Wednesday, January 1, 2014

J/Newsletter- January 1st, 2014

J/70s sailing at Key West Race Week
Countdown to Key West
(Key West, FL)- Racing teams from across the country and around the world are getting ready to compete in the waters off America's southernmost city during the 27th annual Quantum Key West Race Week, scheduled Sunday through Friday, Jan. 19-24.

The "wow" factor is clearly in play again for the 2014 edition. All three divisions will feature well prepared programs gathering to enjoy great competition and renowned Key West sailing conditions, as they pursue coveted podium finishes.

The incredibly popular J/70 class is coming off a very successful Key West debut with the fleet topping 60 boats for their 2014 Midwinter Championship. Returning veterans and newcomers to Key West will experience big fleet racing with exciting starts, tight mark roundings, and close finishes. Both the J/70 Open and Corinthian winners will be recognized with daily and series trophies.

The J/80s are the comeback class of the year. These one designs, strong players in Key West for many years, will feature quality and quantity with 14 boats currently on the scratch sheet.  Andrew Kerr, tactician on Ron Buzil's Vayu 2 shared his enthusiasm: "We are excited to have a growing fleet of J80's for this coming year's Key West Race Week. Key West is an important part of the J80 class' winter tour as teams gear up for the World Championships in Annapolis in late September. Racing at Key West always features world class competition in every fleet. Top level race and event management from Premiere Racing, coupled with fantastic sailing conditions, helps the event attract more and more J/80 teams who want to kick start the racing year!"

Handicap racing will also come in the form of a High Performance (HPR), IRC3, and two PHRF classes. For the PHRF racing, three number handicaps will be in play for three established wind ranges - a first in Key West - which is expected to produce even closer racing. All four of these classes boast serious programs, experienced racers and talented after-guards, along with some exciting, new models.

In the PHRF classes, PHRF A is essentially a “J/PHRF” class, with a J/125, two J/122s, four J/111s.  And, PHRF B sees the return of two leading J/109s ready to do battle in a tough class.

For those who can't be out on the race course, there will be plenty of ways to follow the racing. Last year was a first for "Key West Live" coverage (#QKeyWest) and there will be more real time bloggers and video coverage to keep everyone connected this year.   Sailing photo credits- Onne Vanderwal
For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

New J/122E offshore cruiser-racer sailboat with European styling 
J’s Star @ London Boat Show
New J/122E, J/111, J/97, J/88 & J/70 on display!
(London, England)- Start the New Year off with a visit to the London Boat Show running from January 4th to 12th.  On display at the Key Yachting stand# G168 will be the spectacular, Euro-styled, new J/122E cruiser/racer.  It’s rakish new looks and clean, inviting interior with hull windows “bring the outdoors in”.

The International J/111 will be courting new sailors to join the fun in the Solent and the upcoming J/111 World Championships in August 2014 hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron on Cowes, Isle of Wight.  Up to twenty teams are expected for this inaugural event with teams from the UK, Ireland, France, Sweden, Netherlands, France, Italy and USA taking on the challenging waters off Cowes.

Joining this famous two-some will be the extraordinary International J/70, the one-design sportsboat for the 21st century. Be sure to swing by the London Show to learn first-hand why J/70 is enjoying such remarkable popularity.  The first J/70 World Championships will be hosted in September 2014 by the New York YC, in partnership with Sail Newport, in the world-renowned waters off Newport, RI.  European interest is growing dramatically in this fun, easy-to-sail boat that can be trailered and ramp-launched anywhere in Europe— lakeside, seaside, bayside, even off your home!

The exciting new J/88 is making its London Boat Show debut. The J/88 family speedster is the progeny of its twin stablemates before her- the J/111 and J/70 design concepts in a comfortable, fast, efficient 29 foot package.  Hard to beat precise tiller-steering; the wide, comfy 111-style cockpit ergonomics for crew comfort; and the open interior with enclosed head.

