Monday, April 23, 2018

Challenging Charleston Race Week

J/70s sailing Charleston Race WeekJ/70 Wins Charleston Race Week Cup
(Charleston, SC)- The 2018 edition of the Sperry Charleston Race Week will be remembered for its first two days of great weather for a vast majority of the fleet.  On Sunday, forecasts indicated a massive front moving in across the harbor by the afternoon, producing a line of thunderstorms, squalls, and possible tornados.  As a result, only the big offshore boats in ORC 1, ORC 2, and J/105s sailed early on Sunday before the storms hit.  Crowned as overall winner of the top one-design fleet was Peter Duncan’s J/70 RELATIVE OBSCURITY from American YC in Rye, New York. Here is how it all went down over the course of the three-day event.

J/24s sailing CharlestonDay 1- Friday
Mother Nature delivered in a big way on the first day of Sperry Charleston Race Week with action getting underway in strong winds, sunny skies and warm temperatures. J/24 skipper Tony Parker called it “champagne conditions” and it would be hard to argue with that assessment.

Ten of the 11 classes competing on the four inshore circles were able to complete four races in winds that ranged from 12 to 16 knots and swung from south to slightly southwest. The lone exception was the highly competitive J/70 class, which did three races at the request of the sailors.

Because there are 66 boats in J/70, the class is so large that it is split for re-seeding after each day of racing. Class organizers felt three races would make for better round-robin competition.

Winds were lighter for the five classes racing on Circle 5 and Course 6 outside the jetties on the Atlantic. ORC A and B along with the J/105 one-design fleet all finished two races.

“What a wonderful day for sailing. You really could not ask for better conditions,” proclaimed Parker, who took the early lead in J/24 class. “It was challenging enough to make things really interesting. I think the combination of changing current and shifting winds made for really tight racing.”

Parker and his crew aboard the J/24 BANGOR PACKET sandwiched a couple bullets inside a pair of seconds to close the day with a low score of six points– two better than runner-up ANGEL OF HARLEM (Robby Brown, St. Petersburg, FL).

“We had good starts and solid upwind speed so we were basically able to dictate where we wanted to go,” said Parker, a seasoned J/24 sailor who resides in Washington, D.C. “We were first at every weather mark in three straight races to start the day, which was nice.”

North Sails pro Will Bomar is calling tactics for Parker, who is coming off a tough season in which he was runner-up at the J/24 Worlds, East Coasts and Midwinters. James Niblock is trimming the headsails and Martha Parker from TEAM ONE NEWPORT in Newport, RI was working the bow on BANGOR PACKET.

J/70 sailing Charleston harborDay 2- Saturday
As the skies darkened over Charleston Harbor Saturday evening, the leaders had to feel good about their position while the followers were hoping for an opportunity to change the final standings.

“We’re still in the hunt. Hopefully, we’ll get two or three more races tomorrow and be able to improve our position,” said SAVASANA skipper Brian Keane, who holds fourth place in J/70 class.

Plans had called for the J/70 fleet to conduct three races per day, but the prospect of thunderstorms on Sunday prompted the class leadership to ask regatta organizers to run four on Saturday while the weather was clear and the wind was blowing between 8 and 15 knots.

Peter Duncan and his crew on RELATIVE OBSCURITY had another solid day on the water and were able to maintain their lead. RELATIVE OBSCURITY finished 10th in Race 4, but came back with results of 1-3-4 and had a low score of 22 points. John Brim’s RIMETTE team was seven points behind Duncan and two points ahead of Joel Ronning and the CATAPULT crew.

A strong ebb tide pushed a bunch of boats over the start line and caused two general recalls for J/70 class, largest of the regatta with 68 boats. It took a while to finish four races as a result and the fleet did not return to the docks at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina until 5 p.m.

“They’re worried about the weather so they wanted to do four races, which makes sense,” Keane said. “It was a really tough day out there because the combination of the sea breeze and gradient. The wind was all over the place.”

To complicate matters, the tide changed from ebb to flood late in the afternoon. Keane sailed SAVASANA to victory in Race 6 after posting a third in Race 5. Those results came between a 7th and a 10th and left the Massachusetts entry with 34 points, just five points out of second place.

