Wednesday, May 20, 2020

J/Newsletter- May 20th, 2020

sunset in Chile Remarkably enough, since the first week of March when coastal New England went into "lockdown" mode to combat the dreaded virus, it seems efforts to control and slow the spread of Covid-19  has been working. With all 50 states now officially "open" for business, with beaches, state parks, marinas, waterways, and so forth available for the general public to enjoy again.

Last week we saw a few examples of "family only" sailing events and even a doublehanded event on Long Island Sound. Yes, everyone is cautiously optimistic that people behave, observe the guidelines/ protocols for mitigating spread of "you know who that shall not be mentioned". And, there was a great report of a fun-filled virtual social fund-raising event for a community sailing program that makes use of J/24s and J/80s.

Hudson River Community Sailing
13th Annual Dark'n'Stormy Recap

(Manhattan, New York)- It was a wild ride, with nautical trivia, human bingo, fantastic raffle prizes, and a tutorial from an 8th-generation Gosling rum runner. We danced to "Men or Myth", introduced our pets and kids, sang to score points, and raised a glass to Hudson River Community Sailing center. We saw short films of our students engaged and learning remotely, and were carried through the festivities by a dynamic MC.

J/24 sailing on Hudson River, NY
When we set out to do a virtual Dark‘n’Stormy, we were in uncharted waters. But, we knew we had to find a way to bring our community together in the midst of this crisis and raise funds to support Sail Academy and the future of our students. Two months later, here we are, having sold over 300 tickets and having raised over $47,000!

This is the kind of magic our community makes happen.

Hudson River sailors
Take a moment to watch the videos we shared during the event. Relive MEN or MYTH's from-home concert. Consider a gift to help us hit our $50K goal!

Thank you again for being part of our mission.

Kids learning sailing
Highlights video of kids remote learning

men or myth musicians
MEN OR MYTH music video- an entertaining group!

For more Hudson River Community Sailing information

J/105s sailing Long Island SoundCaptain Islands Challenge on Long Island Sound
(Greenwich, CT)- Over the years, racing on Long Island Sound has been very popular in western Connecticut. The competition is typically casual, particularly mid-week evening racing. And as important as the racing is, for many, the social aspect is equally critical. Following the racing, the Greenwich area clubs organize post-race gatherings so competitors can share stories of triumph and defeat.

Yet in the age of COVID-19, activities such as sailing have had to be curtailed, but with restrictions starting to loosen, it is appropriate to ask if competitive sailing can be held in a way that does not jeopardize the community. Indian Harbor Yacht Club (IHYC) has responded by creating the Captain Islands Challenge.

This event is unique in that instead of racing against other boats on the same course at the same time, competitors race against the clock around a fixed course. This makes the competition more akin to a time trial. Competitors pick when to race. All they need is a boat and a watch.

The series consists of three races starting in mid-June and ending in late-September. Racing dates are chosen by the sailor subject to certain restrictions. Competitors also choose whether to race in the double-handed class or fully crewed class subject to any social distancing rules. Both classes are main and jib only – spinnakers are prohibited.

The course has a fixed starting and finishing location and the race is around Captain Islands (twice in one direction, once in the opposite direction). Boats record how long it took them and report that time to IHYC. The club then takes those times and adjusts them for each boat’s handicap and publishes the results. At the end of the season, each boat’s times are summed and the boats with the lowest handicap-adjusted times from each class are the winners.

IHYC will monitor official health and governmental regulations and guidelines and will not hesitate to suspend or cancel the series if conditions warrant. In the meantime, the Captain Islands Challenge offers the opportunity to get on the water and sail with a purpose. Contact information- Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt.   For more Captain Islands Challenge sailing information

Good Fun Sailing Challenge Announcement
(Annapolis, MD)- The 2020 Annapolis sailing season has started unlike any other, and despite the recent easing of Maryland’s recreational boating restrictions to limit the COVID-19 spread, there are still limitations on organized racing.

No racing? No problem. Go sailing like this intrepid J/70 sailor did the previous weekend.  Watch the video here.

J/70 sailing offshore

Gale Force Sailing created the Good Fun Sailing Challenge for sailors interested in getting that “racing feel” back, while still being compliant with state regulations. The course is a 10-mile loop that allows sailors to compete in a pandemic-friendly way.   Good Fun Sailing Challenge sailing information

navigating round the island
Navigating through the restrictions

(Manhasset, NY)- Sailboat racing is about dealing with variables, and despite health guidelines now to limit the COVID-19 spread, event formats can safely navigate through the restrictions. This is occurring on New York’s Long Island Sound as 20 entrants signed up for an informal “pick-up” race on May 16 organized by Adam Loory. Here’s his report:

"To observe social distancing, all boats were doublehanded. There was no race committee, no trophies, and no party, but there was a lot of fun as sailors pushed their boats as best as possible considering that most boats are rigged for full-crewed racing.

