Tuesday, November 13, 2012

J/70s Love Hot Rum Race #1

J/70s sailing off San Diego in Hot Rum RaceJ/105 Masters Crush Fleet, J/120 Wins Too!(San Diego, CA)- This past weekend marked the first of the infamous three weekend series of "pursuit" races sailed off San Diego's Point Loma.  An annual fall right of passage in the southernmost part of California, over 120 boats participated in near picture perfect conditions with winds blowing from the NNW at 10-15 kts.  As the little, slower rating boats took off in sunny, breezy conditions on a long starboard tack reach out the Pt Loma shipping channel on a SW course to the first mark under spinnakers, you could practically hear the J/Teams smacking their chops knowing the first two legs would be fast spinnaker reaches before the long beat home to Pt Loma with a quick port tack reach home to the finish line just off Shelter Island.

J/70s sailing off Point Loma, San DiegoLeading the entire fleet home were the J/105s, most of whom were participating in the J/105 Masters Regatta. First boat home sailing an amazing race was Bruce Munro's team from St Francis YC, however, as they finished they discovered they were OCS'd by the RC.  As a result, the first official finisher was John Andron's team, also from StFYC; they were followed by the famous yacht designer Ron Holland from Ireland in 2nd; local hero, World Star champion and SDYC benefactor Malin Burnham finished in 3rd; fourth was yet another famous sailmaker, World Soling Champion, Hans Fogh from Denmark and Toronto, Ontario, Canada; and in 6th was local champion Rick Goebel on SANITY.

Class 2 was won by John Laun's J/120 CAPER with fellow J/120 sailor Chuck Nichols sailing his famous CC RIDER in 5th. Peter Zarcades J/120 MELTEMI ended up 9th.

Class 4 saw the debut of the J/70s.  And, what a debut it was with the group of four J/70s having a very close start and taking off in the first giant puff like a Navy F-18 getting shot off the catapult on an aircraft carrier!  Taking off with foam hissing in their wake, the J/70s quickly overhauled all their competitors in front of them.  In the end, the J/70s took 1st and 3rd.  Leading them home was J/70 ULLMAN SAILS in 1st with the J/70 QUANTUM SAILS team taking 3rd.  The J/70 NORTH SAILS team was 2nd across the line but suffered a similar fate as their J/105 counterparts (the Munro team) by having to take an OCS.  For more Hot Rum Series sailing information

SAVASANA Wins J/80 North Americans

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing(Fort Worth, Texas)- Brian Keane of Beverly Yacht Club sailing SAVASANA with his team of Steve Hunt, Mike Wolfs and Ben Powers have been crowned 2012 J/80 North American Champions, edging out defending champions Glenn Darden and Reese Hillard on LE TIGRE who finished just one point behind.  Terry Flynn and David Whelan aboard QUANTUM GC Racing took third.  Following today’s racing, Keane said, “This is the second time we have been here, having sailed in the Ol’ Man of the Sea Regatta a couple of weeks ago.  After that regatta we expected this to be simple sailing, but we had three days of unbelievably different sailing.  Conditions were always changing.  We were able to minimize our mistakes and repair them when we made them.  Fort Worth Boat Club is a great venue for racing and it is a testament to the club members, race committee and the judges that they were able to put on such a successful event.”

J/80 one-design sailing in TexasHere is how it all went down for this year's event on Eagle Mountain Lake, northwest of downtown Fort Worth.  For the first day of racing, the serious fun began. PRO Mark Smith promised at the Competitors’ Meeting that he would make the best possible use of time and weather conditions to maximize the quality of races and closely watch weather pattern changes for Saturday and Sunday. Five W4 races averaging 48 minutes in length were run with breeze ranging from 9-11, starting at 210 degrees and shifting to the left throughout the day.  Most shifts were easily accommodated with a code flag C notification, but Race 3 went to AP within a minute of the start and the signal boat was repositioned and all marks reset, with the race starting at 1242.