Finally, check out the J/97- one of the most successful IRC family cruiser-racers in recent memory.  In 2012 she was the runaway winner of 2012 Cowes Week and Scottish Week.  In 2013, one might consider J/97 a “repeat offender”, walking off with all the silverware again in Cowes Week as well as the Warsash Spring Series and Hamble Winter Series.  J/97 is a comfortable family weekend cruiser— Dad’s “wolf in sheep’s clothing”, Mom’s “weekend escape” to recharge and reflect.  For more Key Yachting /J-Boats information, contact Gemma Dunn- gemma@keyyachting.com   For more London Boat Show information

J/Calendar 2014 NEW J/Calendar 2014!
Never too Late For Those Naughty or Nice!
(Newport, RI)- Order today!  Give a beautiful 2014 J/Sailing Calendar to  sailors who love the joys of sailing a J in some of the most spectacular harbors and waters of the world.  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, these stunning sailboat photographs will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places. Plus, it's time to get organized for your 2014 sailing schedule!

The 2014 sailing calendar features photos of flying J/70s off Key West; a fleet of J/24s dueling upwind off Monte Carlo, Monaco; surrealistic scenes of J/80s off Santander, Spain and sailing off “the cathedral” in Palma Mallorca; a fleet of J/120s crossing Alcatraz Island on San Francisco Bay; J/111s sailing in front of the spectacular Chicago skyline; a J/42 cruising along an idyllic Maine coastline; and other gorgeous images of J/105s, J/22s and a J/125.   A great gift for loved ones, family, friends and crew (see gallery)!   Order your 2014 J/Calendar today, click here.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Happy New Year to J/Sailors worldwide!  Wishing all a prosperous and fun-loving 2014 sailing with family and friends.

2013 was a remarkable year for the J/Team.  After the J/70 was awarded many top “Boat of the Year” honors by the world sailing press (Sailing World, SAIL Magazine, European Yacht of the Year, Yachts & Yachting, etc), it received International Class status by ISAF- the fastest by ANY sailboat of any type in the history of yachting.  Since its launch in March 2012 the J/70 has 500+ boats sailing worldwide and by the end of 2014 should have nearly two dozen countries racing with one-design fleets.  It also marked the inaugural J/70 North American Championships hosted by Annapolis YC in Annapolis, MD and also the inaugural EuroCup (Europeans) hosted by Fraglia dela Vela on Lago di Garda, Italy.

Not to be outdone by her little sibling, the J/88 debuted to worldwide acclaim as a breakthrough 29 footer; she was recently awarded Sailing World’s Boat of the Year One-Design honors for 2013-2014.  With nearly 50 J/88's on order, 2014 promises to be an exciting year for this offshore/ one-design speedster!

The International J/111 One-Design class held their first North Americans in Chicago, IL and are looking forward to their first J/111 World Championships hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes, Isle of Wight, England!  Offshore, the J/111 again proved its extraordinary capabilities to win in the most demanding of conditions.

Reflecting back on the milestones and experiences over the year, perhaps the most heart-warming part of sailing with the J/Community worldwide is to see the tremendous enthusiasm and passion J/Sailors have not only for their boats, but for their friends and colleagues.  Sailing is all about friends and family-- those whom you sail with anywhere on Earth that can float a boat-- be that cruising, racing, or “simply messing about with boats”. For that, we at J/Boats are forever grateful and we hope that we can continue to support all of you to the best of our abilities— from one-designs to racers, cruisers to daysailers and, of course, the ubiquitous J/Sprit boats.

Over the holidays we received several nice reports about J/Sailors enjoying their experiences sailing around the world.  The Australian J/24 teams are warming up for their Nationals at Prince Edward YC in Sydney Harbour this coming weekend.  Some of the Australian J/24 crews had experiences sailing the recent Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race as tacticians and crew on various boats, including the IRC overall winner (read more below). Other friends “Down Under” on the South American side of things enjoyed a challenging Chilean J/105 Nationals on the picturesque Algarrobo Bay, one of the seacoast resorts for Santiago’s citizens.

