Wednesday, April 29, 2020

J/Newsletter- April 29th, 2020

sunset in ChileWe continue to live in difficult times and there is no question the perniciousness of a virus with no known natural evolution is causing some of the brightest minds in the healthcare and bio-tech world many long sleepless nights. A number of them are sailors and getting both first and second-hand perspectives on their extraordinary efforts is, needless to say, both admirable and humbling. Admirable in their fierce determination to overcome an unseen adversary hatched on the world in the most unfortunate circumstances. Humbling in that the collective intellect is so sharply focused like the tip of a nanotech spear at a 10 micron-sized enemy; an extraordinary virtual "special operations" team from around the globe hoping to find a solution soon... whatever that may be.

As for sailor's aspirations to dream about their favorite pastime, it appears that may soon be possible to get on the water in socially responsible ways. No question, sailing is a wonderful way to experience a sense of adventure, of freedom, a way to enhance and grow the spirit, and experience the natural beauty around you.

Recall previous newsletters honoring poems from Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken" and John Masefield's "Sea Fever". For many of us, the "call of the sea", flying down track with "the running tide", to experience "the road not taken" is part of a sailor's moral, emotional, psychic compass, a way forward despite all obstacles thrown before us. That opportunity will take place again.... soon!

Brad Read and his team at Sail Newport have been contemplating ways to provide sailors in New England that outlet. Perhaps "family races" on their J/22s on weekday evenings, or "couples" racing with just main and jibs...all falling well within the guidelines of covid-19 virus mitigation.

Perhaps the J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80, J/88, J/105, J/109, and J/111 one-design classes could consider the same ideas. Certainly, it would be incredibly easy to organize! New Englands. Great Lakes. Long Island Sound. Cowes. Lago di Garda. Monaco. San Francisco. Alster Lake- Hamburg. Algarrobo. Lake Constance. Hong Kong. Stockholm/ Marstrand. Copenhagen. The Hague. Moscow. Sochi. St Petersburg. Sydney/ Melbourne.

There are hundreds of family owners of J/Boats everywhere, plus thousands more that can sail and race as fun-loving "double-handers", as “masked marauders” fantasizing they are contending for the Olympics while enjoying the breeze, the sun dancing like mirrors on the waves, and spray in your face.... why not!?

Again, more "Thank You's" to those that have responded to the past week's J/News. More heartwarming stories and anecdotes about sailing with friends and family. Below are more stories from passionate J/Sailors.

Please send us more of your thoughts, experiences, stories, trials & tribulations sailing around in various parts of the world- send to ""

J/99 Facebook live interview
Watch Interview with Jeff & Hannah
An interesting in-depth discussion of the J/99
(Southampton, United Kingdom)- The famous British yachting journalist Louay Habib from Cowes, England had a "Facebook Live" interview with both Jeff Johnstone (President of J/Boats) and J/UK's Sales Director Hannah Passells.

Enjoy the nearly one-hour discussion between the three panelists on the state of offshore racing; why the J/99 is a perfect doublehanded offshore training platform for the upcoming Mixed Double Offshore event at the 2024 Olympics in France; and why J/99 makes a wonderful weekend getaway cruiser and day sailor for couples and small families.

Watch the interview recording here on YouTube.

J/121 sailing videos
Sailors Go Binge Watching!

(Newport, RI)- During the coronavirus lockdown, the marine industry has gone virtual to produce webinars and interviews. Here are some new sailing videos to explore from various J/Boats classes and our industry partners:


Marlow Ropes -
North Sails -
Quantum Sails -
UK Sailmakers -
Ullman Sails -
US Sailing Starboard Portal -

Thanks for this list from our friends at Scuttlebutt Sailing in San Diego, CA.

J/Gear Under Armour shirt
J/Gear May 20% OFF Special!

(Newport, RI)- The "J" Under Armour long-sleeved polo shirt is a great all-round, stylish choice, both on and off the water. Light, comfortable, and easy-to-wear.

The shirt comes with the J/Class logo of your choice and can be customized with your boat name and sail number. Comes in colors of Black, Blue and White and sizes from S to XXL.

Check it out here on the J/Gear website

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Below we hear from more members of the J/Community from across the spectrum of cruising, daysailing, and racing...

J/32 cruising sailboat* A J/32 owner from the northern part of Michigan had this to offer to fellow J/Sailors....

"Being in Michigan, our marinas are currently closed. At this point we will probably be lucky to launch at Irish Charlevoix by mid June.

We still love the 32, your best design yet. She has a pampered life these days as we generally only sail her for three months and then she spends her time in heated storage.

Our cruising is now confined to northern Lake Michigan, but it is good that a couple of near 80 year-olds can still do some shoreline cruising and visit our favorite ports. With an electric winch for the main halyard and the 110 jib you helped us select, the boat is very manageable.  All the best, Tom and Gretchen"

J/34c Astrea sailing in Maine
* J/34C cruiser owner Jim Bennet from Camden, Maine offers some of his perspectives sailing his beloved J/34C ASTREA to fellow J/Sailors around our Blue Planet Earth....

"Her name is ASTRAEA (after Nathaniel Bowditch’s first command). I have owned her for eight years. She is a wonderful boat and is kept in very fine condition.  And yes, she does better than 8 knots on a broad reach whenever we see 15 kts or more of breeze on Penobscot Bay, which we do often enough.

To come back on your love of Maine, my family ties to Maine date back to pre-Civil War times. I moved to Camden from Bath in 2017 to be closer to Penobscot Bay.  My partner and I live in Camden.

