Wednesday, March 29, 2017

J/Newsletter- March 29th, 2017

J/88 sailing San Francisco Bay
J/88 Speedster @ Pacific Sailboat Show
(Richmond, CA)- Getting ready to plan for fun, pleasurably fast experiences this summer on the Pacific coast?  Then, you should head on down to the Pacific Sailboat Show, produced by SAIL AMERICA, which runs from April 6th to 9th at the Craneway Pavilion and Marina Bay Yacht Harbor in Richmond, CA!

Whether you are a newbie or a seasoned boating enthusiast, this four-day spectacular is the place to immerse yourself in the world of marine sports! Enjoy the stunning waterfront venue while discovering all the new boats that the world’s leading manufacturers have to offer.  Also on display will be a full range of marine electronics, gear, products and accessories.

Norm Davant and the SAIL California Team will have the J/88 on display at the “in-water display” location. If you want a personal tour, please call Norm at ph# (510) 685-7453 or email- norm@sailcal.com.

The J/88s are having a great time on San Francisco Bay.  Proving they can decimate local “hot boats” in the light to medium conditions in the early part of the day.  Then, when it starts nuking from the westerly thermals, it's the only “light displacement” boat that can still fly upwind, then “turn and burn” downwind under its big kite- hitting 18-22 kts with ease in full-on planing mode.

There is a reason why this boat is loved by a lot of short-handed sailors- easy-to-handle, goes upwind faster than any other West Coast ULDB design in its size range, but it’s also fast as hell downwind, planing under control in the big breeze when you NEED to send it!! Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/ Daniel Forster.  For more Pacific Boat Show tickets and information  For more J/88 family speedster sailing information

Italian J/70 Sailing LeagueItalian J/70 Sailing League Launched!
(Trieste, Italy)- This past weekend, the Legavela Servizi (LVS), the organisation that is managing the Italian J/70 Sailing League, proudly christened their fleet of ten J/70s for their upcoming season in Trieste, Italy. The LVS is managed by Alessandro Rinaldi, and their organization is expecting to have an enormous impact on Italian sailing, especially for club sailing teams and youth sailing teams throughout the country.

The first event will be an introductory regatta called the “Adriatic Cup”, hosted by YC Trieste, that will take place from the 7th to 9th of April.  The goal is to make this event yet another “classic” event on the J/70 class calendar in the Mediterranean region, like the J/70 EuroCup has become for Fraglia Vela Riva on Lago di Garda.   For more information about the inaugural Adriatic Cup, please contact Alessandro Rinaldi @ email- press@legavela.it

J/105 sailing J/Fest San FranciscoJ/Fest San Francisco Preview
(San Francisco, CA)- A great fleet of J/crews are planning on attending the perennial favorite of the J/Classes on San Francisco Bay- the J/Fest San Francisco that will be sailed from April 1st to 2nd at the St. Francis Yacht Club.

There will be fun sailing and friendly competition amongst the fleet of forty boats in the J/105, J/111, J/120, J/70 and J/24 classes. After a full day of racing on Saturday there will be the popular Mt. Gay Rum Party, buffet, a great dance band, and the crowd favorite, the annual J/Fest Raffle led by the always entertaining Master of Ceremonies->  Norman Davant.  Sunday will provide more racing, followed by a regatta social and the prize-giving awards for those who survived Saturday evening!

The largest class will again be the highly popular J/105 SF Bay Fleet, with twenty-one teams headed to their crowded starting line.  Many of the Bay’s leading teams will be on hand to see which skipper has the steadiest hand, the tactician that makes the least mistakes in the tricky Bay, and the crew that can handle getting in and out of the corners smooth and fast.  Somewhere near the top of the leaderboard should be crews like Adam Spiegel’s JAM SESSION, Bruce Stone’s ARBITRAGE, Jeff Littfin’s MOJO, Phi Laby’s GODOT, Ryan Simmons’ BLACKHAWK, and Shannon Ryan & Rolf Kaiser’s DONKEY JACK.  That’s not to say that some newcomers to the fleet, which are numerous this year, won’t find that magic combo of speed and smarts and blast onto the podium, much to the surprise of everyone!

J/70s sailing San FranciscoThe next biggest fleet happens to be the J/70 class, with seven boats from around the Bay.  Hard to say what the form guide should be for this group as, again, there are Bay veterans and several newcomers to the fleet.  Nevertheless, based on their top-of-the-line performance at the J/70 Worlds 2016 on the Bay, it may be Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER that will be angling for the top of the pack.  They will be chased hard by Peter Cameron’s PRIME NUMBER, Geoff McDonald’s 1FA, Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE, the Foox Family crew on FLOTEK, Tom Kassberg’s PICKLED HERRING, and Aya Yamanouchi’s BENNY (her first major regatta of the year).

The next three fleets have all fielded a quartet of entries.  In the J/111s, the racing will be extremely tight, especially with Roland Vandermeer & Peter Wagner teamed together on BIG BLAST, chased by Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG, Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT, and Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS.

Similarly, the J/120s will either see a runaway or a complete game of chutes & ladders all weekend long- always hard to tell what form each team will bring to the table!  So, easy to say that anyone can win in this class of veterans, such as Barry Lewis’ CHANCE, Steve Madeira’s MR MAGOO, Timo Bruck’s TWIST and Tom Grennan’s KOOKABURRA.

Finally, the J/24s are out and about having fun on SF Bay.  Being the first J/Boat class in San Francisco 40 years ago, it’s amazing to see the class’ staying power, a tribute to the strength of the boat in the often brutal conditions they see in 20-30 kt winds, and the passionate owners who maintain them.  Like their brothers in the 111s and 120s, just about all the teams have won something on the Bay.  So, who’s got the “mojo” this weekend?? We’ll soon know!  Those teams include Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS, Randy Rasicot’s FLIGHT, Val Lulevich’s SHUT UP & DRIVE, and Darren’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR.  Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray/ Pressure-drop.us.  For more J/Fest San Francisco sailing information

J/88s sailing Can AM regattaJ/Fest Great Lakes Announcement
(Lake Ontario, ONT)- Ashbridges Bay Yacht Club is proud to announce that it is hosting the 2017 J/Fest Great Lakes Regatta on Lake Ontario.  The event is being run in association with J/Boats’ regional dealers- Pat Sturgeon Yachts and RCR Yachts.

J/Fest Great Lakes is open to all J/Boats owners, their crew and their family and friends!  The sailors will participate in top-notch racing on the water and enjoy a superb shore-side environment with food and entertainment.

Join us at ABYC for the inaugural J/Fest Great Lakes from July 21st to 23rd and make it an annual event as it moves around the region to other great host clubs.

ABYC offers excellent racing and are fully-equipped to handle special fleet events such as Championships and qualifiers for major fleet challenges.  Registration is open now at http://www.abyc.on.ca.