In the northern hemisphere, several people were recognized for outstanding achievements in sailing, a number of whom count sailing J’s of various types as part of their learning experiences growing from kids to adults.  And, those fun-loving German sailors were at it again sailing a J/70 on Lake Constance (the Bodensee) ringed by snow-capped mountains in December- check out their crazy video below!

Read on! The J/Community and Cruising section below has many entertaining stories and news about J/Sailors as well as cruising blogs about those who continue to enjoy the Caribbean and the South Pacific, staying warm while others are trying to stay warm up north.  Check them out!  More importantly, if you have more J/Regatta News, please email it or upload onto our J/Boats Facebook page!  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Jan 10-12- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Davis Island YC- Tampa, FL
Jan 19-24- Quantum Key West Race Week- Key West, FL
Jan 19-24- J/70 Midwinters- Key West, FL
Jan 19-24- J/80 Midwinters- Key West, FL
Feb 7-9- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Davis Island YC- Tampa, FL
Feb 7-9- J/70 Primo Cup- Credit Suisse- YC Monaco- Monte Carlo, Monaco
Feb 14-16- Wells Fargo J/22 Midwinters- Southern YC- New Orleans, LA
Feb 14-16- St Petersburg NOOD Regatta- St Petersburg YC- St Petersburg, FL
Mar 7-9- J/105 Midwinters- Lakewood YC- Seabrook, TX
Mar 6-9- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week (70,80)- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 14-16- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego YC- San Diego, CA
Mar 28-30- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Davis Island YC- Tampa, FL
Apr 10-13- Charleston Race Week (22, 24, 70, 80, PHRF)- Charleston, SC
Apr 26-May 3- J/22 World Championship- Deneysville, South Africa
May 2-4- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis YC- Annapolis, MD
May 16-18- J/22 North Americans- Annapolis YC- Annapolis, MD
May 16-18- Seattle NOOD Regatta- Seattle, WA

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

J/105 sailing off Algarrobo, Chile in NationalsSCIMITAR Wins Chilean J/105 Nationals
(Algarrobo, Chile)- With shifty winds and a closely fought regatta for the top five finishers, it was anyone’s guess who would emerge from the boxing ring as the ultimate winner in this year’s Chilean J/105 Nationals.  Providing the stage for their gladiatorial combat was the Club de Yates Algarrobo, with sailing taking place on Algarrobo Bay (located about 60 miles west of the capital Santiago)- one of the summer playgrounds for Santiagoans escaping the summer heat from the city nestled up against the famous Andes Mountains.

J/105 fleet starting off Algarrobo, Chile in NationalsThe championship was raced over the December 7-8 weekend.  Saturday’s sailing had light wind conditions and only two races were completed. On Sunday, the fleet was blessed with much stronger Northwest breeze conditions, large Pacific swells and much better racing conditions. The CYA PRO and Race Committee managed to do an amazing job to get four windward-leeward course races completed before the cut-off time to send the sailors back to shore exhausted, but happy, for the exuberant awards ceremonies.

Map of Algarrobo, Chile in South AmericaIn the end, a familiar boat known to J/105 sailors in the Northeastern USA won by a large margin.  With her new owner driving fast and staying out of trouble, the famous SCIMITAR and her skipper/owner Jos√© Manuel Ugarte were crowned 2013 Chilean National Champions, accumulating a 4-6 on the first day, but following up with three straight bullets in the windier conditions on Sunday to take the title with just 13 pts total.

The battle for the balance of the podium was fierce, with three teams riding the proverbial “roller-coaster” score-line until the very last race.  The protagonists in this script were Patricio Seguel on GRAND SLAM, Jorge Gonzalez on PLAN B and Miguel Salas on BIG BOOTY.  Leading this trio after the first day’s racing was Gonzalez’s PLAN B by just two points over Seguel’s GRAND SLAM; BIG BOOTY didn’t figure in the picture yet for even the top five!

