Wednesday, March 4, 2020

J/Newsletter- March 4th, 2020

sunset in ChileJ/Sailing News

It has been busy in the Caribbean offshore winter sailing season recently. The Royal Ocean Racing Club from Cowes, England hosted their eponymous RORC Caribbean 600 Race; a 600.0nm tour of eleven islands in the northeastern Caribbean, starting and finishing off English Harbour, Antigua. Several J/Teams participated, including a J/122, J/121, and J/160. Then, not even a week later, many of the same boats migrated their way "downwind" in the prevailing easterlies to attend one of the most magnificent events in the Caribbean winter sailing season- the St Maarten Heineken Regatta sailed out of Simpson Bay, St Maarten. So far, the action is fast, furious, hotly contested in various CSA Handicap classes for a J/122, J/121, J/105, J/109, J/111, and J/30.

Not far off to the west have been several remarkable regattas taking place in the southeastern-most state in America- the enormous peninsula of Florida.  Last week, the 42nd annual J/24 Midwinter Championship took place; Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL hosted the regatta for a fleet of thirty-three boats. Then, just getting going again off Miami on Biscayne Bay is the J/70 Bacardi invitational, hosted by a combination of Coral Reef Yacht Club and Biscayne Bay Yacht Club.

J/122 Liquid sailing RORC 600 Race
J/122 Triumphs in RORC Caribbean 600 Race

(English Harbour, Antigua)- The 12th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 attracted 73 boats from 22 nations and competitors from 37 different countries. The fleet was made up of professional sailors and boats, as well as corinthian amateurs who love their offshore racing. The RORC Caribbean 600 is the only offshore race in the Caribbean. The race course starts and finishes in Antigua and is very different to any other as it weaves its way around 11 islands, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe.

With the weather pattern bringing up unusual conditions and the lulls in the lee of the islands were significantly different from what we've seen in the past, the key to success was to keep the boat moving at all times. It was all about concentration and sailing the boat as fast as you can.

J/122 Liquid sailing in light airs
"This year's RORC Caribbean 600 served up some very different conditions and it showed in the way that people raced their boats - the persistence, the patience required and the speed to keep the boat going in these light conditions, and nowhere was that better shown than in the final boat that finished. The stunning scenery around the course is spectacular - the beauty of the Caribbean islands, the volcanos, the sunshine, the water. It's just fantastic. It's a race to get addicted to," said one sailor.

The spectacular race started in unusually light airs off Fort Charlotte, Antigua on Monday 24th February 2020. After a sublime start and a reach up to Barbuda in beautiful conditions, the majority of the fleet experienced the first trap of the course. Just before sunset on the first day, the wind shadow of Barbuda enveloped the armada. The halt in progress was short-lived and looking on the bright side, Barbuda is a stunning spot to pause to watch the sun go down. After rounding the Barbuda mark, the fleet were back in the breeze heading west on a starboard gybe. Choosing when to gybe south to round Nevis would have been the main strategic call. Tactically, with the boats super-compressed, night-fighting for wind and position would have taken on guerrilla tactic proportions.

J/121 sailing RORC 600 Race in Caribbean
By Tuesday late evening and early morning, the entire fleet was parked underneath St Kitts & Nevis waiting for the classic Caribbean tradewinds to rebuild. The "parking lot" on the lee side of the islands determined the fate of many teams. Hurt the most was Peter Lewis' J/121 WHISTLER. After the first two turning marks on the race track, WHISTLER was in close contact with all the class and fleet leaders as they all got caught underneath the big wind shadow of the very peaky islands (mountain tops close to 2,500 feet). On Tuesday morning, there were several "escapees" around 8am to 9am, including Pamala Baldwin's well-sailed J/122 LIQUID. Missing that one major zephyr was WHISTLER, not escaping the clutches of St Kitts & Nevis "vacuum" until 12:30pm... making for a 35.0nm "gap" from the rest of their class leaders. At that point, WHISTLER was "out-of-the-money", while Baldwin's LIQUID was dueling for boat-for-boat elapsed time honors as well as handicap honors in both IRC and CHS handicap divisions.

J/122 takes silver in RORC 600 Race
In the end, Pamala Baldwin’s Antiguan crew on the J/122 LIQUID (with talented young skipper Julian White) pulled off twin silver in two divisions.  LIQUID took 2nd place in IRC 2 Class and was 9th IRC Overall. Then, LIQUID took 2nd place in CSA 2 Class and 4th CSA Overall! Howie Hodgson's J/160 TRUE was also another class leader for a brief period of time before succumbing to the "black hole" beneath St Kitts & Nevis. Nevertheless, the big, fast, pretty cruising boat managed to find that elusive zephyr to salvage a 10th place in CSA 2 Class.   Follow the fleet on YB Tracking.  For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information

J/24s sailing Midwinters off Florida
BANGOR PACKET Cruises J/24 Midwinters

(Melbourne, Florida)- Since 1978, when twenty-one boats participated in the first J/24 Midwinters in Key West, Florida, the fleet has always seen remarkably talented fleets sailing their annual event in Florida. For this year's 42nd annual regatta, Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL hosted the thirty-three boats that participated from across the USA with a particularly strong contingent participating from the Pacific Northwest, specifically Seattle, Washington.