For more J/Fest Great Lakes sailing information, please contact Roger Van Vlack (ogervanvlack@gmail.com) or Colin Andrews (colinandrew.buoyroom@gmail.com).

Remember, you can plan on adding the CAN/AM Regatta the following weekend in Youngstown, New York just down the road apiece from us in lovely, sunny Ontario!  Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.

J/70s sailing San Francisco BayRound The Rocks Race Announcement!
(San Francisco, CA)- What is next up after the J/Fest San Francisco Regatta?  None other than the famous Round the Rocks Race held on April 15th!  The regatta is hosted and supported by the SSS (Singlehanded Sailing Society). J/32 sailor Chris Boome describes the race:

“The race starts about 11:30 on the Berkeley Circle which is a little under 2 hours before a 2.5 Max Flood. It is open to boats either single-handing or double handing (there are separate divisions and separate trophies).

The course after the start is Alcatraz to starboard, Harding Rock to starboard, Red Rock to Starboard, The Brothers to Starboard, Red Rock to port and finish at the entrance to Richmond YC.

With the current, if there is enough breeze to get around Red Rock in good shape, it will be easy to get to the Brothers, then there will be some current to fight on the way home. After Red Rock, the only tricky part should be The Brothers to Red Rock, after that it is typically a close reach to the finish.  After the race, there are refreshments and stories being told at the RYC.

The deadline for entry is April 12th (the day of the Skippers Meeting, you must register by the end of the skippers meeting either on line or in person.)  You can register online here NOW!  Here are the Round The Rocks Race Sailing Instructions’s.

The trophy presentation is April 26th. Everybody who races gets a SSS T-shirt, coveted by many for its awesome graphics!  Here is an article about the 2013 race.

This should be a great race for a J/70 because the first beat is not too long and then the beat from the Brothers to Red Rock is typically pretty light breeze and obviously flat water with the flood current (unless all the snow melts and there will be no flood current).

This would be a good J/70 fleet event because there are not a ton of sets and mark roundings, so everything is much less hectic than a typical J/70 race. This would be a good race for the newer people to have a chance to race without the hand-to-hand combat that sometimes may enter into a J/70 close race with lots of boats arriving at the same place at the same time.”

So far, three J/teams have already entered!  Morgan Paxhia’s J/70 PENNY PINCHER in Doublehanded J/70 class; Jim Hopp’s J/88 WHITE SHADOW in Singlehanded PHRF; and Chad Peddy’s J/24 IRISH BLESSING in Singlehanded PHRF.  Come one, come all!  It’s a fun and totally laid back event— really just a great excuse to go out for a nice day sail and do your own Tour de’SF Bay- about as picturesque a place to sail you will ever see!  Sailing photo credits- Leslie Richter/ Rockskipper.com

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

It was a busy third week in March around various race tracks in Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas.  Starting in the equatorial Atlantic, the St Thomas YC hosted their famous St Thomas International Regatta off their wonderful facilities in Cowpet Bay on the east end of the US Virgin Islands.  The competition experienced variable weather conditions all weekend long, loving it were crews on a J/88, J/80, J/105, and J/122.

Next door in the Americas, the J/22 Midwinters were hosted at Southern YC in New Orleans, LA. They were greeted by classic Lake Ponchartrain spring weather- a massive cold front fueled by super warm Gulf of Mexico moisture to produce plenty of wind, thunderstorms and tornados.  Out west, the Seattle Center Sound Series hosted by Corinthian YC of Seattle concluded their three-race series- the Blakely Rocks Race, Three Tree Point Race, and Scatchet Head Race.  It is a popular event for the hardy sailors in the Pacific Northwest for J/crews on J/29, J/35, J/105s, J/109s, J/120, J/122E, and J/160.  Just south of them, experiencing equally off-the-wall spring Pacific weather were sailors in San Francisco Bay sailing the annual, hotly contested San Francisco Cup.  Hosted this year by last year’s winners, the San Francisco YC in Belvedere, CA, it was St Francis YC’s turn to challenge the host- sailed on J/22s and IOD’s.

Hopping across the Atlantic, we find the ever-present, passionate sailors in the United Kingdom praying for “shorts, shirts & shades” weather in their annual springtime ritual known as the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series.  Londoners from “the City” cannot wait to escape the drab walls of grey in the inner city to head south to sunny Southampton and tear it up with their friends, both offshore and onshore. While this weekend did not deliver it in spades, it did offer some sun, a bit of a breeze and somewhat chilly temperatures.  The crews will have to wait at least one more weekend for real spring weather for the fleets of J/111s, J/70s, J/80s, J/88s, J/109s, and J/92.  Over in the Mediterranean, the Italian J/24s keep sailing no matter what the weather- powered by fabulous pasta and awesome Italian homegrown red wines.

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:

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/105 sailing St ThomasStormy, Windy, Sunny St Thomas International Regatta!
(St Thomas, US Virgin Islands)- This year’s St. Thomas International Regatta (STIR), sailed from March 24th to 26th, offered a full range of exhilarating sailing challenges from frequent tacks along offshore cays to cross currents and wind shifts around the east end and slalom-like conditions in the downwind. The island’s Virgin Islands National Park served as the picture-perfect backdrop for this incredible and highly competitive event.  Most importantly, the weather prognosticators were again wrong for at least half the regatta.  While Thursday and Friday on the dark and stormy side, by the weekend, the front blew away and the fleet was treated to sunny, breezy, classic Caribbean weather conditions.

The event started off with the Round The Rocks Race, a popular one-day warm-up that takes the boats 21.0nm clockwise around the beautiful, very mountainous island of St John.  Twenty-three boats took off from the start and headed across Pillsbury Sound, they fought the current and then the winds changed direction and it was tough. The sail up the south side of the island was nice, but then the wind died by the time the fleet got to Coral Bay. After that, they shot around to Francis Bay, enjoying smooth seas although the winds changed direction often. Then, the ride down the north shore was great straight to the finish.

The J/122 EL OCASO, which race charters under Caribbean Yacht Racing based in the British Virgin Islands, finished second class.

J/122 El Ocaso sailing St ThomasDay 1- The Wind (or the Bird) was the Word
Nearly cat’s paw calm in the morning combined with typical Caribbean tradewinds gusting to 20-plus knots in the afternoon provided something for everyone during the first day’s racing to the Charlotte Amalie harbor and back. These polar-opposite conditions plus the challenge of round the islands rather than strictly buoy racing proved the talk of why some of the best sailors in the Caribbean, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand put STIR on their list of must-do’ regattas each year.

“It was almost like two separate races today with the wind conditions,” said crew Jeff Johnstone, on the J/88 TOUCH2PLAY. “Rig settings are really important in light wind. Trim and drive is everything in big breeze. A squall went through mid-day and didn’t progress, but the breeze kept building. That was fine for us. It wasn’t overpowering.”

