Wednesday, January 11, 2017

J/Newsletter- January 11th, 2017

J/97E family sports cruiserboot Dusseldorf- Enjoy World's Largest Show!
(Dusseldorf, German)- With over 300 sailboat related exhibitors, there is no question the world’s largest sailboat show in the heart of Europe is an exciting place to visit.  The show takes place from January 21st to 29th.
On display in Hall 15/ Booth B21 will be two choices for J/Clan aficionados.  For those into performance, the two little speedsters will be on display- the International J/70 and the J/88 family speedster. And, for those into fast, comfortable cruising- the fabulously cozy quick J/97E and the extraordinary, sweet, comfortable J/112E.

IJ/112E sport cruiser- Sailing World Boat of the Yearn Germany alone, the most significant impact on sailing has been the evolution of the J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga, with over 80 sailing clubs participating and thousands of sailors across Germany.  Then, across Europe, there are 14 national SAILING Champions League series all hosted with the famous International J/70- the world’s fastest growing sportsboat class- a boat that can be sailed by anyone in the community of sailing- young and old alike, women, children, 8 to 80 yrs old!!

The next-generation sport-cruisers, the “E” series of the J/97 and J/112, are proving to be quite popular in Europe.  At the Paris Boat Show, the J/112E had an enthusiastic reception with sailing families seeking to combine the “joy of sailing” with lots of expansive comfort on deck and down below in the sunny interior.  Learn more about why J/112E was selected as SAILING WORLD’s Boat of the Year and also 2017 EUROPEAN Boat of the Year.   Read more of Sailing World’s J/112E review here   For more J/122E sport cruiser sailboat information   For more Boot Dusseldorf show information

US J/70 Youth ChampionshipUS J/70 Youth Championship Announcement!
Win a FREE J/70 for your Sailing Club!
(Newport, RI)- The first annual U.S. J/70 Youth Championship will take place concurrent with the J/FEST New England Regatta from August 11th to 13th, 2017.  The event will be hosted by the famous crew at SAIL NEWPORT, Newport, Rhode Island and hosted at their extraordinary facility at Fort Adams State Park.

The goal of this event is to help develop and build leading-edge junior keelboat sailing programs across America.  The winning club of this event will get ”free” usage of fully equipped International J/70 one-design class sailboat, with sails and trailer, provided ”free of charge” by J/Boats, to the winning club and its membership for twelve months.

US J/70 Youth ChampionshipThe U.S. J/70 Youth Championship (USJCA) is open to ten  Youth Teams representing US Sailing recognized Sailing Clubs or Organizations.  Sailing clubs may enter more than one youth team per event, but may only qualify one team for the USJCA championship in Newport, RI.

The 10 Youth Teams will compete on ten brand new J/70 Class sailboats with class sails (main, jib, spinnaker) that comply with J/70 Class rules.  The boats will be identically rigged and tuned at “base settings” that are recommended by the sailmaker.

In order to qualify for the ten slots, youth teams must qualify for entry by being the top scoring Youth Team in the J/70 Class at one of the following Regattas:
Here is the USJYC Notice of Race.  For more U.S. J/70 Youth Championship information, please contact J/Boats at “” or refer to the USJCA website.

J/70s sailing Key West Race WeekQuantum Key West Regatta Preview
(Key West, FL)- In a fashion befitting a 30th anniversary, the famous Quantum Key West Regatta bristles with a plethora of racing stars from American and ten countries, some of the most technically developed racing boats afloat and one of the largest growing classes in the world- the J/70 speedster!

According to Commanders' Weather, the weather forecast supplier for race week, the first three days of the regatta will offer moderate to strong winds of 10 to 20 knots from the east/east-southeast. A cold front predicted for the second half of the week could lighten the conditions, but Commanders' Weather forecaster Chris Wasserback called the forecast for the first half of the week classic for Key West.

"There's high pressure to the north and it looks like good breeze for Sunday (practice day) and Monday (first race day)," said Commanders' Weather forecaster Chris Wasserback. "The direction stays more easterly thru Tuesday and Wednesday with a fair amount of wind, around 20 knots. The high pressure off the East Coast is the dominant feature and should keep conditions there mostly settled."

Returning competitors from last year's regatta might remember chilly air temperatures. Even that feature will be turned around this year with forecast highs in the mid-to-upper 70s.

J/70 fleet starting off Key West Race Week"The fleet is solid from top to bottom. There's great talent and some very successful race teams. It should be a fantastic week of racing," said event chairman John Fisher, a past commodore of the host Storm Trysail Club. "Quantum Key West Race Week always attracts the top level of the sport, because they know Key West offers great sailing conditions at a time of year where most in the U.S. have shut down their hometown sailing for the winter. There'll be first-rate competition from all over the sailing world, great race conditions coupled with our extremely capable veteran race committee and willing volunteers."