There was another sunny day on Saturday.  Friday's leaders, the Quantum/Gulf Coast Composite team of Terry Flynn (FWBC) and David Whelan (LYC) sailing with Jake Scott and Matt Romberg had a brilliant day but found themselves in second (pending protests) when Brian Keane, Steve Hunt, Mike Wolfs and Ben Powers on Savasana came back strong Saturday.   Glenn Darden and Reese Hillard, with Max Skelley and Karl Anderson climbed back up in the standings with two top ten finishes and the help of that throw-out.

Weather predictions Sunday morning weren’t stellar for the kind of racing the PRO hoped to provide, but after the frustration Saturday dealing with a front that just lolly-gagged around and refused to settle in, PRO Smith felt fortunate to have completed seven races before facing the challenges of this final day of scheduled racing.   Temperatures were a bit cooler, but there was no rain and earlier threats of thundershowers for Sunday never materialized.

J/80 one-design sailboat- Savasana sailing in TexasThe competitors left the harbor for a scheduled 1000 start, with wind at 5 mph coming from the north.  After a postponement of 45 minutes, support boats set up for a W4 course at 010 with 0.6  nm legs, having been able to move the signal boat back toward the south end of the lake from Saturday’s location in an effort to minimize shore effect and the bend around the point at FWBC.   Wind velocity held pretty steady from 5-8, but dropped to 3 several times during the two races completed today.  The course was shifted only slightly to 005 for the last race of the day and the fleet was pretty well split for all four 0.6 mile legs of the final push.  PRO Smith was very complimentary of his race committee team.  He reported, “Three quarters of our team was here for the Ol’ Man as a tune-up for this regatta.  A racing skipper wants to make a decision on the course and have the crew execute without further direction.  This is what I had with this race committee crew.  We had outstanding teamwork and excellent communication, therefore great results.”

In the end, while Brian Keane's SAVASANA and Glenn Darden's/ Reese Hillard's LE TIGRE took the top two, the balance of the top five were Terry Flynn's/ David Whelan's QUANTUM GC RACING winning a tie-breaker to finish third in front of Ray Wullf's NORTHERN AGGRESSION from Annapolis YC.  Fifth was Les Beckwith on FKA from Lake Winnepesaukee Sailing Association in New Hampshire.   Sailing photo credits- Sue Bodycomb  For more J/80 North Americans sailing information

Monday, November 12, 2012

J/111 European Circuit 2013

(Paris, France)- The J/111 owner group in Europe has planned five events for 2013 including a European Championship.  The main goal is to ensure that at least ten boats will be participating in every event and more than fifteen for the Le Havre race.

The 2013 European J/111 calendar includes the following events:
- SPI Ouest France – France: 28th March- 1st April 2013
- Porquerolles – France: May 2013
- Euro Championship/ Normandy Sailing Week – Le Havre: 6th to 9th June 2013
- Cowes Race Week- England:  3rd to 10th August 2013
- Breskens–The Netherlands: September 2013

For more sailing information about these events, please contact either Paul Heys at J/UK (info@keyyachting.com) or Frederick Bouvier at J/Europe (

Saturday, November 10, 2012

J/105 Lipton Cup Preview

J/105s sailing San Diego Bay(San Diego, CA)- This coming week the San Diego YC will be hosting the fourth of its J/105 Fall Series events, the famous Lipton Cup Trophy.  Since the first regatta in 1903, the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup has been the most prestigious trophy contested in Southern California and one of the most coveted in Southern California.  The 98th edition of the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup Regatta will continue the successful round-robin format introduced in 2011.  Twelve yacht clubs from around Southern California along with three clubs invited from around America will be participating.  The competition promises to be incredibly competitive as most clubs have selected some of their best sailors to represent them in San Diego.

On top of that, the weather forecast looks promising for breeze, in fact, it may be too good!  A monster Low is spinning southeast out of the Gulf of Alaska headed across the eastern Pacific to the west coast of California.  The weather system promises cloudy weather and northwesters blowing 10-15 kts Friday and 15-20 kts Saturday.  The 12 boat fleet of J/105s will compete for 3 days, racing in San Diego's natural sailing amphitheater San Diego Bay surrounded by three islands- Coronado Island, Shelter Island and Harbor Island.

