Wednesday, February 21, 2018

J/Newletter- February 21st, 2018

J70 sailing off FloridaJ/70 Midwinter Championship V Preview
(Miami, FL)- Since its inception, the extraordinarily popular J/70 class had hosted its Midwinter Championship concurrent with Key West Race Week off Key West, FL- the first event taking place in January 2013.  For the first time, the class will be holding its fifth edition of the Midwinters on Biscayne Bay, hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove, FL.  A very competitive 64-boat fleet has registered with sailors attending from across the world, including Brazil, Turkey, Canada, and Monaco.

Headlining the event will be the two protagonists that have won the past two J/70 World Championships, Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY from Rye, NY and Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT from Wayzata, MN.  Both men are in their mid-60s and are living proof that you can be competitive at any age in the world’s toughest one-design class. They will be having to contend with a number of crews that have maintained a high-level of consistency, like Brian Keane’s SAVASANA that was not only 2nd in the 2017 J/70 Worlds in Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy, but recently won the Quantum J/70 Winter Series held on Tampa Bay, Florida.  In fact, Keane was second to another contender, the winner of the recent Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta in the J/70 Class, Pamela Rose’s ROSEBUD from Chicago with Morgan Reeser aboard for sail trim and tactics.  Throw in two more past winners of the J/70 Winter Series- Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Fort Worth Boat Club in Ft Worth, TX and John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES and it looks like you may have a hard time handicapping this horse race. Plus, one cannot forget other world champion-level contenders like Jud Smith’s AFRICA from Marblehead, MA; Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS from Long Beach, CA; and Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT (another 2018 winter series winner).

As usual, the foreign contingent has a few solid teams in the mix.  YC Monaco’s 2017 Sailor of the Year, Vincenzo Onorato, will be racing his famously-named MASCALZONE LATINO (e.g. “latin rascal”); Ahmet Eker from Istanbul, Turkey is sailing EKER KAYMAK; and from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil is Flavio Andrade’s CARURU.

In the Corinthians Division, look for Jenn & Ray Wulff’s JOINT CUSTODY team from Annapolis, MD to be at the top of the leaderboard. Plus, other crews like Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLY from Greenwich, CT; Frank McNamara’s CHINOOK from Boston, MA; Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED team from San Francisco, CA (he was Etchells 22 Midwinter Champion); Ed Keller/ Billy Lynn on USA 28 from Marblehead, MA; Henry Filter’s WILD CHILD from Annapolis, MD; and Nancy Glover/ Mark Foster on WINTERWIND from Marblehead, MA.  For more J/70 Midwinters V sailing information

J/88 sailing off St PeteJ/88 North Americans & Great Lakes Announcement
(Chicago, IL)- The J/88 class continues to enjoy excellent one-design racing in various regional venues around the USA.  The recent events in St Petersburg, FL for the J/Fest Midwinters and the St Pete NOOD Regatta underscore how close the racing can be.  Notably, five of the six boats all posted top three finishes during the seven race series and, were it not for a crazy last chute set at the last windward mark in race 7, all six boats would have had top three finishes.  That is the sign of a healthy class when all boats get a shot at the podium.

Continuing on that momentum, several boats are planning to sail Charleston Race Week, the New York YC Annual Regatta, then head to the Midwest for the Great Lakes J/88 Championship in Youngstown, NY.  That event is held in conjunction with the CanAm Regatta at Youngstown YC, with sailing taking place just up river from the famous Niagara Falls on Lake Ontario.  The event will serve as a fantastic “tune-up” event for the J/88 North Americans later in August in Chicago.

The J/88 Great Lakes will take place from July 27th to 29th.  Expect three good days of racing with expert YYC PRO Wayne Bretsch.  There will be race debriefs and parties every night.

For logistics, there will be free mast step and unstep, free launch and haul, free docking or mooring and FREE storage until the J/88 North Americans in Chicago!  Yes, you read that right.  FREE storage, leave your boat at RCR Yachts between the two events!  For more information, please contact Tim Finkle for questions, or 860-917-5416.  Register now for the J/88 Great Lakes Championship.