The daily schedule calls for up to three races per day from January 16th to 20th. Registration is set for Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 14-15, and the warning signal for Race 1 is scheduled for 1100 hours on Monday, Jan. 16.

The fleet includes glamour classes like the 52 Super Series, featuring top professional sailors such as Ed Baird, John Kostecki, Terry Hutchinson, all past winners of the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year award, and past Italian America's Cup helmsman Vasco Vascotto.  Even more interesting, most “all-star” tacticians in the TP52 fleet are former J/24 World Champions and, most recently, John Kostecki was 2016 J/70 World Champion as tactician on Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT!

"The sailing conditions are fantastic," says John Kostecki (Reno, NV), who'll call tactics on the TP 52 Platoon. "Normally you get the chance of good breeze for a part of the regatta, and each day is a new challenge. It's great winter sailing in the U.S."

"Key West Race Week is truly one of the greatest regattas in the world and to me it's the perfect winter break," said Quantum Racing tactician Terry Hutchinson, who has won Boat of the Week honors twice as a tactician, including last year with Bella Mente. "It has steadily evolved over the years into an extremely high-level event in all respects."

The wildly popular J/70 Class is the largest at the event with 40 of the 23-footers entered this year.  Can Carlo Alberini make it a 3-peat in the J/70's?  For the fifth consecutive year the J/70 is the largest class in the regatta. Among the entrants are Carlo Alberini's CALVI NETWORK from Italy, the two-time defending class champion and 2015 Boat of the Week.

J/70s sailing off start in Key WestA third consecutive title will be hard to come by because other entrants include Tim Healy's USA-2 from Rhode Island, the 2014 Boat of the Week, Joel Ronning's CATAPULT, of Minnesota, the reigning J/70 World Champion with America's Cup veteran Eric Doyle calling tactics, and Peter Duncan's RELATIVE OBSCURITY from New York, which placed second in the class last year (and has rock-star “Moose” McClintock from Newport, RI as tactician!).

The 2003 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Hannah Swett (New York, NY) will lead Sparkle, with 1999 Rolex Yachtswoman of the Year Dawn Riley (Oyster Bay, NY) counted among her crew and longtime friends Melissa Purdy and Tom Purdy, the sister and brother from Tiburon, Calif. Swett purchased a J/70 last year because of the class's large size and this will be her first major regatta.

"Yeah, I'm a little scared at a 40-boat starting line," said Hannah, who's won the Yngling World Championship and the Fastnet Race in a diverse and varied career. "I really just wanted an opportunity to go sailing with my friends, so I'm totally looking forward to it. I used to teach sailing at J/World in Key West, so I have some great memories from the island. It should be fun."
J/70s sailing Key WestJoining Hannah, Carlo and Joel are several leading crews that are also National, North American and World Champions.  Leading that group is Julian Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO crew from Mexico, the 2015 J/70 World Champion in La Rochelle, France.  A past M32 World Champion from Bermuda, Alec Cutler, will be sailing his latest HEDGEHOG with his crew from Royal Bermuda YC.  From way out West, Chris Snow and Mary Brigden, past J/24 North American champions, will be sailing COOL STORY BRO with a St Francis YC team.  Great Lakes champion Trey Sheehan from Put-in-Bay, OH will be racing his HOOLIGAN- FLAT-STANLEY RACING.  Hailing from the famous Forth Worth Boat Club is Glenn Darden’s crew on his latest HOSS; he is a past J/70 Midwinter Champion (with World Champion Jonathan McKee as tactician) and also J/105 North American Champion.  The 2016 J/111 World Champion, Martin Dent, will be racing JELVIS VII with his crew from Cowes, England.  Farr 40 World Champion, America’s Cup sailor, and YC Monaco’s Sailor of the Year, Vincenzo Onorato will be racing with his Italian crew on MASCALZONE LATINO.  Recent Quantum J/70 Winter Series winner, Marty Kullman from St Petersburg YC, is sailing fast on NEW WAVE.  Mexican J/70 National Champion, Gannon Troutman, will be racing with his Dad and Fishing Bay YC crew on PIED PIPER.  Another Quantum J/70 Winter Series winner, Tom Bowen, is sailing REACH AROUND with his Annapolis YC team.  Past J/105 Key West Champion and J/80 World Champion, Brian Keane from Beverly YC, is steering SAVASANA with Olympic 470 sailor Stu McNay as his tactician.  Finally, the world’s top two Masters skippers, John Brim’s RIMETTE from Fishers Island YC and Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY RACING from Cayman Islands Sailing Club will be doing battle again at the top of the fleet!

