Wednesday, July 29, 2020

J/Newsletter- July 29th, 2020

sunset in ChileJ/Sailing News

It's going to be an exciting weekend for sailors in both Europe and the USA. The J/70 sailing leagues in Germany, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, and Netherlands are resuming in the next two to three weekends.  And, in the USA the famous Edgartown YC Round Island race will be taking place- a 56.0nm adventure that starts on Saturday and circumnavigates Martha's Vineyard Island. In many respects, it is every bit a challenging race as the famous Round Island Race in the United Kingdom- the original "America's Cup" course for 60.0nm going around the Isle of Wight. Crazy currents, more sandbars, more vortices (wind and water), and often big breeze later in the afternoon as the breeze gets sucked down Vineyard Sound due to a giant sandbar called "Cape Cod".

J/111 sailing Edgartown Round Island
Edgartown Round Island Race Preview
(Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, MA)- The Edgartown Yacht Club is hosting the 82nd running of its signature ‘Round-the-Island (’RTI) race on Saturday, August 1st, 2020. The Round Island, which began in 1938 and counts as one of America’s oldest distance races, it tracks 56.0 nautical miles around Martha’s Vineyard.

“To ensure the health and safety of sailors and the entire Martha’s Vineyard community, we have been working diligently to comply with the State of Massachusetts guidelines regarding COVID-19,” said Race Co-Chair Alex Nugent.

“Because of the early-August scheduling of our event, we’ve had time to adapt our plans and prepare the competitors for what to expect. Despite necessary changes, registration numbers are robust, drawing teams from all over the East Coast who see Edgartown Race Weekend as the kick-off to the 2020 racing season.”

Happily adapting to the pandemic guidelines are many J/Sailors. Answering the Siren's Song are sixteen J/Crews, ranging from J/29s to J/46! All divisions have J's participating, such as IRC, ORRez, PHRF, and PHRF Doublehanded!

J/105's Edgartown
In the ginormous 31-boat PHRF Spinnaker division, a mini-armada of J/Crews from across New England are looking forward tackle the course. Perhaps their most formidable foe may be Senator (MA) John F. Kerry's Alden 44 LARK sailing for Nantucket Yacht Club...never know how those political guys manipulate the PHRF system! Leading the charge for J/teams will likely be Dick Egan's J/46 WINGS (a multiple Round Island Race winner), along with skipper Ken Luczynski's J/44 VAMP sailing for the US Merchant Marine Academy. Giving them a serious run for the money on both line honors and handicap honors is multiple Round Island Race winner- Doug Curtiss' J/111 WICKED 2.0. With that kind of formidable competition, the three J/109s hope the winds/ tides work in their favor (Ted Herlihy's GUT FEELING, Eliot Shanabrook's HAFA ADAI, & Ed Dailey's RAPTOR). The two very experienced J/105s have also won their fair share of silver in Cape Cod racing circles- the trio on the J/105 DARK'N'STORMY (Joyce, Reservitz, & Wagner) and Ed Lobo's WATERWOLF. Then, another famous team on the J/29 SEEFEST, skippered by Ira Perry means everyone in front of them should be they have won their class in the past multiple times. To say the least, a very talented, competitive fleet.

J/122 sailing Edgartown
In the PHRF Doublehanded fleet of fourteen-boats, there will certainly be a great battle brewing amongst experienced duos on the trio of J/Doublehanders. Leading the charge around the course should be David Southwell's J/121 ALCHEMY, with Stephen Besse's J/120 APRES, and Mike Hersey's J/35 RESILIENCE giving them a good run-for-the-money.   For more information Edgartown YC Round Island Race sailing information

J/111 sailing Round Island
Round Isle of Wight Race Preview

(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The Royal Ocean Racing Club has over 100 entries for "Race the Wight", scheduled to start on Saturday, 1st August. All entry fees will be donated to the NHS Trust and the Scaramouche Sailing Trust. Race the Wight will be the first of a four-race RORC mini-series during August and September.

