Wednesday, June 17, 2020

J/Newsletter- June 17th, 2020

sunset in Chile
With summer in full-swing in the North, and many more countries in Europe and more states in the USA "opening up", sailing activity is slowly, ever so slowly, beginning to pick up the pace. There is no question that "family/ household" sailing in most places is permitted, as well as "doublehanded" sailing, within practical parameters of social distancing. One hopes that momentum continues in the proper direction as the world, hopefully, continues to blossom like flowers in spring, again.

On the good news side, J/99 #50 was just completed and was delivered to her new owners in France. Then, we get late-breaking news that the J/145 KATANA enjoyed great success in MEXORC off Puerto Vallarta, Mexico just before the world shutdown.

Then, United Kingdom sailors recently had the great fortune to experience their first sailing outing in months. The Singlehanded Offshore Racing Club sailed a fun race around the Solent for both Singlehanders and Doublehanders. Furthermore, we get a report from Sail Newport in Rhode Island that the "family/ household" and "doublehanded" series in J/22s has been a great success. Then, we get a quick report from Bermuda's Royal Gazette that a J/99 managed to get to Bermuda quickly and safely to help retrieve a friend's boat stranded in St Georges Harbor in amazing story to follow!

J/99 #50 in France
Celebrating J/99 Offshore Speedster #50!
(Les Sables'd'Olonne, France)- The challenging world events in the past few months have not been kind to humans, sailing, and the boating industry. To say the least, it has been devastating in terms of human cost as well as economic costs. Fortunately, in France, building has resumed after a brief period of "lockdown" and boat builders/ manufacturers were permitted to get back to work.

J/99 sailing doublehanded
As a result, the momentum continues for the "doublehander's boat of choice" in France for many of the top French offshore sailors. While many competitors are offering "free boats" to top French sailing professionals that have an eye on the 2024 Paris Olympics sailed in the Mediterranean, the "smart money" sailors are working with their sponsors to purchase their own J/99s for training and racing offshore. Not surprising, considering that J/99s crushed all of their competition in the famous Duo Cat-Amania Doublehanded Offshore Championship in France against its competitors in the 29 to 33 foot size range.

J/99 sailing off Australia
The most exciting news is celebrating the fact that J/99 #50 has rolled off the production line at J/Composites in Les Sables'd'Olonne, France and she is looking forward to doing some offshore sailing this summer!  Learn more about the J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster here.

J/88 sailing singlehanded in Solent, England
J/Sailors Enjoy SORC "Covid Shakedown Race"
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Thirty-four Solo & Doublehanded yachts enjoyed champagne racing on the Solent on Sunday, 7th June 2020. SORC (Singlehanded Offshore Racing Club) staged the largest yacht race since the start of the Covid Lockdown for socially distant compliant solo and duo teams.

Unusually for SORC, which is the United Kingdom's only yacht club dedicated to solo yacht racing, the club also staged a Doublehanded proved to be a wildly popular, prescient decision. Commented the Commodore of SORC, "with the Covid pandemic starving us of yacht racing generally, and Doublehanded racing gaining real traction at the moment, it seemed only fair to share our resources and have them join us in a race. It was a well-received, successful initiative."

The race team behind SORC wisely delayed their inaugural 2020 race from a 30 knot, grey Saturday to a sparkly, sunny, 12 knot Sunday. Given the enthusiasm to get afloat, the epic 27 boat solo fleet extended the race invitation to include double handers, increasing the entry field by a further 9 boats on the start line.

The numerous shoreside observers, perambulators, cyclists, and the generally curious were treated to a mixed fleet apparently aimlessly sailing in random directions, whilst awaiting the start sequence. The DH fleet were planned to start at 1100, but SORC's PRO Steve Cole wisely decided to delay starting the sequence until 1130 to allow the wind to fill in. Perfect timing because the first wind ripples soon arrived, with a steady 10-12 knot westerly propelling the DH start. All starts were “stealth” starts [radio only], so along with obviously only solo or two person yachts, any adverse comments from shore regarding yachts racing would be completely negated. The reverse being true, that the Solent coming alive again was welcomed.

J/99 JET sailing Solent doublehanded race
General Race Report
"The race....should I give a blow-by-blow account of who went where and when? Or, perhaps not! Sufficient to say that from the start, the place to be was in the west flowing back-eddy along the Gurnard shore. Most yachts headed this way, but the art was in gauging when to tack across the easterly flow towards Beaulieu and the first mark. Here, fortunes changed, the leading boats off the line who stayed on the island shore lost out. A group of five boats led by the J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS popped out in a favorable position.

