Wednesday, July 10, 2019

J/Newsletter- July 10th, 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J's Sailing Worldwide

This week, the J/22 World Championship is currently taking place on the Baltic Sea, hosted by the Warnemuender Segel-Club in Warnemuender, Germany for a fleet of thirty-one teams. Across the northern parts of Europe, the SAILING Champions League hosted their third and finale qualifying regatta in St Petersburg, Russia in the St Petersburg YC’s fleet of J/70s for 24 teams from across Europe. This event qualified eight teams for this year’s SAILING Champions League Finale that will be held in St Moritz, Switzerland on their matched fleet of one-design J/70 class sailboats. Another significant regatta took place in the United Kingdom; the RORC IRC National Championship was hosted at the club's Cowes, Isle of Wight station for a very competitive fleet of offshore boats that included a J/122, J/112E, J/109,

Over in the USA, one of the most popular regattas in New England- the Sail Newport Regatta- was hosted by the Sail Newport organization at Fort Adams in Newport, RI.  Racing took place on Narragansett Bay for a fleet of J/70s and J/109s. Also, completing this week after their Sunday start was the Marblehead to Halifax Race, hosted by Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron for a fleet of ORR and PHRF teams that included a J/122, J/42, J/40, J/111, J/130, and J/109. Finally, on the west coast, the Seal Beach to Dana Point Race was sailed over 4th of July weekend, hosted by Dana Point YC for a fleet that included a trio of successful J/teams- a J/125, J/120, and J/92.

J/22s sailing regatta 
J/22 World Championship Update
(Warnemuende, Germany)- Thirty-one boats are sailing the 2019 J/22 World Championship in Warnemuender, Germany in the coming week.  Hosts are the Warnemuender Segel-Club with help of Berliner YC and YC Berlin-Grunau, held in concert with Warnemeunder Week from the 6th to 13th July.

The J/22 teams come from Austria, Canada, Cayman Islands, France, Germany, and The Netherlands.  Many of the top teams are in attendance. From Canada is John Koppernaes’ RAISED J from Toronto; from the Cayman Islands is Mike Farrington’s SEE YA LATER; from France is Reiner Brockerhoff’s JAZZY; from Germany is Martin Menzner’s JABULANI; and from the Netherlands are two contenders (Dirk Jan Verdoorn’s JUT EN JUL and Emma Kok’s TU DELFT:BROACH 1524.

Most of the 30+ teams sailed the Pre-Worlds over the past weekend.  It was a Netherlands J/22 class clean sweep of the podium. Winning that event was Merlijn Rutten’s NED 1500, followed by Christian Feij’s NED 1514, with Bram de Vries’ NED 1221 taking the bronze.

Currently leading the J/22 Worlds after seven races is The Netherlands team of NED 1273 with crew of Jean-Michael Lautier, Denis Neves, and Giuseppe D’Aquino.  Second is the French team of FRA 1444 with crew of Reiner Brockerhoff, Michaux Charles, and Christophe Declercq. Third are the Canadians- Johan Koppernaes, Michele Cimon, Caroline Main, and the American Mike Marshall.  For more J/22 World Championship sailing information

J/122 Black Dog sailing RORC IRC Nationals 
J/122 Wins RORC IRC National Championship
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- A strong line-up, ranging from TP52s, FAST40+s and Performance 40s, down to nimble HP30s and the cruiser-racers all took part for three days of intense competition at the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s IRC National Championship that was sailed on the Solent.  It was an exciting event, in particular, for three J/teams that won 3 of the 4 classes! Here is how it all went down over the course of those three days.
J/122 sailing upwind
Day One- Light winds, strong tides and shouting!
Despite a dismal light wind and strong tide forecast that had most crews preparing for an afternoon ashore, a light breeze built early in the afternoon, miraculously allowing the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s two race committees to lay on a full three race opening day.

As the rating rule jointly operated by the RORC and the Union Nationale pour la Course au Large (UNCL) in France, IRC seeks to create a level playing field between all kinds of boats. At this year’s IRC Nationals that was put to the test with a wide array from grand prix racers to cruisers, from brand new thoroughbreds to 80 years wooden classics, and in size from the two TP52s down to Quarter Tonners and HP30s.

Due to the high tides this weekend, the RORC divided the fleet in two so that the larger IRC 1, 2 and FAST40+ boats could race in deeper water in the western Solent while IRC 3 and 4 were sailing windward-leewards off Hill Head.

A particular feature of sailing in the western Solent was the powerful ebb tide. The consequences were particularly notable in race one, as it was causing difficult pile-ups and tricky maneuvering at the marks (e.g. the reason for the shouting of “water” everywhere). This was especially true at the top mark where the fleet arrived in strongest favorable current on port, directly into the path of boats looking to gybe set and get inshore, out of the foul tide. Because of largely tide-related incidents, the jury was sat late the first evening of the competition.