J/105 fleet sailing under spinnaker on Algarrobo Bay, ChileWith the light air specialists now having to contend with big breeze and epic waves flowing into the crescent-shaped Algarrobo Bay, the game was changing dramatically for all the players wanting to grab silver on the stage at the end of Sunday’s racing.  Continuing the process of “rising like a Phoenix from the ashes” but then getting their wings burned again after rising a bit too quickly to glory was Seguel’s GRAND SLAM.  After their 8-1 on Day 1, they again started off the day with an 8th, rose to 3rd, dropped to 21st, then won the last race!  You could practically hear the anxiety and sigh of relief that came from Seguel’s crew as they crossed the finish line to secure second overall on a three-way tie-breaker at 21 pts total for the silver medal!

J/105 sailing upwind on Algarrobo Bay, ChileGetting the short-end of the stick in the triple tie-break were PLAN B and BIG BOOTY.  Gonzalez’s PLAN B started the regatta well and seemed to excel in the light airs on Saturday, knocking-out a 3-4 to be leading the regatta.  Sunday was a different story for them, struggling with finishes of 6-9-6-2 on Sunday, but still managing to secure third overall on the podium.  Perhaps the toughest break was that taken by Salas’s BIG BOOTY.  The BOOTY “boys”  sailed five of the six races in the top five but still lost the tie-break to take fourth overall.  Fifth overall was Rodrigo Gumucio’s SPIN OUT, also sailing in the top eight all regatta-long but not good enough to hop onto the podium.

Of special note was Vernon Robert’s performance in the regatta, a renowned J/24 sailor with tremendous pedigree at National, Continental and World Championships in the J/24 class.  After clearly struggling in the light stuff on Saturday with 11-11 finishes, Robert’s ARCHIMEDES crew stepped on the gas and rattled off a 10-4-3-6 tally for the second best record in Sunday’s four races!  Seems the ARCHIMEDES gang will be a force to reckon with in future Chilean J/105 events if they’re on that steep a learning-curve!

J/105s sailing off beach at Algarrobo Bay, Chile
As an interesting side note, there’s a good chance some of the J/105 crews stayed at the famous San Alfonso del Mar Resort (above), renown for being listed in just about every Top Ten List for World’s best pools- it’s the world’s largest and deepest with a mere 66 million gallons of turquoise blue seawater from the Pacific. The pool is 1 km (0.62 mi) long, covering 20 acres, with a maximum depth of 35m (115 ft). The pool was developed by Chilean company Crystal Lagoons for a cool $1.5 billion USD.  The best part?  It’s big enough to go sailing on anytime— soon perhaps J/70 racing on this man-made lagoon!

J/105s sailing off Puerto Montt, Chile for regatta
Next-up for the Chilean J-105 class is the Chilo√© VTR 2014 Regatta, which takes place from January 25 to February 1 in the waters of Puerto Montt (see bay above) and its archipelago (see where they're sailing here).  Puerto Montt is the gateway to the Chilean Lake District, settled in the 1850s by mostly German pioneers, whose strong influence is still noticeable in the buildings and the orderly countryside. Puerto Montt is the capital of the Lakes District, one of the most spectacular areas of Chile, where beautiful lakes and dozens of active volcanoes dominate the landscape- like the impressive snow-capped Osorno Volcano.  Blue and green lakes, snow-capped volcanoes, thick rain forests, and waterfalls are the reason why this area is called "Chile's Switzerland."  Why not take a 615 mile drive south from Algarrobo with J/105 in tow to go sailing in this place— anyone need crew??

Since 2011, the J/105 class has been growing dramatically along the central part of the gorgeous Chilean coastline form Valparaiso down to Puerto Montt.  Today, there are twenty-seven boats sailed by mostly families and friends and it’s becoming the most important offshore one-design class in Chile!  Here’s where the fleet was sailing on Algarrobo Bay.   Sailing Photo credits- Berni Grez   For more Chilean J/105 Nationals sailing information.

J/70 sailing 20 kts across Bodensee, Germany 
J/70 Speeds Across The Bodensee
(Lake Constance, Germany)- With the advent of the J/70 as an International Class in November 2013, several sailing regions around the world have exploded with enthusiasm.  One area in particular, Lake Constance, has seen the J/70 become the one-design sportboat of choice for the Lake Constance Sailing Association comprised of 55 yacht and sailing clubs with over 10,000 members and at least as many boat owners.  The selection was a demanding one for the J/70, having eclipsed many highly regarded contenders and winning the final “bake-off” against two other well-known sportboats.