In the insanely competitive CSA 2 Racing division, Rob Butler’s J/88 TOUCH2PLAY sailed a very steady 2-3 to hold a narrow one-point lead of Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE that posted a 5-1.

J/88 PINK- aka Touch2Play racing from Canada sailing St Thomas!Day 2- Rock & Roll Time
STIR proved its reputation as the ‘Crown Jewel of Caribbean Yacht Racing’ by superbly delivering on its signature mix of round the rocks and round the buoy courses on the event’s second day of competition. What’s more, 6 to 8 foot seas off the island’s east end, gusts blowing to 20 to 25 knots and a mix of rain and sun all added to the fun. Yup, it was a dark & stormy day for all!

It was the three W’s – windy, wavy and warm – that appealed most to the crews in attendance. Some of the hottest competition today was in CSA Spinnaker 1.  Bob Hillier, who hails from Lake Geneva, WI, and his J/122 EL OCASO alumni were trying to nip at the lead all day.

“We have a real interesting class,” says Hillier, charter manager for Caribbean Yacht Racing Ltd. “Two boats, the Melges 32 and RP 37, plane, we and the King don’t and the Andrews 70 is out so far in front we don’t see them. What each of us needs to do is sail our boats to their potentials.”  In the end, EL OCASO posted a 3-2 to hold on to 2nd place for the day.

At the end of the day, the J/122 EL OCASO posted 3-3 to hang on to second place in their CSA 1 Racing division.

In CSA 2 Racing, the J/88 TOUCH2PLAY added a 3-4 to drop into second place by one point.  Just following them 2 pts back was the J/105 SOLSTICE.

J/80 sailing St ThomasDay 3- Perfect Cocktail Racing
On the last day, the fleet enjoyed a mix of signature round-the-island courses combined with conditions that ranged from near breathless calm to blustery gusts over three days of racing. Warm weather, turquoise seas and quality competition delivered STIR sailors the perfect cocktail.

In the end, Hillier’s crew on the J/122 EL OCASO closed with a strong 2-2 to take the silver in their CSA 1 Racing division.  Yet again, the J/122 has shown her consistent ability to get on the podium in virtually every Caribbean regatta it has sailed in her lifetime- truly an astounding record!

The CSA 2 Racing fleet saw a fight to the finish.  One tack, one gybe, one takedown, that was the difference between the J/88 TOUCH2PLAY winning outright versus losing on a tiebreaker! With a 1-4 on the last day, Canadian Rob Butler’s crew knew where they had lost the regatta, literally by 17 seconds!  In any event, taking the silver was a great outcome for their crew’s first time racing in St Thomas!  Taking the bronze was Jordan Mindich’s J/105 SOLSTICE, sailing to a steady average score of 3.5!  Sailing photo credits- STIR/Dean Barnes and STIR/Ingrid Abery.com.  For more St Thomas International Regatta sailing information

J/22s sailing MidwintersMO’MONEY Wins Dark’n’Stormy J/22 Midwinters!
(New Orleans, LA)- When the big cold fronts hit that incredibly hot body of water known as the Gulf of Mexico, some nasty things can happen in the atmosphere.  Last weekend was such a case for the storm-plagued J/22 Midwinter Championship sailed on Lake Ponchartrain in New Orleans, LA and hosted by Southern Yacht Club.

For the first two days of the regatta, the thirty-two-boat fleet had to sit tight due to the 30-35 kt winds and thunderstorms.  In short, it was nastier than anyone could imagine, and Lake Ponchartrain is notorious for whipping up a ginormous 4-6 ft “washing machine” chop that bashes against the breakwater and back onto the race course, creating “freak waves” that often crest higher than 10 feet!  Proof of the pudding?  One overly adventuresome J/22 gave it a try and sank on the lake- an easy rescue since it’s only 5 feet deep!

Surviving on Sunday to tell the story and collect the J/22 Midwinter Championship award was none other than the very popular Youngstown Yacht Club team from Youngstown, NY- MO’MONEY sailed by Kevin Doyle, Vic Snyder and Aaron Snyder!  Their tally in the three race series was a 4-3-1 for 8 pts.  Travis Odenbach’s SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM from Rochester YC in Rochester, NY secured second place with 16 points from their 5-8-3 record.  And, Matt Thompson’s UNDERDOG from Wayzata YC in Wayzata, MY took third with 17 points due to their 12-1-4 tally.

Going into the final race, the Doyle/Snyder team held a one-point advantage over Kevin’s brother Chris Doyle on THE JUG 4 1. “We had a great start in the middle of the line with no one around us, and we launched in front of the fleet,” explained Kevin Doyle. “We kept touch with Chris, but mostly, we just sailed ultra conservative. The winds were fluky in direction and velocity all day.”

Doyle and Snyder have been racing MO’MONEY for more than 20 years, previously with Kevin’s son Jake and now with Vic’s son Aaron. When asked what has kept him in the J/22 Class for so many years, Doyle replied, “Number one, the J/22 is a great boat, and number two is the people! Actually, those two are interchangeable. Good boats attract good people. And number three, we race in cool and folksy places.”

Rounding out the top five were Mike Schmidt’s EN FUEGO, another refugee from the frozen north in Wayzata, MN, taking 4th place, and Terry Flynn’s TEJAS from Fort Worth Boat Club in Fort Worth, Texas holding on for fifth place.  Top local team from host Southern YC was Tommy Meric’s USA 1024.

Amongst the five women skippers in the regatta (16% of the fleet!), the top three were Anne Lee’s HELMS-A-LEE from Houston YC, then Louise Bienvenu’s USA 320 from New Orleans YC, and third was Jessica Oswald’s MUSKRAT LOVE, also from NOYC.  For more J/22 Midwinter Championship sailing information

J/125 sailing Seattle offshoreJ/Crews Excel @ Seattle Center Sound Series
(Seattle, WA)- The Corinthian YC of Seattle just finished their Seattle Center Sound Series.  It is three weekends of sailing in March that consist of random-leg buoy races around the gorgeous Puget Sound.

The first race took place on March 4th- the Blakely Rocks Race of 16.57nm.  Then, on March 11th, the fleet sailed the Scatchet Head Race of 26.29nm.  The finale took place on March 25th- the Three Tree Point Race of 14.1nm.

In PHRF Class 3, Pat Denney’s J/29 HERE & NOW took home the silver with a very steady scoreline of 3-2-2 for 7 pts total.  The J/105 Class saw an excellent ten-boat turnout, with Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE walking off with class honors, posting a 3-1-1 for just 5 pts total.  The real battle was for the balance of the top five, with Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO getting a 5-2-4 for 11 pts.  Just one point back was a tiebreaker between Jerry Diercks’ DELIRIUM and Chris Phoenix’s JADED, with DELIRIUM taking the bronze.  Amazingly, sitting only one point behind them to round out the top five was Dave Cohen & Lance Rummel’s INCONCEIVABLE with 13 pts.