The largest class by far was IRC 2, including the entire Performance 40 fleet. After three races, two boats were tied at the top, including Stuart Sawyer’s J/122 BLACK DOG. Sawyer’s Falmouth-based BLACK DOG won the second two races and led IRC Two on countback.

“We were delighted, although somewhat shocked too! Hopefully, it will be a long evening so we can enjoy this as long as possible,” enthused Sawyer. This is his first IRC Nationals, although he has previously won the IRC South West Championship. “The IRC Nationals is a benchmark to see how we are doing as a Cornish boat. Other than our tactician, we are all Corinthians although this is our ninth season sailing together.”

As to today’s competition Sawyer continued: “The first race was tricky- we got caught out at the leeward mark and were about seven deep and got buried. In the second race, we had a really nice start and felt quite comfortable and managed to hold our lane quite well because we are one of the slower boats. It feels like we are threading the eye of a needle- being rolled from top and with someone higher below.”

Looking strong to recapture the IRC Nationals title was David Franks and his J/112E LEON; they were just one point off a perfect scoreline in IRC 3. Franks congratulated the race officials for getting in three races. “It was a pleasant surprise when the wind came in and then we got three races.” Perhaps equally surprising was recovering a second, the only blemish on their scoreline, despite being called OCS in race two. “We had a good recovery and a good first beat, which got us back into play. I have been racing too long to get too excited about the first day of a three day regatta. We are going well, but our competition might give us a thrashing tomorrow,” Franks concluded. Sitting in 3rd and 4th, respectively, behind LEON were two more J/112E sisterships; Bruce Huber’s XANABOO and James Chalmer’s HAPPY DAIZE.

The stand-out boat in IRC 4 was Chris Preston's J/109 JUBILEE posting a 1-2-1. However, hot on their tails was Nick and Adam Munday's J/97 INDULJENCE with 2-5-3 scoreline.
J/122 Black Dog winning crew
Day Two- Classic Solent Conditions
The second day saw conditions come good with a less severe tidal effect on the Solent due to a later kick-off time and a breeze that peaked at 16 knots. This allowed both race committees (IRC 3-4 run by the RORC racing team’s own Steve Cole and Stuart Childerley PRO for the larger classes) to run two windward-leewards, rounding off the afternoon with a longer round the cans race. The windward-leewards for the bigger boats were on the Brambles bank with the course for the smaller classes set further west.

While in some classes the leaderboard remains tight going into tomorrow’s final day, in others there are some exceptional, stand-out performances. The biggest and most competitive class– IRC 2- saw more tough battles around the tight race track. Overall Sawyer’s J/122 BLACK DOG continued to score well. A 1-4-2 for the day left them with a 15-point lead.

One point off having a perfect scoreline was the leader in IRC 3, Franks’ J/112E LEON, which today scored straight bullets, despite having one of her crew Medevac’d off with a head injury. Leon's six point lead is still vulnerable, but the dominance of the 2012 IRC National Champions is such that her J/112E sisterships, XANADOO and HAPPY DAIZE, are most likely to be left fighting for the remaining podium positions.

On a roll after his exemplary 1-2-1 yesterday was Preston’s J/109 JUBILEE. However, while they posted a third bullet today, they are facing increasing ferocious competition from defending IRC National Champion, Giovanni Belgrano’s and his 1939 vintage Laurent Giles-designed classic Whooper.

Preston admitted that their scoreline was let down today by a 7-5 in the opening windward-leewards. “We had a problem in the first race with a twisted kite, but we had really good starts all the way through. With a J/109, it is a problem when it is wind against tide, because the beats become very short and others are faster downwind. We got most of it right. We have a great crew and are having a great time. We had 2-3 knots more wind than yesterday. It made for lovely racing.”

Preston was pleased to observe that at this national championship for the RORC and UNCL’s jointly owned rating system, the standard of racing is noticeably higher than other events in which he typically competes.
J/112E LEON wins class
Day Three- Exciting Finale
Sunday was the third in the three-day event where the race committees ventured out into the Solent uncertain of whether they would get racing in. The day started out grey, with sub-10 knot winds and drizzle, and yet two windward-leewards were held on the Hill Head plateau enabling PROs Stuart Childerley and Steve Cole to complete the full schedule on their respective courses.

In the end, after the mathematics were applied, it was Sawyer’s J/122 BLACK DOG that was determined to be the worthy recipient of this year’s IRC National Championship title- winning not just IRC 2 Class, but also IRC Performance 40 Class, and the overall IRC National Champion title!