Since that time in the fall of 2013, the reports coming from German sailors on the lake has been nothing short of amazing.  Many had experience with the J/70 first-hand when the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailed their five regatta series all over Germany last summer.  With the first deliveries of J/70s on the Bodensee, many enthusiastic German one-design sailors have hopped aboard and, like many others before them, have been pushing the limits.

Recently, a Berlin skipper, Jurgen Waldheim, was down on the lake with a bunch of friends taking the J/70 for a spin in 20-26+ kts TWS.  The conditions in early December were a bit chilly, but the breeze was up, good-sized waves were rolling down the lake and there was even snow on the hills on the nearby Swiss and Austria Alps!  As they say, “can’t keep a good crew down” from rising up to the challenge and simply going for it.

Jurgen and crew managed to hook-up several GoPro video cameras and here’s the evidence of their blast across the lake.  What’s cool about their frolic across the Bodensee was that their crew never hesitated to throw in a bunch of gybes as they blew down the lake at speeds up to 20 kts!  Next time guys, keep the jib out and you’d go even faster with more control!    Here’s their YouTube HD J/70 sailing video.   For more International J/70 One-design sailboat information
 

J/Community

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide

Taylor Canfield- Virgin Islands Sailor of the Year*  Taylor Canfield was recently named “Virgin Islands Sailor of the Year” for 2013 by the Virgin Islands Sailing Association (VISA). What’s totally cool about Taylor’s award is that he’s a great person, an amazing sailor and can credit much of his match-racing experience to having learned on the modified J/24s (IC-24s) in the Caribbean. This winter, he will be applying some of that talent in the J/70 Midwinters sailing at Key West Race Week as a tactician.  Taylor will be sailing with Dan Cheresh’s J/70 EXTREME team from Michigan.

Canfield was honored to be selected as the VISA VISY, “It is incredible how many great sailors have come from such a small island. I am sure it was a tough decision as there are plenty other sailors who deserve this award. This being said, I would not have been so successful in 2013 without my team. I would like to accept the award for the entire US One Sailing Team, consisting primarily of Rod Dawson, Hayden Goodrick, Mike Rehe, Dan Morris, and Brian Janney.”

Taylor Canfield & USOne team winning World Match Race TourThe VISA VISY award caps a remarkable year full of impressive achievements by Canfield. First came his runner up finish at the Korea Match Cup in June, one of the biggest events on the Alpari World Match Race Tour (AWMART), where Canfield lost only to France’s Matthieu Richard. Two months later, Canfield and his USOne team won three matches in a row after losing two in a first to 3-point final to defeat Australia’s Keith Swinton at the Chicago Match Cup. Next, Canfield made great strides towards the World Champion title by beating Great Britain’s Ian Williams in the semi-finals at the Argo Gold Cup in Bermuda in October and as a result shooting to the top of the tour’s leaderboard with a 10-point advantage going into the AWMART series finale, the Monsoon Cup in Malaysia. Ultimately, New Zealand’s Phil Robertson handed reigning world champion, Williams, three straight loses and cleared the way for third-place finisher, Canfield, to earn World Champion. This meant the 24-year-old Virgin Islands sailor ended 2013 as the youngest to win three AWMART events (Bermuda 2012, Malaysia 2012 and Chicago 2013) and the youngest to win the World Match Racing Championship as well as the first North American in 14 years to win a match racing world title and first Virgin Islander in 12 years ago to reign as the world’s top ranked match racer.

These amazing accomplishments follow years of sailing experience and podium finishes. Canfield started skippering Optimist dinghies at age six off the beach at the St. Thomas Yacht Club under the tutelage of his father, Bill Canfield. “Growing up in the islands was such an incredible experience that most sailors could only dream about. Eighty- to 90 degrees, 12 to 25 knots of wind and sunshine almost every day of the year…what else could you ask for,” he says. “While the venue was picture perfect, it was the support of my family and two friends (Cy Thompson and Thomas Barrows) that pushed me hard and trained with me from Optis through college sailing.”