“We had two very good races and two decent ones,” said Keane, runner-up at the 2018 J/70 Worlds in Porto Cervo, Italy. “We had a couple good starts and were able to get over to the lifted tack on the first windward leg.”

Thomas Barrows and Joe Morris, who represented the United States in 49er class at the 2016 Summer Olympics, are aboard SAVASANA as tactician and jib trimmer, respectively. Veteran bowman Ron Weed rounds out the team.

Skipper Bruce Golison had MIDLIFE CRISIS in second place after taking second in the opening race on Saturday. The Long Beach resident had an impressive 1-7-2-2 score line at that point. Double-digit results in the other three races on Saturday dropped Golison to 10th overall.

“This is one of the trickiest venues in the world and it’s easy to have one of those days,” Golison said. “We got fouled and lost a lot of boats in the third race today.”

Golison enjoyed considerable success in the J/24 and Etchells classes before buying a J/70 three years ago. The 61-year-old loves racing a sportboat and competing against some of the finest sailors in the world.

“It keeps me young,” Golison said. “I’ve never won a world championship and that is still my goal. I came close in the J/24 and the Etchells. We’ll see if I can get it done in the J/70.”

J/22's sailing Charleston Race WeekThere are 11 boats in J/22 class and seven are being sailed by Warrior Sailing teams. Skipper Scott Ford is skippering the lone Warrior entry that is racing with a spinnaker and doing extremely well. Ford is trimming the mainsail, Sammy Lugo is trimming the jib and Josh Agripino is driving USA 1367, which won Race 3 and has taken third in five other starts.

“We had a lot of fun today. Conditions were great and the racing was exciting,” said Ford, a former construction mechanic in the U.S. Navy who is blind. “We’re really enjoying competing against the College of Charleston students and feel pretty good about the results we’ve put up.”

Agripino served in the Marine Corps and sustained severe injuries to his lower legs and feet while also losing sight in one eye. Lugo, who worked in civil affairs for the Army, had his right leg amputated just below the knee.

J/22 class grew from three boats last year to 11 this year due to the strong participation of members from the Warrior Sailing program along with the generosity of the College of Charleston, which donated all the boats. Ford was pleased that several of the Warrior teams are learning how to fly a spinnaker and hope to do so at Charleston Race Week 2019.

VELOCIDAD took over the lead in the J/24 class as skipper Chris Stone got the gun in two of three races held on Saturday. The New Jersey entry was winning by tiebreaker over ANGEL OF HARLEM (Robby Brown, St. Petersburg, FL), meanwhile Day 1 leader BANGOR PACKET (Tony Parker, Washington, D.C.) dropped to third.

There is good action in J/88 class where Tim Finkle has skippered SEAWEED to the top of the standings on the strength of four bullets. Tactician Kris Werner, owner of the Quantum Sails loft in Rochester, helped Finkle close out Saturday with back-to-back wins to gain eight points of separation from Deviation (Iris Vogel, New Rochelle, NY) and Spaceman Spiff (Rob Ruhlman, Cleveland, OH).

“We’ve had really tight racing and it’s still anyone’s game,” said Werner, who works for the J/Boat dealership in the Buffalo area. “We’re racing in fairly close quarters near Fort Sumter and there is not much of a runway, which puts a premium on starts and boathandling.”

J/105 sailing Charleston Race WeekTaran Teague, principal race officer on Circle 5, followed a windward-leeward race with an 11-nautical mile distance race that finished in Charleston Harbor. Mount Pleasant local Robert Scribner steered his J/105 JOYRIDE to victory in all four races held over two days and had a comfortable 10-point lead in J/105 class.

Scribner made his Charleston Race Week debut last year and finished fourth out of five boats in J/105. The 72-year-old skipper was determined to do better this year and took steps to make that happen.

“We did a lot of preparation in the offseason. We paid more attention to tuning the boat, got some new sails and developed a disciplined, committed crew. That has proven a winning formula,” Scribner said. “We were not very competitive last year so my crew chief (Maarten Zonjee) and I decided to put in the effort to reverse that result.”

TEAMWORK, the highly successful J/122 owned by four-time Palmetto Cup winner Robin Team, had its moment in the sun on Saturday by winning the distance race.