“As a charity, we rely on donations and grants. Every pound we receive goes towards getting more students from different backgrounds sailing,” commented Jon Holt, Scaramouche Sailing Trust. “Our next big goal is to be on the start line of the Rolex Fastnet Race 2021. We are grateful for the ongoing support from RORC and proud to be named as one of the charities for the race.” The Greig City Academy will have upwards of a dozen students on different boats for the race.

IRC Classes for the 60.0 nm race around the Isle of Wight are still to be confirmed. However, early entries indicate a fleet full of champions with any number of potential victors.

J/122E sailing off England
Thirty-two J/Crews are entered in the race, looking forward to their picturesque circumnavigation of the Isle of Wight. Sailing in the thirteen-boat IRC 1 Class is Mike O’Donnell’s J/121 DARKWOOD; they won last year’s RORC Channel Race and will be competing with a crew of five.

“With water ballast and a sail configuration designed for short-handed sailing, we are actually sailing with our optimum crew, even with the restrictions,” commented Michael O’Donnell.  “The race around the Isle of Wight, starting at the Royal Yacht Squadron, is possibly the most iconic in the world - we just can’t wait to get out there.”

In the twenty-three boat IRC 2 Class are a duo of J/122s and quartet of J/111s. The J/111 teams include Chris Jones' JOURNEYMAKER II, Simon Banford's KESTREL, Tim Tolcher's RAGING BULL, and Simon Grier-Jones' SNOW LEOPARD. The 122's sailing are Clive Miles' JANGLE and Andy Theobald's R&W.

The enormous forty-three boat IRC 3 Class includes some of the top J/Crews that race on the Solent. Two J/112E's are racing- Jim Chalmers' HAPPY DAIZE and Bruce Huber's XANABOO. Joining them are two J/88s- Alistair Ray's JUMUNU 5 and Gavin Howe & Sam Cooper's TIGRIS. Joining them is Jim Owen's J/99 JET. Then, eight J/109s are racing, that include notables like Simon Perry's JIRAFFE, Rob Cotterill's MOJO RISIN, Mike Yates JAGO, and Chris Burleigh's JYBE TALKIN. As the lowest rated boat, Tom Hayhoe and Natalie Jobling will be racing J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS Two-Handed and both work for the NHS Trust.

J/105 sailing offshore
Another enormous forty-three boat IRC 4 Class has Dave McGough's J/109 JUST SO, four J/105s (Mark Stevens JACANA, Bill Newton's JELLY BABY, Steve Roberts' JIN TONIC, and Jerry Freeman's JULIETTE). Joining them are Rachel Woods and Robert Hunt's J/97 JUMBLESAIL 2, Jack Banks' J/92 NIGHTJAR, Robert Salter's J/92 JACKDAW and two J/80s (Keith Willis' DARK & STORMY 2 and Ross Bowder's JUSTIFY).

Notably, the largest class is the IRC Doublehanded Class with forty-four boats!  Those teams include Jones' J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II, Miles' J/122 JANGLE, Frans van Cappelle's J/122E MOANA, Howes' J/88 TIGRIS, Joppe Scheppers & Jasper Heikens' J/109 JOMALIJA, Yates' J/109 JAGO, Hayhoe & Jobling's J/105 MOSTLY HARMLESS, Roberts' J/105 JIN TONIC, Freeman's J/105 JULIETTE, and Woods & Hunt's J/97 JUMBLESAIL 2.

In summary: permitted crew can be up to a maximum of 6 people from any household or two-thirds of a boat’s IRC crew number, whichever is the least. Competitors are also reminded of the government guidance on social distancing and other Covid-19 pandemic measures.  For more RORC sailing information, including online entry.

Sailing offshore of England
Royal Torbay Regatta Announcement

(Torbay, England)- After an unexpected start to this year’s sailing season and many discussions on how best to proceed with Torbay Royal Regatta 2020, we are pleased to announce that the event will still be taking place over the weekend August 22nd – 23rd, albeit with a number of necessary changes brought about by COVID-19 restrictions and associated guidance.

The Torbay Royal Regatta will proceed on its intended dates of August 22nd & 23rd, hosting races for IRC, Cruisers and Sports boats only. Although the event will not incorporate the IRC South West Championship as originally planned, sailors can expect two days of top-class racing on the renowned sailing waters of Torbay. Entries are open and a revised Notice of Race has been published, both can be found on the event website detailed below.