“We haven’t sailed that much this year, so when we came up we said we’d be aiming for the top five and we’d be delighted by top three in our class. To win overall is incredible!” said Stuart Sawyer, his BLACK DOG also securing the Performance 40 prize. While the team has been sailing out of Falmouth on several boats for the last nine years, Sawyer admitted that they feel isolated racing in Cornwall. Previously they campaigned their J/111 around the Solent, but coming from Cornwall, this proved too difficult.  So, according to Sawyer, he sold it and bought the J/122 “to take it easy. But then, after we won Dartmouth Royal Regatta last year we thought we had to come here to see how we’d do!”

Compared to racing in Falmouth, there was more of a chop than a swell to deal with on the Solent, but also the tides were far more complex. For the event, the regular crew was assisted by North Sails’ Shane Hughes, plus a copy of the Winning Tides book. “You are constantly having to change gears, but my crew has been amazing- I have never seen them hike harder,” said Sawyer who also paid tribute to the late J/Boats dealer and Solent racing guru Paul Heys. “The one person who would have loved to have seen this is Paul. He would have been so chuffed to see both a Cornish boat and a J/Boat do this.”

The closest competition for BLACK DOG’s overall IRC Nationals win came from David Franks’ J/112e LEON. Her otherwise perfect scoreline was broken twice today. Nevertheless, LEON won IRC 3 class by a convincing 9 pts margin. Their two J/112E sisterships, Huber’s XANADO and James Chalmer’s HAPPY DAIZE, took 3rd and 4th, respectively.
J/109 winners at RORC Nationals
One of the tightest battles occurred in IRC 4. However, winning overall by five points with a consistent 2-2 in the finale was Christopher Preston’s J/109 JUBILEE. “It was great fun,” observed Preston. “We were very pessimistic about whether we’d all be racing at all today. But, then the wind came in and the race committee got it going at the right time and we had two very nice, interesting races with the turn of the tide in the second that made it tactically interesting. It was a much better day than we had dared hope.” As to why Jubilee won, Preston attributed it to being “well prepared with a good crew who sail well together. It helps being at the top end of the rating bracket with a boat that is extremely good and a wide envelope to windward. We had consistently good starts and boat speed that enabled us to use our tactics, which was a big advantage.”  For more RORC IRC National Championship sailing information

J/70s sailing St Petersburg, Russia 
BYC Tops J/70 SAILING Champions League 3rd Qualifier
(St Petersburg, Russia)- Bayerischer Yacht-Club from Germany won the third and final Qualifier of the SAILING Champions League 2019. They won by 4 points from another German team- Wassersport-Verein Hemelingen. Union Yacht Club Wolfgangsee from Austria finished third. Of the twenty teams competing, the top six qualified for a place at the Finale in St. Moritz next month. They are:
  • Bayerischer Yacht-Club (Germany)
  • Wassersport-Verein Hemelingen (Germany)
  • Union Yacht Club Wolfgangsee (Austria)
  • PIRogovo (Russia)
  • Regattaclub Oberhofen (Switzerland)
  • St. Petersburg Yacht Club (Russia)
The event was frustrated by no racing on day one, due to excessively strong winds. This was followed by two days of very light airs, which meant only five flights of racing could be completed before the final day. The wind for the last day was also light, but consistent, and enough for another three flights, making every result count more than usual.
J/70s sailing off St Petersburg, Russia
Skipper Julian Autenrieth from the winning Bayerischer Yacht-Club team commented, “The location in St. Petersburg is great here in the middle of the city. But, the conditions were really tricky, with the low winds and the current. You always had to be able to stay calm. What we did well throughout were the starts with the current. This meant that we were often starting off among the top three, which made the races easier for us.”

On Friday, there was a Gala Dinner under the theme of “Connecting Through Sport”, which took place alongside five international teams from the Nord Stream Race who had just completed the 1,000 mile offshore race along the length of the Baltic Sea.
J/70 Russia winners
Mans Lundberg from Finland was a sailor who competed in both the offshore Nord Stream Race and then went straight into the short-course J/70 sportsboat racing in the SAILING Champions League on the Neva River. “As I sailed in Nord Stream Race and SAILING Champions League, I knew a lot of the people at the Gala Dinner. It was very exciting connecting the sailors between both events. We were at the same table as the guys from Lithuania, and we talked a lot with them. It was a really nice event,” said Lundberg.

The Final of the SAILING Champions League will take place from 15 to 18 August in St. Moritz, Switzerland, high up in the Swiss Alps.