We had a marvelous cruise on ASTRAEA this past summer (2019) during which we stopped at Islesford.  Both of us had been there before, but this was the first time I was able to stay for two days and explore the island.  The museum there is a treasure.  We were on our way back from Nova Scotia.

I had raced ASTRAEA in the Marblehead to Halifax race and we had taken ten days to get back to Maine, stopping in our favorite places along the way.  All told, I had 65 days underway this past season.

J/34c Astrea owners sailing in Maine
The 34C is a marvelous boat to use as a couple for coastal cruising.

To have such excellent sailing qualities along with the comfort in a boat of this size is truly an extraordinary achievement.

Among many excellent features, the keel design and underbody design of this boat is outstanding. I speak from experience as a lifelong sailor and from having practiced as a Naval Architect for 25 years working on high-performance craft for the U.S. Navy. She handles well in a seaway, stands up to a breeze (never even think about reefing under 20 kts) and she puts the Sabre's and Beneteau's in our wake every time. Many times I have taken her across the line ahead of Sabre 42’s and even J/42’s on occasion. She is perfectly balanced when properly trimmed on every point of sail. I frequently single hand with a spinnaker even in 18-20kts. For example, we sailed her to first place overall in GMORA cruising division in 2017!

And, she is comfortable and easy to handle. She is just the right size for my partner, who can be intimidated by the loads on big headsails. Her responsiveness on and off the wind makes her a joy to steer. Anchor handling, docking, and every aspect of the boat is easy for my partner, which makes it immensely enjoyable for me.

You lads did a fine job with her design and construction. Many experienced sailors continue to admire her. Several are standing in line if I ever decide to sell her! That is a further acknowledgement to the excellence of her makers! Thank you!  Best, Jim"

* Brett and Katie Langolf, with their two daughters, are on a mission to get more kids on sailboats. Most often, they can be found sailing their beloved J/34 IOR classic- called KNEE DEEP- on Lake Erie.

Brett & Katie Langolf and family
This sailing highlights video shares their 2019 season from San Diego to Annapolis to Mackinac Island and many ports in between. Enjoy!

J/Sailor photo of Brighton Beach
* J/Boats U.K. sailor Leo Mason contributed this cool panoramic view of Brighton Beach...normally bustling with thousands of beachgoers.

Said Leo, "Hi all! Here's one from me in Brighton of our deserted beaches in our new upside-down World!

Stay safe all, Leo"

John F Kennedy sailing family offshore
* "Sailing as an essential activity"- a perspective by Darrell Nicholson, Practical Sailor

Let’s take away all the boats. Not the ships engaged in essential commerce, not the barges hauling goods, not the net boats catching fish. Keep those. And the Navy, of course, keep that. But all the rest can go.

Now, imagine as we look out over the waterfront, we see no skiffs on the bay, no dinghies along the shore, no sloops or schooners on a sunset sail. This arrangement, if it persists, could have dire consequences—at least if you believe French philosopher Michel Foucault:

“In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure and the police take the place of pirates.”

Some, like Pompey the Great (as quoted by Plutarch), put sailing above even life itself. “To sail is necessary; to live is not.”

As for me, always pining for another long passage on the Pacific, I can easily see the value of sending all willing sailors out to a seaborne isolation. Perhaps a future pandemic strategy?

As summer fast approaches and COVID-19 persists as a threat, coastal communities, sailing clubs, schools, and camps around the country are asking the same question: Must our boating activities be curtailed, and if they are to continue, what measures are necessary to ensure public health?

The situation is changing, but at the time of this writing, the boat ramps around our homeport in Sarasota, Florida were opening up again. All state municipalities have banned gatherings of boaters on sandbars and on-the-water events that might draw a crowd—although some impromptu two-boat “regattas” will likely spring up (as they tend to do whenever another sail appears on the horizon).

The concern about even solo outings is that the boat and boater don’t exist in a bubble. A simple afternoon on the water can involve a great deal of bustling about. Whether in commerce (buying fuel, hardware, etc.) or in congregation (socializing on the dock), contact with others is almost inevitable. In most regards, however, sailing not only complies with the requirements of safe distancing – it embraces it.

Not that we’re a bunch of hermits, but the fact remains that a great number of sailors took up sailing precisely because it took us away from land and all its problems. (Okay, maybe some of us are seagoing hermits—or at least we inspire hermits.)

As for me, I’m in no rush to get on the water. There will be time for that. The lull in waterfront activity has allowed me to catch up on some long-delayed work projects with my younger son Jake. At present we’re on a brightwork binge, with hatch boards and tillers lined up in the garage (doors wide open, and well-ventilated with fans, of course) awaiting another coat.

For the time being we’re buoyed by another quote to carry me through these days. Something Kenneth Graham said in his famous children's book- The Wind in the Willows. "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing - absolutely nothing - half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.

If you are a sailor in search of a project, you’ll find many on the Practical Sailor website. A good start is to plug “DIY” into the search box. If you already have a specific project in mind, just enter in the relevant key words. Doing a Google search and including the phrase Practical Sailor also works (searching Practical Sailor varnish, for example, yields a number of hits).

And if you’re still looking for something to do, I’m sure we can come up with something. Feel free to reach out at if you’re stumped."

Thanks for this contribution from For more than 35 years, Practical Sailor has been taking the guesswork out of boat and gear buying with bold, independent boat tests, and product-test reports for serious sailors and boaters. Learn more at Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

J/Newsletter- April 22nd, 2020

sunset in ChileJ/Sailing News

As the world continues to cope with the extraordinary circumstances that we are all living under, there are mounting glimmers of hope that sailors may ultimately be able to fulfill those distant dreams to get back on the water again.