The running of two separate events will enable the club to provide competitive sailing opportunities for all classes whilst keeping the competitors and volunteers health and safety as a top priority. All racing and race management will be conducted following HM Government and RYA Guidance relating to the COVID-19 pandemic that are applicable at the time of each event.  For more Royal Torbay regatta sailing information

New York Yacht Club- Harbour Court- Newport, Rhode Island
New York Yacht Club Reboots Summer Sailing

(Newport, RI)- The key to a comeback is to look forward. With Rhode Island now in Phase III of its re-opening plan, the New York Yacht Club has turned its focus toward making the most of this truncated sailing season. The Annual Regatta, which will be run for the 166th time in 2020, is now scheduled for August 28th to 30th. Unique to this edition is the inclusion of a number of one-design keelboats, including J/70s.

Race Week at Newport presented by Rolex will take place September 23rd to 26th, allowing sailors to enjoy one of Rhode Island’s best-kept secrets, the fabulous early autumn sailing conditions. True race weeks are a rarity in today's time-crunched world and the Club is proud to keep that traditional alive with five days of activities and racing. Different course configurations and sailing areas, such as buoy racing and mid-distance courses, will make the week lively for competitors, while the Stadium Sailing will allow spectators to watch the racing from Fort Adams.

It may not be the sailing season you envisioned, but it can be one you won’t soon forget. Registration for both events is open now.  For more NYYC Annual Regatta sailing information   For more NYYC Race Week sailing information

J/Gear J/Jacket
J/Gear August 20% OFF Special!

(Newport, RI)- The J/Foul Weather Jacket boasts a rugged construction and features taped seams for durability. The jackets are discounted 20% and the special price is active now until August 30th, 2020.

The very nice-looking jacket features the following
  • Zip-off multi-adjustable hood
  • Partial storm flap with metal snaps at top
  • Reflective printed shoulder panels
  • Center front reverse coil waterproof zipper
  • Chest and lower pockets with reverse coil waterproof zipper
  • Adjustable shockcord at hood and hem
  • Outer jacket works with style 9951 liner- offers warmth to 8.0 F!
The J/Class logo of your choice is embroidered on the front. We can also customize with your detail. Perfect for the whole crew!  For more J/Foul Weather Jacket information and to buy now.

Sailing Calendar

Aug 13-16- SAILING Champions League- St Petersburg, Russia
Aug 14-16- Swedish J/70 Sailing League- Ornskoldsvik, Sweden
Aug 15-16- Danish J/70 Sailing League- Aarhus, Denmark
Aug 15-16- J/Fest Newport- Newport, RI
Aug 28-30- J/70 Segel Bundesliga- Wannsee, Germany
Aug 28-30- Under 21 Italian J/70 Sailing League Championship- Rimini, Italy
Sep 5-6- Danish J/70 Sailing League- Skovshoved, Denmark

J/124 Marisol sailing offshore
Round Catalina Double-Race Produces J/Silver

(Newport Beach, CA)- Thirty-six boats sailed in South Shore Yacht Club's annual 90.0 nm Round Catalina Island Doublehanded Race. The annual event starts & finishes off the Balboa Pier in Newport Beach and only allows two sailors aboard. Club officials stated this was a record turnout! Yachts ranging in size from 24 ft to 72 ft LOA entered this classic Southern California Handicap Race.

The J/124 MARISOL skippered by NHYC member Tom Pollack & American Legion Yacht Club member Rick Hancock were the 2nd boat to finish, 3rd in class & 3rd overall in the PHRF Fleet. The race started in 7.0 knots of breeze building to 27 knots on the back side of Catalina near the island's east end where a local venturi effect from the 1000' tall sheer cliffs accelerates the normal 15 knot westerly breeze.

It was near here that Marisol caught up to larger boats and managed to exit the local windless parking lot in the lee of the island to find the westerly breeze on the other side.  22 miles later at the Balboa Pier, Marisol put her bow across the finish line just 1 second ahead of the Choate 48' Amante in a 15 knot westerly wind that refused to die down at 1:40 am local time.