J/105 Lipton Cup sailing off San DiegoThere are many strong teams representing the various clubs.  The host club, San Diego YC, has J/120 champion Chuck Driscoll skippering their team with Star World Champion Mark Reynolds as part of the crew.  San Francisco YC has recent J/105 North American Champion Chris Perkins skippering their team that include Tom & Melissa Purdy.  Southern YC from New Orleans, LA has Tommie Meric and Kyle Smith leading their team.  St Francis YC has Russ Silvestri skippering their team, an Olympic Medallist and champion sailor from San Francisco, along with Nicole Breault as tactician- a top women match race sailor and four-time All-American sailor at Yale.  California YC has Bob "Peaches" Little skippering their team that includes Whit Batchelor and Bennie Mitchell, both champion offshore sailors.  Newport Harbor YC from Newport Beach, California has Chris Raab skippering with Bill Menninger as their tactician, both National and North American champions in various classes.  New York YC has Glenn Darden skippering along with Jim Brady and Stu Johnstone aboard, a formidable crew with multiple World, North American and Key West Championships to their credit.  With sailing inside San Diego Bay, the racing will have the flavor of college-style tactics and strategy as the J/105s are maneuvered around the course by these top teams in remarkably shifty conditions.  Plus, you can follow them LIVE on Kattack-LIVE!!  For more J/105 Lipton Cup sailing information

J/80 Sailing Hawaii Offshore With Kids!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off Hawaii(Lahaina, Hawaii)- Bob Stephenson says "Aloha to all J/sailors, and especially J/80 sailors, from around the world.  We've been having a lot of great J/80 racing here in Hawaii.

ALOHA LANI sailed by Ryan McCrillis won the second J/80 Hawaiian Championships in Lahiana (and Class B in the Lahiana Lights). CRUSADER skippered by me got second and hometown favorite BOONDOGGLE sailed by Bruce Olsten was third.

Two days later, CRUSADER took second in class B, 5th overall in the Lahiana to Honolulu Race. Conditions were "epic", with both boats seeing speeds in the high teens most of the day.

More to follow, but here's a sailing photo of Connor McCrillis sailing in his first ocean race on ALOHA LANI. We look forward to getting you some more stories in the coming weekends!"

Friday, November 9, 2012

J/111 BLUR Sailing Season 2012 video

J/111 shipping to Marstrand, Sweden(Marstrand, Sweden)- Peter Gustafsson reports that he and his crew on the J/111 BLUR have had a fantastic time sailing their J/111 this past summer in the Scandinavian Offshore sailing circuit.  Peter recently compiled video clips from their first season with the J/111.  The clips are from the following regattas/ sailing events- Spi Ouest, Stora Oset Race, Pater Noster Race, Færderseilasen, Marstrand Big Boat Race, ÅF Offshore Race, Hermanö Runt, Tjörn Runt and Sista Chansen.  The video has "New Order's" song "Blue Monday" as the background music-- sweet!  Enjoy watching the J/111 BLUR 2012 Season wrap-up!

J/Teams Enjoy Fast, Beautiful Harvest Moon!

J/120 sailing downwind on Harvest Moon regatta race(Houston, Texas)- The Lakewood YC on Galveston Bay hosted yet another "most excellent" Harvest Moon Regatta over the October 25th to 27th weekend.  Started in 1987, the event was based on the desire to have some good fall sailing before the winter Northers started blowing cold and hard across Texas; “an all sailors from the Bay area event” to accommodate as many sailors as possible for late fall offshore  sailing.  The boats gather together near the Galveston Bay jetties and sail to Port Aransas under a magnificent full moon each October.  This ideal Texas port allows yacht owners and sailors to use  minimal days from work to join in on what can be a most memorable overnight sail down the Texas coast during traditionally the best  offshore sailing time of the year.

This year 210 boats participated with over a dozen J/Teams sailing in the PHRF Bacardi Racing fleet. Finishing in 4th was the J/105 HORNY TOAD sailed by Greg Turman.  Fifth was the J/120 AEOLUS sailed by Jim Liston from Houston YC. Seventh was Dave Christensen's J/109 AIRBORNE.  And, rounding out the top 10 was Albrecht Goethe's J/109 HAMBURG.