Livestream and results by SAP
The final two days of racing on Saturday and Sunday will be live broadcasted by SAP, with expert commentators providing blow-by-blow analysis of the racing, aided by the detail provided by SAP Sailing Analytics. The SAP Sailing Analytics provide 24/7 additional statistics and data for sailors, fans, spectators and media like GPS tracking, real-time analysis, live leaderboard combined with 2D visualization. You find all results on sapsailing.comSailing Photo credits: SCL/Anya Semeniouk  For more SAILING Champions League information

J/70s sailing off NewportAwesome Fireworks @ Sail Newport Regatta
(Newport, RI)- Sail Newport hosted their annual Newport Regatta over the Independence Day Celebration weekend (USA) for a wide variety of one-design dinghy and keelboat classes. Featured amongst them were fleets of J/70s and J/109s; both deeply laden with world-class talent.

The ten-boat J/70 class saw the current J/70 World Champion- Jud Smith’s AFRICA- start off by winning the first race and never looked to be too stressed to win the regatta.  After compiling a 1-2-3-1-1, the AFRICA teamed headed for home and won by a comfortable six point margin. Sailing a solid series as well was John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES, keep it close and honest for the AFRICA team on the first day with a 3-1-4, but closing with a 5-6-1 to take the silver.  Rounding out the podium was Glenn Darden’s HOSS with a 5-6-1-7-3-2 tally for 17 pts.

The J/109s had incredibly close racing, tighter racing than what the scores suggest. Winning was John Greifzu’s GROWTH SPURT with a 2-1-3-1-3-1 scoreline for 11 pts. Bill Kneller’s VENTO SOLARE took the silver with a 3-2-2-2-4-2 record for 15 pts.  And, just one point back was Ted Herlihy’s GUT FEELING with a 1-5-1-5-1-3, which included a DSQ and DNS!  For more Sail Newport Regatta sailing information

Halifax Race 
J/122 Wins Marblehead to Halifax Race
(Halifax, Nova Scotia)- The Boston Yacht Club and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron hosted the 38th Biennial Marblehead-to-Halifax Ocean Race this past week. The race started on Sunday July 7th 2019 off Marblehead, Massachusetts, and finished in about 58 to 62 hours for most yachts in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The big winner was in the ORR 2 division. Tom Mager’s J/122 GIGI won in grand style, eclipsing her fleet on corrected time by over an hour! The ORR 4 division saw Eliot Merrill’s J/42 FINESSE take 4th while Fred Allardyce’s J/40 MISTY placed sixth.

The PHRF 1 Racing division saw a near sweep by J/Teams; Stu McCrea’s J/120 DEVIATION took the silver, while Keith Amirault’s J/130 DRAGONFLY also managed a podium finish by taking the bronze. The US Merchant Marine Academy’s Ken Luczynski steered the J/111 BLACK DIAMOND YCC to a sixth in class.

The PHRF 2 Racing division also had good performances for members of the J/Tribe, with Eliot Shanabrook’s J/109 HAFA ADAI taking the silver and Paul Conrod’s J/42 CASTANEA placing sixth.  Marblehead to Halifax Race results  For more Marblehead to Halifax Race sailing information

J/125 sailing off CaliforniaJ’s Ignite Seal Beach to Dana Point Race
(Dana Point, CA)- This past weekend the Seal Beach YC and the Dana Point YC hosted their fun “wind sprint” over the 4th of July weekend, the 35.0nm Seal Beach to Dana Point Race for a fleet of 30-plus PHRF racers. Fun was had by all in the relatively fast race, the fast boats doing the race in just over 3.5 hours- about a 10.0 kts average.

In the PHRF A Division, taking 1st in Class and 1st Overall was Viggo Torbensen’s famous J/125 TIMESHAVER. Not too far behind were their friends on the J/120 POLE DANCER, sailed by Tom & Terri Manok, taking 2nd in class as well as 2nd Overall!

In the PHRF B Division, yet another J/crew celebrated the huge fireworks of the American Independence Day weekend; winning was Rich Bennet’s J/92 FIREWATER….or was it “fireworks”?!  For more Seal Beach to Dana Point Race sailing information.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Jul 10- 50th Transpac Race- Los Angeles, CA
Jul 11-14- Dun Laoghaire Regatta- Dun Laoghaire, Ireland
Jul 12- Lake Ontario 300 Race- Port Credit, ONT, Canada
Jul 12-14- U.K. J/24 Nationals- Plymouth, England
Jul 13- Chicago to Mackinac Race- Chicago, IL
Jul 13-21- J/80 World Championship- Bilbao, Spain
Jul 14-20- New York YC 175th Anniversary Regatta- Newport, RI
Jul 20- Bell’s Beer Bayview Mackinac Race- Port Huron, MI
Jul 20-21- Fiesta Cup Regatta- Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 20-21- J/Fest Great Lakes Regatta- Toronto, ONT, Canada
Jul 20-28- Travemunde Week- Travemunde, Germany
Jul 25-28- Marblehead NOOD Regatta- Marblehead, MA
Jul 26- Santa Barbara to King Harbor Race- Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 26-28- Ugotta Regatta- Harbor Springs, MI
Jul 27- RORC Channel Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Jul 24-27- Whidbey Island Race Week- Oak Harbor, WA

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

J/109 sailing Chicago Mackinac Race 
Chicago to Mackinac Race Preview
(Chicago, IL)- The Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac is one of the longest annual fresh water races in the world. "The Mac" starts at the Chicago Lighthouse, just off Navy Pier and ends after a 289.4nm dash to Mackinac Island. More than 270 boats are preparing to race the 111th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac that starts July 12 for the Cruising Division and July 13 for the Racing Divisions.