In PHRF Class 6 that was loaded with classic 35 footers, it was Don & George Leightin’s J/35 TAHLEQUAH that placed 4th while Stu Brunell & Joe James’ J/109 TANTIVY took 5th place. PHRF Class 7 was won by Andrew Mack’s J/122 GRACE with a 2-1-2 tally for a mere 5 pts.  In 5th was her sistership, the J/122E JOYRIDE, skippered by John Murkowski.  In PHRF 8 Class, it was Shawn Dougherty & Jason Andrews’ J/125 HAMACHI that nearly took class honors, posting a 1.5-2-3 for 6.5 pts to take the silver by a whisker.  Ron Holbrook’s J/133 CONSTELLATION took 5th place despite not sailing the first race!

Finally, in ORC Class 9, the province of the big boys on Puget Sound, the famous, beautiful J/160 JAM from Gig Harbor YC, was ably guided by her owner/skipper John McPhail to a steady 4-3-4 for 11 pts, taking a fourth place as a result of a tie-breaker for third place.

J/125 Hamachi crewThe “dos amigos” on the J/125 HAMACHI (Shawn Dougherty & Jason Andrews) were posting a blog of their experiences for each race.  Read on and enjoy an “armchair race” with these guys as they weave in and out of the rocks and islands to overcome the fearsome currents and whirlpools on the Sound!

Blakely Rock Race Report
“The 2017 racing season kicked off March 4th with beautiful but cold weather in Seattle.  Sixty two (62) boats had assembled for the CYC Blakely Rock Race.  A week of storms dissipated leaving patchy blue skies, sun and the remnants of a southerly.  This was forecast to fade over the course of the race leaving everyone potentially in a drifter.  Our crew of Mikki, Alyosha, Steve, Lucas, Chris and Max (along with Jason and Shawn) assembled early to entertain the camera crew making Max famous over in China.  We were off the dock, cameras and drones in tow, and after the cameos set about to racing.  We hoisted the heavy #1 in the stiff morning breeze and quickly dialed the boat in.  Based on the pressure we decided to return quickly to the dock to pick up some heavier air sails in case things did not settle down as planned.  Back on the water, we quickly entered the start box for our start sequence (#8), which had the highest performing PHRF boats.  We started amongst the usual suspects and PNW powerhouses including: Absolutely (Farr 39), Terre Moto (Riptide 35), White Cloud (Cookson 12.5), Wicket Wahine (Melges 32), Madrona (Custom 40ft), and Freja (Aerodyne 43).

We had an average start and ended up behind traffic in bad air so we quickly tacked out and back to set up our lanes.  We worked up the east side along the Shilshole breakwater and then worked back west, making several tactical tacks to gain on our fleet, eventually moving out front with White Cloud.  The upwind beat in 8-10 kts left everyone fairly bunched as we approached Blakely Rock.  As predicted the wind began to fade causing people to make extra tacks as they rounded the mark.  We rounded abeam Terre Moto and immediately behind White Cloud and Absolutely.  Once around most of the fleet hugged the western shore searching for puffs of wind.  We moved out towards the middle of the channel seeking the benefit of the ebb tide.  A group of four boats including Hamachi, Terre Moto, Absolutely and Dos started separating to the east chasing our own pockets of wind. After a half-mile Terre Moto and Dos jibed back west towards the fleet, while we continued on with Absolutely on our stern.  Surveying the course, we clearly saw more ripples in Elliott Bay and along the eastern shore, but apparently, only Absolutely and us had this assessment, because no one followed us.

J/160 JAM sailing SeattleAs we continued east, the breeze slowly built.  We jibed to lay West Point as well as the northern mark and carried this breeze steadily north.  At this point only Absolutely and Hamachi were in the wind and we put serious distance on the entire fleet.  In fact, we were reeling in the two lead boats: Crossfire (R/P 55) and Smoke (TP52); which were several miles ahead at the time we rounded Blakely Rock.  Over the course of two hours, we pushed north following the wind line that was clearly only on the east side of the course.  The wind was directly out of the west so we were in a very tight reach and Absolutely eventually had to fly a jib, while we had our A1.5 cranked tight.  This allowed us to put additional distance on them, and we somehow kept gaining on Smoke, watching them round the windward mark about 0.3 miles ahead of us.  As we approached the mark, we put up our #1 jib and reached in and around.  In the process, we struck the A1.5 and put up the A3, which was now serving as our Code 0.  We were the third boat to round the windward mark (behind Crossfire and Smoke) and, with the exception of Absolutely and Wicked Wahine, the rest of the fleet could hardly be seen.

We now pushed south towards the finish making good time, as Absolutely worked north.  After 20 minutes, we came across the race committee boat heading north.  They hailed us on the VHF and asked us to call their cell.  They relayed that they had a conundrum as they were moving to shorten the course, with the goal of making the northern mark the finish.  However, now that we were around it (by this time so was Absolutely), they could not do that without giving us some consideration, or making the entire fleet sail the complete course.  Over the next 10 minutes, a weird phone dialogue/negotiation ensued as they worked to figure out what they were going to do.  The wind was fading and we had good boat speed, while Absolutely was parked behind us.  It was also clear that we would finish with plenty of time on Absolutely to take the overall PHRF win.  The race committee was not at the windward mark and did not have clear timing between the boats. Absolutely claimed that they had the time they rounded and also timed how far behind they were from our rounding - they said around five minutes.  We did not have times for either.  In this scenario, even with the shortened course, the race committee said that Absolutely could have won. We pointed out that we were now 0.5 miles in front of Absolutely, with 1.5 miles to sail, heading towards the finish at 3 kts while they were parked - in our opinion, we were clearly going to win (we were).  We were happy to finish the full course to prove our point, but this would mean everyone else would have to as well, and most would not.  After a final discussion with the race committee and then our crew, we decided that the best thing to do for the fleet was to shorten the course.  Further, in the theme of sportsmanship, we agreed to "share" the victory with Absolutely.  We were putting good karma (and good will) in the bank for future occasions.

When the results were tallied, only 28 boats of 56 in PHRF finished the course.  On corrected time, we (and Absolutely) finished 45 minutes ahead of 3rd place and an hour and 15 minutes ahead of the 4th place finishers. We were all pleased with the overall outcome, especially given this was only our second race and fifth day sailing Hamachi!”

http://www.jboats.com/j122eScatchet Head Race Report
“Scatchet Head has been a wet and windy gear buster the last few years, and we were hoping to get a good blow.  While the J/125 has a reputation as a bomber downwind offshore sled, all we have been able to do is test its inshore upwind abilities with the races to date.  We have been pleasantly surprised by the boats all around capabilities, but are getting anxious to "send it".  We were hoping CYC's Scatchet Head would deliver and the Pacific Storms were lining up.  In the end, the race occurred between two strong fronts, so all we saw was 10-15 kts oscillating between the SE and SW.  So, the "go big" moment had to wait, but the boat continues to earn the respect of the fleet.

