Sunday, November 29, 2015

FRAPORITA Ices Cooling Down Regatta

J/22s sailing The Netherlands Frostbite regatta (The Hague, The Netherlands)- Like their colleagues in the local J/80 fleet in the Netherlands, the J/22s enjoyed one of their largest turnouts for the fall Cooling Down Regatta.  Ten boats sailed this year’s regatta in good sailing conditions, with the fleet being treated to eight races over the weekend!  The winning FRAPORITA team consisted of Jean-Michel Lautier, Giuseeppe d’Aquino, and Denis Neves.  The margin of victory was enormous, posting seven 1sts in the eight race series for a total of 9 pts.

While the FRAPORITA gang vaporized the race course, it was quite the battle for the balance of the top five.  Just barely hanging onto second place after posting a string of three 4ths for the last three races was the crew on ELAINE (Ivo Jeukens, Ir. Schildkamp, and Danny Struijkenkamp).  Taking the bronze on the podium was JAM SESSION sailed by the team of Erik Verboom, Murat Almat, and Chris Bern. Their 2-3-2 in the last three races enabled them to nearly grab the silver, finishing just 3 pts back from ELAINE.
Sailing a consistent series all weekend long was the family team on JUT EN JUL (Dirk, Jan, Rosemarijn, Sanne and Liselotte Verdoorn), taking 4th place with just about a 4th average!  Fifth place was one of the famous J/22 teams in The Netherlands- the BIG ROLL TU DELFT- BROACH BARENT (with crew of Joost van der Heiden, Madelief Doeleman, Matthjis Vo, and Daan Grundeman).   Taking 6th place was the top German team  JOU JOU 3 (Thomas Loesch, Rob Longridge, and Katya Lenskaya).

Woman Sailor Profile- Elena VandenBerg

Elena VandenBerg- women's J/105 and college sailor(Annapolis, MD)- Elena VandenBerg comes from a sailing family in Annapolis that has sailed J/105s for a long time.  Elena is now a Stanford University sophomore and sailing team member, she learned to sail on the Severn River and Chesapeake Bay. When she first started sailing in Annapolis YC (AYC) Wednesday Night Races with her dad on a J/105, she says, “My mom asked me what I had done, and I said, ‘I pulled on the green string!’ I’ve learned a lot since then. Now, I trim the kite and occasionally critique my dad’s tactics!” Here is the interview of her about her college sailing career.

What junior sailing programs did you participate in as a kid?
“I started sailing at the Severn Sailing Association (SSA) when I was six and moved to the Green Fleet when I was nine. I moved to AYC when I decided to race in the Red, White, and Blue fleet. After my parents bought me a Winner Opti, I knew I was going to sail for the rest of my life. My friends and I all moved into Club 420s at the same time, and we looked forward to traveling to clinics and regattas. Our parents dropped us off at the airport, and we had to figure it out from there. We all learned so much from sailing in high level Club 420 and I420 clinics.

Lilla Salvesen and I worked hard to be competitive in 420s. We travelled all over the nation together and got to race in Canada and Nova Scotia. We also competed in Club 420s during the Orange Bowl Regatta in Miami between Christmas and New Year’s and in the Club 420 Midwinters in Jensen Beach. AYC ensured our team was able to work with some of the top sailors and coaches in the country including Russ O’Reilly, Katy Stork, Zach Brown, Alana O’Reilly, Nick Martin, Adam Werblow, and so many others.  During the academic year I sailed on the Archbishop Spalding High School sailing team (and co-captained with Amanda Wagner).”

Tell us a bit about your experiences sailing at Stanford.
“It was an easy transition since there are lots of former AYC junior sailors on the team, including four of us who are all classmates. I started my freshman year skippering, and then I started crewing a bit last spring to learn more from the upperclassmen and to compete in some coed regattas. I am now skippering and crewing this fall. It has been beneficial being able to switch back and forth, because it has made me a better sailor.”