The 2019 edition has a diverse fleet that will traverse the course north up Lake Michigan. Thirteen states and three countries are represented, and there are over sixty J/Teams competing in the fleet of 240 offshore keelboats (about 25% of the fleet).

In the ORR handicap world are a range of J’s from the J/88s up to a J/145. In Section 2, Bill & Jean Schanen’s bright red J/145 MAIN STREET will be dueling with a few large boats. Section 4 includes Jim Gignac’s J/130 SALSA, Thomas & Beth Ann Papoutsis’ J/133 RENEGADE, Robert Klairmont’s J/133 SIROCCO 3, and Robert Christoph’s brand new J/121 LOKI (its inaugural Mac Race). A real mix of classic and newer J’s are participating in Section 5; such as Randy Kuhn & James Richter’s J/44 CHEEP N DEEP, Matt Songer’s J/122 EVVAI, Tom &^ Carol McIntosh’s J/111 MISTY, and three J/120s- FUNTECH RACING (Charlie Hess), MAZAL TOV (Arne & Deborah Fliflet), JAHAZI (Frank Giampoli).

Then, in Section 6 the sole J/crew is Ben Lumpkin’s J/112E MARY GAIL.  The brand new (and sailing its inaugural Mac Race) J/99 HOKEY SMOKES will be sailed by the veteran Mac Race team of Rich & Lori Stearns’ in Section 7, along with Marty Luken’s J/109 FANDANGO and Mitch Weisman’s J/35 FLYING SPAGHETTI MONSTER. Rounding out the ORR fleet for J’s in Section 8 are two J/88s-
Dan & Dana Floberg’s MISTY and Andy & Sarah Graff’s EXILE.

There are three one-design divisions of J/111s, J/109s, and J/105s. Fourteen J/111s are sailing with a number of the top Midwest teams looking forward to their 40+ hour tactical/ strategical fight up the lake. Those teams include Len Siegal’s LUCKY DUBIE, Kevin Saedi & Raman Yousefi’s MOMENTUS, Colin & Mark Caliban’s NO QUARTER, Scott Sellers’ NO SURPRISE, Brad Faber’s UTAH, and Tom Dickson’s WARLOCK.
J/111s sailing off Chicago, IL
As one of the largest fleets this year with fourteen boats, many of the J/111s will also race in their World Championships later this summer, also hosted by the Chicago Yacht Club. ROWDY, owned by Richard Witzel, is one that will be doing both.

For two years running, ROWDY has finished second in its section, and according to Roland Rayment who has been on the boat with Witzel from the beginning, "We try hard and put a lot into it. The past couple years we’ve been nipping at the top finish, so hopefully, this is our year."  Rayment predicts the J/111 could very well win overall should the sweet spot of 15-20 knot Southwest/east conditions present themselves. "With the right conditions, the J/111s can’t be beat; no question they can win the Mac Race overall.”

J/35 sailing Chicago Mackinac RaceIn a similar manner, there are many rivalries that will be brewing in the thirteen boat J/105 class. The following four teams have all won major one-design J/105 events and, in the end, just minutes will separate these top boats; Mary Symonds’ PTERODACTYL, Clark Pellet’s SEALARK, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM, and Gyt Petkus’ VYTIS.

Not to be outdone, it may even be closer in the fourteen-boat J/109 class and the competition could not be any tougher. Watch for these class leaders to be a factor in the overall leaderboard; James Murray’s CALLISTO, Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, Robert Evans’ GOAT RODEO, David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR, Scott Sims’ SLAPSHOT II, George Miz’s SMEE AGAIN, Doug Evans’ TIME OUT, and Jack & Jim Tolliver’s VANDA III.

Meanwhile, in the Level 35s class, there will be a quartet of four J/35s participating, a boat that has proven to win the overall Chicago-Macs and Bayview-Macs in the past. Those teams include ALPHA PUPPY (Richard Stage), BAD DOG (Larry Taunt), NOMATA (Dan & Jill Leslie), and FIREFLY (Sheri Dufresne). For more Chicago to Mackinac Race sailing information

J/80s sailing Worlds in Spain 
J/80 World Championship Preview
(Bilbao, Spain)- From July 13 to 20, the Real Club Marítimo del Abra will host the 2019 edition of the J/80 World Championship. Eighty-seven teams will battle for the title on the Cantabrian Sea from twelve nations across the world (Canada, Spain, France, USA, Russia, Portugal, Cyprus, Ireland, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Belgium, and India).