It was evident that course-setter and long-term SORC race official Dave Giddings with Steve Cole had used the crystal ball to great effect; the course was enjoyable with true windward legs and downwind legs that were actually downwind. The course mainly featured navigation buoys rather than racing marks, giving the solo/DH sailor a fighting chance of finding them!

Heading off to East Bramble, symmetric spinnaker boats were able to lay the mark, whilst the rest zigzagged their way there allowing for much gybing practice. Two tight fetches to S Ryde Middle then NW to Hillhead caused us in Mzungu to decide that we could use the code zero; no we can`t. Yes, we should have done. Presumably everyone else had the same discussion, because I didn`t see one hoisted.  Perhaps the solo sailors didn`t have a crew discussion. Those that did can get appropriate help once the NHS is less busy. A beat back to East Lepe with the now strongly ebbing spring tide was quick, the port turn around the mark into the tide punished slow spinnaker work as SOG dwindled for those with no power. The fleet closed up considerably and had a great, sunny run to finish, Cowes Week style, at Gurnard [many close inshore out of the tide] where competitors took their own times. The J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS, sailed by the duo of Natalie Jobling and Tom Hayhoe took line honors and IRC Overall.

The weather was kind, the wind was just right, the course was spot on and it was a "free race". Thanks SORC!" Thanks for this report from Tony White.

Class 1 Solo Class
It was a game of "snakes and ladders" in a closely-fought race. Fifteen boats on the starting line with solo skippers can make for interesting incidents, to say the least. After zigging and zagging across the Solent, it was the J/88 TIGRIS, skippered by Sam Cooper that took line honors with an elapsed time of 2 hrs 36 min. However, TIGRIS was closely followed by a bunch of other boats in less than 1 min 12 secs, dropping him down to 4th place on IRC handicap time.  Jerry Freeman's J/105 JULIETTE finished in 5th place about a minute off the pace of the top boats.

J/105 sailing doublehanded on Solent, England
Class 4 Doublehanded IRC Class
While it may have been a closely fought duel in the Solo I class, it was anything but that in the Class 4 Doublehanded class of nine boats. Starting off fast, going the right direction off the start, the team of Natalie Jobling and Tom Hayhoe on their J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS led the lead pack to the first mark and simply kept expanding their lead. By the end, the "classic J/105" beat some of the newest boats off competitor's drawing boards, taking line honors by over 4 minutes on the next boat and also taking IRC handicap honors by 1 min 33 secs! Unfortunately, their stablemates on the J/99 JET made a few too many "wrong turns" tactically in the swift-moving Solent currents. At one point JET was a top three contender, but fell back again towards the end, so the JET team of James & Charlie Owen crossed the line 8 minutes behind the J/105 to take sixth on their first outing of the year.

A bonus for all sailors was the fact that North offshore expert Ronan Grealish was on the water in the North Sails RIB, offering coaching, sail trim tips, and support to all. Based on their experience last weekend, Ronan came up with three key tips for shorthanded sailing:

Sail Trim:
Optimize your sail controls so you can control the mainsail and headsail from the same position. Cross-sheeting the headsails are a good option to allow both sails to be trimmed from the windward side. It is important to have your sheets marked for average upwind trim so you can quickly pull them to the mark before fine-tuning, once settled on your new tack.

Planning Ahead:
Thinking two steps ahead will mean you are always ready and anticipating the next maneuver, reducing the likelihood of sailing past a turning mark. Sailing the shortest distance will pay more than keeping the sail up until the last moment.

Having an Autopilot:
A good autopilot is crucial, allowing you to concentrate on sail trim which powers the boat and gives you the best speed. Keeping your head out of the boat to look for changing conditions and tactical decisions will pay dividends when paired with effective sail trimming.

Did you miss our doublehanded webinar with renowned offshore sailor Armel Le ClĂ©ac’h and phenom Clarisse sur l’Atlantique? The duo joined North Sails President Ken Read for an inside look into the trials of doublehanded sailing and the grit it takes to race shorthanded.

Doublehanded Webinar
Watch a "Doublehanded Master Class" on YouTube video here.   Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson   For more SORC Offshore series sailing information

J/105 sailing offshore shorthanded
Newport YC Shorthanded Races Announcement
(Newport, RI)- Shorthanded events in Rhode Island on Narragansett Bay remain on schedule despite the COVID-19 environment, with the Offshore 160 (singlehanded) on July 10 and the New England Solo/Twin (singlehanded/doublehanded) on July 24.