Do you have a favorite moment or regatta from your college sailing experience?
“When I was crewing at this fall’s Navy Women’s Regatta, we were in second in our division by two points going into the last race of the regatta. My skipper, Mimi El-Khazindar, and I were getting ready for the last race and were trying not to think about the points between us and Yale. At the windward mark, we were three boats behind Yale. We worked really hard downwind and rounded the leeward mark right behind the Yale boat. On the last upwind leg, we split sides. It was hard to see how it would all play out, but we focused on keeping our eyes on our own race. We finished right before the Yale boat and two other boats. It was so close that we could not tell who finished first. Those other two boats ended up beating the Yale boat, and we won the overall tie-breaker, winning our division!”

What are the three pieces of sailing gear you can’t live without?
“My Kaenon sunglasses are definitely the piece of gear I value the most. I recently bought some new Zhik boots that lace up the side. The extra ankle support helps me hike, especially while crewing… I’m still wearing my Extrasport RetroGlide Avenger lifejacket. They don’t make them anymore, but all of my friends who have them haven’t found anything as nice or as comfortable.”

What advice do you have for competitive high school sailors?
“Keep loving sailing and working really hard at practice! I loved sailing in high school… I found myself on the waterfront everyday whether or not I had practice… cleaning my boat, fixing something, checking my settings, bugging my coaches to let me go sailing on our off days, or just paddleboarding. Keeping the passion for sailing is huge, as many kids in high school can get burnt out. In terms of college recruiting, email a lot of coaches and send them a short resume with your top results. They won’t reach out to you, so start sending emails your junior year and making connections.”   Elena’s story courtesy of Spinsheet Magazine/ Dan Phelps

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Australian J/122 JOSS Victorious Offshore

J/122 Joss sailing offshore- Australia (Freemantle, Australia)- The 2015 Fremantle Sailing Club's  Rockwater Coventry Reef Offshore Race (48nm) had a bit of everything, 34 yachts competing in 4 Divisions started the race at around 9.30 in very warm, light and ever changing conditions. By mid-day it was approaching 38 degrees, and the finish saw many boats racing against a spectacular lightning storm with rain.

Division 2 (IRC 1 to 1.10) had the largest fleet of 13 yachts all dueling at the start line in a 6-knot breeze. It was Giddy Up (Farr 395), JOSS (J122) and Aquila (Northshore 369) who got away best, closely followed by Circa (C&C 115) Wasabi (Elan 410) Prime Factor (Farr 40), Argo (Archaumbault 40) and Cro-Connection (C&C 115).

Giddy Up was fastest to the 1st mark, with the majority of yachts launching their A2’s for the 6 nm 2nd leg to the Windward Channel Marker off the south of Rottnest Island. This was by far the toughest and most frustrating leg as the first hints of seaweed appeared and the winds lightened and started to swing from the northeast to the north. It didn’t help being in Gauge Roads with large ships powering through the fleet and Rottnest Island power boat enthusiasts heading to the island.

When the fleet finally rounded the Windward Channel Marker, Giddy Up continued to lead and Wasabi had edged ahead of JOSS.  The winds shifted from northwesterly to southwesterly, and throughout the 18 nm leg down to Coventry Reef the winds slowly built to 8-10 knots. JOSS, using our No 1 Light jib, did the best, catching Wasabi and closing on Giddy Up. The highlight was a 6 tack duel between JOSS & Wasabi near Coventry Reef that saw JOSS come out ahead, & round the windward Coventry Reef mark 100 m ahead of Wasabi and in clear view of the Giddy Up crew.

With JOSS’ big light green A2 flying it was a straight run back to the channel North of Garden Island, JOSS & Giddy Up were well matched in terms of speed however it appeared clear that Giddy Ups lead did not appear nearly enough from an IRC rating perspective. Wasabi was falling back so tacked in closer to Garden Island.

Due to the challenging light conditions & the impending lightning storm, race control shortened the race to the Garden Island Channel (40nm), with a downwind finish.

JOSS crossed the line 2nd on the water in Div 2, at 5.45pm only 5 minutes behind Giddy Up in a time of 7 hours 54 minutes winning both Div 2 IRC and 1st in Div 2 YAH.

JOSS has enjoyed a strong start to the 2015/16 Offshore Season, having won the 2015 Valmadre Series Div 2 YAH, 3rd IRC, & 1st in the recent Roland Smith (80nm) IRC, & 2nd YAH. It now adds the Coventry Reef Honours to its tally.

VEGA RAGAZZA Girls are Fast Sailors!