There is no question the biggest battles will be fought between the principal protagonists of the class in Europe- the host nation Spain and their counterparts just across their border to the north- the French.  Familiar names will be in the thick of the battle for Spain, such as past World Champion Rayco Tabares Alvarez on HOTEL PRINCESA YAIZA from the Canary Islands; past World Champion Marc de Antonio on the famous BRIBON MOVISTAR; and IBO.ES with Francisco Javier Chacartegui on the helm.

The French are showing up in force, with teams like Luc Nadal’s GAN’JA; top woman helm Anne Phelipon on NAVIGATLANTIQUE; another top woman helm- Maxime Rousseaux’s J’RAFON; Patrick Bot on ECOLE NAVALE CD29; Simon Moriceau sailing ARMENT HABITAT; and Ludovic Gilet sailing NUMERO J.
J?80s sailing off Bilbao, Spain
One top American team is participating, Ramzi Bannura’s STACKED DECK from Annapolis/ Eastport YC. The Russian team NEW TERRITORIES is being sailed by Alexei Semenov.  Ireland is fielding two teams from Howth YC just north of Dublin- Dan O’Grady’s JAMMY and Patrick O’Neill’s MOJO. The United Kingdom have a pair teams from the Solent- Chris & Hannah Neve’s NO REGRETS and Nick Haigh’s SLIGHTLY STEAMY.  The Netherlands also have a pair on the starting line- Bram Adema’s NJORD and Louis Kanters’ JIP. Their neighbors in Belgium also have a duo in the frame- Jean Marc Fobert’s BAD JOKE and Lemaire Jacques & Winnie Berteloot’s SEA JOU 2.

Perhaps the most surprising development is the five-boat contingent from India’s Royal Madras Yacht Club. It will be interest to see how they perform and how quickly they learn the tricks of the trade from the best J/80 sailors in the world.  For more J/80 World Championship sailing information

Transpac race start50th Transpac Race Preview
(Los Angeles, CA)- Mere mention of the beautiful island chain of Hawaii amongst serious offshore sailors immediately sparks conversation of the world-famous Transpacific Race, which starts on the waters off of Los Angeles and finishes off of Honolulu’s Diamond Head formation, yielding a racetrack of some 2,225 nautical miles. Transpac, as the race is affectionately known, is organized by the Transpacific Yacht Club and now raced biennially (odd-numbered years) and has a proud and rich history hailing back to 1906.

More importantly, for anyone who loves sailing fast under spinnaker, Transpac also has a long track record of serving-up fantastic conditions, once teams crack off their sheets and aim their bows for what can only be described as one of the planet’s prettiest destinations.

Not surprisingly, the race has long attracted some of the world’s fastest boats. To help give some perspective on how much the race (and sailing) have evolved since Transpac’s inaugural event, skipper H.H. Sinclair won the 1906 Transpac with a time of 12+ days. Flash-forward 99 years and VPLP-designed 100 foot super maxi COMANCHE flew across the same course in just 5+ days.

What’s the best-case and worst-case scenarios for this year’s race in terms of weather?

According to Dobbs Davis, “for Transpac 50 we should be close to being “normal”.  In other words, the East Pacific sea surface temperatures are not high. So, with no obvious strong El Nino pattern in place this year the North Pacific High looks fairly stable and able to deliver the usual pressure in the usual directions.”

J/125 sailing Transpac RaceThe thirteen-boat Division 3, one of the largest and certainly most competitive in the event, has a quartet of J/125s participating. Those teams include Zach Anderson & Chris Kramer’s VELVET HAMMER from San Francisco, CA; Mark Surber’s SNOOPY from Coronado YC in San Diego, CA; Tom Garnier’s REINRAG 2 from Los Angeles YC; and Shawn Dougherty & Jason Andrews’ HAMACHI from Corinthian YC Seattle in Seattle, WA.  Taking them all on will be Roger Gatewood’s world-traveling J/145 KATARA from Davis Island YC in St Petersburg, FL (she was last seen racing in the Caribbean this past winter).

The eleven-boat Division 6 has an eclectic mix of boats. In the mix is Scott Grealish’s new J/121 BLUE FLASH from Willamette Sailing Club in Portland, Oregon. To date, BLUE FLASH successfully sailed the Cabo San Lucas Race and the Ensenada Race as their “training missions” to work through sail combinations and speed techniques offshore.