For example, in our little state of Rhode Island, marinas and boatyards are opening up to begin to address the annual rite of passage known as "spring commissioning". Albeit later than normal and given that everyone should be wearing face masks and "safe distancing", it does represent progress in turning around and "flattening" the dreaded "logarithmic curve" that seems to be guiding all public officials. Speaking of which, it would be interesting to hear from our Swedish sailing friends how things are working out in their country
Newport rainbow
A big "Thank You" to everyone that responded to last week's J/News. Many heartwarming stories and anecdotes about sailing with friends and family. Of course, some of the funniest comments were those reminiscing about sailing with J/Boats' founders Bob & Rod J. over the course of time.  Below are some of those stories from passionate J/Sailors. Even more next week!

Please send us more of your thoughts, experiences, stories, trials & tribulations from various parts of the world- send to ""

J/99 Interview- Jeff Johnstone
J/99: Join the Experts Live with Jeff Johnstone

(Hamble, England)- Since 1977, over 15,000 J/Boats have been launched. The J/99 is the latest design and, in many respects, truly innovative as a J/Boat. Hull #40 is in the process of being delivered to J/Boats co-founder Rod Johnstone (if readers recall, it was mentioned in last week's J/News), and over 60 have been commissioned worldwide.

Join us for a LIVE Facebook hosted interview with J/Boats' President Jeff Johnstone, and Key Yachting Sales Director Hannah Le Prevost, for a detailed discussion on the J/99. The live feed will have detailed pictures, videos and the latest updates on the J/99.

This will be an open discussion, with viewers able to comment and ask questions.

When: Thursday, 30 April 1400 UTC (10:00 am Rhode Island, 3:00 pm United Kingdom)


J/112E for sale
Exciting News- J/Net Brokerage is LIVE!

(Newport, RI)- Here is some exciting news from our network of J/Boats dealers around the world. J/Net Brokerage is now live on J/ with a main menu link to dozens of quality used J/Boat listings from authorized J/Dealers.

Over twenty of our top J/Dealers are onboard and more are getting aboard each week. Browse dozens of listings that range from J/22s up to J/160s! It is an amazing array of your favorite J's from across the spectrum of daysailers, offshore cruisers, to race boats.  Day dream a little. Imagine where you could be now on your dream boat!

For those J/Owners that do not see their boat listed, be sure to contact your nearest J/Boats dealer to be listed on J/Net. 

Be sure to click here on J/Net and dream a bit more when we all have the freedom to explore the world... someday soon!

J/24s sailing Midwinters
J/One-Design Class Schedule Updates

(Newport, RI)- The International J/24 Class Association (IJCA) has confirmed the cancellation of the 2020 J/24 World Championship, which was to be held September 12-18 at Parkstone Yacht Club in Poole, United Kingdom.

“With the current COVID-19 situation, it is looking very likely that the lockdown in the UK is going to carry on for some time yet, and at this time no indication has been given on how an exit policy will work,” commented Bryan Drake, Regatta Chair. In addition to health and safety concerns, travel restrictions are likely to remain for some time as well as limited access to yacht clubs and marinas.

“The IJCA is extremely fortunate to have incredible World Championship hosts committed to the next four years that allow for this scheduling change,” said Nancy Zangerle, IJCA Chair. “We hope this approach will allow our Class members and our hosts to plan accordingly. At this time, of greatest importance is the health and well-being of our J/24 family. We all long for the time when we can return to the water.”

Future Schedule for J/24 World Championship title:
  • 2021 World Championship- September 24- October 2, Parkstone Yacht Club, Poole, UK
  • 2022 World Championship- March (exact dates To Be Announced), Mendoza, Argentina
  • 2023 World Championship- July 16-23, Corpus Christi, Texas USA
  • 2024 World Championship- TBD, Greece
For more International J/24 Class Association information

J/Gear SpecialJ/Gear April 17% OFF Special!
(Newport, RI)- The "J" Marmot Vest is a superb choice for quality and performance. Excellent wind and water-resistant properties while offering a soft comfortable fit. Full-zip front with side-zip pockets and a convenient chest-zip pocket for your phone.

  • 96% polyester, 4% elastane
  • water-repellent and breathable
  • zippered chest pocket
  • zippered handwarmer pockets
  • elastic drawcord hem
The perfect mate for a performance race crew or just cruising the bay. Comes with the J/Class logo of your choice and can be customized with your boat name and sail number. Comes in colors of Black, Carbon, and Navy and sizes from S to XXL.  Check it out here on the J/Gear website

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Responding to last week's J/Newsletter, we heard from various members of the J/Community from across the spectrum of cruising, daysailing, and racing... Read on below! Please send us more stories and perspectives! Send to "".

J/42 at anchor* Bill & Judy Stellin- J/42 JAYWALKER- Harbor Springs, MI
Commented Bill, "I especially enjoyed the latest Newsletter. The virus pandemic has upset our lives in untold ways. The Newsletter gave me a chance to think peacefully. We still own JAYWALKER, J/42 hull# 6, and love every moment spent on it.

Some Perspectives for the J/Community
For several years this Newsletter had a small section devoted to J/Boat cruisers. It was discontinued recently, so I sent the editor- Stu Johnstone- a letter thanking him for including us. He asked for some thoughts and perspectives about couple cruising.

It’s easy to talk about, because 48 years of sailing, our two Atlantic crossings, and 8 years in the Mediterranean, was an adventure many just dream about and is almost too spectacular to describe.