J/122 Teamwork sailing Charleston Race WeekDay Three- Sunday
There was an interesting dynamic taking place on the docks of Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina Sunday morning. Some of the boats competing in Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018 were getting ready to go racing with sailors pulling on foul weather gear in anticipation of heavy air and rough seas. Meanwhile, a bunch of other boats were in breakdown mode with sailors packing up gear and carrying sails down the dock.

That unique dichotomy was the result of a split decision by event organizers in response to a severe storm that was due to hit Charleston this afternoon. After carefully reviewing weather reports and consulting with overall principal race officer Hank Stuart, event director Randy Draftz decided to conduct racing for certain classes while cancelling the final day of action for others.

Sperry Charleston Race Week organizers announced in the morning that competition would be canceled in nine of the 10 one-design classes along with ORC C, which is comprised of smaller sportboats. Meanwhile, Stuart and his team elected to allow the two Pursuit Race classes to complete a condensed course out into the Atlantic Ocean and back. Meanwhile, the three classes on Circle 5 (J/105, ORC A, ORC B) came into Charleston Harbor for a windward-leeward course.

Draftz said the main reason for cancelling competition for the smaller boats was concern about the haul out process. Draftz had to consider the possibility of a severe thunderstorm hitting Charleston just as boats were beginning to be lifted out of the water and put onto trailers.

“I’ve been watching the forecast all morning and the breeze is just going to escalate. We could get one race in, but afterward we would have to pull all the boats out of the water,” Draftz said. “It was just not a prudent thing to do. We have 200 boats that have to get hauled out. You have to error on the side of caution. We know it’s coming, we just don’t know exactly when. Better to have cranes pulling boats out now as opposed to 2 or 3 in the afternoon.”

With the entire fleet safely out of the water by early afternoon, the final awards party on the beach at Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina was moved up to 3 p.m. Overall winner of Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018 were the J/70 RELATIVE OBSCURITY.

Skipper Peter Duncan and his crew on RELATIVE OBSCURITY won three races and finished fourth or better in three others to capture the J/70 class, largest of the regatta with 68 boats. Duncan received the Charleston Race Week Cup for best overall performance by a one-design.

“Oh my God, it’s kind of off-the-charts. You read about people winning trophies like this and you never think it could happen to you. It’s a very, very cool honor,” Duncan said of capturing the Charleston Race Week Cup.

This marked the first Sperry Charleston Race Week for Duncan, the reigning J/70 World Champion. He came away completely sold on the regatta and cannot wait to come back.

“It’s just a wonderful event with really great competition. It was terrific to sail in this venue for the first time. Charleston is very tricky with lots of shifts, lots of current. I just think it’s a really well-run event and it was a pleasure to participate.”

Victor Diaz de Leon served as tactician and trimmed the main for Duncan, who took the lead on Day 1 and never looked back. Willem Van Waay trimmed the headsails aboard Relative Obscurity, which finished seven points clear of runner-up Rimette (John Brim, Palm Beach, FL).

“I think the best thing we did was we went after the first day really hard. We had a really good first day and that gave us a little latitude on the second day,” said Duncan, a resident of Rye, N.Y. “Actually, perhaps the most important thing was that we were really deep in two races on the second day and came back. We fought really hard and battled back to get a 10th and a third. To me, that was the key to winning the regatta.”

Brim’s RIMETTE crew (which included Taylor Canfield as mainsheet/tactician, a World Match Race and Congressional Cup Champion) secured the silver.  Meanwhile, Ronning’s CATAPULT crew (which included John Kostecki as mainsheet/ tactician, J/24 World Champion and America’s Cup winner) finished two points back to take the bronze.  Rounding out the top five were Brian Keane’s SAVASANA in 4th and John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES in 5th place.

Winning J/70 Corinthians Division was Andrew & Mallory Loe’s DIME from Seattle, WA with a total of 68 pts and also finishing 15th in the Open division.  Second was Sarah Renz’s BERTEAU GROUP from Chicago, IL with 86 pts and third was Jack & Vivien Wallace’s SELKIE, their best performance in a major J/70 event for a team that sails on Lake Champlain and hail from Burlington, Vermont.