In high school, Canfield was one of three Club 420 skippers who led the Antilles School Sailing Team to national championships in team and fleet racing. Canfield was also twice named Club 420 National Champion. His four years sailing for Boston College were remarkable for a nearly unprecedented number of on-the-water victories. These included being named a three-time All-American, two-time fleet racing champion and one-time team racing champion, sloop champion and match racing champion.

Canfield first fell in love with the sport of match racing at age 13 when he traveled to Bermuda to sail Optimists in the Renaissance Re Junior Gold Cup. He was accompanied by Virgin Islands’ Olympic Medalist, Peter Holmberg, who was match racing at the same time in the Argo Gold Cup. It wasn’t until age 16 that Canfield was old enough to participate in match race events. He qualified for the U.S. Match Race Championship his first year, then that same year he sailed the competitive Governor’s Cup in California.

Currently, Canfield is the sailing director at the Chicago Match Race Center. After a short break over the winter to professionally sail one-design J/70s and Etchells, he and his USOne Team will start back match racing in April at the Congressional Cup followed by the AWMRT season opener in May at the Korea Match Cup. Canfield’s ultimate sailing goals are to sail in the Americas Cup in the near future.

His advice to young Virgin Islands’ sailors is the formula Canfield used himself to achieve his successes: “Just because we grew up on a small island in the Caribbean, doesn’t keep any of us from becoming something we want more than anyone else in the world. Don’t give up in any race, take every opportunity to sail against and learn from the best, and put the time in (practice and racing). But before all of the above, make sure you are enjoying what you are doing. I’m proud to sail under the Virgin Islands’ flag and represent my St. Thomas Yacht Club family!”  Thanks for the contribution from Carol Bareuther.

Stephanie Roble sailing match race off Chicago* Don Wilson and Stephanie Roble #1 One US Match Racers!  Like their friend Taylor Canfield, Don and Steph have lots of experience sailing on various J’s over time on their way to becoming top match racers. Wilson sailed J/105s for years in Chicago and on his J/105 CONVEXITY won the J/105 North American Championships in Chicago, IL.  Steph was a top Opti sailor winning such events as the Orange Bowl Regatta and was a College All-American when she was on the Old Dominion University Sailing team.  Her sailing experiences have included sailing J/22s and J/70s in various events both in college and later.  Steph will be sailing on Jud Smith’s J/70 AFRICA in the upcoming J/70 Midwinters being sailed at Key West Race Week.

Step Roble and team sailing Chicago Match RaceFinishing 2013 as the number one U.S. Open Match Racer is Don Wilson (Chicago, IL), sailing from the Chicago Match Race Center (CMRC), who finished the year strong by winning the Carlos Aguilar Grade 2 Match Race in the U.S. Virgin Islands (sailed in the modded J/24s (IC-24s) that Canfield grew up on.

Wisconsin native Stephanie Roble (East Troy, WI) and her EPIC RACING TEAM also finished the year as the number one U.S. women’s match racer. Notably, Steph also ended up 5th in the Open (combined Men & Women) rankings for 2013!  On the women’s side of the equation, the skippers who Steph beat out for top spot reads like a “rogue’s gallery” of the top women sailors in America, including 2nd Anna Tunnicliffe, 3rd Sally Barkow (fellow Wisconsin native), 4th Genny Tulloch, 5th Nicole Breault and 6th Sandy Hayes.  Another interesting fact, ALL six skippers have raced J/22s extensively in both fleet racing as well as match-racing.  For more Chicago Match Race Center sailing information

