstacles that may be thwarting their efforts to enjoy life and sailing.  Recently, the editors at published some insights in an article titled- "Keeping Sailing & Boating Safe in Days of Social Distancing."

"It's nice to be out there with the wind and the waves and as one letter writer to the Irish Times mentioned when he spotted boats sailing on Dublin Bay this week - 'what a way to isolate!' 

We think the same here at Afloat, but even sailing isn't free of social distancing guidelines and as we have seen, unfortunately, largely because of shoreside issues, the bulk of sailing events around the world have now been cancelled. It is important to recognize the significant impact that the current Coronavirus / COVID-19 crisis is having on sailing clubs across Ireland.

Right now, there are other priorities of the most serious nature, but it's worth mentioning- for sailing's sake- that this Coronavirus is wrecking the 2020 sailing fixture list and much more besides.

It's important for the club network that we salvage as much as we can.

Other sports, such as golf, are finding ways of keeping play going.

We have plenty of unpopulated open water (for example look at our live webcam of Dublin Bay). We have plenty of boats and with today's Spring Equinox (the earliest in 124 years) hundreds of boaters itching to go afloat.

While areas within clubhouses may not be available due to the need for social distancing, the sport remains open and accessible. The lift in of the country's biggest fleet of yachts on Dublin Bay is on track for April. Marinas are open. Club membership plus supporting the cluster of Irish marine services around the coast has never been more important. 

Yacht Club members and sailors and boaters, in general, can still go afloat and enjoy their sailing while staying within the guidelines issued by the Health Service Executive in the Republic of Ireland and Public Health Agency in Northern Ireland.

So, as organizers prepare to launch the season, is there a way to support them in order to go afloat safely without abandoning the ship, as it were? 

Can there be any activity that rigorously upholds the social distancing guidelines, keeps everyone safe and avoids groups of people in prolonged contact? There has to be more to our fantastic sport than an eSailing National Championships?

Already, North Sails sailmaker Prof O'Connell is reporting a number of clients are changing the way they plan to go sailing: "there's some interest from yacht owners in re-tasking their race boats into family day-sailers to get the family out on the water, conversion of bolt rope race mainsails into luff slid cruising sails, the addition of furler/furling headsails for family cruising."

A quick brainstorm also came up with the following ideas: 
  • Solo/ doublehanded keelboat races with white sails/reduced sail?
  • Solo/ doublehanded dinghy races with white sails?
  • Family/ household crewed races (e.g. can people living in the same household sail on the same boat?)
  • Family/ household day cruising?
  • Virtual marks/starts to avoid contact among race officials?
Wishful thinking? It may well be. But, getting out on the water is good for both our physical and mental health. We only need two boats to start an informal race or one boat for a day sail. 

So, at Afloat, we're keen to hear any ideas as to how sailing can keep going. But above all else, any suggestion first needs to ensure it is well within social and physical distancing guidelines.

watching sailboat movies- binging
The Best Boat Movies to Watch During Quarantine

(London, England)- At the famous superyacht magazine- BOATING INTERNATIONAL- Olivia Michel got together with their editors and rounded up the best movies about sailing to watch during the coronavirus quarantine...

Movie "Adrift"
Movie List:
Movie- Life of Pi
Plus, here is another list of boating/ ocean movies compiled by Scuttlebutt newsletter:

• Around Cape Horn-
• Captain Courageous-
• Coyote: The Mike Plant Story-
- DRUM: An Extraordinary Adventure-
- Following Seas-
• Horatio Hornblower-
• Joshua Slocum: The First Man to Sail Around the World-
• Maiden Voyage-
• Message in a Bottle-
• Morning Light (TP52 Disney movie)-
• One Crazy Summer-
• Red Dot on the Ocean-
• The African Queen-
• The Cruel Sea-
• The Enemy Below-
• The Perfect Storm-
• The Riddle of the Sands-
• The Weekend Sailor-
• The World in His Arms-
• The 7th Voyage of Sinbad-
• Thomas Crown Affair-
• Treasure Island-
• Turning Tide-
- Violets are Blue-
• White Squall-

That list should keep you entertained for at least a week! LOL! Enjoy!