"Our big yellow asymmetrical spinnaker attached to a retractable spinnaker pole that owner Seth Hall added a couple years ago has made Marisol a much better downwind ride than when she was built 16 years ago," added Skipper Tom Pollack. "All we did was keep it simple and not tack or gybe much, just letting the fast J/124 do the work! She rides on rails!"

The race started at 11:00 AM in a 7-8 knots building westerly breeze taking the fleet 15 miles north on a long port tack. As the breeze built to 20 knots, "We just kept sliding the genoa lead aft, sheeting tighter and pointing higher," said crew member Rick Hancock. "Hoping to use the smooth water in the harbor to change to a #3 jib."

Marisol purposefully navigated to enter the Long Beach Harbor entrance and exit the harbor at Los Angeles Angels Gate.  

"What you take for granted on a fully crewed race boat, does not happen on a sailboat with only 2 crew" said Pollack. "It's how you plan ahead & manage that challenge that allows you to finish the race safely. With the Olympics in 2024 in Paris featuring sailboat racing with mixed crews of 2 people, it should be interesting to watch the video feed," noted Tom Pollack.

Taking 1st place in PHRF B Class & 4th overall was J/109 BLUE CRUSH skippered by Bob Little and Dan Milefchik from Alamitos Bay Yacht Club.

J-109 FUZZY LOGIC skippered by Jeff Shew & Bill Durant from Long Beach Yacht Club took 2nd in PHRF B & 6th Overall.

So, if you find yourself in July of 2021 in Southern California and want to try something different, try SSYC's Crew of 2 race.   For complete results of the Round Catalina Double Race Results.

J/70 Chile class sunset
J/70 Class Report from Chile

(Algarrobo, Chile)- We received a report from Juan Eduardo Reid- J/70 sailor and J/Boats Chile dealer- regards their scenario in Chile.

Juan commented, "there has been no sailing activity since March 2020.  We are still sailing just in Virtual Regatta since April.  Santander and Doyle Sails are hosting a VR circuit with the J/70 owners and crews every Tuesday. Is called "The Master League".  There are weekly and monthly regattas.  2 fleets of 20 boats each week with final 40 participants results.

J/70 Virtual Regatta Chile
This, together with a WhatsApp for internal communication, has become a very important factor of keeping the class together and "active".

Chile J/70 women's team
Patagonia Yacht Charter and Doyle Sails hoisted the Chilean qualifiers for the South American Virtual Regatta championship. In the local qualifiers, 90 boats took place.

The class took the opportunity to ask for a voluntary donation for purchasing boxes of food for some employees at our home yacht club: Cofradía Nautica del Pacifico in Algarrobo.

We got very good support from the 90 participants, and collect $1,400 USD. And, the J/70 class did the same and supported the campaign with the same amount. So, with the $2,800 USD in funds, the J/70 Class in Chile and the Cofradía Náutica del Pacífico members support (they also complement each box with extra food), they  have been delivering 18 boxes of food every month since May. Three months of 18 boxes each were delivered and we expect to support with 2 more months.

food for covid-19 coronavirus workers
Independent marine workers are having a hard time since March 2020 and actually there were having very low marine activities since November 2019, after the violence and social strikes we faced in Chile since October 18th, 2019. So, this help is very important for them and the J/70 Chilean Class is happy to somehow contribute.

This is all that I can comment from this side of the world. I hope we can sail again during September or October.  We still have 2,000 new coronavirus cases and 100 dead every day here in Chile. It is getting better, but still not enough to get to normal life."

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
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J/80 sailing offshore
* A Perspective on one-design appeal in the J/80 Class from a U.S. Sailing dialogue with the USA J/80 Class President Ramzi Bannura. 

US Sailing: What is the appeal of the J-80 class?

Ramzi Bannura: The allure is that the J/80 is a competitive one design class that has pockets of established fleets and boats across the US and Canada, such as Annapolis, Toronto, Seattle, Austin and New Hampshire . The class has closed class rules so that means that anything that is not expressly permitted is prohibited.  One of the most attractive features of the class is that sailors are open and engaging, meaning sailors teach each other how to sail/race better and optimally tune their boats. It is not unusual to see open and honest discussion happening on the dock about set ups, or chatter about spinnaker take down techniques, or why one side of the course or the other was better in a post race debrief.  The J/80 class is  a like-minded community of sailors that seeks camaraderie through healthy competition.