J/105 sailor- Walter Nuschke* Walt Nuschke (66 yrs), a passionate contributor to the J/105 Class, passed away on December 20, 2013. Walt took over as J/105 Chief Measurer in 2008, and he only retired from that job in 2012 when his health took a turn for the worse.  Previously he had been the Vice President, the President and on the Technical Committee for the J/105 Class.  He was a tireless worker for us and saw it through many changes in the Class Rules and many Rule interpretations. He wanted the Rules to be simple as possible, but no simpler.  He made the technology work for us and spiced up many a North Americans with the apps (that he commissioned) that went on all the boats.  He was there when we had 75 boats (and two starting lines) at the 2007 North Americans in Annapolis.  And he was a great one for affordability.  He used his engineering background to engineer better solutions to problems.  When we still had forestay measurements, he helped me get mine right at Block Island Race Week. Walt will be missed.  He was always the "go to" guy for questions, even after he was no longer the Chief Measurer.  Thanks to Nelson Weiderman this contribution.

J/24 sailor Sean Kirkjian- tactician on VICTOIRE- winner of 2013 Sydney Hobart Race* Congratulations to Rolex Sydney-Hobart Winner VICTOIRE and her skipper/owner Darryl Hodgkinson.  Darryl had a “secret weapon” on-board-- tactician and strategist Sean Kirkjian from the local Sydney Harbour J/24 fleet.  Sean has been known in J/24 World sailing circles for decades; he’s a long-time winner at a National level sailing J/24s in Australia.  Sean recently placed 2nd in the J/24 Australian NSW State Championships (see http://www.j24.com.au/).  Next up for him is the Australian J/24 Nationals this coming weekend hosted by Royal Prince Edward YC in Sydney Harbour!

Hodgkinson, a plastic surgeon from Sydney, bought VICTOIRE as a birthday present to himself and told his wife his goal was a two-year plan to win the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race -- he fast tracked the timeline, succeeding on his first try. This was Hodgkinson’s third go at the race, having competed in 2010 and 2011.

Elated with the win, Hodgkinson said, “This is the culmination of a great campaign, it’s a personal victory and one I share with all sailors who did the race. I feel somewhat humbled to have won.”

The exuberant skipper was quick to praise his mostly amateur crew and put the win down to meticulous planning and preparation. He praised tactician and strategist Sean Kirkjian – a 17-time race veteran – and said, “He’s a wizard, who is just playing ‘ocean chess’ all the time”.  As well he touted Danny McConville (who prepared the boat), Patrick Eadie (the navigator) and their “weather guy” from Perth, Australia.  A great story about how they managed to pull off a surprise win against all the “big boys” which included five Maxi 100’s and two winning Volvo 70’s on the start line with all professional crews.

J/Cruising CommunityJ cruising directions- roll the dice and go!  Sailing to anywhere, anytime!

J Cruisers continue their adventures around the world, below are a selection of most excellent "blogs" written by their prolific publishers.  Some terribly amusing anecdotes and pearls of wisdom are contained in their blogs. Read some! You'll love it.

J/42 cruiser- sailing across Atlantic Ocean* Jim & Heather Wilson just completed a circumnavigation of our "blue planet Earth" in June 2013 on their J/42 CEOL MOR.  Said Jim, "The odyssey of CEOL MOR is over, for now.  We completed our circumnavigation on our J/42 when we crossed our outbound track in Britannia Bay, Mustique. We were, however, still 2,000 nautical miles from home. So we continued on through the Windwards, the Leewards, and then through the British Virgin Islands. After a farewell 'Painkiller' at the Soggy Dollar, and a last meal at Foxy’s, we made the 1,275 nautical mile passage to the Chesapeake and completed our port-to-port circumnavigation when we arrived in Annapolis on June 28, 2013. We had been away 1,334 days, completed 259 days of ocean passages, and sailed 30,349 nautical miles (34,925 statute miles). Read more about their adventures in their  well-documented blog here:  http://www.svceolmor.com/SVCeolMor/Welcome.html

J/160 sailing offshore to US Virgin Islands- rainbow over ocean* J/160 AVATAR headed for the Caribbean, again!  We LOVE these updates from our cruising J sailors that continue to criss-cross the Seven Seas. This one comes from Alan Fougere, sailing his beloved J/160 AVATAR.   Alan sent us an email update commenting on their passage south this winter, "In mid-December AVATAR completed her sixth transit to her winter Caribbean home, Grand Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI (seen above)  from her home port in Quissett (Falmouth), MA.  A crew of three, Captain Alan (e.g. me), Crew Pablo Brissett and Mark Conroy, covered the 1,500 nm trip in in her best time to date- 7 Days 5 Hours, averaging 8.7 kts, that's about 208 nm per day!  Amazing passage it was!  Rainbow at right far offshore was some of the amazing phenomenon we experienced on this fast offshore passage.