Stellins- J/42First off, JAYWALKER our 1996 J/42, is safe, fast, easily handled under all conditions (by just the two of us), comfortable in big winds and seas on passage, as well as at anchor, and lastly drop-dead gorgeous. Where ever we were in Europe, passerby’s would want to come aboard to see her up close.

Secondly, we have very understanding children who gave us encouragement to make a dream come true. Fortunately, we had four years of sailing the boat before we retired at age 65 in 2000. This gave us the opportunity to really understand the boat through a combination of racing and Lake Michigan cruising. There is no substitute for time on the water in all kinds of conditions and racing hones skills faster than anything I know of.

I am lucky Judy loves all aspects of sailing, as I do. It’s a lifestyle. As such, we live on the boat 3-4 days each week during our short Michigan season.

One unexpected result of big-time cruising is the realization lots of people want to hear about it. I put together a PowerPoint show years ago which we’ve presented to countless groups. Colleges, library’s, senior centers, civic clubs, yacht clubs, Power Squadron’s. It’s been a great deal of fun for us, because we get to share and relive what was, unquestionably, one of the best periods of our lives.

I encourage all to sail, sail ,sail! It’s one of the best ways to clear your minds, relieve stress, be competitive and just plain have fun. Judy has a t-shirt which sums it all up: "Keep Calm and Sail On"!

Our best wishes to the entire J/Boat family and sailing friends!  Cheers, Bill & Judy Stellin- Grand Rapids, MI"

J/24 cruising Greece
* J/24 JUNGLE owner- Guus van den Akker- Maastricht, The Netherlands
Like the Stellin's cruising their J/42 on the Mediterranean, Dutchman Guus van den Akker has a great story to tell about sailing and cruising his beloved J/24 JUNGLE on the Ionian Sea around the gorgeous island archipelago off Greece. In short, he was reliving the voyage of Odysseus and, according to Guus it was a "fantastic experience".

"Cruising with a J/24 is a very nice thing to do. I am so lucky to have sailed my J/24 JUNGLE in Greece, especially the Ionian Sea, which is west from the mainland.

When I saw JUNGLE for the first time, for sale on a trailer at Lefkes Marine, her lines immediately struck my sense of beauty. Hmmm, Nefertiti’s nose. Aha, the hips of Brigitte Bardot, the behind of Naomi Campbell... In total, she was swift, elegant, fine for cutting waves. Small enough to touch the water delicately. Finally, my dream came true to buy this boat and start sailing in the waters where Odysseus had been splashing around a few millennia earlier.

J/24 cruising the Mediterranean
The 2016-plan was to sail down to Kalamata and meet some family in Pylos on my way back. Remembering last year's experience, I was aware that it's difficult to plan for any distances while sailing. The lack of wind can make anyone annoyed, and even if you have a nice, steady wind, you can lose it in five minutes... such is the fickleness of cruising in the Mediterranean! Any rock, island, mountain can change the wind's strength or direction. And, of course, the incessant burning rays of the sun on the Med. With some luck, the wind begins in the afternoon and holds on until after sunset. The only average is change. Panta Rhei it will be.

JUNGLE is equipped with two anchors and some lines. Because her draft is only four feet, it's easy to anchor very close to the shore. That gives a surplus of possibilities and keeps her close to other people and beaches. JUNGLE makes friends. Everybody seems to know it's a J/24!

The interior became messy, but well-organized. I slept almost three months in her broad belly without complaint. Good waking up, in waves of small fishing boats, or by bells of nearby goats....

J/24 sailing Greece
Sailing my J/24 JUNGLE as a cruiser, and singlehanded, was a constant joy. Responsive, agile, light, smooth. Easy to handle on the water. Enough deck for walking around. I did put some elastic cord around the helm for self-steering. My favorite weather is light to moderate wind, that's good for me. I like to fiddle around a bit and JUNGLE is fast. My only problem is lack of weight on the windward rail, when the wind is increasing above Beaufort four!

I am a cautious sailor, and start early in the morning, when my next harbour is a bit further along.

On some days, I really made some good distance, especially when helped on windless days by "Mr. Tohatsu" (my 4 HP outboard). But, when this dear friend refused to serve, it was possible to tack JUNGLE into creeks and harbours and moor the J/24 to the quay.

Sailing with friends makes friends happy. They steered and enjoyed that a lot, they did not want to leave the tiller! Their good fortune joining me enabled them to enjoy the fantastic surroundings. Greece is such a nice area for sailing, hiking, lazy afternoons at a cafe... Actually, just being there put you in a good mood...a peace of mind found nowhere else.

The food is fresh, the geography is astonishing, the variety is extraordinary, the delicious wine lifts your spirit, people are polite, freedom is the rule.

J/24 sailing Ionian Sea, Greece
Once, while laying at anchor near Lygia, a yawl with three elderly man motored straight towards JUNGLE, I was a bit worried at their intent. However, just a few meters away from her, the yawl encircled my tiny JUNGLE, and one of the guys shouted with passion “J/24, the love of my life!” After this human serenade, the yawl vanished towards the blue horizon.

My J/24 JUNGLE had lots of compliments, and from all these remarks, you notice that experienced sailors still keep her dear in their heart. It seems that one view of a "J" is the trigger for good memories!

J/24 winning silver on the Med
At the end of my fantastic trip, JUNGLE joined some regattas and we won a few prizes for being one of the fastest under 35 feet. That illustrates the abilities of this small cruiser/racer and even augments the esprit'd'corps and pleasure of being a "J" owner. The versatility of the design ensures you of even more friends and acquaintances, both in sport and on an adventurous cruise!

We ended safe and sound in Nidri. Now, I am working again as an interior designer and builder in The Netherlands and dream of this experience, wishing and hoping that I can do it again. Time is elastic, too. Someday soon....