J/24 Vega Ragazza- German women's sailing team(Hamburg, Germany)-  Stephanie "Steffi" Köpke (30 yrs old) first started sailing on the Elbe River in Optimists.  Then, eight years ago she became the skipper of the J/24 VEGA RAGAZZA and the women’s team from Mühlenberger Sailing Club (MSC). Meanwhile, she is working today at Audi AG in Ingolstadt, Germany in marketing/communications.

At the J/24 World Championships in Boltenhagen, many women teams were participating from across Europe.  In fact, Steffi’s team won the “Ladies Trophy” for the top women’s team at the J/24 Worlds!  Sven Jurgensen at Mittelman’s Werft interviewed Steffi and the team.  Photo here- Nele-Marie Bock, Silke Basedow, Ann-Katrin Bruges,  Stephanie Köpcke, Amelie Panuschka

Stephanie Koepcke- German women's sailing skipper on J/24s and J/70sWhen did you start sailing together as a women's team?
“The beginning of the MSC women's teams was due to the efforts of Kirsten Harmstorf, she built the first female J/Team at MSC.  When she and her team finished sailing the 2007 Trans-Atlantic in a bigger boat, the MSC’s club J/24 was free for them to use in German and European J/24 regattas.  So, she formed a six women team.  Since then, Nele, Annika and I have remained together all these years. Through professional training and jobs, some of our team had to be changed over time.   Inga and Amelie joined in 2009 and Silke supported us after her match-race career.”

How did you choose the name "Vega Ragazza"?
“VEGA is the name of a Hamburg shipping company that has sponsored us. When we sailed for the first time in Italy, we heard some Italian J/24 teams shout out, ‘ciao ragazzi’.  We learned later they meant “hi fun girls”!  So, we changed it to rhyme with Vega, that is how it became Vega Ragazza.

Why were there so many women-only teams in the J/24 Worlds at the start?
“The J/24 is a simple boat to sail, well understood, and with a women’s crew we can be competitive even in very windy conditions! We always have five people sitting on the rail.  With a crew weight of 400 kg, we have a higher percentage of our weight on the rail!  In addition, there are many women’s teams that have seen us (and other women’s crews) as examples to follow that have been successful at the pinnacle of sailing sport in Germany and J/24s worldwide.

J/24 Vega Ragazza- German women's sailing teamWhat distinguishes the J/24 from other boats to sail in Europe?
“The J/24 is easy to sail, the deck layout is clearly understandable and simple and it makes the jump much easier for teenagers that have been sailing a two-man dinghy!  A bigger boat needs more crew and considerably more strength from the crew.  In addition, Hamburg has a large, active scene in the J/24 class that has constant competition with the other clubs, especially BSC and SVAO.  Lots of fun! A real plus is the affordable price point of a used J/24; it is a nice inexpensive “keelboat for kids”!

Is the J/70 a competition for the J/24?
“Each new, modern class is a challenge for an older style boat. I myself would love to try to sail J/70 and find out how the boat sails; especially where the technical differences are relative to the J/24.  But, in order to succeed at the amateur level, I think the J/24 is still a great boat.  A J/24 is cheaper than the J/70 (used boats, of course), but also the sailors in the class are a little less performance-oriented.”

What distinguishes the J/24 class?
“Personally, I remember especially a fairly cool party in the summer of 2014 in the boat shed the FSC... Yes, the party was great.  But, the class can do much more than party and drink beer. We have a very good cohesion, as we had at the beginning of our campaign.”

J/24 Vega Ragazza- German women's sailing teamHow does your 2016 season look like?
“It will, unfortunately, be not much different than our 2015 season.  We are much more restricted professionally (we all have jobs and family to worry about!) and that means less time for training.  We are now at a cross-roads as a team, so after a great performance at the J/24 Worlds in Boltenhagen, we need to move forward as individuals (family, works, kids, school, etc).  It’s sad that we have to move on from here.”

As a result you have to celebrate properly the end of your tenure in J/24s!  First winner of the German Open and then the best women's team in the World Cup!
“Yes, we are!  It was a wonderful way to end our three seasons of sailing together.  We learned a tremendous amount from our experience.”