J/111 Utah sailing Key West Race WeekThe J/70’s larger sibling, the 36-foot J/111, begins a season long march towards the class's J/111 World Championship in September at St Francis YC. Their strong one-design presence will have 10 boats on the start line. The class includes last year's top three finishers - Peter Wagner's (Atherton, CA) SKELETON KEY, which posted a 14.5-point victory in 2016, Rob Ruhlman's SPACEMAN SPIFF (Cleveland, OH) and Bradley Faber's (Owosso, MI) UTAH. Joining the Key West fleet this year is Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY crew from Annapolis YC; they are a perennial top three boat and past Chesapeake Bay champions.  Sailing faster this past summer have been Sedgwick Ward’s BRAVO from Shelter Island YC in New York and also Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE from San Diego YC in California.

J/88 sailing Key West Race WeekWhat is notable is that three large J/classes are sailing on three separate racing areas!  J/111’s with the TP52’s on Division 1 area WSW of the island, J/70’s on Division 2 area just south of the island next to the shipping channel, and J/88’s on Division 3 area east of the J/70’s on the SE end of the island.  The J/88’s have a great turnout for their 2nd Midwinter Championship at Key West!  Seven teams will be vying for class honors with teams from all across America.  From the West, Gary Panariello’s crew from Sausalito, CA will be sailing COURAGEOUS.  From the Midwest is Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Lakeside YC.  Then, a cadre of top teams that include Key West, Block Island, and New York YC Race Week winners all hail from the Northeast, including the 2016 winner- Mike Bruno’s WINGS.  Also from New York are Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, Joe & Jeff Pawlowski’s EASY EIGHTS, Laura Weyler’s HIJINKS.  Finally, the top Canadian team, Rob Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Lake Ontario, will be giving the fleet a big run-for-the-money!

J/122 sailing Key West Race WeekIn addition to the J/88s, two other handicap classes will be participating on the same course.  In Performance Cruising class, Jon Weglarz’s J/105 THE ASYLUM will be up against a smorgasbord of racer/cruisers.  In ORC Class, three J/teams will be taking on their fleet of nine boats.  Chris & Karen Lewis’ J/44 KENAI, class winner in this year’s Lauderdale to Key West Race, hope to repeat that performance with their crew from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX.  Joining them are twin J/122s, including NYYC Race Week and Annapolis-Newport Race winner ORION, skippered by Paul Milo’s crew from New York YC and also JD Hill’s SECOND STAR from Lakewood YC in Texas.

While the racing at the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week will look and feel very similar to the past 29 editions, the shoreside venue will be much different. The Waterfront Brewery in the Key West Historic Seaport and Bight will host all shoreside activities related to Race Week, including daily morning weather briefings, post-race seminars, and the nightly awards party.
Post-race debriefs and seminars being organized by Quantum Sails will feature luminaries such Baird, Hutchinson and Kostecki, as well as Ed Adams, Bora Gulari and others offering insights.

"The coaching and education, along with overnight sail repairs, are key deliverables of our sponsorship," said Quantum President Ed Reynolds. "With Ed Adams and Ed Baird heading up the daily debriefs, competitors are guaranteed insights and tips they can put to immediate use on the racecourse."  Sailing photo credits- Max Ranchi, Sarah Proctor, Sharon Green/ Ultimate Sailing.    For more Quantum Key West Race Week sailing information

J/70s sailing off Monte Carlo, MonacoMonaco J/70 Winter Series- Act III Preview
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- Sailing concurrently as Key West Race Week on the lovely, sunny Mediterranean is the European J/70 fleet.  From January 13th to 15th, YC Monaco will be running the third Act of their Monaco J/70 Winter Series for an incredibly competitive, closely-packed fleet of thirty-one boats.

Russian J/70 teamThe fleet is remarkably diverse, with crew coming from ten nations across Europe, including Austria, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Monaco, Norway, Russia, Switzerland and Sweden.  While the winner of the last Act is not sailing, Lera Kovalenko, Russia’s top woman sailor, will be back on ARTTUBE to defend her series leading position and, hopefully, post another podium finish.  Chasing her fast crew from Moscow, Russia will be YC Monaco’s own Stefano Roberti on PICCININA, Herve Maiano’s SOPWITH CAMEL, Royal Swedish YC’s Anders Kemmler on DYNAMANT RACING, Andreas Spiegel’s Austrian team on PFANDER, and Stephan Molle’s German crew on GRUN SOFTWWARE AG.  For more YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information

J/111 sailing off BeneluxJ/111 Benelux Series Announcement
(Dordrecht, The Netherlands)- 2017 will see the sequel of last year, regarding J/111 One Design Racing in Benelux. Again, three events are selected to host the growing class and it is hot racing:
  • 22-23 April: Van Uden Reco Regatta, Stellendam
  • 02-04 June: North Sea Regatta, Scheveningen (Open Benelux Class Championship)
  • 25-27 August: Breskens Sailing Weekend, Breskens
Before and between these events, there are special dedicated J/111 training programs scheduled, as well as regattas in the Solent off Cowes, United Kingdom.