While the weather was beautiful for sun-bathing, it was a little difficult for sailing. An all-too-common mid-summer weather pattern made sailing challenging. A light northerly was in a battle to the death with a southerly sea breeze. Neither won, but both made their scant presence known at times.

Third place finisher Richard du Moulin called the conditions, “About as ‘Long Island Sound’ as it could be, but at least it was fun racing in close proximity with friends, except PHANTOM, which missed all the fun and won by a mile!”

To sail without a race committee, the pursuit format was used. The slowest boat in the fleet started first and rest of the boats started later based on how much time they owed the slowest boat. This way, the finish order is the results.

With a scratch sheet having start times for a long, medium and short course (click here), I announce on the radio which course we are sailing, and everyone can then see their starting time. Given the conditions, the call was for the short, 9.25nm course.

The race started with 8-12 knots out of the N-NE, and then did exactly what the weather forecast called for – it died. Most of the fleet set off on a close reach heading straight at the one turning mark a little over four miles away, but soon the boats on the rhumbline got headed and then the wind died.

For most of the fleet, the wind died away for nearly an hour just as the boats were reaching the turning mark at Matinecock Point. The fleet struggled to change sails, jibe and tack multiple times to eke out some forward progress; some jibed to the north and others worked their way south.

For a while, each looked good, until they weren’t..."

Enjoying a nice sunny day on the water was the J/88 ONE TOO MANY, the new J/99 THIN MAN, and others like the gorgeous J/42 ATALANTA. Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt.

J/Gear Under Armour shirt
J/Gear May 20% OFF Special!

(Newport, RI)- The "J" Under Armour long-sleeved polo shirt is a great all-round, stylish choice, both on and off the water. Light, comfortable, and easy-to-wear.

The shirt comes with the J/Class logo of your choice and can be customized with your boat name and sail number. Comes in colors of Black, Blue and White and sizes from S to XXL.
Check it out here on the J/Gear website

Chicago offshore- J/33
Chicago Yacht Club Weather Challenge
(Chicago, IL)- In the wake of a successful weather Zoom presentation, Chicago Yacht Club members Matt Gallagher and Winn Soldani teamed up with CYC’s On-the-Water Director Skip Dieball and hatched a plan to create a weather forecasting contest.

“After Matt and Winn set up the simple website, invitations to participate were sent to club members and friends around the country, and through social media,” noted Dieball. “Inquiries from all over the world came in.”

The concept is simple – submit your predicted forecast for tomorrow’s weather and get scored based on its accuracy. High/Low Temps, Wind Speed/Direction, and Precipitation. The closer you are, the lower your score.

All sailors fancy themselves weather experts, and as Gallagher, Soldani, and other weather experts provide support and education via the contest’s site and a private Facebook group, this is a chance for people to prove themselves while waiting to get back on the water.

The current contest is free of charge and open to all. This week’s forecast is for Chicago, IL; next week is Providence, RI; and the week of June 1 is Miami, FL. New forecasters can join any time, and champions will be crowned for all three cities individually along with an overall champion. Suitable swag and bragging rights will be awarded to the winner. Thanks for contribution from Scuttlebutt.   For more info and to enter.

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
* J/Net Brokerage Specials! Check out our exciting new site for lovingly-owned J/Boats from around the world.

J/70 for sales in United Kingdom
Built and launched in 2015, Jackal is hull #868 of over 1,500 J/70's now built. She comes ready to sail; with 3 sets of North class sails, a road trailer, Suzuki outboard and safety gear. The ease of launching the J/70 on a slipway with the keel-up trailer and the small crew needed makes this class the ideal sportsboat to get out on the water and have fun. Check out a number of well-maintained J/70s and other beautiful J's for sale at J/UK's listings page.

J/160 JAM Seattle, WA* Throwback Thursday- Memorial Day Kickoff Weekend? Not.
Remember what we had been accustomed to doing on the first major weekend of any summer season in years gone by? Wow, hard to imagine actually  By now, with major events gone by like SPI Ouest France Regatta, the Warsash Spring Series, American YC Spring Series, Charleston Race Week, Annapolis NOOD Regatta, San Diego NOOD, the Caribbean Winter Offshore Circuit (St Maarten Heineken, St. Thomas/ BVI Weeks, Voiles St Barth, Antigua Sailing Week), many sailors would have been looking forward to three eponymous events on the Memorial Day sailing calendar.

Remember FIGAWI Race- the pursuit race from Cape Cod to Nantucket Island? The Swiftsure International Yacht Race in Victoria, BC, Canada? The offshore season opener for northeastern USA- the Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race from Stamford, CT around Block Island and back? Fond memories all.