Held annually, the New England Solo/Twin has courses of ocean triangles from 60 to 103 nm which begin and end in Narragansett Bay. The race will vary in length, depending on weather, for the Monohulls, Multihulls, and Cruising Canvas divisions.

The biennial Offshore 160 is held in the off-year from the Bermuda One-Two, and is a low-keyed, bare-bones event designed to potentially get new skippers’ singlehanded qualifying passage out of the way in the off-year, and to provide past competitors with a long-distance racing “fix.”  Registration is open for both at the Newport Yacht Club

J/99 sailing doublehanded offshore
Supporting Doublehanded Sailing Growth
(London, United Kingdom)- World Sailing has established a dedicated section for doublehanded offshore sailing to support the growth and interest in this segment of the sport.

Following the selection of a Mixed Two Person Offshore Keelboat Event at Paris 2024, event numbers for doublehanded offshore events in One-Design boats and handicap racing have increased.

The dedicated section on provides information on Paris 2024, as well as a list of doublehanded offshore events that will be regularly updated. A section on equipment is also included.

To encourage focus on the discipline of offshore sailing itself rather than on specific equipment, the Paris 2024 Olympic Equipment will be selected relatively close to the event.

The broad discipline of doublehanded offshore sailing, which includes all doublehanded events over 50 miles in length, with no gender restrictions, and sailed one-design or under any rating system (e.g. ORC, IRC, or regional systems) can guide sailors to focus their preparation efforts on the required skills to succeed. Skills such as seamanship, navigation, weather prediction, route selection, boat-handling and, of course, fast sailing.

The 2024 Mixed Keelboat Offshore Event will be a representation of this discipline. A very specific, one-race, mixed-gender, one-design, supplied-equipment, event with a specified duration.

In recent weeks and months, a 2024 Offshore Equipment Working Party, that brings together members of the Equipment Committee and Oceanic and Offshore Committee, have been in consultation with manufacturers of offshore boats. The Working Party is developing a set of criteria in consultation with the industry both for the Paris 2024 Olympic event and for the qualification events.

An initial draft of the criteria will be made public and accessible when available here.

Towards the end of 2019, World Sailing issued a Request for Information to engage manufacturers and classes in the discussions around the equipment. World Sailing received 12 responses from manufacturers and designers who provided information on initial proposals. The principal brand represented, fully one-fourth of the dozen recommended, were J/Boats- the J/88, J/99, and J/105.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the manufacturers all met World Sailing collectively via a video conference. Discussions centered around opportunities for all fleets, how World Sailing can help all manufacturers thrive and increase events, as well as emphasizing the importance of equipment equalization and the one-design aspect for the Paris 2024 Olympic event to ensure the focus remains on the skills of the sailor.

The discussion was positively received by all manufacturers as they underlined their commitment to ensuring the continued growth of the discipline. The criteria for suitable Equipment for the Olympic Offshore Event will be published no later than 31 December 2020 and the Equipment will be selected no later than 31 December 2023.

Promoters of sailing circuits, training camps, and event organizers seeking to incorporate doublehanded offshore events are invited to contact World Sailing to contribute to the promotion of this exciting and fast-growing discipline.

J/88 one-design sailing offshore
J/88 North Americans to be Sailed in 2021
(San Francisco, CA)- The J/88 Class Association and St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA have determined, because of the varying levels of infection and disruption across the world, that the 2020 J/88 North American Championship scheduled for September 17-20 will be raced in 2021 as part of the 2021 Rolex Big Boat Series. The regional J/88 Fleet still plans to race at the 2020 Rolex Big Boat Series; however, their Championship will now be the West Coast Championship.

The J/88 Class Officers have been closely monitoring the worldwide developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. They understand the commitment of time and money required to participate in a Continental Championship, as well as the enormous resources that our hosts dedicate to such events.

Gary Panariello, J/88 Class Officer from Sausalito, CA, says, “The regional Fleet looks forward to the Rolex Big Boat Series each year, as it is known for great competition, camaraderie, and an unbeatable venue. The Class wants to make sure the North American Championship is a great competition, and in the current circumstances, participants from the North American fleet cannot fairly compete due to travel restrictions imposed by COVID-19. Postponing the North American Championship until 2021 is the right thing to do to make sure all competitors can compete safely.”