Though mainly sailed by middle-aged men in the 40+ age range, it is common to see teenagers and women skippering a competitive J/80, and it is worth noting that the J/80 is commonly used for family cruising and PHRF sailing in all venues.

J/80 sailing offshore
US Sailing: How is the J/80 class growing?

Ramzi Bannura: In the past two years, based on class membership numbers, the J/80 class has seen a 20% growth. Since there is a shortage of boats, although new ones can be built to order today, class members are looking to locate boats that are not currently being sailed so that new owners can get involved competing in the class. The boats hold value well – 25 to 30 year old boats are still very competitive and hold championship trophies. The boats perform well in light air but the real performance starts when the breeze gets up to 15 knots and the boats start planning downwind at times approaching 20 knots. Fear is not a large factor as the breeze goes up since the J/80 demonstrates the art of solid handling and even graceful broaching as opposed to traditionally scary knockdowns. The J/80 is very easy to rig, tow and launch which makes opportunities for traveling an inviting adventure.

When all is said and done, the J/80 is ridiculously competitive and the class rules and one design specification consistency over the years makes the skipper and crew the primary difference in the performance of the boat, not all the extra high-tech gear common today!

US Sailing: What best practices does the J/80 class have to share for participation and retention of sailors?

Ramzi Bannura: The J/80 class has a member-only section of the website ( where members have exclusive access to the J/80 “knowledge base” and other tools which is particularly helpful to new J/80 owners, as well as access to the North American member directory. Hints and tips along with tuning information on how to make the boat go faster are also readily available.

The J/80 North American class is not a “Pro” dominant class since the owner/driver rule tends to limit the number of pro drivers unless they are boat owners. Pro sailors are otherwise active in the class as crew and trusted advisers for boat owners/programs on a regular basis.  If a sailor wants to sail the class events, they will be required to be a boat owner. The class welcomes the participation of pros as they continue to share their knowledge and expertise in the spirit of camaraderie through competition.

US Sailing: How has the J/80 class been able to help contain the costs of participation?

Ramzi Bannura: Boat owners are only allowed to buy one suit of sails per year; this restriction tends to temper an arms race. Many teams save those “championship” sails for the big events, and regularly use other used sails in their regular club and evening races. New sails definitely make a difference, but the biggest differentiator is the skill of the sailors.

The other way that many sailors are able to manage costs of traveling outside of their local area is through the invitation and generosity of other J/80 sailors across the country.  If there is an event, many local fleet sailors offer to host/house out of town sailors to make travel to events more affordable. Hospitality encourages participation and friendships are born through that participation. This is an amazing and notable element of the J/80 class that has led to well attended events and good friendships.

US Sailing: Any final thoughts and additional information you would like to share?

Ramzi Bannura: There are more than 1,000 boats that have been built world-wide, with 250+ boats here in the US and Canada. The average price ranges between $25-35,000 all up, and as previously mentioned, the J/80 tends to hold its value since older boats are build solid and are competitive with newer boats.  Not only is the J/80 being used for racing (with max crew weight of 770 lbs/350 kg) but its versatility is shown in its regular use by clubs and sailing organizations for learn to sail and instructional programs, for boat rentals within programs, and for family time sailing.

It is important to note that the J/80 is as global as any worldwide one design class.  In addition to North America, there is a strong presence in Asia and Europe.  North American sailors can participate in international events and our champions hold their own against anyone from anywhere.  And the One Design Insurance policies from the Gowrie Group can be a huge benefit to one design sailors when they are sailing/competing at home or abroad, giving boat owners that additional peace of mind.  J/80 World Championship is currently planned for 2022 in North America.

Any and all are welcome to sail the J/80 and join the class – it is a fun, fast and fair class to be part of!