In retrospect, it's still shocking that we are missing what had been decades of family and friends traditions to start sailing on Memorial Day weekend. The weekend has always been penciled into everyone's calendars for those who look forward to the northern hemisphere's woefully short four month sailing season.  On the other hand, our friends way Down Under have seen what was normally a long nine month sailing season simply evaporate before their very eyes. Not sure which is worse.

giant flounder and halibut
* If Plan A doesn’t work, Beware of Plan B- a real fish story?
Marc Hermann shares a non-sailing story to take our minds off all the non-sailing now occurring.

"Many years ago, I got an opportunity to go out fishing with a friend, and as we waited for the next bite, he told me about his wife’s unique experience obtaining her diving certification.

She was pursuing her dockside certification in shallow waters, and while underwater she saw a large white object floating just above the ocean floor. Curious, she swam closer to discover it was a 5+ foot halibut that had a rope noose around its body, followed by a length of line with a frayed end.

She found this to be rather odd, and once back on the dock, she told her story to one of the Marina attendants. He immediately started to laugh and began to tell her about an early morning fishing incident with a guy who had snagged a massive halibut in his old aluminum car-topper boat.

Apparently, he fought with this thing for a couple of hours when finally it succumbed, allowing him to reel it alongside the boat to club it. Realizing he had landed the mother lode, and it being far too big to bring into the boat, he decided to make a rope noose and tie it to the side of the boat and head back to the marina.

However, on his way back, the fish came back to life, and for those of you familiar with halibut and the strength in their tail, it started to violently thrash around while attached to the boat.

With less than half mile to the marina, this is when our avid, and at the time happy fisherman, realized that given the current circumstances, the trapped fish was going to destroy the boat.

Not realizing what to do next, and seeing the boat was taking on water, he panicked and picked up his shotgun (don’t ask me why he had a shotgun) to shoot the thrashing fish.

However, this idea didn’t quite go according to plan. As when he aimed at the fish, the fish’s tail violently hit the side of the boat and knocked our fisherman off balance just as he fired the gun. Rather than his aim be directed at the fish, it instead blew out the stern, which then led to significant ingress of water and subsequent sinking.

With half the marina watching this unfold, our now very unhappy fisherman was swimming in the water, with no boat, and much to his consternation that last traumatic course of events broke the noose around the fish and it, too, got away.

And now you know the story of the large halibut with a noose that got away."  Thanks for this funny fish story from Scuttlebutt.

* Eight Bells for Dana Bolton
J/88 boat co-owner of ALCHEMY- Dana Bolton- passed away last weekend due to complications from brain cancer.  Dana was an avid sailor and racer and a huge supporter of junior sailing at the Lake Champlain Community Sailing Center. He was awarded the US Sailing Volunteer of the Year a few years ago. Prior to the J/88, he owned the J/95 SWISH. His co-owner, Mark Damico, had this to say about the passing of his close friend:

"When Dana Bolton and I agreed to partner on the purchase of our new J/88, our first task was to decide on a name.  We emailed each other long lists of possible names and followed up with discussions about the various possibilities. When Dana came up with the idea to name her Alchemy, we knew we had found the right name.  It was perfect.

"Alchemy" is defined as the process of taking something ordinary and turning it into something extraordinary, sometimes in a way that cannot be explained.  That was our hope, to make our partnership and every shared experience on the boat something memorable for us and for our crew.

Thanks to Dana, every time we sailed Alchemy, the experiences were always special and always memorable. He had a knack for making every crew member feel important regardless of their sailing experience. Dana made every day on the water fun.

Although Dana loved the competitive aspects of racing our J/88, sailing Alchemy was more about having fun, sailing her well, staying safe, and creating lasting memories and valued friendships.  Dana always created a welcoming environment on the boat for our regular crew as well as new sailors we had invited on the boat. On-board post-race reflections always included cold Vermont beers, snacks for the crew, and a lot of laughs. He helped everyone to get a little bit better every time we sailed through his understated leadership skills and extensive sailing knowledge.

Some of the best days on Alchemy were taking junior sailors out for the week during the Community Sailing Center’s Junior Big Boat program; he was a highly skilled instructor and his students learned a lot about sailing and a lot about life. Other memorable days were long sails out in the open waters of Lake Champlain.  Dana cherished beautiful, sunny, windy Vermont days.  He loved the long spinnaker runs and surfing down waves to grab an extra knot or two of boat speed. He brought smiles and joy to all his many sailing friends every day we hoisted Alchemy’s sails.

Alchemy was the perfect name for our boat because Dana was a sailing alchemist; everyone whose life he touched has been made better and richer in extraordinary ways. He will never be forgotten." Add to Flipboard Magazine.