Keith Magnussen who sailed aboard the J/120 AEOLUS had the following report:  "It seems like this has been the year of the “J” boat for me.  After putting well over 2,000 nautical miles on a J-125 on the West Coast, I made my annual trip to the Gulf Coast of Texas.   The annual Harvest Moon Regatta on James Linton’s J-120 AEOLUS was next up on my calendar.  This was to be the third year doing the race for me and we were really hoping to improve on our second place finish (third overall) in last years event.

The wind forecast was light and on the nose for the first few hours with a slight shift to the southeast coming later in the day.  We started well and extended out in front of the other boats with the exception of the Melges 30 and the Santa Cruz 50.  Our new Carbon 155% Genoa gave us the power we needed to keep the 120 moving in the light stuff and in touch with both of the mentioned boats that were just in front of us.  We had some difficulty navigating through the slower non-spinnaker boats but eventually made it through and were now eagerly anticipating the shift.  This shift finally came in the late afternoon and we immediately hoisted our Code 0 and were now plugging along just shy of wind speed.  The J-120 sails great with a Code 0 and we started to extend on the boats around us.  We managed to pull some important distance on the J-44 who took up a little higher course than us and managed to overtake after a few hours of close-hauled genoa sailing.  Once the Code 0 went up this all changed.

We spent most of the night dodging unlit oil platforms that litter the Gulf Coast.  Weather was warm and the sky was lit with stars and a beautiful moon that helped shine some light on a racecourse that was not easy to navigate.  As the night wore on the wind died, which was expected, we found ourselves with the genoa back up.  This is not optimal for the 120 and I knew the Melges 30 was winning out in these conditions.

As daylight approached we could see the front coming towards us and knew the big shift and more wind was close.  What I don’t think we anticipated was how much wind we would see.  At right around 6am we tacked onto starboard as the cloud and front were now directly above us.  I heard Steve Lemay call for the tack and I came up on deck and grabbed the mainsheet.  Just as this happened the puff came on and we started easing as the boat started moving.  In a matter of 5 minutes it was blowing 18… GAME ON!

We jib reached for a bit as the wind settled down and soon we were looking at 25+kts of breeze and a 120 TWA.  Now this is what a J-120 is made for and this is where it gets good.  I demand the 3A on deck and after some convincing (border-line arguing) with the owner I got my way.  3A up and we were launched!  Now I am used to driving a J-125 in this so I was not expecting too much in the way of speed.  I seriously underestimated the power of the 120 and was having a blast driving down waves.

The wind kept increasing and we were now seeing steady high 20’s with puffs of 30.  The boat was a dream to sail and the 3A allowed us to go as low as 150 TWA without it hiding behind the main and collapsing.  This spinnaker kept the boat tracking and was easy to drive with.  We were on the rail now and headed right at the Port Aransas turning buoy that would put us into the ship channel and a small upwind leg to the finish.  I started to push the boat and was soon seeing constant 15’s and a top speed of 18.9.  The boat was sustaining 17’s for extended periods of times and we were never out of control.  I stayed on the helm for the last 40 miles and the crew worked their butts off to keep us moving as fast as possible.  The J-44 was now out of sight and it was a race against time.

We rounded the buoy with the #3 up and made our way to a late morning finish only about 30 minutes behind the SC-50… not bad!  Port Aransas is a unique little town and has something to offer in the way of seafood and Bud Light.  It was now a waiting game as we sucked back a few cold ones.  Much to my chagrin I looked up 45 minutes later to see a Hobie 33 come cruising into the harbor.  The Hobie 33 in Texas rates 96!!!!  That might be a little friendly but they did end up overall winners even though they never even hoisted a spinnaker!

When results were posted we found out we finished second in class only to lose out to another J-Boat… a J-105!  This was my third year doing the race and it has been getting better and better.  The unpredictable wind and drag race down the coast makes for some serious fun!

J/120 sailing under spinnaker in Galveston Bay, TexasCheck out the short video here of us cruising with the 3A up.  This is after the big puffs but we are still rocking it!

To get a better idea of what it's like to sail the Harvest Moon race, please take a look the Liston's documentary sailing video on their J/120 AEOULIS in last year's event where they finished 2nd in class and 2nd overall.  For more Harvest Moon regatta sailing information