J/88 North Americans
From the 9th to 12th of August, the Chicago Yacht Club is proud to host the J/88 North American Championship on the lovely waters of Lake Michigan.  Racing will take place off the spectacular Chicago waterfront and the J/88 sailors will benefit from having CYC’s best RC crew running their event.  Concurrently, the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta will be taking place, so there will not be a lack of fun and entertainment ashore, in addition to enjoying the many sights and sounds and restaurants offered by the Windy City.  For more J/88 North American Championship sailing information

J/80s sailing college regattaFrance Hosting World University Sailing Championship
(Cherbourg, France)- The northwestern French city of Cherbourg will host the world’s finest university sailors for the 2018 FISU World University Sailing Championship from September 1st to 5th, 2018. A maximum of 40 teams will compete in the fleet of twenty matched J/80 one-design sailboats.

Following two very successful events in Ledro, Italy and Perth, Australia, this will be the first ever WUC Sailing event to be held with the fleet racing format. Competitors will race up to six windward-leeward courses a day in the world’s largest artificial harbour.

This racing area will located inside the Rade de Cherbourg (Inside the breakwater in Cherbourg Harbour). This location has successfully staged many national and international yachting championships.

For regatta entries, there will be two classifications: Open and Women.  Crew requirements are the same for both categories- a minimum of 4 persons with a maximum total crew weight of 350kg.

There is a maximum of 2 entries per category for each nation; i.e. each country may enter a maximum of four teams.

J/80s sailing off FranceOleg Matytsin, FISU President, had this to say about the event:
“Welcome to Cherbourg, where you will join some of the best student athletes in the world in celebrating the FISU World University Sailing Championship.

The International University Sports Federation (FISU) recognizes that just to be here has required many victories, some big and some small. Many of these victories will have brought results that are easy to recognize, like a winning score in a race or in a game. Others are less tangible, like finding the right balance between training and studying. All are equally important.

Our work at FISU is focused on providing opportunities for students– the leaders of tomorrow– to be positively influenced by their experiences of international university sport. Whether a student emerges as a champion, is helping to organize the competitions, or attending in support of a team, we know that they can all learn essential life lessons that cannot be taught in a lecture hall or classroom.

The best athletes are those who bring single-minded determination to what they do. But before, throughout and after the competitions, FISU urges you all to take full advantage of this opportunity– to go home with memories that will last a lifetime, and perhaps even some new friends from faraway places.

By taking part in the FISU World University Sailing Championship, you will be contributing to a record-equalling programme of events across 34 different sports, some of them new to FISU.

None of these events would be possible without the gracious generosity of the hosts, and I would like to extend our sincere gratitude to the National University Sports Federation of France and the organisers for their excellent efforts.

FISU is also grateful for the ongoing support of the International Sports Federations. Together, we aim to provide the highest level of technical excellence, both on and off the field of play. We remain convinced that the best student athletes deserve nothing less.

I am confident that the World University Championship in Cherbourg will provide you every opportunity to shine, and I wish you a fair and exciting competition!”

FISU events are where “sports meet art, education and culture.” The 2018 WUC Sailing event is certainly prepared to continue this tradition, the 28th edition of the World University Championship series that first got its start in 1963.  For more World University Sailing Championship information.

J/gear special 
J/Gear Winter-Spring Special- 20% Off!
(Newport, RI)- J/Boats’ sailing gear licensee V-Sport is pleased to offer all J/Boats owners and crew their 2018 Winter-Spring Special.

The Special Offer is good from now until April 4th, 2018 (please not 1/2 models, J/Photo Prints and J/Battleflags are excluded from the offer).

To place your order and enter the 20% discount code- “JB2018SP”- please visit the J/Gear website.

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

There was an enormous diversity of sailing experiences, both offshore and one-design, in the third week of February.  For starters, there was the Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta hosted by the St Petersburg Yacht Club in St Petersburg, FL.  One-design fleets of J/70s, J/88s, J/111s and PHRF divisions for J/22, J/29, J/35 and J/42 all enjoyed a sunny weekend with great sailing for the first two days of the event.

Out west in the USA, the Islands Race took place; an epic 130nm race from Los Angeles Harbor out around Catalina and San Clemente Islands to finish off Point Loma in San Diego. The event was hosted by Newport Beach YC and San Diego YC. It was a generally light air affair for J/111s, J/105s, and a J/124.