For more perspectives on my experiences, watch a few of my videos on YouTube:

Greetings, Guus van den Akker"

J/80 sailing in Chile
* Following the thoughts and perspectives last week from the two J/Boats founders- Bob & Rod Johnstone, a few friends encouraged the "next generation" to describe their "home sheltering" experiences in the past few weeks.

Your J/News publisher/ editor- Stu Johnstone- has had one prominent theme while working at home for the past few weeks- "CATS"! LOL. 

My wife- Julia- and I live in a quaint "craftsman's cottage" in Newport that is shared with three complete characters (cats), each unique in their quirks and personalities. Living here is a bit like living on a boat, you're supposed to stay at anchor, stay on the boat, and occasionally you can row to shore to get supplies.

Stu with Allie cat
Meanwhile, the cats rule the roost. We started off a few years ago with one Russian Siberian forest cat we named "Allie". As an alpha female, she tries to rule the others, but at a strapping 8 lbs, her efforts are often for naught. She does claim your editor as her protector (as seen here) and enjoys spending lots of time hugging my shoulder while I type away and write the J/Newsletter.

Our second cat came about for one simple reason, "Allie" seemed lonely or bored at times. So, Julia decided to call back the cat breeder of Allie and find another cute Russian Siberian forest "kitten".

While the story of meeting the breeder to pick-up "Allie" the first time would be described as "epic", the second adventure was even more adventurous. You might describe it as an "interstate buying trip." I had decided to buy a powerboat (yes, going over to the 'dark side' has its merits). But, without a tow-vehicle, I had to rent one! Thanks to Enterprise, I got a nice Ford F-150 quad-cab pickup with a hitch, drove from Newport to New Haven to pick up a brand new aluminum trailer, then drove through New York (via I-287/ Tappan Zee Bridge), through New Jersey (past Delaware Water Gap) onto I-80 in Pennsylvania to meet our "cat lady" halfway across Pennsylvania.

Hobie cat
Much to our surprise, when we met her in a brew-pub parking lot just off the I-80 highway, she hops out of her car with a 7-month old "kitten" that was enormous- just your basic 17 lb. black panther hugging her shoulder. I nearly died of laughter... or, maybe it was shock! Nevertheless, "he" was a "lover" (as described by her breeder) and our new black kitty was promptly named "Hobie". Off we went to pick up the boat- a 30 ft Intrepid center console- in southern Long Island, with "Hobie" crawling all over inside the truck. Ultimately, we picked up the boat on Sunday 8:00am and drove back to Newport with the new "J/CREW" in tow (a bit larger than its predecessor- a 16 ft Boston Whaler!).

As if having two cats was not enough, segue forward three more years and my wife is now working at the Kitty Corner Cat Clinic in Newport. While I was "away at sea" over Thanksgiving weekend/ first week of December (I was racing a TP 52 with my cousin Jimmy in Phuket, Thailand, sailing in the famous King's Cup Regatta); my wife decided to add a THIRD cat to our household. This one was no spring chicken. Like Hobie, she was an enormous cat- a 13-year-old female Maine Coon cat tipping the scales around 17 lbs, too. Yikes! Sadly, she was a 'rescue cat', left by a previous owner, and was very timid at first. Her name was "Impy", but I nicknamed her "Whimpers". With both of us at home all the time, she's slowly coming out of her 'shell' and feeling more comfortable, and less intimidated, with the other two cats- Allie and Hobie. Thank goodness.

Charleston Harbour Marina
As for your J/News editor, I had two "Throwback Thursday" moments while writing on Thursday. My calendar program promptly notified me at 9:00am that Charleston Race Week was taking place this weekend- remember that event? It was a poignant moment for me, as the original plan was to sail with my "Meatballs" friends on their J/88 ALBONDIGAS. Bummer. It reminded me of all the other wonderful times sailing in Charleston Harbour, racing J/70s and J/111s in the past. With Doug Curtiss on his J/111 WICKED 2.0, Heather and Joey on their J/70 MUSE, and Brian Keane's J/70 SAVASANA. Fond memories all...wishing that we can enjoy Charleston again in the near future...

The second throwback moment was a truly epic, adventurous trip to Chile that Julia and I took a year ago. Fourteen days. 12 hours flying from Boston to Miami to Santiago to Punta Arenas. A 30-hour trip by water on the Yagan Ferry down the Straits of Magellan, across the spectacular Beagle Channel (at least two-dozen glaciers spilling down to the seashore) to Puerto Williams, the truly "southernmost city" in the world.

Torres del Paine, Chile
Puerto Williams is part of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago; it’s known as a starting point for trips around Cape Horn. It’s also a gateway to trails around the jagged peaks of the nearby Dientes de Navarino. (

How far south is it? 55 deg south latitude...versus the next closest place to the north familiar to many sailors, the southern tip of New Zealand's South Island- 46 deg south- just 540 miles north!

So far, that is the furthest south the J/Newsletter has ever been published- Puerto Williams! Coincidentally, there is a J/24 fleet there- part of the Chilean Navy's training program (the southernmost J/24 fleet on the planet)!

J/24s at Puerto Williams, Chile
Thereafter, we did hike the trails up to Dientes de Navarino (they do look like "teeth"). From that height, you can see Cape Horn down south! Then, visited the famous Torres del Paine National Park north of Punta Arenas. Then, up to Puerto Montt and visiting Lago Llanquihue- famous for being surrounded by three volcanic snow-covered peaks- plus there is a J/80 fleet on the lake.
Volcano Osorno at sunrise
Thereafter, it was a fun trip up to Isla Negra (remember last week's visit to Chilean poet Pablo Neruda's museum?). A trip to a spectacular vineyard northeast of Algarrobo, a day tour of eclectic Valparaiso. And then home. Next time, New Zealand's South Island!