“After a very successful 2016 season of great One-Design racing, all Benelux-owners agreed to continue One-Design Racing and getting the J/111 Benelux Class in a bigger and better shape.  Stay tuned,” commented J/111 sailor Paul Gladdines!   Follow the J/111 Benelux class here on FacebookLearn more about J/111 here.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

Our J/24 sailing friends way Down Under had a near record turnout for their Australian J/24 Nationals.  They sailed the event at the Cronulla Sailing Club, situated on a gorgeous bay just SE of Sydney and around the corner from Sydney Heads.  The conditions were epic, as always on that particular body of water, with enormous swells permitting the J/24s to experience some amazing sleigh-rides downhill!

Meanwhile, over in the Americas, the Quantum J/70 Winter Series just held their second Act at Davis Island YC in Tampa Bay.  There was a dramatic performance by a Texas team from the Houston area and the fleet experienced some roller-coaster scorelines as they encountered epic weather conditions- with winds of 20-28 kts on Saturday!

The Storm Trysail Club and Ft Lauderdale YC’s Fort Lauderdale to Key West experienced fabulous, record-breaking sailing conditions this year.  This famous, and wildly popular “feeder race” is a quick 160nm sprint down south then southwest around the Florida Keys to Key West.  J/Crews on a J/44, J/111, J/122, and J/88 all had a blast and collected some silverware along the way!

Finally, out West, the J/22 California Dreamin’ Match Race series started the first of its three events at San Diego YC, sailing on its fleet of J/22s in San Diego Harbor.

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 7-8- Quantum J/70 Winter Series II- Tampa, FL
Jan 15-23- Quantum Key West Regatta- Key West, FL
Feb 4-5- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Tampa, FL
Feb 10-12- J/24 Midwinters- Indian Harbour Beach, FL
Feb 14-19- Hong Kong Race Week- Hong Kong, China
Feb 17-19- St Petersburg NOOD Regatta- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 20- RORC Caribbean 600 Race- English Harbour, Antigua
Feb 23-26- J/70 Midwinters- St Petersburg, FL
Mar 2-5- St Maarten Heineken Regatta- Phillipsburg, St Maarten
Mar 3-4- Monaco J/70 Winter Series- Act V- Monte Carlo, Monaco
Mar 2-5- J/27 Midwinters- New Orleans, LA
Mar 9-11- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 17-19- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 24-26- St Thomas International Regatta- St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Mar 27-Apr 2- BVI Spring Regatta- Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Apr 10-15- Les Voiles de Saint Barth- Gustavia, St Barthelemey
April 20-23- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 30- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua
May 5-7- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis, MD

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

J/70 planing on Tampa Bay at Quantum J/70 Winter SeriesSTAMPEDE @ Quantum J/70 Winter Series II!
(Tampa, FL)- The scene might have been right out of a Caesarean drama!  As Julia Caesar once commented after quickly conquering yet more lands, “vene vidi vici”, and that’s the way it was for the Fort Worth, Texas based team on the mighty STAMPEDE. Led by owner Bruno Pasquinelli, the STAMPEDE crew that included Jamie Wilmot and Willem van Waay simply smoked the fleet, winning the first five races and sailing home after race six to let the others fight for the leftovers.

J/70s sailing upwind on Tampa BaySuch a thorough spanking of the fleet was not what anyone anticipated, nor expected, in the highly talented fleet of forty-eight J/70 teams that traveled to Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, Florida for the middle weekend of the 2016-2017 Quantum J/70 Winter Series. Conditions ranged from wet and wild on Saturday (winds up to 28 knots) to sunny and cool on Sunday (winds 10-18 knots). Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE reveled in the breeze, racking up four consecutive bullets and a second to allow them to sit out the sixth and final race. Tom Bowen’s REACH AROUND, that won the first weekend of the Series in December, took second place with 13 points. Allan Terhune’s DAZZLER edged out Darby Smith’s AFRICA (top Woman skipper) for third place (Terhune with 16 points to Smith’s 17). Rounding out the top five was Will Welles’ SCAMP from Newport, RI.

Andrew Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from American YC on Long Island Sound topped the 24-boat Corinthian division; they also placed 6th overall in the Open Division!  The Winner from the last event, Andrew Loe’s DIME PIECE from Seattle YC, continued their good performance by taking 2nd in Corinthians to be leading the series overall.  Third was Dave Kerr’s USA 364, 4th place was Jacob Christy’s PALE HORSE and 5th position was J/70 Class President Henry Brauer sailing his RASCAL to 5th place with his crew from Eastern YC in Marblehead, MA.  For more Quantum J/70 Winter Series sailing information

J/111 Heat Wave sailing Lauderdale Key West RaceRecord Lauderdale to Key West Race
J/44 KENIA Wins Class, J/111 HEAT WAVE Second!
(Fort Lauderdale, FL)- The 41st Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club, started at noon on Wednesday under absolutely perfect conditions- winds from the ENE blowing 15-20 kts with boats setting Code Zero’s and asymmetrics once they approached Rebecca Shoals, the first primary turning point to the WSW towards Key West.  Records were broken for both monohulls and multihulls.  And, the J/crews reveled in the conditions.