Over in the Caribbean, the Royal Ocean Racing Club hosted their increasingly popular RORC Caribbean 600 Race.  It’s an enormously challenging 600nm event, based out of Falmouth Harbour, Antigua, that sends teams around a few dozen rocks and spectacular mountainous islands in beautiful easterly tradewinds.  J/122s and a J/44 enjoyed the demanding 15-25 kts wind conditions to collect some silverware.

In Europe, the Barcelona Winter Series for J/70s and J/80s held their fifth event off Barcelona, Spain.  It was hosted by Real Club Nautico de Barcelona.

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 pag  Below are the summaries.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Feb 23-25- J/70 Midwinters- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 1-4- Heineken St Maarten Regatta- Simpson Bay, St Maarten
Mar 2-4- J/24 Midwinters- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 7-11- Bacardi Cup J/70 Invitational- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 16-18- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 22-25- St Thomas International Regatta- Red Hook Bay, St Thomas, USVI
Mar 29- Apr 1- Easter Regatta- Columbia, SC
Apr 12-15- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 8-14- Voiles de Saint Barth Regatta- Gustavia, St Barth
Apr 26-29- J/70 Corinthian Nationals- Ft Worth, TX
Apr 28- May 4- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua

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

J/111 sailing St Pete NOOD regattaGorgeous St Pete NOOD Regatta
J/Sailors Enjoy Sunny Seabreezes on Tampa Bay
(St Petersburg, FL)- The 2018 edition of the Helly Hansen St. Petersburg NOOD saw “classic” Tampa Bay weather conditions in late winter along the Gulf of Mexico.  As winter weather slides into spring-time weather, the near record warmth produced beautiful sea-breezes on Friday and Saturday for most race courses to sail seven races.  Sunday produced similar conditions, but the familiar easterly gradient dying into a westerly sea-breeze materialized too late for all race courses, forcing an AP over A to end the day and the regatta.  However, no one appeared disappointed after getting in fantastic racing over the first two days, with everyone enjoying the amazing hospitality always on offer at St Petersburg Yacht and the support of major sponsors like Mount Gay Rum.

The J/tribe saw great racing for three one-design classes- J/70s, J/88s, and J/111s.  In addition, there were excellent outcomes for J/crews in PHRF handicap racing.

J/70 sailing St Pete NOOD regattaWhile many of Pamela Rose’s thirty-eight competitors have raced sailboats most of their lives, the J/70 class winner onboard her ROSEBUD took home her first major regatta win this weekend— and qualified for the J/70 World Championship— only two years after taking up the sport. A self-proclaimed “serious boater,” Rose said she didn’t expect to enjoy sailing so much when she bought ROSEBUD, looking for a new challenge three years ago.

After taking sixth place last year at the St Pete NOOD, Rose gathered a crew of top-notch talent– Morgan Reeser, Charlie Smythe, and Willem Van Waay– to help accelerate her success this year.

“The goal for me was to win a qualifying seat [for Worlds],” Rose said. “I’ve been working really hard. I was thrilled to have this amazing team— they are very experienced, very calm. I call them the dream team.”

Rose said she will plan her summer schedule around training, including an entry into the Helly Hansen Marblehead NOOD in July, to get a test run in the same venue that the 2018 J/70 World Championships will be held in September.

J/70s sailing St Pete NOOD regattaWinning after the first day was Brian Keane’s SAVASANA crew from Marblehead, MA.  However, they could not hold off the veteran crew on Rose’s ROSEBUD to take second overall with 28 pts.  Winning the last race, Bennet Greenwald’s crew on PERSEVERANCE from San Diego, CA managed to just make the podium with 34 pts total.  Rounding out the top five were Josh Goldman’s BUILDING A with 35 pts and Travis Odenbach’s USA 40 with 36 pts, 4th & 5th, respectively.

In the J/70 Corinthians, it was Mark Hillmans’ crew from Annapolis, MD winning with 80 pts total. They were followed by Nancy Glover/ Mark Foster’s WINTERWIND from Marblehead, MA in second; Peter Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE in third; David Mendelblatt’s USA 39 in fourth; and Lily Flack’s MUSTO YOUTH TEAM in fifth place.