In the meantime, the Class wishes all J/88 sailors and their families the best in these difficult times. We look forward to resuming sailing as soon as we can.  For more J/88 offshore speedster and one-design information

J/Gear ronstan bag
J/Gear June 20% OFF Special!
(Newport, RI)- Ronstan has been in the performance sailing business for years and they have designed a quality duffel that is perfect for racing or cruising. Ample space in the 24" x 12" x 12" dimension with wide grip carry strap. Inside wet pouch keeps the dry clothes separate. Rugged stitching and large top loading flap. Embroider with your class logo boat name and sail number.  Check it out here on the J/Gear website

Sailing Calendar

Jul 3-5- Italian J/70 Sailing League- Santa Marinella, Italy
Jul 11th- Belles Beer Bayview Mackinac Race- Port Huron, MI
Jul 11-12- SAIL Newport Regatta- Newport, RI
Jul 17-19- J/70 Segel Bundesliga- Chiemsee, Germany
Jul 18-19- Fiesta Cup (J/70 & J/111)- Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 23-26- Sailing World Marblehead NOOD Regatta- Marblehead, MA
Jul 24-26- Ugotta Regatta- Harbor Springs, MI
Aug 13-16- SAILING Champions League- St Petersburg, Russia
Aug 14-16- Swedish J/70 Sailing League- Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
Aug 15-16- Danish J/70 Sailing League- Aarhus, Denmark
Aug 15-16- J/Fest Newport- Newport, RI
Aug 28-30- J/70 Segel Bundesliga- Wannsee, Germany
Aug 28-30- Under 21 Italian J/70 Sailing League Championship- Rimini, Italy
Sep 5-6- Danish J/70 Sailing League- Skovshoved, Denmark

J/99 sailing offshore
Throwback Thursday- Sending It Around Island!
(Newport, RI)- At this time last year, many sailors from the northeastern seaboard of the USA and, indeed, from around the world, were sailing in the NYYC Annual Regatta and the famous Around Island Race.

Remember this photo? Jeff Johnstone and his team of former J/24 crew in Newport were having a blast winning their class in the NYYC Around Island Race, that fun and always challenging 21.0nm circumnavigation of Jamestown (Conanicut) Island in the middle of Narragansett Bay.

In this particular part of the race, gusts were hitting 25 kts and it was "round-up" city for a whole slew of boats. Jeff reported hitting 16 kts boat speed in one of the puffs, cruising along in full planing-mode under the big pink kite.  Fun and games!  To learn more about the J/99 shorthanded offshore speedster

J/145 Katara sailing team
J/145 Takes MEXORC Silver!
(Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- The MEXORC Trophy 2020 took place over a three-race series that starts with the famous Puerto Vallarta Race from San Diego, CA to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. It has proven to be a popular event of the years since the series ends with an amazing awards ceremony in Puerto Vallarta.

It is not hard to see why the MEXORC Trophy continues to attract sailors from around the world. Fun racing. Amazing hospitality. Sailing on the azure waters of Bahia de Banderas with whales, sharks, sunfish, flying fish, wahoo, dorado, tuna, lobster, and good Lord knows what else. It's a seafood fiesta, sailing fiesta to excite the senses.

J/145 Katara sailing offshore
Notably, Roger Gatewood's J/145 KATARA took 2nd in the ORR 5 Class in the Puerto Vallarta Race, then managed to post an overall record of 5-5-2 for the MEXORC Trophy to take 3rd overall! Job well done...and, notably, just about a week before Mexico went into "shutdown/ lockdown" mode in Mexico as well.

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/124 sailing offshore

If you wish to become an "escapee" from this challenging world we are living in today, here is a yacht that can comfortably cruise across the Seven Seas in style and comfort. A gorgeous, fast sailing yacht designed to be sailed short-handed with ease by a couple.

From its large carbon wheel to the fine cherry and teak joiner work and Ultra-Suede upholstery below, or simply by the smooth, graceful way it slides through the water, the J/124 is every bit a sailing yacht in the best sense of the word. One that is a joy to sail in all conditions with minimal crew and with rare need to employ the auxiliary diesel engine.

"Sea Loft" is a one-owner yacht and a rare find. She is in like-new condition, exceptionally well-equipped, and maintained to a discerning standard. In indoor heated storage for every winter season, other than re-commissioning, this boat needs nothing. The many custom options and specifications will astound you. Come take a look at Eastern Yachts Sales in Maine, you will not be disappointed.