Our crew of Chris, Mike, Adam, Steve and Mikki (along with Jason and Shawn) were off the dock early.  The heavy rain rolled in for the start and we set up for our first real downwind leg, albeit in lighter than desired conditions.  Given that we have never even sailed the boat in a downwind race leg (it's hard to count last week since we never saw more than 5 kts downwind), and we are new to asym spinnakers (the J/36 had a pole), we were making it up a little as we went - but that's how we roll.  We debated about the wind and the forecast to build...or not...and decided in the end to go with the A2 based on the color-coded crossover chart on our bulkhead (hey - if all else fails, read the manual...).

J/122e Joyride passes ferry in SeattleWe chose the west side (pin end) of the start and set off down the course in 10-12 kts.  We struck the #3 and hoisted our spinnaker staysail, only to find that the winds were too light and it did more harm than good.  We stayed west and were getting better breeze than the rest of our fleet.  The larger ORC boats started right behind us and the TP52s hugged the west side, as all the forecasts said it would be slightly heavier air there.  A group of us jibed to head farther west in search of this breeze, while the other half of our fleet kept on their lines to the east.  The wind was out of the SE so many of these lighter boats (Wicked Wahine - Melges 32 / Terre Moto - Riptide 35) were choosing to sail deeper lines to lay the mark.  After a short run to the west, we jibed back pointing mostly at the leeward mark up at Scatchet Head.  We spent a bit of time trying to find the downwind sweet spot, and found we were pointing higher and faster than these other boats, but in the end sailed a longer course.  The wind built to 15 kts gusting to 18 kts and we felt the boat's potential, but never really got it on a plane.  We all converged at the Scatchet Head buoy and, after a conservative takedown on our part where we gave up a little time; we rounded immediately behind Wicked Wahine and abeam Terre Moto.

We powered back up hill for home in 10-12 kts with our Heavy #1.  We dialed the boat in, making 7.25 kts through the water, and passed Terre Moto and then Wicked Wahine.  We pushed out to the west of the fleet to catch the incoming flood tide and stayed west of everyone.  About half way home there was a big wind shift to the SW, which we reached first.  This allowed us to point high and put some separation on everyone.  We had the ORC boats Jedi (J/145) and Jam (J/160) trying to reign us in and we were able to fend them off.  Within a mile of the finish, the next front overcame the fleet and the wind jumped up to 15-17 kts.  This allowed us to power along pointing incredibly high and cranked across the finish at 8kts.

We were the first PHRF boat across the line and fifth overall to finish behind the big ORC sleds: Crossfire (R/P 55), Smoke (TP52), Glory (TP52) and Neptune's Car (SC70).  On corrected time, Terre Moto was able to keep the gap small enough that they finished first in class while we took second.  Overall, this was not the race for the fast PHRF boats, as we corrected out to 22nd and Terremoto took 16th.  Through two races we are 1st in class and 5th overall.”

J/35 sailing off SeattleThree Tree Point Race Report
“Once again Hamachi is the fifth boat across the line behind the big ORC sleds and takes PHRF line honors. We correct out to sixth overall in the 58 boat PHRF fleet and 3rd in class. For the three race series we record a 1st, 2nd and 3rd, and finish the series 2nd in our division a half point behind Terremoto. Terremoto and Hamachi finish 1st and 2nd Overall for the CYC Center Sound Series.

After two marginal races, the weather was looking epic for a great March day of racing.  The rains would pause, the skies would clear, and the wind would fill in with 10-20 kts out of the south / southwest.  Going into the race, we had 3.5 points and were in first place, with Terremoto in second with 5 pts.  We knew that in heavy air we may have an upwind advantage over Terremoto so our goal was to load the rail and point it, hoping to leverage our heavy #1 in 15 kts to point high and fast.

However, on race morning there were a few conflicting weather forecasts with some indicating that a northerly would descend and shut off the wind around the finish.  Unfortunately, race committee got nervous about the weather forecast and decided to shorten the course, selecting Alki and Meadow Points as rounding marks.  This effectively cut the course in half.

We had a good start among the maneuvering boats and got clear air on the upwind side of the course.  The fleet charged west in 12-15 kts and our plan of big sails and lots of crew was paying off.  We pinned multiple boats on the inside but we all eventually ran out of water and had to tack back.

Absolutely snuck to the outside and came back on all of the boats now on port tack.  There was a lot going on and we didn't see them until the last minute and they had to duck us and called a foul.  We were in great shape up to that point, but quickly threw in a 360 and pressed on.  We all tacked out to Westpoint and there the boats divided.  We continued on into the channel to catch the now flood tide.  The fleet split with some continuing west while we decided to tack back east into Elliott Bay.  We could see boats getting lifted and stayed on the east side of the course up to the mark.  We traded a few tacks but most of our competition stayed west, and we caught a tremendous lift to sail straight to and then tack over to the mark.  This allowed us to get good separation from our fellow 40 footers.  We rounded, set the A2.5 and headed back for the finish.

J/125 Hamachi setting spinnakerHeading downhill we had 10-12 kts of wind, which means Hamachi is well below the point we could plane, but we still made 8-9 kts through the water.  We jibed east towards Magnolia, jibed again to make Westpoint, then jibed at Westpoint for the Meadowpoint buoy.  The forecast had the wind filling in from the south between noon and 1pm, and it was accurate.  Unfortunately, instead of riding this wind home from Three Tree Point, it meant that the slower boats in the shortened course were blown back up to the leaders.  We rounded Meadowpoint ahead of the wind line and then beat the short distance back to the finish line in the building breeze.  Like the previous weeks, we crossed fifth overall behind the big ORC sleds and took PHRF line honors.

In the end Terremoto and Absolutely used the building southerly to close the gap on corrected time with Terremoto finishing first, Absolutely second and Hamachi third in class.  Overall, those boats finished fourth, fifth and sixth in the 58 boat fleet.  On corrected time Absolutely finished 40 seconds ahead of us, so our screw up at the start became significant!! Yuuuge, some might say!!  We wish we could have sailed the long course, because the weather would have played to our advantage, instead of detriment - but that's sailboat racing!

We compiled some of the GoPro footage from the three races into a summary.  Only sailboat racers can watch videos of sailboat racing.  Most people find it equivalent to watching paint dry…  Enjoy!”   The J/125 HAMACHI total immersion YouTube sailing video is here- CLICK ME NOW!! :)

Follow the J/125 HAMACHI on Facebook here.  Or, on their HAMACHI blog here.  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson   For more CYC Seattle Center Sound Series information.