Best wishes to all. Stay safe & healthy. Cheers, Stu & Julia"
Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

J/Newsletter- April 15th, 2020

sunset in ChileJ/Sailing News

As we all continue to experience yet another week of "home sheltering" to hopefully stem the expansion of the pandemic, we continue to see and hear about various ways in which our sailing friends are coping with "close encounters of the home-kind"; for nearly a month-plus in some places.

Here in Rhode Island, Newport life has ground to a halt, as it has in many other places around the world. It is strange to see the emptiness on America' Cup Avenue and Thames Street, normally packed with weekend warriors enjoying the beautiful springs days we have been experiencing recently. It is downright eerie, as if some apocalyptic movie became reality and a neutron bomb wiped everyone off the face of Planet Earth. One is reminded of our friends at The Black Pearl, "Ricky" (Five-O) at the Candy Store/ Clarke Cooke House, Zelda's, and good Lord knows how many other famous and wonderful restaurants that sailors from around the world have enjoyed in Newport for generations.

Even more bizarre is driving across the Newport Bridge on a spectacular sunny day, southwest 10-15 kts breeze blowing, a near perfect 60 F degrees, and not a soul on the water. No signs of any sails glistening on the sunlight seas, carving a languid course across the water, enjoying yet another gorgeous late afternoon, sunset sail across Narragansett Bay.

Yet, the heartbeat of Newport is still alive and kicking. Family and friends persevering against an unseen enemy that is perverse in its treatment of human-kind, sadly having an adverse effect on some of our older veterans of offshore battles and one-design "mano-a-mano" battles around-the-cans. We will miss them.

One imagines how our sailing friends miss such experiences on the Solent/ Cowes, the Baltic, Baie de Morbihan, Porto Cervo, Punta del Este, San Francisco Bay, Lago di Garda, Chesapeake Bay, St Moritz, Valle de Bravo, Lago Panguipulli, the Great Lakes, Biscayne Bay, Puget Sound, Penobscot Bay, the Caribbean, and all of our many favorite places to enjoy a fresh breeze on our face, and the sound of waves lapping against the topsides at sunset.... someday.....hopefully, soon.

John F Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy sailing offshore
President John F. Kennedy and wife Jackie sailing offshore on his beloved Wianno Sr- "Victura"

The scenario we live in today reminds me of another poem regarding our collective journey over the past few weeks.... one from another famous American poet, Robert Frost. Many sailors share Frost’s perspective; including one of the most famous sailing families in America- the Kennedy's.

President John F. Kennedy sailing Biscayne Bay, Florida
President John F. Kennedy practicing "social distancing" in 1963- sailing singlehanded on Biscayne Bay!

In October 1963, President John F. Kennedy delivered a speech at the dedication of the Robert Frost Library in Amherst, Massachusetts. “In honoring Robert Frost,” the President said, “we therefore can pay honor to the deepest source of our national strength. That strength takes many forms and the most obvious forms are not always the most significant. ... Our national strength matters; but the spirit which informs and controls our strength matters just as much. This was the special significance of Robert Frost.”

Robert Frost- The Road Not Taken
     The Road Not Taken
     Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
     And sorry I could not travel both
     And be one traveler, long I stood
     And looked down one as far as I could
     To where it bent in the undergrowth;

     Then took the other, as just as fair,
     And having perhaps the better claim,
     Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
     Though as for that the passing there
     Had worn them really about the same,

     And both that morning equally lay
     In leaves no step had trodden black.
     Oh, I kept the first for another day!
     Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
     I doubted if I should ever come back.

     I shall be telling this with a sigh
     Somewhere ages and ages hence:
     Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
     I took the one less traveled by,
     And that has made all the difference.

Learn more about Frost's impact on the world of poetry in a crossing of generations and centuries in his time.

Pablo Neruda sailing in proper gentleman's dresss
Similarly, the famous Chilean poet, Pablo Neruda, was famously credited for motivating the Chilean people themselves to take their own "road not taken", to overthrow the oppressive military regime and fulfill their hope for dreams of national self-determination.

Pablo Neruda's Isla Negra house
President John F. Kennedy's love for sailing and the sea was also shared by Neruda. As a young man, Neruda wrote "In Veinte Poemas" (Twenty Poems), an imaginary journey across the sea, symbolically in search of an ideal port. In 1927, he embarked on a real journey, when he sailed from Buenos Aires, Argentina for Lisbon, Portugal, ultimately bound for Rangoon. Later in life, Neruda made his way back to Chile in 1937 to settle in Isla Negra on a beautiful, famously rugged section of the Chilean coastline south of Algarrobo. There, he continued to walk the coastline, watching the enormous swells crashing on the shoreline from massive Roaring Forties storms swirling around the bottom of the world... inspired by the raw power of nature... dreaming... wondering.... writing.

Pablo Neruda's sailboat at Isla Negra, Chile
Neruda's house in Isla Negra features an open sailboat parked in front, facing symbolically towards the sea.

"His poetry of love, equated women with nature. He raised that comparison to a cosmic level, making women into a veritable force of the universe," commented Rene de Costa. Visit Neruda's beautiful, wildly fun, eclectic home, full of nautical treasures that would delight any sailor on the shores of Chile's Isla Negra. It is well-worth the trip...a soulful journey back into time.   Learn more about Neruda as one of Chile's most influential poet/philosophers.