* Four "Crazy" Sailors Go on Rescue Mission
J/99 in Bermuda
Four sailors launched an unusual rescue mission from the US to retrieve a sailboat stranded in Bermuda.

They did so in a 33 ft boat, Rodney Johnstone's brand-new J/99 JAZZ. It was a choice that made some people declare they were “crazy” to attempt such a trip.

However, this was no ordinary quartet of sailors, for among them was boat designer Rod Johnstone, an iconic figure in the sailing world. The other three also had extensive sailing credentials.

Their goal was to reunite Jean de Fontenay with his 67ft sailboat Baraka. It was moored in St George’s Harbour for the winter, but Mr de Fontenay had been in the US when travel restrictions were put in place because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and he had not been able to return to collect it before the start of the hurricane season on June 1st.

J/99 rescue team
Rescue team on deck: Andy Williams, left, Rod Johnstone, Clay Burkhalter, and owner Jean de Fontenay help to get Baraka back to the USA after being stranded in Bermuda.

With no commercial flights to the island, he searched for another way to reach Bermuda and retrieve Baraka.

One of his friends, Clay Burkhalter, said: “I know Jean well. He called and asked if I knew anyone who could sail him to Bermuda. I asked around, but could not find anyone.

“Finally, it dawned on me, my uncle, who is a designer of J-Boats — a whole series of sailboats produced over 45 years — had a new design J-99 that he had just taken delivery of. We’d planned to do the Newport Bermuda Race in it, but the race was cancelled.”

He called his uncle Rodney and asked if he wanted to do the trip to Bermuda anyway, taking Mr de Fontenay and another friend to collect Baraka.

“I said we can’t go on land, we can tie up and rest and then turn around and leave. He said yes, let’s do it,” said Clay.

Before embarking on the trip, they checked with the authorities in the US and Bermuda to make sure they could do the trip without being required to go into quarantine. They took Covid-19 tests before leaving the US and were all negative.

It took them 4½ days to sail from Connecticut to Bermuda.

Arriving in St George’s Harbour, they tied up against Baraka and cleared Customs. They had to remain on the two boats at all times.

Food supplies were placed in Baraka’s dinghy, which was on land. It was towed out to the boats by Steve Hollis, of Ocean Sails, in St George’s.

He said: “Jean’s been a customer of ours for a long time.”

After a day and night of rest, the crew, whose ages range from 62 to 83, split with Mr de Fontenay and Alan Williams on Baraka for the return trip, and Mr Burkhalter and his uncle on the J-99.

Mr Burkhalter said: “This rescue mission for Jean’s 67-footer was pretty unusual.

“Most people at home thought we were crazy. What! You are doing that in a 33-footer? But, when we got going we had a tracking link so friends and family could see where we were. Once we got going everyone was enthusiastic.”

J/99 off Bermuda
Mr Hollis said: “You’re rescuing your boat, you can’t fly there, so you have to sail there to get it— what a great adventure to do that.”

He added that many people bring their boats to Bermuda in the winter and stay for a few months, putting money into the local economy while here. He believes it is something that Bermuda could expand on.
Thanks for this contribution from Scott Neil, Assistant Business Editor/ Royal Gazette Bermuda

J/22 one-design sailboat- sailing off Newport, RI
* J/22 "Household Racing" is HUGE Hit in Newport!
Recently, the Executive Director of SAIL NEWPORT- Brad Read- provided an update on their experience "opening up" their facility at Fort Adams in Newport, RI. In summary, here is what Brad had to say:

"Our staff has been working overtime to ensure that all of our services are available for all of our sailors!

With excellent communication with Rhode Island's Department of Environmental Management (DEM), we have received approval to run:
  • Our summer youth and racing programs have been approved and will start on June 29th!!  
  • Household racing in J/22s has been a HUGE hit! 
  • Household rentals and lessons on the J/22s have slowly increased since the start of Phase II.
SAIL NEWPORT has received these approvals due to the trust that the state has put in us to monitor the areas of the park that are within our lease. These actions include health checks for staff and patrons, parking, face coverings, ensuring compliance with hygiene regiments in bathrooms/on boats /on surfaces /hand washing/PPE, contact tracing, and other protocols.

Thank you to all of the sailors in our facility for their understanding of the new guidelines that we must live under. I am super proud of our entire team, which includes staff, Executive Board, Board of Directors and Advisory Council!

Our sailing/racing schedule continues to be robust and is working daily with the state to find ways to get more people safely on the water. Stay tuned for our July and August schedule."  For more J/22 Family Racing information