J/88s sailing off startChilly, Windy Warsash Springs- Act III
(Warsash, England)- For many, it was “chilled champagne” sailing on day three of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series.  The series is at its midpoint and the overall results are beginning to take shape as the front-runners and riders start to become apparent.

The third Sunday of the Series was more like a classic Spring Series day; cold with sunshine and reasonable winds from the East. A brave crew member was spotted in IRC2 with bare red legs dangling below very short shorts on the start line- what a hero (a.k.a. the south side of a north-facing donkey)!

In the combined White Group, three races were held, and although the wind moved right for the third race, by judicious moving of marks the committee managed to avoid having to stop and re-run the race. The J/70s appeared to pull away from the J/80s due to downwind speed. Series Race Officer Peter Knight said, “it looked like a day of sun, fun, and spray for the competitors (except for that person in short shorts)!”

J/70s sailing Warsash Spring seriesAfter the three races, Graham Clapp’s J/70 JEEPSTER leads their class with just 9 pts in six races for a somewhat commanding lead at this juncture.  Sitting in second is Steve Venables’ INJUNCTION with 18 pts and in third position is David Mcleman’s OFFBEAT with 35 pts.

The other White Group J/class are the J/80s.  Like they have in the past, it looks like Jon Powell’s BETTY is beginning to collect an awful lot of 1sts and 2nds, in fact tossing a 2nd place to have an enormous lead with just 6 pts net!  Tied on second place are Mike Lewis’ JESTER and Terry O’Neill’s AQUA-J, each with 11 pts.

The Black Group start line was near E Knoll with the first beat set to a removable buoy on the mainland shore. True wind was around 18 knots, varying from 14 to 21, but with relatively flat water, which led to some debate amongst the J/109s as to the correct headsail to use.

Favoring the committee boat end, the J/109s had a clean start with some boats opting for No. 3 headsails and others for No. 2s.  In the end, the No 2 proved to be the best option as the breeze faded on the third beat.

J/109 sailing upwind at Warsash Spring seriesOn the first beat it seemed to pay to go left and pick up the shifts on the mainland shore - JIRAFFE and JAYGO were first round the windward mark followed by JYNNAN TONNYX. On the next two downwind legs JYNNAN TONNYX went through JAYGO, then took JIRAFFE on the next beat, where it paid to go up the middle, using the tail of Bramble Bank to reduce tide effect.

Ultimately, Owain Franks’ JYNNAN TONNYX held the lead to win from Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, with Mike & Susie Yates’ JAYGO third place. JYNNAN TONNYX now leads the series in the J/109 class with three bullets!  Second is JAYGO with a 2-2-3 for 7 pts and third is JIRAFFE with a 4-3-2 for 9 pts.

On the combined IRC1 and 2 starts, eagerness prevailed as boats clustered up on the committee boat end of the line, and the individual recall flag was displayed - boats peeled off and restarted.

In IRC 1 class, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG took second and Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL placed third, which puts them in the same order in the overall placing’s.

IRC 3 class saw Rachel & Robert Hunt’s J/97 JUMBLESAIL 2 post a 6th to drop them a bit off the pace from the class leaders, now sitting 7 pts back from the overall lead.

J/88 sailing upwind at Warsash Spring SeriesThe J/88s, having watched the IRC 1 & 2 class start, seemed more reluctant to push the line at the gun and held back to complete a clean start, and enjoyed close racing round the course. J-DREAM (David and Kirsty Apthorp) won by 11 seconds from TIGRIS (Gavin Howe) with SABRIEL JR (Dirk and Dianne van Beek) in third place.  This puts TIGRIS (Gavin Howe) in the first overall placing on a tie-breaker with J-DREAM (David and Kirsty Apthorp) second overall.  Then, just one point back in third is JONGLEUR (Richard Cooper), one point still further down is the Van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, with Paul Heys & P Tait’s JENGA rounding out the top five with 16 pts.

The sunny weather saw crews clustered on the Warsash Sailing Clubs lawn post-racing for the prize-giving, enjoying a few pints and spinning tall tales of “could’a should’a would’a” as to why they didn’t win, start better, or sail faster!  Sailing Photo credits- Close Hauled Photography.  Media enquiries to: Louise Nicholls, tele- +44-07825 586109 or email- louise@solentpr.com  For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series sailing information

San Francisco Cup winnersSt Francis YC Wins San Francisco Cup!
(San Francisco, CA)- Last weekend’s battle for the San Francisco Cup ended in a victory for the St. Francis Yacht Club, winning with a score of 12-6 over our worthy rivals from across the Bay. San Francisco Yacht Club, as last year’s winners, hosted the 2017 rendition of the Cup. They did an excellent job managing 18 races on Berkeley Circle in perfect match-racing conditions, and an equally fine job organizing Saturday evening’s festivities.

After a short delay while the wind settled in on Saturday, the Open division began racing, sailing in IODs. With 8-10 knots out of 245°, minimal current effect and lovely spring sunshine, it looked all set for a great day of racing, and that is how it turned out. In the first race, the Perkins brothers, sailing for SFYC, got the win despite a great start and first windward leg by Craig Healy and his crew Pamela Healy, Tommy Ducharme, Chris Smith and Joe McCoy sailing for StFYC. It seemed the SFYC boat had the speed edge, particularly downwind, but the StFYC team went to work tweaking things to make up the difference in the following races.

J/22s sailing San Francisco CupNext, it was the all-women teams, racing the J/22s from StFYC’s fleet, and StFYC’s Nicole Breault showed her usual form by winning the start and never looking like she would be caught. On board with Nicole were crew Molly Carapiet, Jody McCormack and Juliana Testa.

The score was tied 1-1 and the first round depended on the juniors!!

In that race, also sailed in J/22s, Spencer Paulsen and crew of Parker Klebahn, William Hale and Mats Keldsen lost a hard-fought battle to put SFYC up 2-1. However, the StFYC youth team was not to lose another match and that was pretty much the story of the regatta. At the end of Saturday’s twelve matches, SFYC had won all four in the open division and StFYC had won all the women’s matches, meaning the key difference were the Juniors. StFYC won three out of four.

That evening, when everyone headed back to Belvedere Cove for a splendid evening of food, drink and entertainment, StFYC was up 7-5. The first club with eleven wins would determine the winner, so it was still anyone’s game.

THE San Francisco CupSunday’s skies were overcast and the wind came out of the south at approximately 145° with 9-11 knots, holding firm with only a 5° shift. In the first match, Craig Healy and team came out determined to put a win on the board in the Open division. They came close and the racing was tough, but the first match went to SFYC.