Skipper Chris Stone steered VELOCIDAD to victory in the J/24 class, winning three races and taking third in three others. VELOCIDAD finished equal on points with Robby Brown (St. Petersburg, FL), but won the tiebreaker based on posting one more bullet and Stone earned his first class championship at Sperry Charleston Race Week.

“Well the starts, particularly with the current running out fast, were very challenging. I’ve never been so far from a starting line with one minute to go in my life. So timing was critical,” said Stone, from Middletown, N.J. “We were very fortunate to come out on top in a very tough fleet.”

J/88 Seaweed sailing Charleston Race WeekSkipper Tim Finkle led SEAWEED to the win in the J/88 class, getting the gun in four of eight races in posting a low score of 16 points. It was tightly bunched behind Seaweed with four boats finishing with either 24 or 25 points.

“We had a really good team that put a lot of effort into preparation and that paid off,” said Finkle, a J/Boat dealer in Buffalo who credited tactician Kris Werner for repeatedly putting the boat in good spots. “We got a bunch of good starts, which was huge because you had to get to one side of the course quickly because the current was such a huge factor.”

Leading the regatta after the first day, Mike Bruno’s WINGS crew from Rye, NY enjoyed a 3 pt lead on the closely packed fleet. During Saturday’s racing, their first two results of a 3-3 matched the second place team, Finkle’s SEAWEED, leaving the gap the same and WINGS hanging on to the lead.  However, after two gorgeous races, the Circle 3 RC/ PRO team took nearly three hours to change the course to match the winds.  By late afternoon when the third race of the day started after 1530 hrs, the wind had gone quite light due to the low-flying cloud cover rolling in from the ocean.  Liking the “lake-like” conditions, SEAWEED posted a 1-1 in the final two races to take the win.  Meanwhile, Bruno’s WINGS had issues with speed and executing on the corners of the course, registering a 7-8 to lose the lead. After tossing out their 8th place, the WINGS crew ended up one point off a three-way tie for 2nd place, having to settle for 4th.  Meanwhile, Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION and Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF both ended tied on points at 24 pts for second place, with the tiebreak going in favor DEVIATION.

The J/22s saw Ryan Davidson’s INVISIBLE BOATMOBILE and David Buckley’s MAGIC 8 BALL close the regatta tied on points at 9 apiece for first place.  Winning that countback was Davidson’s team.  Comfortably securing the bronze on the podium was Scott Ford’s WARRIO SAILING with 16 pts net.

Sperry Charleston Race Week 2108 closed with a distance race for the Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker classes on the Pursuit Race course along with a windward-leeward course in Charleston Harbor for the ORC A, ORC B and J/105 classes.

That last race proved decisive in the Spinnaker Pursuit class, as skipper Rick Moore steered the J/120 MOOSE DOWN to line honors. Chessie Racing, the Tripp 62 owned by George Collins, finished fifth and that four-point swing enabled MOOSE DOWN to secure the overall victory.

“Actually, the key to the whole thing was our crew just keeping the boat moving forward at all times, particularly on Friday when it was very light and sloppy,” said Moore, a Charleston local.

“Today we were fully-loaded and totally dialed in. We stayed on target, watched where we were going and used the currents. We’re extremely thankful for the outcome. It was a great day of racing and we had a blast in the Pursuit fleet. It’s a challenge when you see the boats coming up behind you and you have to work to stay in front of them.”

Tied for 3rd behind them in class was Bob Musor’s J/130 SCEPTRE from Charleston, SC; having to settle for 4th on the tiebreaker countback.

Then, in the ORC A class, Robin Team’s TEAMWORK won the last inside-the-harbor, storm-tossed race, to hold on to third overall.  In the ORC B class, Willy Schwenzfeier’s J/35 ARROW won their last two races to take second. John Keenan’s J/120 ILLYRIA liked the breezy last race, posting a 2nd to finish fourth overall.

In the Pursuit Non-Spin class, Bill Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN brought home the silver after winning their last two races, just one point shy of the lead!

Finally, the J/105s saw Bob Scribner’s JOYRIDE win counting all bullets. They were followed by Joe Highsmith’s DEAD ON ARRIVAL in second and the trio of Smith/ Seif/ Jacques on RUCKUS win the last race to leap into third position.  For more Charleston Race Week sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Family Bonding Sailing at Charleston Race Week!!