J/111s sailing St Pete NOOD regattaThe half-dozen J/88s enjoyed spirited racing over the first two days of sailing.  Leading after the first day was J/88 Midwinter Champion Mike Bruno’s WINGS from New York. However, on the second day of racing, it was Al Minella’s ALBONDIGAS from Milwaukee, WI that ran the table with straight bullets to win the regatta with just 11 pts total.  Second was Bruno’s WINGS crew with 18 pts.  Then, taking the bronze on the podium was Andy Graff’s EXILE from Chicago with 24 pts.

The J/111s also had a half-dozen boats sailing. The outcome for the first two boats was a near repeat of the 2017 J/111 World Championship, with Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY taking the class win with 8 pts, followed by Jim Connelly’s SLUSH FUND in second with 11 pts.  Rounding out the top three was Rob/ Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF with 14 pts.

J/88 sailing St Pete NOOD regattaFor J/Sailors in the PHRF world, it was, essentially, a sweep of division wins across the board.  In PHRF 2 class, George Cussins’ J/105 FIRE & ICE won.  David Arata’s J/105 J-HAWK was third. And, the J/42 SHAZAAM, skippered by Roger Gatewood, was fourth.

PHRF 3 Class was crushed by the masthead J/29 called SEMPER FI sailed by Ray Manix from St Petersburg Sailing Association— straight bullets over five races!  At the other end of the spectrum the little J/22 MOJO skippered by Bob Touton from Davis Island YC took fourth place.

For the one-day North Sails Rally- Cruiser Division, Jose Suarez-Hoyos from Davis Island YC won the class sailing his J/35 NO WAY JOSE!  For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/122 Liquid sailing RORC 600 raceTough, Challenging RORC Caribbean 600 Race
(Falmouth Harbour, Antigua)- Eighty-seven yachts started the 10th edition of the RORC Caribbean 600 it was a record fleet that saw new elapsed time records broken, too. With strong 20-25 kts tradewinds that endured for the entire race, it also saw a record number of teams drop out due to the grueling conditions going upwind against 8-12 foot breaking rollers for hours on end.  Most boats spent a vast majority of the race under #4 jibs and reefed mains.

The 600nm race around the central Caribbean includes three French islands as marks of the course; Guadeloupe, Saint Martin and Saint-Barthélemy.  The weather forecast was surprisingly accurate, most northeast winds ranging from 15 to 25 kts, making for a very fast, “reachy” race track for the top boats. As a result, RAMBLER 88 set a new course record with a mostly all New England/ Newport team.

J/44 Spice sailing RORC 600 raceIn CSA 2 and IRC Two were two J/122s that were ready for this challenging race course.  In fact, it was a perfect challenge for them, including a grueling 70nm beat against big winds and big seas along the south coast of Guadeloupe from the rocks of La Grande Anse northeast to the next turn off La Desirade. This leg was tailor-made for the strong all-around offshore design that is the J/122.

Going into that leg, Pamala Baldwin's LIQUID from Antigua and the classic offshore J/44 cruiser/racer, Kevin McLaughlin’s SPICE with a largely New England team, were dueling for a podium finish in their respective classes.

However, after rounding La Desirade, the J/44 took off on a powerful fast reach, as did the J/122.  In the end, the J/44 SPICE took 16th overall IRC, third IRC 1 Class.  Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID took 18th overall IRC, fourth IRC 2 and then in CSA took 9th Overall and 4th in CSA 2 Class.  A good showing in a very, very tough race.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ For more RORC Caribbean 600 Race sailing information

J/111 sailing offshoreJ/111 PICOSA Wins Islands Race Class
J/124 MARISOL Dominates Cruisers
(San Diego, CA)- The 130 nm Islands Race drew 26 teams for the ninth edition of this Southern Californian offshore contest on February 16-17, 2018. Starting in Long Beach Harbor, the course headed west of the Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands before finishing in San Diego.

Many of the teams were competing to prepare for the 1000nm Puerto Vallarta Race in March.

While the history of the race has seen some gear-busters, this year’s race fell on the lighter side, with the wind speed never exceeding 10 knots. In addition, with just a sliver moon, sailors were missing one of their favorite features- moonlight!

“This year was a little bit light and slow, but not bad. Surprisingly, there was a little bit of glass off to the west end of Catalina at 4pm on Friday which should be the windiest part of the day, so that was frustrating. Coming in it was light from San Clemente Island to San Diego and then the wind filled in and the big boats finished on a nice breeze out of an unusual direction, a northeast wind (050-070), which is not a direction we see very often,” said Ben Mitchell, navigator on one of the 70 footers.