AVATAR will participate in the BVI Sailing Festival/Regatta again in 2013, where last year she won the Nanny Key Cup Cruising Class race around the Island of Virgin Gorda.  Here are some photos for you to share with the J/Community at-large.  Enjoy!"
Best, Alan Fougere/ AVATAR

Bill & Judy Stellin- sailing J/42 Jaywalker* Bill & Judy Stellin recently had an interview about cruising on their J/42 in the Wall St Journal called "Retiring on the Open Sea".  The Wall St Journal asked Bill to reply to dozens of questions that flooded into the WSJ's Editor desks. Here's the update:

Retiring on the Sea: Answering Readers' Questions
Advice about selecting a boat, ocean crossings, itineraries and safety

Wall St Journal interview- Stellin's Offshore cruising/ sailing retirementThe article in our WSJ Online December retirement report about eight years spent sailing the Mediterranean— "Retiring to the Open Sea"— prompted many questions and comments from readers.  We asked William Stellin, who wrote the story, to answer some of the most common queries.

WSJ- "What kind and make of boat did you use? Looking back, would you have picked a different boat?"

Bill- "In 1995-96, J/Boats of Newport, RI, came out with a new cruiser/racer model, the J/42. We bought hull No. 6 of this popular 42-foot sailboat and named it JAYWALKER. This was our fourth boat since beginning sailing in 1975.

Although long-distance cruising wasn't what we had in mind when we purchased JAYWALKER, it soon became apparent it had the ability to carry us easily and safely anywhere we wanted to go. Because the boat is light, it sails well in light winds, which means very little motoring is necessary.

People often ask (and argue) about what boat is best for cruising. Any boat that is strong, safe, fast, comfortable and easily handled by two people should fit the bill. One thing for sure, fast is fun—and important when trying to avoid bad weather."

READ MORE ABOUT BILL'S INSIGHTFUL COMMENTARY AND THOUGHTS ON WSJ ONLINE HERE

* The J/42 JARANA continues their epic voyage around the Pacific. Continue to read about Bill and Kathy Cuffel's big adventure cruising the South Pacific headed for New Zealand.  Their blog is here: http://www.svjarana.blogspot.com/

* John and Mary Driver are sailing their J/130 SHAZAM for extended cruising in the Atlantic basin. At this time, John and Mary finished their double-handed crossing of the Atlantic, landing in Portugal on their J/130 Shazam after completion of their ARC Rally. Read the latest news at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/shazam/.

J/130 sailing ARC Rally arrives Portugal- leave a message on the sea wall!* Several J/160 owners are island hopping across the world's oceans, fulfilling life long dreams to cruise the Pacific islands, the Caribbean islands, the Indian Ocean and all points in between.  Anyone for Cape Horn and penguins??  Read more about their adventures and escapades (like our J/109 GAIA, J/42s PAX and JAYWALKER and J/130 SHAZAM friends above).

-  Bill and Susan Grun on the J/160 AVANTE are also sailing in the Pacific archipelago, read more about their great adventures on their blog (http://web.me.com/susangrun).  Read about their latest adventures as they've gotten to New Zealand- "Avante Cruises the Pacific".

- Eric and Jenn on the J/160 MANDALAY also sailed the Pacific archipelago, read more on their blog at http://www.sailmandalay.com.  Eric and Jenn are J/World alumni took MANDALAY up and down the West Coast (Mexico, CA), then to the South Pacific and New Zealand.  MANDALAY is back in San Francisco now, and in the J/World fleet--she is available for skippered charters, private instruction, and corporate/executive groups.