The seven-boat Division 7 has Paul Stemler’s classic J/44 PATRIOT from Newport Harbor YC in Newport Beach, CA.  Then, in Division 8, David Gorney’s J/105 NO COMPROMISE from Anacapa YC is up against a trio of Hobie 33s and a “modded” Farr 36.

Track the J/Teams and cheer them on as they spend from 8 to 10 days sending it across the Pacific Ocean in warm, windy trade winds!  For more Transpac 50th sailing information

J/121 sailing off Newport, RI 
New York YC 175th Regatta Preview
(Newport, RI)- One hundred twenty yachts are entered in the New York YC’s 175th Anniversary Regatta.  Those entries range from classics to the most modern racing yachts and just about everything in between.  Multiple J/Crews are participating in the regatta that features racing taking place inside Narragansett Bay with “navigator-style” races around government buoys to the fanatical racers doing all windward-leewards offshore in a frenetic dance around the buoys.

In the IRC 2 Class are a duo of J/111s (Peter Wagner’s SKELETON KEY from San Francisco, CA and Andrew & Sedge Ward’s J/111 BRAVO from Long Island); Joe Brito’s J/121 INCOGNITO from Bristol, RI; a duet of J/44s (NYYC Commodore Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE and Amanda & June Kendrick’s PALANTIER 5); Paul Milo’s J/122 ORION; and Bob Salk’s J/109 PICANTE from Jamestown, RI.

In the PHRF Spinnaker Navigator class is a trio of J/105s (Bill Dana’s USA 63, Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault’s GOOD TRADE, and Theresa Brandner’s JINX MINX).  For more New York YC 175th Regatta sailing information

J/109s sailing Lake Ontario 300Lake Ontario 300 Offshore Race Preview
(Port Credit, ONT, Canada)- From July 12th to 16th the Port Credit YC in Port Credit, Ontario will be hosting their annual Lake Ontario 300 race for a fleet of singlehanded, doublehanded, and fully-crewed yachts from across Lake Ontario. It is considered one of the most challenging Great Lakes long distance offshore races due to the nature of the course sailing a criss-crossing navigation of the lake.  The event is popular with J/Boats crews in the region and many are participating in nearly all the divisions.

In the IRC 1 Class, Bruce Pierce’s J/122 HOOLIGAN II from Toronto, ONT.  In the PHRF Singlehanded 1 division will be Geoffrey Roulet’s J/35 JEANNIE from Kingston, ONT. In the PHRF 1 Division are several full-crewed teams, such as Robert Dewitte’s J/100 PERSPECTIVE, Kim Piller’s J/109 LIVE WIRE, Murray Gainer’s J/109 LIVELY, and Matt Emerson’s J/120 RED LEAF.  For more Lake Ontario 300 sailing information

J/125 sailing off Ireland 
Dun Laoghaire Regatta Preview
(Dun Laoghaire, Ireland)- When the starting gun sounds off Dun Laoghaire’s famous harbour on Thursday, the Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta will not only surpass 2017’s fleet with a fleet of 498 boats, but will come close to breaking 2007's all time record of 528 entries.

A regatta of this scale brings key benefits to both the sport and the east coast town. It is a marine tourism boost and one that underpins Dun Laoghaire's place as Ireland’s largest sailing center and also the venue of one of Ireland’s largest participant sporting events with over 2,500 competitors on the water.

But, what’s even more satisfying for the Dun Laoghaire organizers this week is that nearly half the entries for 2019 are visiting boats – an indication of the future international prospects of the regatta.

Organized jointly by the four Dún Laoghaire waterfront yacht clubs (the Dún Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club, the National Yacht Club, the Royal Irish Yacht Club and the Royal St George Yacht Club), it provides a snapshot of the sport of sailing in Ireland, Scotland and Wales. With its focus on quality over quantity, the regatta has grown over 16 years into a premier sporting event, and is now competing with the best in Europe.

“VDLR owes its prominence to a number of factors. One is that it is one of the least expensive sailing events in Europe, thanks to generous sponsorship, so providing value for money,” says 2019 organizer Don O’Dowd.
J/122 sailing off Ireland
Many of the hottest racing boats will be participating in the IRC Offshore class of twenty-eight boats; it will surely be tough competition!  JACKKNIFE, Andrew Hall’s J/125 from Pwllheli Sailing Club, is leading the ISORA Series overall and is a potent performer, particularly when she can get planing. She will be up against James Tyrrell’s fast J/112E AQUELINA, three J/109s (Paul Sutton’s JAYDREAMER, Peter Dunlop’s MOJITO, & Nigel Ingram’s JET STREAM), Edward Hampson’s J/105 MOJO, and Lindsay Casey’s J/97 WINDJAMMER.

In the IRC Cruiser 0 class of six yachts will be Jonathan Anderson’s J/122E EL GRAN SENOR from the Clyde Cruising Club in Scotland.  The team has enjoyed some early season success in the offshore circuit in Scotland and hopes to continue that trend in this regatta.