If there has been one constant about Sperry Charleston Race Week over the years it’s the family dynamic that has become a hallmark of the regatta. The event and venue, with all the onshore fun, attracts sailors to combine high-level racing with quality family time.

As usual, there were plenty of family programs competing in Sperry Charleston Race Week 2018. In fact, family members comprise the entire crew of the J/70 Old School with Brandon Flack sailing with his wife, 15-year-old daughter and 13-year-old son.
Brandon Flack family sailing J/70s at Charleston
Brandon Flack and his family, from left to right, wife Cindy, son Dylan, daughter Lily and Brandon. Photo by Larry Monteith.

“It couldn’t be better when you can mix sailing at a great regatta like this and being with your family,” Flack said. “I was so psyched coming down here because I couldn’t imagine a more fun thing to do.”

The Flack family hails from Stonington, Connecticut. They travel to major regattas to compete in the J/70 class and Brandon borrows a friend’s boat for Sperry Charleston Race Week. “We’ve been sailing the J/70 for almost five years as a family team so we’ve kind of grown up with the boat,” he said.

Lily Flack, an accomplished Club 420 sailor, steers the boat upwind. Dylan Flack, described by his father as a retired Optimist racer, is a “gentleman” sailor who only likes to drive downwind. Brandon trims the headsails and keeps the middle sorted while Cindy works the bow.

“We just piece it together and have a blast,” Brandon said. “Sometimes we have good races and sometimes we have bad ones. I’d rather have a bad race with these guys than with a bunch of rock stars.”

While Brandon Flack may be listed as skipper on the scratch sheet, he made it clear that his wife is really the one in charge. “Cindy makes all the big decisions. She keeps us all on point,” said Brandon, a marine manufacturer’s representative for Samson Rope, Musto foul weather gear and Torqeedo outboard motors among other products.

For instance, Cindy declared that Old School would skip the third race on Thursday when the wind gusted into the mid-teens. Nobody had a problem with that call as the family spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool. Nights are spent hanging out and hosting friends in the recreation vehicle the family has parked just outside the Charleston Harbor Marina and Resort.

Serious sailboat racing can get crazy at times and Brandon Flack admitted that it’s not all smiles and niceties onboard. At stressful times there can be yelling and harsh words exchanged. “It’s not easy. There are moments when we think we might need to call social services. There are definitely some family dynamics onboard,” Brandon said with a laugh.

Spaceman Spiff has been a family-based program for years now as Rob and Abby Ruhlman brought their two children aboard as crew when both were young. Ryan and Maegan Ruhlman are all grown up with families of their own now, but the family team continues.
Rob Ruhlman's family sailing J/88 at Charleston
Ruhlman family photo. From left to right, Maegan, Ryan, Abby, Doug Moose, Rob. Photo by Larry Monteith

Rob steers and Abby works the pit while Ryan has developed into a top-notch tactician and Maegan Cross does a superb job of trimming the main. Ryan’s wife Tesse has joined the crew as jib trimmer while bowman Doug Moose is jokingly referred to as a “cousin.”

“We’re just real fortunate to be able to sail together as a family,” Rob Ruhlman said. “Abby and I have been sailing together for more than 40 years. Ryan and Maegan grew up racing on big boats. I brought Abby into sailing just like Ryan has brought his wife into it.”

While the Ruhlman family hails from Cleveland, Ohio, it has a strong connection to Charleston. Ryan and Maegan both attended the College of Charleston and were members of the sailing team. “We all have a lot of friends here so we really enjoy coming back each year,” Rob said.

Rob Ruhlman was proud that Spaceman Spiff passed four boats during the final downwind leg and wound up finishing third in Race 7. “I think this crew does a great job of staying focused and keeping their heads in the game,” said Rob, who also steered Spaceman Spiff to victory in Race 2 and third place overall in J/88 class.

The whole Ruhlman family, which now includes some grandchildren for Rob and Abby, is staying at The Cottages on Charleston Harbor – turning this regatta into a family vacation. After so many years of racing together, the communication on Spaceman Spiff is extremely strong.

“We really do have good chemistry aboard the boat. We’re intense competitors, but we’re pretty relaxed about it,” Rob said. “I think because we’re family we’re all sort of pulling the same direction, which makes things a little easier.”