The annual race sends sailors on a 160 nm sprint down along the curve of the Florida Keys, to the Key West Sea Buoy, where they make the hard turn onto the final leg up the channel to the finish off Fort Zachary Taylor State Park.  The record was basically 10 hours flat for both the Gunboat 60 ELVIS and the RP74 WIZARD- 16 kts average!  Even more remarkable?? Two J/24 World Champions were the tacticians on each boat- Anthony Kotoun on ELVIS and Chris Larson on WIZARD.

Lauderdale  Key West courseThe competitors enjoyed classic Lauderdale to Key West Race conditions this year. David Cannon, Director of Yacht Ops and Meteorologist for Weather Routing, Inc., Official Weather Provider for the Race, forecasted “for Wednesday and Thursday, high pressure and Easterly winds will be the rule throughout the area, with wind speeds averaging near 20 kts. Higher wind gusts (to 23-24kts) are likely in any local NE winds downwind of any ‘channeling’ areas between the Florida Keys. Short and choppy seas will be from the east as well, generally from 4-6 feet, though within the Gulfstream waters south of the Keys, seas will tend to be near the high end of this range.”

Race veterans will attest that these are the conditions that bring them back to do the race again and again. South Floridian Dave Woolsey, a three-time race winner, recalls similar sleigh-ride conditions for the 1980 race, won on a hot pink Santa Cruz 27 named Inspector Clouseau. Among the motivations for the youngsters doing the race in those days were honing important offshore (and onshore) skills against the world’s best (not to mention the motivation for someone on a Santa Cruz 27 to be someplace warm and dry in January).

Speaking of the world’s best, none other than Volvo Ocean Race and America’s Cup Skipper (and 5x J/24 World Champion) Ken Read is a long time competitor in the event, and used to hold the monohull race record as a member of the crew of Joe Dockery’s 81 footer Carrera in 2005. Kenny commented about the experience of the race and the record,

J/122 sailing Lauderdale Key West race“The Fort Lauderdale to Key West race is one of the first "Distance" races I remember doing. It was Christmas break and I was at Boston University ...early 1981. There was no Key West Race Week back then. It was simply the Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race. I remember the amazing party at the end of it and this crazy group of guys on a boat called Puff owned by Wilkie Gilbert.  I remember that the whole crew was nuts and I loved it. And my friend Tom Lihan was the person that got me on board. No shock that Tom was onboard and we won our class. Snapshot forward to 2005 when I sailed aboard Carrera and we broke the record. It was a great forecast of reaching and running on an 80 foot Reichel Pugh sled. Amazing crew. Great owner, a guy named Joe Dockery. We had a phenomenal easy fun trip down, only to load the boat up a little too much about 5 miles before the right hand turn to go into the cut at Key West. That's when we did a little spin out with the A4 up and heard a big bang only to find three quarters of the rudder gone. But nobody wanted to stop so after about 15 to 20 minutes we got the boat back under control, bore off without hitting the reef and got up a number 4 jib and put a reef in the main. That was when as a crew we learned how to sail the boat with about a 2-foot stub of a rudder and easing and trimming the Jib and Mainsail in order to keep the boat going straight. The windy jibe at the final mark to head for shore was very tricky if I remember correctly. But we finished without crashing into anything and probably would've done the race about a half an hour faster if it weren't for a broken rudder. Every year since then a group of us who were all on board including the owner and the project manager Simon Davidson and Chris Larson and others get in touch and watch the race to determine whether our record is still safe. Well I can tell you this year based on some early prognosis it looks like it could be another ripper of the year. With great boats like Wizard and Prospector doing the race I certainly wouldn't be shocked if the record was in jeopardy.”

As it turns out, he was right! David and Peter Askew (former J/122 owners) sailed their 74 foot WIZARD (the old BELLA MENTE), with a who’s-who of offshore talent, several of whom sailed Alvimedica in the last Volvo World Race, including Alvimedica co-Skippers Charlie Enright and Mark Towill and the aforementioned Chris Larson.  Yet again, two J/24 World Champions on the same boat calling tactics and strategy- Charlie Enright from Bristol, RI and Chris Larson from Annapolis, MD.

Enright had his eye on the forecast, noting that it “looked like a great forecast. 20 knots from the ENE going ESE will make for a fast trip down to Key West. Exactly how fast will depend on how much the breeze shifts with us as we free up. The more we have to VMG run the longer it will take, by virtue of having to sail more distance. The Gulfstream can compound this, if it doesn't head and you end up lifting offshore, you expose yourself to more adverse current, too.”  It clearly all worked out for them in the end.  And, it was also ideal conditions for the top J/sailors in the race.