A number of J/Crews started Friday evening.  In the end, it was Doug & Jack Jorgensens’s J/111 PICOSA that dominated their ORR 4 Division fleet of super high-performance modified custom boats that consisted of “jacked-up” 1D35s and an Andrews 40.

In the ORR 6 Division, it was Seth Hall’s gorgeous flag-blue J/124 MARISOL that took their division by several hours.  For more Islands Race sailing information

J/70s sailing off BarcelonaBarcelona J/70 Winter Series Report
(Barcelona, Spain)- The Real Club Nautico de Barcelona (RCNB) just completed the 5th weekend of their 2017- 2018 Barcelona Winter Series for J/70s and J/80s off their beautiful city waterfront of Barcelona.  The Mediterranean offered picturesque blue seas, plenty of sunshine, and good southeast breezes to permit the RCNB PRO to run two more races on Sunday, bringing the series totals up to 24 races, permitting teams to discard their four worst races.

With five weekends of racing under their belts, the J/70 PATAKIN sailed by Luis Albert from Club de Mar Palma Mallorca is leading the series with 44 pts net, counting all his scores in the top four!  Amazing!  Sitting in second for the series is Massimo Rama’s Italian crew on JENIALE EUROSYSTEM from RCN Barcelona with 52 pts net.  Rounding out the top three on the provisional podium is David Marco’s REBUFF from RCN Barcelona with 75 pts net.

J/80 sailing off BarcelonaIn the J/80 fleet, it is past World Champion Marc de Antonio from RCN Barcelona leading the series on his famous BRIBON MOVISTAR with 28 pts net.  Holding on for second place is Silvia Ravetllat’s AKEWELE from Club Nautico El Balis with 46 pts net.  Then, sitting in the provisional third position is Rosa Artigas’ MIKAKU with 56 pts net.

The sixth and last regatta of the Barcelona Winter Series takes place next month!  For more Barcelona Winter Series sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/70 Savasana sailing off Florida* Interview with Brian Keane- winner of the J/70 Winter Series at Davis Island YC.

The North Sails team caught up with Brian after his race series win in Davis Island, FL where he sailed his way to success through a high level of competition in the J/70 class.

His team totaled 7 points in the three-event series, and given one throw out he was left with only 4 points.

Here’s what Brian had to say about his team, how they prepared for the winter series, and how they maintained consistency through three regattas, giving his team the overall series win.

NS: The entire series had all types of conditions. It was windy at the first event, shifty in the second, light air in the third. How did your team adjust to keep such great consistent results?

BK: “We were pretty happy that we had a variety of conditions because it gave us a chance to test our tuning and boat handling across a wide spectrum. I think we felt pretty fast in all conditions, whether it was windy or whether it was light. I think the key thing is being smart and avoiding the costly errors. At the end of the day, we felt as fast as anybody, but the real key is not shooting yourself in the foot by making any major mistakes.”

NS: What are some things of most importance that you focus on going into each event given that you might have maybe a different crew every time?

BK: “Yeah, we had slightly different teams, even in each of the three events. When you do that, it just reinforces the importance of being able to communicate effectively within the team, so if somebody’s out and somebody new is in, they can get up to speed very quickly.”

“Because we had a different trimmer in each of the three events, we made sure that we got there early to practice. We spent about a day and a half practicing. And, part of that practice is working on boat-handling and our settings for different conditions, so everybody knows who’s doing what. The other part of that practice is then to make sure, from a speed standpoint, we are where we need to be.

As far as the actual racing is concerned, our goal was to get off the line in a clear lane. We had enough confidence in our speed that if we could get off the line sometime in the lower-density area and be able to hold for a few minutes.  Given that scenario, we’ll quickly be near the top of the fleet and we can just grind down from there.

Starts and minimizing risk I think are some of the key themes across all three events.”

NS: Out of all three events, was there a race highlight, or a moment that stuck out that you remember?

BK: “In event two on the windiest downwind leg- it was blowing like stink. We just killed it and extended dramatically on the entire fleet. That’s always fun. We won the race and won it by a lot. It was exhilarating. You know, I think back on it … I haven’t looked at all of our finishes, but, I think one of the things I feel good about and was how consistent we were going into each event. I am not sure if we ever had a race out of the top ten, and that’s a sign that you’ve got speed and you’re not shooting yourself in the foot. You’re just always there and relentless. That’s the kind of stuff that wins regattas, and wins a race series- it’s being consistent.”