Nicole Breault continued her winning form by claiming two more wins for a clean sweep in the women’s division.

The juniors proved their mettle and improved on the second day of racing by stretching their lead in both races and winning both of their matches.

According to Bruce Stone, "the Open Team’s win in the second match of the day brought us within one race of the series win for StFYC and the final score was a resounding 12-6. The San Francisco Cup is back in our hands! There were cheers in the Grill Room when the trophy was brought back to StFYC Sunday afternoon!"

Congratulations to all the sailors and many thanks to the organizers, the SF Cup Joint Committee with StFYC members Nadine Franczyk (Chair), Pat Nolan and Greg Meagher; Race Committee; the umpires; the StFYC and SFYC race staff and the enthusiastic supporters who cheered for their teams!   Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray/ Pressure-drop.us.   For more San Francisco Cup sailing information

J/24 Griffon sailing ItalyJ/24 Italy Spring Report
(Rome, Italy)- The J/24 fleets around the Italian peninsula all ended up closing out their winter series and are commencing their spring events that dot the coastline  around the Mediterranean, the Adriatic Sea, and the interior lakes up north on the Swiss border.  Here are the latest reports from some of those fleets.

Lario Report
With a brace of victories in the six races completed over the weekend, Ruggero Spreafico’s DEJA VU took the final stage and won the Lario Winter Series Championship.

"Over the weekend, with the splendid organization of the Navy League of Mandello, we give thanks to all the competitors for the six races carried out between Saturday and Sunday,” explained Chief of the Lario J/24 fleet- Mauro del Lario Benfatto.  “DEJA VU outsailed her fierce competition from ITA 352 PILGRIM that took second place and also over Marco Stefanoni’s KONG GRIFFIN in third place.  Fourth for the series was Sergio Agostoni’s ITA 469 BRUSCHETTA and fifth went to Giuseppe Perego’s ITA 458 BELFAGOR.  Next is the City of Valmadrera Cup that will be sailed on April 8th and 9th.”

Taranto Report
Closing with a flourish, the FIVE FOR FIGHTING team (sailed by Tommaso De Bellis Vitti, Elia Masi, Andrea AirĂ²) won the final, seventeenth race of the City of Taranto’s Winter Series.

As a result, the final ranking of the FFF team was just 14 pts net, essentially counting all 1st places.  They were followed by the ITA 427 JEBEDEE crew of Luca Gaglione, Nino Soriano, Remo Soriano, Vittorio Renzi, Silvio Tullo and Daniele Sicari that had a total of 24 pts- a good distance behind their leader.  Taking third for the series was ITA 406 DOCTOR J sailed by Sandro Negro from CN L'Approdo Porto Cesareo with a total of 38 pts net. In fourth and fifth place, were ITA 301 LITTLE DEVIL sailed by Ferdinand Capobianco and ENG 450 MARBEA sailed by Marcello Bellacicca and Tony Macina, respectively.

J/24 Italian sailorsPortoferraio Report
BE BEEF, sailed by Henry Gambelunghe (Porto Azzurro Sailing Club), won the second edition of the Elbe Winter Cup, the offshore racing championship organized by the Yacht Club Portoferraio.

"After the conclusion of the last race of the Elbe Winter Cup, the participating boats seemed still in the race while under sail back down to the harbor, parading in front of so many citizens who were enjoying the boardwalk and the spring-time weather,” commented the Commodore of YC Portoferraio.  “We have once again proved that Elba sailing is alive, has great potential for growth, and can be a driver for our 365 day tourist season. Thanks to the J/24 sailors, the Championship has amused everyone, motivated people to come down to the waterfront, see new faces involved, and give everyone a wonderful savory Sunday afternoon stroll along the waterfront to view the pretty J/24s and their spinnakers- it is truly colorful poetry in motion as they majestically passed by us on the watefront!”

On the final day, characterized by summer-like conditions, the sirocco winds of between 6-8 kts saw the fleet fight hard for clean air to get to the windward mark offshore (normally, a downwind run!).  When they rounded the mark, the fleet set their spinnakers and headed back to the finish line in a beautiful procession.

In the evening, the final awards party included the beautiful music of "Ru'lot" group, a fabulous pasta buffet, and delicious local wines and cheeses. The first three teams won gorgeous ceramic awards made by "Ceramics on the Water" by Laura Valleri, plus silver plates offered by the jeweler Stefano Giannini.
For more Italian J/24 sailing information

J/Community
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
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St Pete J/70 Youth team* The U.S. J/70 Youth Championship qualifiers from the J/70 Midwinter Championship in St Petersburg, FL had a terrific time sailing and learning more about the J/70.  Here is their story, as told by Blaire McCarthy, the skipper of the St Petersburg YC Junior J/70 Team:

“Our J/70 Team is comprised of junior sailors from the SPYC Junior Program, myself (skipper), Emma Shakespeare (Main Trimmer), Cameron Delgado (Head sail and Spinnaker trimmer), Callista Hopkins (Tactician) and Heather Kerns (Bow).  We are all former Opti Sailors who are on the SPYC Laser Team, SPYC Offshore Team, and our individual High School Sailing Teams. Most of us have gained keelboat experience in several classes and with the great support of our local J/24 Fleet.

When SPYC purchased a fleet of J/70’s, we turned our focus on building a team and training to campaign for the J/70 Youth Championships.  The first practice as a full team was in January on a 25-knot day and we were definitely hooked.  Our combined knowledge of keelboats allowed us to quickly begin improving.  Coming together as a team was not a challenge, which is great considering our team is made up of all skippers!

At the Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta, we were accompanied by Mike Marshall, a professional sailor who helped prepare us for Midwinters, the following weekend. Because Heather Kerns, our bow girl, was going to be sailing C420 Midwinters the weekend of the NOOD Regatta, we were able to have Mike fill in for Heather on the bow.

The NOOD regatta helped us prepare for the Midwinters as we had yet to sail against other boats. Going into the event, the team knew we were not going to be the best but we knew we would be competitive. Our only goal was to improve with each race and come out of it having increased our skills.

Our first race turned out to be our worst race, a 23rd.  As the youngest boat in the fleet, we were pleased with ourselves, but all knew that we could do better. And we did. The next race, we got a fifth and quickly learned how compact the fleet would be and how everything we did, maneuvers or tactical calls, would mean we would either gain or lose multiple boats.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get another fifth, but we came out of each race having learned something and communicating better, exactly as we had planned. We are very appreciative of Mike Marshall for helping us learn so much about J/70 sailing, as well as Helly Hansen who sponsored us as their Youth Boat- meaning we were decked out in matching Helly Hansen gear!

The J/70 Midwinters brought similar conditions, light and choppy. Unfortunately, were only able to practice once during the week due to an illness that seemed to be passed around each of our schools.  But, we were still ready and excited to compete as a Corinthian boat with an average age of 15.