J/44 Kenia sailing offshoreThis year, the ORC Class has an enormous range of boats from 40 to 52 feet and it was Chris & Karen Lewis’ J/44 KENIA from Lakewood YC in Houston, TX that ran away with their class win by 27 minutes corrected- a virtual landslide victory in such a fast race!  KENIA covered the race track in 16 hrs 56 min, about a 9.4 kts average, not bad for an 22,000 lb boat on a 40 ft waterline (8.47 kts hull speed).

The PHRF A class had Gary Weisberg’s J/111 HEAT WAVE from Jubilee YC in Gloucester, MA up against a J/88, M32, Farr 395 and a Class 40!  In the end, the HEAT WAVE gang took the silver and Kristen Berry’s J/88 M.I.2 took 4th place.  At just over 17 hours to cover 160nm, that’s a 9.38 kts average.  In other words, “planing mode” for the entire race given that hull speed on the 35.5 ft J/111 is around 8.04 kts!  For more Storm Trysail & Lauderdale YC Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race sailing information

J/24 Australia sailing off SydneyKirkjian Crowned Australian J/24 Champion
(Sydney, Australia)- Sean Kirkjian’s Pacific Sailing School team admirably aided by the inimitable ‘AJ’ Tony Reynolds and the school graduates in ‘Sailpac’ have taken out the 2017 nationals with a solid and consistent result over Shane Guanaria, helming class stalwart Arthur Crother’s ‘Kaotic’ by 4 points. Brendan Lee sailing ‘By the Lee’ from Melbourne was third by another 7 points.

A recent record fleet of 25 boats competed in the nationals hosted by the Cronulla Sailing Club, located in Port Hacking on the southern edge of Sydney. Many competitors were visiting Cronulla for the first time and have come away with great memories and glowing opinions of the regatta. Cronulla Sailing Club ironed out all the bugs identified in the NSW States held in early November and ran a faultless regatta. From the brilliant sailing waters on the ocean side to the picturesque Gunnamatta Bay where the club is located (5 min walk to the surf beach on the other side of the small Cronulla peninsula) and the friendly, helpful and happy club volunteers serving us dinner every night off the BBQ, I didn’t hear one grumble about the running and management of the regatta. I am confident in saying there are many looking forward to another in the future – even those from the harbour loved it!

Out on the racetrack the competition was fierce, with black flags and consequent DSQs happening after each general recall, PRO Dave McLachlan ran a near faultless series, a couple of major wind changes right on the starting signal being the only difficulty encountered. The usual gladiators took out the top end of the results with the exception of Brendan Lee who is a rising star from the Sandringham fleet in Melbourne. Brendan has been putting in a major effort in both club and regatta racing and his 3rd place reflects this. Stephen Girdis sailing ‘Convicts’ took out 4th with Dave West’s ‘Ace’ being sailed by SA blow in crew Doug ‘El Fideldo’ Watson due to Dave’s wife’s medical emergency. Another great performance at the last minute by Doug.

‘Mr J24′ Hugo Ottaway, sailing Bruschetta IV, and NSW Class president John Crawford, took the next two from Steve O’Rourke, Simon Grain and Janette Syme rounding out the top ten.

Australian J/24s off Cronulla Sailing Club, SydneyRacing was generally light to medium in SE to NE breezes with most boats never pulling out jibs for the whole regatta. An 18 – 20 knot NE breeze tested some of the boats on the last day but not really causing any real trouble. Generally going left paid but not always and sometimes it was possible to find a wind bend on the right hand corner that gave you a few places. Racing was tight around the corners and the otherwise well behaved fleet experienced very little shouting!

Handicap results went much the same way as the OD results although with a reversal in order at the top. Winning with 51 points was Brendan Lee from Sean Kirkjian on 52 and Stephen Girdis on 53, so a close finish there. Fourth was Shane Guanaria on 66 from Simon Grain on 67.

Seven boats made the trip up from Melbourne and two (Robyn and Jim Townsend plus son Andrew) from South Australia (a substantial trip by any measure) – ten Cronulla boats and the rest from the harbour. All in all, a good spread from around the country.

The Cronulla Club and its volunteers did a fantastic job in making us feel very welcome and efficiently ran the on-shore and on-water parts of the regatta. The success of the regatta is in no small way a result of work done over a long period of time by the enthusiastic Mick Reynolds (sadly being away during the regatta) and others in helping to build the Cronulla fleet. Running up to and during the regatta, Fiona Campbell, Bronwyn Elford, Rhonda Wodzinski and the team of volunteers serving up the BBQ dinner everyday, looking after launching and retrieving on the hardstand, the teams out on the water all did a fantastic job and on behalf of all the competitors and associations involved, we thank you for your magnificent efforts. A big thank you to Quantum Sails and our other sponsors- (Brian Williams), Afloat Magazine, Wet Tech, Aussea, SAILOR SUNSCREEN, CBON, and Explore Sailing.