After sailing eight races with one discard, the most remarkable performance came from the famous septuagenarian Tony Parker on BANGOR PACKET XXX (Tony has owned many J/24s over the past forty years!). For those J/24 class historians, Tony has sailed the J/24 since 1978, starting in Portland, Maine and has continually sailed in the class ever since. Here is how it all went down over the three-day event.

J/24s sailing Midwinters off Melbourne, FL
Day 1- Gorgeous Start
The regatta started off on Friday in a beautiful breeze averaging 13 knots, sunny skies, and cool temperatures; the fleet was treated to three races. Reigning World Champion Keith Whittemore’s FURIO got out of the gate strong, posting a 4-1-1 for 6 points and the early advantage. Whittemore was leading Parker's BANGOR PACKET that had posted an equally impressive 2-3-4 with 9 points. Two teams were tied at 10 points for the next two positions: past World Champion Mike Ingham’s NAUTALYTICS and Kirk Reynolds’ TYRUS (a past J/24 North American Champion).

J/24s rounding marks at Midwinters Regatta
Day 2- Another Perfect Day
The second day of the Midwinters delivered yet another extraordinary day of racing. The EGYC PRO managed to conduct three hotly contested races with winds averaging 15 kts, gusting to the low 20s, under a postcard perfect azure blue skies.
Ingham’s NAUTALYTICS shot up the leaderboard after posting a sensational all-podium finishes day of a 2-2-3 and now lead the fleet with 11 pts net after six races. Dropping a sixth from the first day, Ingham retained four seconds and a third for his regatta-leading scoreline. Parker’s BANGOR PACKET held on to second place with 13 points. Reynolds’ TYRUS was clinging to the third position at 15 points, just one ahead of both Whittemore’s FURIO and John Mollicone’s BUCKAROO/ NEW ENGLAND ROPES from Newport, Rhode Island.

J/24 Bangor Packet winning team
Day 3- Cliff-hanging Finale
A victory by Parker’s BANGOR PACKET in the final race, coupled with a U-Flag penalty for regatta leader NAUTALYTICS, gave Parker with crew Will Bomar, Emmet Todd, Zeke Horowitz and James Niblock the 2020 J/24 Midwinters title. BANGOR PACKET recorded only top-four scores throughout the three-day event, and finished with 18 net points, one better than Mollicone’s BUCKAROO/ NEW ENGLAND ROPES. Mollicone started slowly out of the gate on Friday, but then notched five finishes in the top three (including a pair of bullets) to nearly capture the Championship. Ingham claimed the third position overall with 20 points, and Whittemore’s FURIO was just another point behind in fourth.

“It was one of the tightest regattas we have ever sailed,” said Parker. “The regatta was won on the final leeward leg. It was fun and challenging, and any of the top six boats could have won. We had a terrific team with Zeke, James, Will and Emmet. They performed brilliantly.”  For more J/24 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/70s sailing Bacardi Invitational off Miami, FL
J/70 Bacardi Invitational Report

(Miami, FL)- Forty-three J/70 teams from ten nations (USA, Argentina, Italy, Thailand, Brazil, Great Britain, Chile, Germany, Canada, and Mexico) started off their regatta with three races. Coral Reef YC is hosting the event, in coordination with Biscayne Bay YC, and the combined PRO’s hope to get in at least 3 to 4 races per day.

A stellar fleet is assembled for the event, following on the previous week’s J/70 Midwinter Championship that was hosted in the same venue.

J/70s sailing Bacardi Regatta off Miami, FL
After three races on the first day, leading the fleet is current J/70 World Champion Paul Ward's EAT SLEEP J REPEAT from the United Kingdom. Ward's crew includes Ruairidh Scott, Ben Saxton, and Mario Trindade have accumulated an astonishing 2-2-1 tally for 5 pts. The balance of the top five includes Ryan McKillen's SURGE in second with a 5-3-4 for 12 pts, third is Pablo Herman's NEW WAVE from Chile with a 3-4-10 for 17 pts, fourth is Oivind Lorentzen's NINE with a 13-5-2 for 20 pts and fifth place is John Evans' AIRPLANE with an 8-13-5 for 26 pts.  For more J/70 Bacardi Invitational sailing information

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

Crystal clear waters and east-northeast trade winds give the pristine conditions for spectacular racing just off the coast of St. Maarten. And with Heineken as title sponsor, the racing days blend seamlessly into four nights of exceptional parties. The event is a bucket list must-do! The "Serious Fun" goes for four days from March 4th to the 8th.

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.

J/121 sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
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 is 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. Over the next three days, the top of the leaderboard will surely change quite dramatically each day!

J/109 and J/105 sailing St Maarten Heineken Regatta
The CSA 4 Class has 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 are 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.  For more St Maarten Heineken 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. Add to Flipboard Magazine.