NS: What advice would you give a new J/70 team?

BK: “We sometimes call it “sail by the numbers.” We have a lot of data and we know exactly how we wanna set up for every condition. We’re not wasting time wondering what the right setup for the rig or for sail trim is as the conditions change. As the conditions change, we can look at our grid and we know what to do.

That takes a lot of the complexity out of it. So a new team should ask some of the other teams what they should be focusing on. “How do you think about rig setups, sail trim in different conditions?” Try and create your own map, your own grid, so you can sail by the numbers, so you can think about sailing and what you’re doing during the race, as opposed to trying to figure out how to make your boat go fast.”

NS: What were the biggest contributions to your team’s success this weekend?

BK: “Smart decisions, tactics, strategy, where to start, and where to go.”
Thanks for contribution from North Sails One-Design team.

J/70 sailing fast* Speed guide for the J/70s- Want to get involved in one of the largest and most competitive one design classes in the world?

Check out North Sails’ J/70 Speed Guide. For any J/70, it is a guide where your questions about defining speed, tuning your rig, sail trim, flying the kite, and putting together the best crew, are answered.  This is the basis that top sailors like Brian Keane, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT, and others use to create their own “speed grid” of “sailing by the numbers”.

J/88 sailing fast* Inside the J/88 class winners- Al Minella’s ALBONDINGAS
Look for the spinnaker with a gigantic meatball with a fork and noodles hanging off of it. That’s Al Minella’s J/88 ALBONDIGAS. More on those meatballs later.

Justin Scagnelli, from New York, is Minella’s boat manager and it was he who built and now manages the crew for the Long Island-based program. The skipper, from Milwaukee, is a busy fella and prefers to show up to regattas with a race-ready crew and race boat, and that’s all on Scagnelli, who was the one who suggested Minella buy a J/88 in the first place.

“When Iris [Vogel, skipper of the J/88 Deviation] got her boat, I thought it was really cool,” says Scagnelli. “I got a chance to drive her boat in one regatta, won a few races and fell in love with the boat. When Al was looking for a new boat, I said we’ve got to get a J/88.”

It’s the perfect boat, he says, because “it can be trailered everywhere, the crew is small and the sails are small so it’s more affordable. It’s a great boat that sails well in light air and very well in heavy air.”

In 17 knots of breeze the J/88 will plane, he says, and in most breeze it “gets up and going pretty quick.”

The J/88 class is a gregarious group because setup from trailer to water is straight forward – no more than two hours, says Scagnelli.  And, the upfront investment required to get into the class is reasonable for a boat its size. The sail plan is smaller than that of the J/111, so sail costs are less.

And, in terms of crew, he says, a solid trimmer and driver are a must: “The bow team needs to know what they’re doing because the racing is always close and mistakes are costly.”

The J/88’s deck-stepped rig is straightforward, but requires strict attention when racing in changeable conditions.

For Scagnelli, the past few years have been an exercise in learning, experimenting, and changing sail designs and rig tune. “It’s been a lot of trial and error over the last year,” he says. “We were very slow for a while, but now we know what we have to do with the rig. A lot of these races are won or lost on rig tune."

Given the competitiveness of the class on the water, one might expect more guarded notebooks and tuning guides when it comes to boatspeed and rig setup.  But, that’s not the case at all with the J/88, says Scagnelli. “Everyone is super friendly and helps each other out. It’s a great class that has a lot of fun.”

The class has pockets of boats on Long Island Sound, the West Coast, Chicago, and Milwaukee, and while they’re spread out, they do travel plenty.

And here’s Scagnelli’s own tips: “Upwind, you have to get it going in the groove and carry that speed, you really have to scallop the boat by feathering it up. The boat responds and holds speed well. The same thing with downwind; you can soak as much as you can, but once you feel the boat slowing down you have to get it back up to speed.”

Weight placement is huge, too, he adds. “We are the heaviest boat– because we eat a lot of meatballs, so where you put your weight makes a huge difference.”  Thanks for contribution from Dave Reed at Sailing World. Add to Flipboard Magazine.