Onward and upward – you might like to plan for the annual Cronulla SC Queens Birthday Short Course regatta in June this year. The SA States are mid March and the Vic States are mid April. The NSW States are around the first weekend in November (likely to be back in the harbour) and of course the next Nationals are to be at the CYCSA in Adelaide in early Jan 2018 – see the regatta page in the near future for more details and dates.  Thanks to Simon Grain for this contribution.  For more Australian J/24 Class sailing information

J/22s sailing off San Diego CABreault Trumps J/22 California Dreamin’ Series I
(San Francisco, CA)- San Diego YC hosted the first stop of the 2017 California Dreamin' Series on January 7-8 in light and shifty conditions on the city-front course.  On Saturday, they managed to complete 5 flights out of the 7 scheduled for the first round-robin.  Nicole Breault of St. Francis YC and her Vela Racing Team of Molly Carapiet, Karen Loutzenheiser, and Hannah Burroughs went undefeated, persevering with patience and emphasizing on keeping the boat moving through the light stuff.  On Sunday, the winds never produced enough to race and therefore Breault won the regatta.

The California Dreamin’ Series consists of three match racing events: the San Diego Yacht Club Stop on January 7-8, 2017 in J/22s, the Long Beach Yacht Club Stop on February 25-26, 2017 in Catalina 37s, and the St. Francis Yacht Club Stop on March 11-12, 2017 in J/22s.

The winner of the series will receive an invitation to the 2017 Grade 2 Ficker Cup to be held March 24-26 in Long Beach, CA. The winning skipper and the second place skipper of the Ficker Cup shall receive invitations to the 2017 Grade WC WMRT Congressional Cup.  For more J/22 California Dreamin Series sailing information

What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/109 Sweet Caroline* Sound Advice for Building a Long Island Sound Racing Crew!  Martha Blanchfield ( profiled a unique team sailing their J/109 on Long Island Sound.  Here is their story.

“Chris Ercole and his wife purchased Sweet Caroline in February 2013. The 35-foot J/109, with beam 11.5 feet, carbon fiber retractable bowsprit, asymmetric spinnaker system and 7-foot keel, can easily move the boat during relaxed journeys with just four crew; six or seven are required for racing round the buoys.

When it came time to staff up for the first season of racing, Chris made a determination that he would rather train and develop a more novice set of individuals--as opposed to lure away experienced talent. Sweet Caroline talent depth and breadth would be recruited outside the usual sailing channels: via referrals and invitations.

A Good Crew is Developed
He feels that a good crew is not found; it is developed. “I can teach skills, but I cannot teach a person to be cool. Personality fit is a must,” notes Chris, who examined the disposition of each candidate before inviting aboard. The crew’s average age is 35, and each person holds down a full time job. Professional diversity reigns: supply chain engineers, a podiatrist and a recent university graduate to name a few.

Recruiting outside of routine sailing circles has given him a more reliable program, and a higher psychic pay-off.

“I know that taking someone under your wing may be risky, but I am willing to invest. I’ve been able to attract some great crew members. Recruiting outside of routine sailing circles has given me a more reliable program, and a higher psychic pay-off.”

J/109 Sweet Caroline crewOne referral was a young man who had not before been on a boat. “In just a single season Brian has developed to become our go-to spinnaker trimmer. Another rising star is Minna, who grew up sailing Laser boats. While there’s a difference between sailing a Laser and a larger keel boat, I don’t think her previous big boat crew was maximizing her talents. I gave her latitude on Sweet Caroline and this paid off. She now serves as our mainsail trimmer and tactician.”

Another crew member is Ayme Sinclair, who has 2.5 years sail cred under her belt plus an ASA certificate. Prior to Sweet Caroline, her sailing expertise came from time onboard Sonars. “Sailing on a Sonar is a very analog experience, and because of that I was starting to get a little discouraged. When a coworker offered an invitation to join during one of his crew’s evening races, I jumped.” Turns out Sweet Caroline was on the water that night, so a fortuitous post-race introduction to skipper Chris was all it took for Ayme to step up to larger boat racing.

The Sweet Training and Development Life
Having gathered together an ambitious crew, developing as a team unit was next. “During year one I opted to run practice sessions on Wednesday nights—instead of competing in local races.” Working with this somewhat novice group proved a positive, yet sometimes, challenging practice. As the most sail-educated person onboard, Chris realized that it was not easy to steer the boat and observe/train. The solution: enlist a peer to helm.

Whereas some skippers opt to rotate individuals through all roles on a boat, Chris finds it beneficial to build depth by keeping individuals in place for the time being.

One of Chris’s development strategies has been to keep a person in one spot for a while. Says Ayme, “At the start I had a single simple role. I focused on that, but soon began to understand that more time on a boat would help me bring an A-game to race nights. Heeding Chris’s suggestion, I started sailing additional nights--racing with another crew on a smaller boat at different club. This helped me improve my understanding for how to operate the sails so as to speed up a boat based on wind direction. This other skipper used a video camera to capture our time on the water, so watching the footage definitely helped me correct some of my mistakes.”