The twenty-seven boat IRC Cruiser 1 class is likely to be the most competitive and hardest class to pick a winner this year. The normal Irish and Welsh boats in this class will be joined by the Scottish RC 35 Class who are using Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta as one of the Celtic Cup events, so six of this class have travelled to the hub of Irish Sea yachting.

Sixteen J/109s are featured in this class and are known to be potent in light airs, so it is likely that two or three of the podium results will go to a J/109. So far this year, a J/109 has won the Scottish Series, the ICRAs and the Sovereign's Cup, in varying conditions.
J/109 sailing off Ireland
The four J/109s that took the top four results at this year's ICRAs are all back, and all have good tacticians aboard. John Maybury's JOKER 2, From the Royal Irish, who was the 2017 Dun Laoghaire Regatta winner will have Olympian Killian Collins aboard. JELLY BABY, owned by Brian Jones from the Royal Cork has Killian's brother Mel on tactics. STORM 2, owned by the Kelly family from Rush has North Sails Nigel Young aboard, and OUTRAJEOUS, owned by John Murphy and Richard Colwell from Howth, has Olympian Mark Mansfield aboard. OUTRAJEOUS just won the Sovereigns Cup two weeks ago in Kinsale. Other top J/109s likely to do well will be Tim Goodbody's locally-based WHITE MISCHIEF from the Royal Irish, Brian and John Hall's SOMETHING ELSE from the National Yacht Club and Andrew Craig's Scottish Series winner, CHIMAERA from the Royal Irish.

Another good turnout is the 15 boats entered in the J/80 Class, which has proven to be particularly suited to Irish requirements. The impact of the J/80 may be relatively new, but one cannot help but notice that one of the favored helms in the class has to be Robert Dix, yet another product of the remarkable sailing nursery that is Malahide. His continuing sailing skill prompts us to remind the Royal Cork YC that at their Quarter Millennial Celebrations in 1970, one Robert Dix at age 17 emerged as the youngest-ever winner of the Helmsman’s Championship of Ireland. With the RCYC Tercentenary coming up next year, the Golden Jubilee of Dixie’s success is surely something that will get a special mention.

In the twenty-two boat IRC Cruiser 2 class, a quartet of J/crews have all been known to be top performers and have garnered their fair share of silverware in past events.  For starters, the two J/97s will be tough- Stephen Quinn’s LAMBAY RULES and Colin & Kat Kavanaugh’s THE JENERAL LEE, both boats hail from Howth YC.  Gary Fort’s J/92S JAGUAR and Andrew Miles’ J/35 SIDETRACK should in the hunt as well.

Despite the light airs forecast, the quartet of J/24s sailing in IRC Cruiser 3 class could be strong competitors.  Those teams include Steve Atkinson’s BAD, Lizzie McDowell’s SCANDAL, Doug Elmes’ KILCULLEN, and Flor O’Driscoll’s HARD ON PORT.  For more Dun Laoghaire Regatta sailing information

J/24s sailing off EnglandThe Plymouth Regatta & U.K. J/24 Nationals Preview
(Plymouth, England)- The Plymouth Yacht Regatta will take place over the weekend of the 12th to 14th July 2019. The Port of Plymouth Sailing Association is the organizer of the Plymouth Regatta 2019 and the RNSA (Royal Navy Sailing Association) and Plymouth Yacht Clubs will be supporting the regatta, providing excellent courses, and racing.

The twenty-eight-boat J/24 Nationals class has the usual suspects of leading teams participating from all across the United Kingdom.  Some of those crews include Nick Phillips’ CHAOTIC, William Pollock’s FLYING COLOURS, Per-Hakan Persson’s FRONT RUNNER from Sweden, Chris Randall’s HITCHHIKER, Dave Cooper’s JAWBREAKER, Finbarr Ryan’s JELIGNITE from Ireland, Chris Lloyd’s JOJO, and James Torr’s MAJIC.

The dozen-boat IRC Class includes Jon Harris’ J/105 JAMALA and Nick Barlow’s J/70 JEOPARDY 2. For more Plymouth Regatta sailing information

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J/34 IOR Knee Deep sailing off Cleveland, OH 
J/34 KNEE DEEP Wins Huron Race?

Fog and 17 knots of wind and the same time. Welcome to Lake Huron in July!

Big air from the North led to wall waves all night on the 76.0nm course on Lake Huron. The KNEE DEEP crew and the J/34 IOR design was doing it's usual best- “Upwind Beast Mode”- taking the lead halfway into the course and held on for a 35 mile downwind leg to win by 2 seconds!! Thanks J/Boats for all the fun! Your devoted fans- Brett Langolf and family.

Watch the J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP’s highlights video here
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