J/24 Sea Bags Women's Sailing Team
J/One-Design Class Schedule Updates

(Newport, RI)- At this time, the J/22 and J/24 classes have the following updates for their members.

J/24 North American Championship
The Good Samaritan Hospital J/24 North American Championship, hosted by Sayville Yacht Club in Blue Point, NY is postponed to August 11th to 16th, 2020. All competitors already registered will be allowed to maintain their slots for the new August dates. If a competitor decides to withdraw for any reason, a full refund will be returned as long as it has been done before June 30. (Any withdrawals after June 30 will be returned less a $75.00 processing fee.) The special hotel rates at the Hyatt Regency Long Island have been rescheduled for August 9-16. All other questions should be sent via email to Regatta Chairperson/Rear Commodore Joe Buonasera at We hope to see you in August!

J/22s sailing off Montego Bay, Jamaica
J/22 World Championship
Over the past several weeks, the International J/22 Class Association in coordination with the South African J/22 Class have been closely monitoring the current pandemic. It has been decided that it would not be in anyone’s interests to continue to hold the World Championship in July. Even if the virus has been contained by then, there are concerns about South African businesses, the economy and participation. Plans for the 2021 J/22 World Championship in Corpus Christi, Texas USA are well underway, so South Africa will host the J/22 World Championship in 2022. Please be sure to reference the International J/22 Class Association website-

J/122 sailing Voiles St Barth
Themes and Memes from Day-to-Day

(Newport, RI)- Considering that spring sailing in the northern hemisphere and the amazing fall sailing usually associated with our Down Under compatriots in the Antipodes is now "toast", perhaps it would be fun to share our collective experiences across the spectrum of the following themes/ categories:

Nikki Beach Club rose wine and champagneMonday Morning Quarterbacks- why I didn't win or why I screwed up, amongst many other things, that happened this past weekend...anytime, anywhere. Recall why the weekend outcome may have been better, or worse.

J/Day Tuesday- featuring a J/Crew and their love and passion for sailing on their boat. Share family experiences that you have treasured in recent memory.

Hump Day Wednesday- should I stay, or should I go? What am I doing this weekend, or not? In other words, what I wished for the coming weekend, but may or may have not happened.

Throwback Thursday- sharing wonderful memories of sailing experiences in the past of any kind; daysailing, cruising, racing, or just messing about with boats.

St Barth's famous beach club- Nikki Beach!For example, a number of J/Sailors are probably wishing they were enjoying the spectacular sailing during the Voiles St. Barth Regatta this week!  Remember pics like the ones above and here (the famous Nikki Beach Club)?

Friday Funnies- anything that was amusing that took place in the past week, at home, at work, on the water, that may or may not be related to sailing.

Please send us whatever comes to mind at:!  All stories welcome!

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What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
Below we hear from Bob and Reverend Mary Johnstone as well as Rod Johnstone. We hope you enjoy their perspectives on living through the pandemic.

We would LOVE to hear from you, too! Please send us your stories and photos, too! Email us-

Reverend Mary with model sailboat* Perspectives from Reverend Mary Johnstone "sheltering" in Charleston, SC:
"Bob & I are counting the days 'til Bishop Gadsden issues an 'all clear', or 'clear with precautions' for its independent living residents. We have lived in a CCRC (continuing-care retirement community) in Charleston, SC  since October 2018.

Great people, beautiful campus, wonderful cottage, good food.

Since Wednesday, March 18th, all residents & most Staff have been under strict quarantine - no one is to leave campus, no visitors allowed. Each resident is provided a "care package" every day to cover lunch, dinner & breakfast. BG provides a once a week food shop for max 15 items at BiLo & we can also order (for a price) from Harris Teeter or Publix. Pharmacy items are available for delivery from a few pharmacies we've never heard of. A wonderful woman named "Heidi" did a huge shop for us at Walgreen's. My car is 'running on empty', so it is sitting in the garage until its driver is freed up to come & go.

On the flip side, the pace of life is noticeably slower. More time to think, reflect & write, which I enjoy. More time to exercise - I take a daily walk around the grounds 1-3 miles. Always look forward to this! I am focusing on domestic stuff & also on connecting with friends from near & far via phone, text, Facetime or email, especially with the 3 generations of our family. ❤️

On Easter day, Bob & I watched & participated in the 11:15am service from Washington National Cathedral, standing to sing all the hymns, including one accompanied by 1,000's of Episcopalians from around the USA, generated by miraculous technology: Facetime? Zoom? Presiding Bishop Michael Curry preached (from his home) - it was an uplifting & hopeful message.

When we are collecting mail, or strolling around campus, we wear face masks, & wash our hands & keep our 6' distance from others. Dedicated to cooperating for the good of all, while inside our heads asking, "When & how will these behaviors end??"

Bob & Mary Johnstone boating off Naples, FL
This photo was taken on "Breeze", our 43z, during a February outing in Naples, Florida. Breeze sits patiently at Safe Harbor Charleston City Marina awaiting our return!

Warm greetings and love to all! Stay healthy, stay safe, stay sane!

J/99 arriving Bristol, RI
* Where the is my boat? Rod Johnstone's trials & tribulations in the past few weeks dealing with the new reality of home sheltering and restricted travel is compounded by trying to figure out how to commission and get his new J/99! Like many of us, dreaming of how to go sailing! Here is Rod's ruminations:

"So..... Lucia and I are riding out this storm here at anchor at our house in Stonington. We are both well. We plan to go sailing as soon as it gets warmer. I am sitting here in my office doing what I know best........ designing the next great sailboat!