What Ayme likes about Chris is his decisiveness plus ability to share the game plan. “He asks for feedback post-race, and takes everything very seriously. He listens to the crew and, when needed, makes necessary adjustments for future times on the water. We can’t move the boat if the seven of us aren’t in sync; it takes an incredible amount of communication and camaraderie to keep winning races. I’m very impressed with how clear he is in his calls and directions.”

For 2016, Chris registered to compete on Wednesday nights—letting the course serve as playgrounds for practice. “Each race offered a chance to tune, learn and seek ways to improve. We’d also head out early and run some drills to dial-in (both weekends and evenings). And one of the most fruitful training tasks was to invite a local sail maker onboard to observe and offer critique,” adds Chris, asserting that post-race discussions were a must too.

Additional training and development carried over to knot a lot--especially the bowline. Says Ayme, “Early on I was given a 10 knot test, and I still know how to pretty much do all of them—a learned survival skills that may save a life if ever get in a pinch.” 

Going Dinghy Off Season
With winter in full force on the LI Sound at the moment (January), boats are on the hard and wrapped up tight. Chris uses this time for personal training. “Dinghy racing offers an unbelievable way to sharpen skills. There is no better way to improve upon boat handling, and increase knowledge of sail dynamics, than manning a small boat solo or aside just one other person.”

Continuing, “The J/109 is an easy boat to sail fast, and it performs well in this area under the PHRF handicap. However, the local one-design fleet is very competitive and the crew is still getting up to speed. We are always training and looking to improve, and I am always tweaking the rig for improvements. I normally adjust the rig before every race, pending conditions. Two seasons ago I started keeping a journal with different rig tunes and how the boat performed.”

For Long Island Sound (NY) sailors, the season runs late April to early October. That equates to local Wednesday night beer can and Friday evening action within Glen Cove harbor for Sweet sailors. In spring 2017, the crew will kick off with the opener hosted by the American Yacht Club in Rye, New York. Up for consideration re: weekend regattas are the 143 NM Vineyard Race (in 2015 the crew sailed the Seaflower Reef course and took a first), the Block Island Race Week, J/109 Nationals, plus various regional one-design match-ups where 10 to 15 J/Boats are usually on the line.

He’s Sweet on Caroline
It’s true that the boat sees ample race action, but Chris is quick to remind that Sweet Caroline also underpins much of the family’s summer social life. “She’s a great racer as well as coastal cruiser--fast with an easy motion in the short steep chop that we can encounter on the Sound.”

For that end, Chris has added a dodger, pressure hot water and 12-volt refrigeration. The boat can carry 70 gallons of fresh water, which makes for comfortable two-week cruises. Eight opening ports and two opening hatches allow plenty of ventilation. He calls attention to an LP oven and stove top on a gimbal, plus the large head with shower. There is also a shower on the swim platform.

Adds Chris, “Some of the things that make her a great racer also help with cruising.  The cockpit is easy to maneuver in but also allows for bracing yourself when the weather picks up. I also like that the Yanmar diesel is quiet and smooth. Sweet will easily cruise at 7 knots.”

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.

* The J/40 HERON REACH sailed by Virginia and Jerry is participating in the Blue Planet Odyssey project and have recently joined them in the Marquesas Islands in the Eastern Pacific.  Learn more about their adventures and experiences here-
Giant whale breaching in front of J/160 SALACIA off  Australia's Whitsunday Islands* J/160 SALACIA has been sailing in Australia in the Whitsunday Islands.  Guess who decided to throw themselves across their bow as they cruised comfortably to their next destination?  A giant whale!  Look at this amazing photo!

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:

* J/160 AVATAR headed for the Caribbean, again, for 2015/ 2016!  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 regards their various improvements and refit to the boat (see above).  They will again be based at Proper Yachts in St John, US Virgin Islands.

Bill & Judy Stellin- sailing J/42 Jaywalker* Bill & Judy Stellin were interviewed 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."


J/42 sailing off France* 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 and points further around the Blue Planet Earth.  Here is their latest update (December 2016) from Bill & Kathy:

“We completed a three year tour of the south pacific and sailed from Hobart Tasmania back to Seattle in the fall of 2012.  After two seasons of local cruising, we decided to truck the boat to Rochester NY.  In the summer of 2015, we sailed out the Saint Lawrence seaway and down the east coast of Nova Scotia and the US, with a few months in the Bahamas that winter.  This past summer, we crossed the Atlantic with stops in Bermuda and the Azores, making landfall in Falmouth, UK.  We have worked down the coast of France, Spain and Portugal and are now in Lagos Portugal.  We plan on passing through the Straits of Gibraltar and spending a couple seasons in the Med.”

Their blog is here:

* 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

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 (  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  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.