Will the Mühlenberger SC build a new women's team?
Unfortunately, not in J/24s.  Instead, the club wants to sell the J/24 and invest in a new J/70, so that the club has the proper training boat for the Deutsche Segel-bundesliga.  As a result, I hope to have my first experience sailing in J/70s!  I look forward to sailing more regattas in the future!

Friday, November 27, 2015

J/122 Hits the JACKPOT In Botany Bay Race

J/122 Jackpot sailing off Sydney, Australia offshore series (Sydney, Australia)- There was near perfect conditions for the 54nm offshore round trip- the Sydney to Botany Bay race, held by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia.

The second race of the Ocean Point Score Series started on time at 10am on Sydney Harbour. Principal Race Officer, Robyn Morton, said: “We started them in a nice north to north-easterly of 10-12 knots, but there was more pressure the further they got down the Harbour, around 15-16 knots. We got 25 starters away in perfectly pleasant conditions on an incoming tide.”

The fleet split almost in two off the start, some choosing the eastern side, the rest going west, which they seemed to benefit from.

It was a quick downhill ride to Botany Bay, with the fleet under spinnaker, but the return journey was not as comfortable, with fleet beating into the increasing breeze.

Adrian van Bellen’s J/122 JACKPOT continued her great performances of last season, winning the race quite handily in ORCi.

Norddeutscher RegattaVerein Wins J/22 Match Race Germany

J/22s sailing on Alster Lake, Hamburg, Germany (Hamburg, Germany)- This past weekend was the 27th time the Alster Match Race was hosted by the Hamburg Sailing Club.  Twelve teams from six nations participated sailing J/22s on the gorgeous Alster Lake all weekend long.  With perfect weather and good wind, the sailors had a total of 66 matches over the two days.

The winner was unbeaten.  With eleven victories, Felix Oehme’s team from the Norddeutscher RegattaVerein won the match race quite easily.  Taking second overall was Max Gurgel from Hamburger SC and in third was Christian Tang.

One of the highlights of the event was the match between Felix Oehme and Max Gurgel; both teams left everything on the race course, working hard to defeat one another at every stage of the race.  As a result, it made for an exciting finish for the regatta.   Sailing photo credits- Pepe Hartmann.  For more German J/22 sailing information

UK Sailing League Debuts in London

J/80s sailing UK Sailing League at Queen Mary Sailing Club (Heathrow, United Kingdom)- On the 31st October and 1st November RTYC and the RYA launched the first ever club keelboat fleet racing league in the UK at Queen Mary Sailing Club. Seven teams participated in the trial event.

The UK Sailing League is a new keelboat model that has been successfully run in Germany over a number of years. RTYC bought into the concept and collaborated with the RYA to help launch the new enterprise. Sailing clubs from all around the UK competed at the trial event; the format will now be rolled out across the UK.  Participating teams included Port Edgar YC, Royal Corinthian YC, Queen Mary SC, Royal Southern YC, Royal Western YC, Poole YC, Royal Thames YC.

The event uses a round-robin schedule with teams racing each other a number of times before the team with the lowest number of points is crowned the winner. Six boats competed in each 15-minute race with teams rotating boats throughout the event.

On Saturday evening a presentation about the Sailing Champions League, which is now operating all over Europe, was given to all visiting sailing clubs who are now being encouraged and supported by the RYA and RTYC to run their own event within their region.
The RYA will the assist in the running of these events with the end goal being a greater participation in club keelboat racing around the country.

J/80 UK Sailing League videoWhilst the boats, race officials, umpires and sailors were ready for a weekend packed full of back to back racing, the weather had a different plan altogether. On Saturday, with wind speeds averaging 1-2kts, PRO Linda Pennington, bravely squeezed three races out of the dying wind before calling a halt to the sailing. Sunday’s weather proved even more challenging with dense fog settling all across London, and no more than 10m visibility on the reservoir. Unfortunately, a result could not be determined as a whole round robin is required to be sailed.

Everyone involved, graciously recognized that this was a trial event, and took it as a great opportunity to discuss the format for the upcoming UK League. Thank you to everyone who helped to make the weekend a success, we look forward to seeing more of these events taking place throughout the UK.  Port Edgar YC sailors made a short film about their experience of the Sailing League, view it here  For more UK Sailing League information

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Australian J/70 Fleet Report

J/70s sailing in Sydney Harbour (Sydney, Australia)- The Sydney Harbour J/70 fleet has been racing since September thanks to the support of the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.  The Squadron’s mini-regatta series follows a two-lap windward-leeward format with 3 races each day.