Our new J/99 “Jazz” is being bottom painted now and will be ready to launch soon. The challenge will be how to get to the boat to go sailing. As of now, I might need to borrow a family car with Rhode Island plates, so I do not get stopped by the RI State Police at the border. We intend to go sailing soon.

J/99 sailing with Rod Johnstone family
Last summer sailing the J/99 AGENT 99- Rod with sons Jeff and Al (left to right)

Sailing is the best example of social distancing; our own household having been in quarantine together for over a month already. it is easier to do that on a boat like the J/99 for the two of us.

So, why does the Governor of RI now prevent boaters from other States, who can easily self-quarantine on their own boats flying the “Q” flag? A visitor by boat should be able to follow the same rules and enjoy the Rod & Lucia Johnstonesame rights as Rhode Island residents while in Rhode Island. Right now, they have got the RI police patrolling marinas to get rid of the likes of CT'ers, like me. Seems like RI needs higher intelligence to find a more effective approach to the crisis!

Hard to be positive about this, but it makes sailing all the more desirable as an escape from the overreach of authority; something safe to be enjoyed with others from the same household, or at a safe distance. Most of us don’t need to be treated like idiots.

Lucia and I plan to go cruising on our J/99 every chance we get and will try to overcome any obstacles placed in our way while we are medically protecting ourselves and others in our vicinity. I would urge other sailors to do the same.

Rodney's dingy
I have my home-built, balanced lug rig, daysailer in front of the garage, ready to go! Easy to launch anywhere, single-hand or double-handed.

Love to all and stay safe!
Rod & Lucia

Model sailboats on Charleston pond
* Who is that masked man?!  Like his brother, Bob Johnstone has also been dreaming, wondering, when it would be possible to escape onto the water again? In the meantime, here are some of his thoughts on "pandemic life":

It seems the boatyards and boat trucking operations are carrying on with “Business as Usual”.  Just arranged for a June 10th hauling our new triple-outboard powered MJM 43z BREEZE from the City Marina here in Charleston to truck to Newport Shipyard in Newport, RI.  We have a condo rented there on Coddington Wharf, overlooking the harbor, from June 15 to September 15… with a 3-week cruise to Northeast Harbor in late July.  Booked at the Northeast Town Docks.

Bob Johnstone with his model sailboatWe had been planning to put BREEZE on our mooring off New York Yacht Club Harbour Court, but looks like their launch service won’t start until the end of June… so, we may be rowing an inflatable back and forth as “registered” dinghies can be kept at the HC floats.

The other option during the last half of June, particularly if the 14-day R.I. quarantine for "foreigners" still exists, we could keep the boat on the dock and either live on the boat at Newport Shipyard, which is offering deliveries to deal with the situation… or move into isolation in the condo.  After all, we spent a month aboard (the longest period we’ve ever stayed aboard any boat), cruising BREEZE from Naples FL back up the ICW (intra-coastal waterway) to Charleston and had a great time.

In the meantime, doing what comes naturally! Back to one-design sailboat racing… actually coming back full circle to model sailboats.

My first one-design efforts, preceding J/Boats by 15 years, was when we were living in Cali, Colombia.  Got a dozen of my ex-pat friends to invest in Dumas model Star class wooden boat kits. I imported them.  It was a complete disaster. I was the only one who built one.  Guess we were going to take them out to our local golf/tennis- Club Campestre- and sail them on the pond, run around, pushing them back on course with our putters… as they weren’t radio controlled! LOL!

Good news is that I learned something in the past 58 years. “Build it and they will come!”  If I put all the kits together and handed a fully-tuned, completed boat to the owner, the program will take off (or, so I hoped). That story and some nice coverage by Craig Leweck in Sailing Scuttlebutt apparently got Tom Babbitt and Ben Hall psyched about starting fleets in ME and FL… and Rod’s been thinking about the same thing from his new house on an extension of Stonington harbor north of the RR bridge.

DF-95's sailing on Charleston pond
You can see my #24 (my official US Sailing Offshore number having the obvious J/24 connection) above along with half the new fleet one-design of DF-95s, each boat being a different color… trying to match the appeal of Nantucket’s Rainbow Fleet of catboats.  The dining room table of our cottage is now the local boatyard, as am rigging every boat for the new owners from a very complete “ready to race” kit. And, I thought we had one-design nailed down with the J/24! These are like mini-Volvo 70s. Of the 5-lbs total weight with carbon keel and unstayed carbon rig, the keel is 3 lbs.! Stiff boats!

They anointed me Commodore of the Bishop Gadsden Yacht Club here on the campus. We are restricted to only 4 person groups with masks and social distancing… SC Governor says no more than 3.  But, the croquet people talked management into 4… so it was extended to sailing! With 16 sailors, we’ve had to split up into two hourly sessions, 11am and 3pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, with one group of 4 on the North side of the pond and a second group of 4 on the East side of one of two ponds. So, everyone gets two days of racing a week.

What is the best part? Unlimited solo sailing… because sailing is more than just racing. It can be quite therapeutic.

We’re probably one of the few yacht clubs in the country, active, with a full regatta schedule.  The racing is fun.  Haven’t ever hear the word, “protest!”  Mark rounding jam-ups are causes for laughter and we don’t publicize a running daily score, but I keep a tally. It’s crazy enough sailing on these ponds with swirling winds. For example, yesterday afternoon every sailor had at least a podium 3rd place finish and can go home happy.

Reminds me of the movie, 'King of Hearts'… where the only sane people were those in the asylum, the insanity being the war around them.  Is there a lesson here for the sport?"

Cheers and pray everyone is OK and doing well,
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