For more stories and resources for one design sailors, visit US Sailing’s One Design Central!   Learn more about the J/80 class here

J/99 sailing offshore
* Off Watch: Covid Blues
Herb McCormick, Cruising World's Executive Editor, and active J/24 Thursday night Fleet #50 racer in Newport, RI, had covered this year's St. Maarten Heineken Regatta back in March. J/News Editor Stu Johnstone spoke with Herb a few times at the famous evening concerts; Stu was sailing with friends on the J/105 SOLSTICE, owned/ skippered by Jordan Mindich from Long Island, NY. Here is Herb's retrospective view following our "lockdown life" in Newport, RI since March:

"Looking back, a visit to St. Maarten to cover the Heineken Regatta in early March now seems like a surreal experience in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

There are several things I have in common with our distinguished regular columnist, one Capt. Gary M. “Fatty” Goodlander. We’re both lifelong nautical scribes; have published thousands of magazine articles, and several marine books; and have a deep, abiding love for sailing. But, for the purposes of this little essay, I’ll point to one other experience Fatty and I have shared: We’ve both served as the press officer of the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta.

There are a lot of fantastic perks to a career in sailing journalism— I’d venture to say that Fatty’s and my collective passport entries over the years are far more extensive and unusual than the average bear’s. But getting rich, alas, is most certainly not one of them. Which is why side gigs— such as books, freelance work, or working for regattas— are very welcome tasks indeed. And, that brings me to my most recent visit to St. Maarten, late this past winter, for the 40th edition of that crazy, wonderful event (it was actually my second swing to the island in recent months.)

Looking back, I think it’s safe to say that the Heineken Regatta— which drew sailors from Europe, Russia, the US, Australia, South Africa and many Caribbean islands, competing on nearly 150 yachts, and which took place from March 5th to 8th— was likely the last international sailing event to take place before the planet basically closed for business later that month due to the onset of the novel coronavirus. It’s hard to believe, just that short time ago, that few of us had any clue that before long we’d all be donning Jesse James-type bandannas for the ever-infrequent dashes to the supermarket.

Was it a surreal experience? In retrospect, indeed. But at the time, there was no real sense that we were all clueless spring breakers, or that we were pushing some irresponsible envelope to have a bit of fun at the world’s expense before it all went sideways. Who knew that all our lives would soon be governed by some bizarre concept known as “social distancing?” Life on the island, in the bars and restaurants— and yes, out on the racecourses— carried forth very much as usual. On the day that the regatta started, the first positive case of COVID-19 on the island was still nearly two weeks away. Of course, once that happened, St. Maarten quickly went on lockdown, and before the month was over, the international airport was basically closed to passengers. The wagons had been circled.

Meanwhile, in harbors and marinas the world over, the basic premise that governs the joy of owning and sailing a cruising boat— pure, unfettered freedom to go whenever and wherever we wish— had also come to a screeching halt. Plans were put on hold. With no real endgame in sight, there was no timetable to even plan when we could make a plan.

Full. Stop.

I wrapped up my duties on the last night of the regatta and was on a plane hours later, with a stop in Newark before my second flight back to New England. The usually busy airport was a ghost town. I washed my hands, had a beer, and washed my hands again. Then I flew home, suddenly aware of how things had already changed.

About a week later, I felt terrible. I’m generally a pretty healthy dude (touch wood), but I went down hard. There was no testing available in Rhode Island at that point, and I might never know for sure if I had the virus. After a long week, I got better, but at the time, I sure as hell knew I wasn’t in St. Maarten anymore, figuratively or literally.

I was sitting in my kitchen at some point during my illness, whatever the hell it was, listening to WMVY radio from Martha’s Vineyard, usually a bastion of good-time James Taylor tunes and the like. Over the years, the sunny station had provided the soundtrack on my boat for many a pleasant summer cruise. But, for the second or third time over the course of a few hours, they were spinning R.E.M.‘s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine).” And, I thought about who I’d hung out with in St. Maarten; and the bar I’d leaned on in Newark; and my poor daughter down the hall (whose highly anticipated senior year of college had just been zapped), who I might be infecting with my stuff.

And, I did not feel fine.

Of course, we’ve all got our stories about this mess...that’s mine. But I’ll conclude this little lament with a sunnier thought. Smooth sailing lies ahead. Stay safe, mates."  Thanks for this contribution from Cruising World- Herb McCormick
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