The fleet is sailing every three weeks for the Squadron’s mini-regatta series, the greater Sydney area has about 10 J/70s.  It has definitely been a thrill sailing on the magnificent Sydney Harbour regularly in one of the most exciting one-design classes around.

The 3 weeks so far have been sailed in light and generally shifty spring conditions, with the last race completed on Saturday being a drifter.  All crews are looking forward to the arrival of the traditional summer northeasterly breezes that tend to hit hard as the weather warms up.

After the completion of the first three regattas, the most experienced crew on the harbour, JAMES skippered by Tim Ryan, has taken 8 bullets out of nine races, but not without being pushed hard by the other boats in each race.

Stephen Brady in YKNOT scored a win in the 9th race after some brilliant light air sailing.  YKNOT led for much of the first leg before being becalmed, then recovered to sail around the fleet and score a comfortable win.  Paul Wood, racing his brand new boat JAVA for only the second time, led around the top mark only to be becalmed and unfortunately finished at the back.

Murray, guest-skippering JUNO for Reg Lord, outsailed JAMES downwind on the last spinnaker run to record a second.  The Series results after nine races have JAMES leading followed by JUNO, YKNOT and JAVA.

J/105 DARK STAR Tops St. Croix Regatta

J/36 Paladin sailing Caribbean J/36 PALADIN Takes NonSpin with High School Team!
(Christiansted, St Croix, US Virgin Islands)- This past weekend, from November 13th to 15th, the St Croix YC in Christiansted, St Croix unfurled the regatta flags and signaled the start of the Caribbean winter racing season.

The 23rd edition of the regatta included Optimists, with a VISA (Virgin Island Sailing Association) sponsored Optimist clinic on Friday and racing on Saturday and Sunday. The Big Boat race on Friday was renamed “Captain Nicks Race” in honor of our founder- Nick Castruccio, who turned 90 this year!  The race for the rum was Saturday and Sunday’s overall winner.

The runaway winner in CSA Spinnaker Class for the Captain Nicks Race Regatta was the J/105 DARK STAR from San Juan, Puerto Rico, skippered by Jonathan Lipuscek from Club Nautico Puerto Rico; they posted the unbeatable scoreline of 1-1-1 for three pts.  Finishing third was Douglas DeReu’s J/24 CRUZAN CONFUSSION, a local boat from Christiansted sailing to a 4-2-3 for 9 pts.  And, in 4th place was another J/24, Dave Tomlison’s EL SHADDAI II with a crew from New Hampshire with a 3-4-4 record for 11 pts. 

The CSA Non-spinnaker Division saw Stanford Joines beautifully refinished J/36 PALADIN participating with a crew of kids from the local St Croix High School in Christiansted.  They perfectly mirrored the record of their friends on the J/105 DARK STAR, also posting three bullets to walk off with class honors.

For the weekend regatta, a similar scenario nearly played out for both divisions.  Again, Lipuscek’s J/105 DARK STAR crew rattled off six bullets in CSA Spinnaker Racing Class to finish with 6 pts, winning their weight in Cruzan Rum as the overall regatta winner!  The J/24s finished 3rd (DeReu’s CRUZAN CONFUSSION) and 6th (Tomlinson’s EL SHADDAI II).  Meanwhile, Stanford’s crew on the J/36 PALADIN repeated their solid performance and won CSA Non-spinnaker to win with four 1sts and two 2nds.

According to Stanford, “the youth crew on the J/24 CRUZAN CONFUSSION with Doug Dereau and skipper Ethan Hanley, were awesome.  The boat that won overall was the J/105 DARK STAR, Jonathan dry sails the boat out of Fajardo with a Teflon bottom, and had several veteran PR sailors on board who have been my friends, and competitors, for years.