Our main goal of course was to beat the other junior boats and qualify for the J/70 Youth Championships, but as competitive sailors, we were keen on improving our starts, specifically acceleration, and our downwind tactics. We had so much fun at the Midwinters and really enjoyed being able to compete with professional sailors, many of whom had been idols of ours when we started sailing.

The J/70 is fast and fun, but what really stood out to us was the quality of racing and being part of a class where, as juniors, you can be respected and even get to do some pre-race tuning with World Champions (a huge help!).

Preparations for the J/70 Youth Championships are underway with training and racing planned to make sure we are ready.  J/Boats and the St Petersburg Yacht Club have given us a great opportunity and we intend to make the most of it!”

Wally Cross- J/70 sailor extraordinaire* How Offshore Racing Improves the Soul- Wally Cross with Ullman Sails Detroit shares how offshore sailing offers vital therapy for our fast-moving lives.  Wally has sailed J/24s for years, has been on a winning J/111 team in the Great Lakes, and has recently spent time racing J/70s, too.  He is also Sailing Director for Grosse Pointe YC in Detroit, supporting America’s first sailing league/ stadium sailing project on the club’s J/70 fleet.

“Life is busy – more today than ever before. In addition to family and work obligations, text messages, Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram all demand our attention. Because of all this, our minds are constantly inundated with information, and many of us are looking for ways to escape the hectic pace of the modern era.

Americans spend millions on yoga, meditation, mindfulness and other forms of relaxation to break from the fast-paced life. For me, a long-distance race is truly the best way to unplug, literally and figuratively, from everyday life.

My favorite long-distance sailing memory is the 2013 Transpac Race on a friend’s 46-footer called Bretwalda. With a distance of 2,600 miles from LA to Hawaii, this was the longest race – in both distance and days – of my career.

Among our crew of eight, I was fortunate to have good relationships with everyone, and, as an added bonus, had my closest friend on my watch. While we had a satellite phone/Internet connection, we all agreed not to contact anyone during our voyage.

Just prior to the start, our owner turned off his cell phone for the duration of the race. At that moment, I felt a sense of relief. We were on our own for the next nine to 11 days.

I decided not to think about the length of the race, but to take each day, each hour at a time. I chose to think only about the two S’s – Sailing and Surviving. Sailing is such a part of who I am, I can do it without thinking, which could be described as “mindful.”

Our watch system was four hours on, four hours off. One watch quickly turned into four watches, and the days evaporated one after another. During that 10-day window, I didn’t have time to focus on life’s usual distractions. Life was now about the very basics of survival – sleeping in small pipe berths, desalinating water for drinking, and hydrating food to eat.

By the middle portion of the race, days and nights blended together creating a strange yet incredible reality. The three other crew members on my watch became my family. We all shared a box of wine at the 1,300-mile mark, the halfway point. Being that far from civilization, and knowing that no one could help if anyone was sick or hurt, was enlightening. We had no time to worry about things beyond our control. That feeling was worth the price of living in these extreme conditions.

While I certainly thought about my family, job and all that life on land demands, 99-percent of the day, I thought about sailing and safety. During this experience, it’s almost as if my brain was filtering out any unnecessary information, and living simply became such a joy.

I would look forward to brushing my teeth once a day or taking a solar shower once in the race. Even the freeze-dried food became an obsession – debating on ways to prepare it with olive oil and hot sauce. Often, we would sit on the floor, eating, sharing stories and reflecting on the last four hours. Your watch team became your brothers – the bond between us was tangible.

There is nothing simple about the Transpac Race, but it felt that way to me. It was windy, wild, wet and, yes, sometimes scary. However, it was everything we hoped it could be. As we approached the islands, we became focused on the finish. Even though the end of our race was still about a day away, it was an incredible feeling to see land after only seeing water for nine days. We entered the Molokai Channel, greeted with 30mph winds that allowed us to finish early on the tenth evening of our journey.

Reaching land also meant my entry back into the normal world. I was ready. My 10 days across the Pacific put life into perspective. I found a new appreciation for ordinary day-to-day activities, such as a sitting down to a real dinner, speaking to my family, taking a shower, and, yes, even watching the news. The race was a sort of cleansing, a refresh period, leaving me more focused on my everyday life more than ever.

Of course, we sail to win, but just like climbing Mt. Everest or running a marathon, sailing the Transpac was an award in and of itself. Doing something that few would or could do makes you feel proud of your accomplishment. I ultimately felt this race was more of a test than a challenge. The test was to see how I would react to the extreme lifestyle change. I am so grateful for the experience and look forward to doing it again.

Offshore racing is a unique experience that I recommend to all seasoned sailors. You can enjoy the benefits of unplugging by participating in the Mackinac Race, sailing to Bermuda or Jamaica, or traveling any distance longer than your typical race. Next time you race offshore for a day or more, turn off your cell phone and your brain. Experience the beauty of the water and focus on building lasting friendships with the crew. You will be rewarded for the rest of your life.

Requirements of a Great Offshore Experience
A true offshore race needs to be long enough for you to break from your phone, computer and all of society for at least two days at a minimum – yet preferably six or more. Offshore races are very different than buoy sailing. The boat must function well on deck, as it has to support a crew for many days below.

Here’s a list of requirements to maximize the experience:
• A safe, fast boat to race (based on the race, choose a boat that performs well in those conditions)
• Enjoyable team on and off the water (less is more when it comes to the total experience)
• Current Sailing Gear:
  • Sails designed VMC (Velocity Made to Course) strong with low stretch
  • Instruments that provide true values, polars speeds, true wind speed, boat speed and true wind direction. Also, a computer with routing software and capable of downloading weather. Communication system for reports and safety.
• Running rigging that is strong and durable. One or more halyard locks are helpful for long races. A good spare halyard that could double as a sheet works well.
• Flexible, dry foul weather gear. Combine this with a reliable safety harness with inflatable life jacket.
• Make the race an enjoyable experience before, during and especially after, by sailing to an exciting destination. Looking forward to the finish based on location is the ultimate carrot.
• Great preparation for the race:
  • Research weather, routing
  • Sail crossover chart for wind speed and angle
  • Dry boat inside
  • Comfortable sleeping berths with pillow and blanket
  • Water maker, salt to fresh
  • Great freeze dry food (olive oil and hot sauce are my favorite extras)
  • Practical toiletries and cleaning wipes
  • Watch system that allows you to sail and rest with the same team
  • Fans below to circulate air (smell and temperature)
  • Individual thermos cups for all liquid with personal spork for eating”
 

J/Cruisers
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- http://heronreachodyssey.blogspot.com/
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:  http://www.svceolmor.com/SVCeolMor/Welcome.html

* 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."

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

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: 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. Add to Flipboard Magazine.