PALADIN happened to round the leeward mark almost every race just behind 'Bad Monkey', and we always gained on her on the upwind leg until we turned off for the shorter cruising mark.  It makes me think that if PALADIN had such fancy new sails like ’Monkey’s’ (we were sailing with 9 year old Dacron), was dry sailed with a Teflon bottom, and had a nice new symmetrical spinnaker, PALADIN could win in the racing class!  Maybe just the sails would do it, with good wet/dry sandpaper! (As a teacher down here and a single dad, sails won't happen!)”   Learn more about Stanford’s St Croix junior sailing project here.  For more St Croix Regatta sailing information

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

J/88 JEDI Taking Sydney By Storm

J/88 sailing on Sydney Harbour, Australia (Sydney, Australia)- “From the moment we first read about the design concept of the J/88, we wanted one,” said Ray Entwistle, skipper of the J/88 JEDI. “The J/88 spells fun.  Super easy to sail, fast, low maintenance, responsive, sea-kindly, a true pocket-rocket.”

Ray goes on to report that, “she hasn’t disappointed.  Since arriving in Sydney, we have competed in some harbour and offshore races and we are just blown away with her sailing performance and attributes.  Here is a short summary of races so far.

For her very first races, the J/88 “JEDI 5” has competed in a few twilight races at Greenwich Flying Squadron. She wasn’t able to start in the division of similar sized boats due to the early start time. Hence, the J/88 competed in a division with a later start time, comprising 37 to 39 footers. However, this has not fazed the J/88 where she is currently leading the series, with a 2nd as the worse result.

On the second weekend of October, JEDI 5 sailed in the very hotly contested Super 30 fleet on Sydney Harbour under the AMS (Australian Measurement System).  Although not many boats entered for this event, the J/88 finished 1st by an astonishing 11 minutes with guest skipper Jim Chambers. Jim has dominated this event for the past 3 years with his highly successful J/97 KNOCKABOUT.

The following weekend, the Super 30 Gold fleet was racing on Sydney Harbour with more boats guaranteed to turn up, and so they did.  Flying Tigers, Bull 9000, ID35, Melges 32, Sydney 32, Cape 31, Hick 31, Archambault 32, Elliotts, Thompson 870, to name a few.

J/88 JEDI sailing Sydney Harbour, AustraliaMaking a conservative start in an 8 knots nor’easter breeze, and with 50% of the crew new to the boat, JEDI surged around the top mark at South Head ahead of some of the Flying Tigers and the M32 boat-for-boat! The breeze started to build to 16 knots, the J/88 recording impressive speed and depth downwind. Back upwind we go the wrong way up the beat, so the Flying Tigers get through as they pick the right side of the harbour.  The second reach back down the harbour and the Melges 32 pips us to the bottom mark for the last time. A short beat to the finish line and despite the slow start and going the wrong way there still a lot of boats behind us. The new crew members were surprised at the pace and how easy the J/88 was to sail. After an anxious wait for the results, the J/88 had kept her impeccable record intact with a first on AMS complimented by another first on the local PHS system!

It was then time to take the J/88 to Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, north of Sydney, to do a few races there. She is placed in Division 2 and is the smallest boat at 29ft, the next boat at 34ft and right up to 40 footers.

It was an offshore race with a lumpy 1 to 1.5 mtr swell, gusting to 18 knots from the nor’east.  It was the first time for this J/88 in waves, and more breeze than she has sailed in before. The crew was pleasantly surprised by its performance.  We put the crew weight a little further back, and the boat steered very easily through the waves, pointing quite high with superb speed.

Despite being in unfamiliar waters, the J/88 was first around the top mark. Up with the class 95 sqr mtr running spinnaker and whoosh off we go.  Downwind, the boat has a very light helm, only moderate sheet loads, and incredibly smooth handling as we planed down the waves. An amazing kite ride to the bottom mark, dramatically extending our lead. On the next beat, we start to haul in some of tail end of the Division 1 boats!  We experiment moving the crew weight fore and aft up the next beat as we learn more about this stunning 29 footer. Around the top mark again and another fantastic spinnaker ride, surfing the swell to the finish line.  We blasted through the finish line clocking 16.2 knots, our fastest speed to date on the J/88!

Simply a fantastic boat.  We just can’t get enough of the 88 – she is such a beautiful yacht to sail, and we look forward to sailing and racing her, whatever the conditions.”     For more J/88 sailboat information