There are too many other examples of family-oriented programs at Sperry Charleston Race Week to mention them all. Teamwork, the J/122 that is the only four-time winner of the prestigious Palmetto Trophy, is led by skipper Robin Team and includes his brother Adam and sons Alston and Coleman.  Thanks for contribution- Craig Leweck/ Scuttlebutt

Chasing Shackleton- Sailing Antarctica!

Sir Ernest Shackleton conquered the Antarctica against impossible odds. Learn how and why on May 10th, Thursday at 1730 hrs at the Casino Theater in Newport, RI.

There will be a presentation by internationally renowned explorer Tim Jarvis, including clips from his PBS documentary, “Chasing Shackleton.”

Live & silent auction featuring truly unique Shackleton-related items, to benefit The Shackleton Climate Project including an exploration of Antarctica, a one of a kind Newport sailing adventure on the Alexandra Shackleton, first batch whiskey and original expedition paintings, photographs and memorabilia.

In January 2013, explorer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis led a team that was the first to successfully retrace the 1916 Antarctic journey of legendary polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton- a journey described by many as “the greatest survival journey of all time”.

Using the same rudimentary equipment, period clothing and technology as Shackleton, his team sailed 800nm in an exact replica of the wooden lifeboat “James Caird”, now “Alexandra Shackleton”, from Elephant Island, Antarctica to the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia, followed by a dangerous climb over South Georgia’s treacherous mountains. Tim will provide a gripping, first-hand account of the challenges he faced in achieving the impossible— prepare to be inspired! Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

J/80 Westerns & PSSR Preview

J/80 sailing Western Championships (Seattle, WA)- It is that time of year in the Pacific Northwest! Yes, it is the annual Puget Sound Spring Regatta that is hosted by the Corinthian YC Seattle for both offshore PHRF racers as well as one-design classes of J/109s, J/105s, and J/80s.  In fact, for the J/80s it will be their first J/80 Westerns ever, sailed from April 21st to 22nd on Puget Sound.

There is no question there is a passionate group of Pacific Northwest J/sailors that continues to grow organically every year.  The original nexus of hard-core J/24 sailors over 30 years ago has evolved into a contingent of sailors involved at all levels of business (Amazon, Microsoft, Boeing, etc) and in local sailing circles from the original J/24s up to J/145s and J/160.

This particular weekend will see the inaugural J/80 Westerns with eight boats participating.  Familiar crews will be there to help new fleet members, such as Bryan Rhodes CRAZY IVAN, Kevin Callahan’s NAMASTE and David Schutte’s TAJ MAHAL.

In the half-dozen boat J/105 fleet, the usual suspects will be engaged to determine who wins bragging rights that weekend; such as Jim Geros’ LAST TANGO, Jerry Diercks DELIRIUM, Chris Phoenix’s JADED or Erik Kristen’s MORE JUBILEE.

So far, the J/109s have several class leaders participating- Stu Burnell’s TANTIVY, Jerry Woodfield’s SHADA, and Tolga Cezik’s LODOS.  For more Puget Sound Spring Series and J/80 Westerns sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/70 Team LadyLike Training for Helga Cup

J/70 women's German team LadyLike (Hamburg, Germany)- The J/70 TEAM LADYLIKE have been sailing on Lake Constance, training for the Helga Cup in Hamburg, Germany- an all women’s regatta for the top women’s keelboat teams in Germany.

For the first time in March, the LADYLIKE Team was on the water on Lake Constance training against another women’s team Team WYC-S├╝dseeperlen. With Coach Jochen, the team worked on boat speed, boat handling and maneuvers with potential new crew members.

The current Helga Cup 2018 team includes: Anica Rimmele, Rosanna Schentz, Carla Rau und Anne Winkelhausen

J/70 Women's German team trainingThen, last weekend, the crew spent a weekend training on Lago di Garda in Italy.  As explained by Carla Rau, “we're back from Lake Garda! The winds were a little unusual, and we were able to train every wind condition you could imagine in the five days we were there. As always, we learned a lot! Thanks to the W├╝rttembergischer Yacht-Club for the great organization!”  Learn more about the J/70 TEAM LADYLIKE project here
Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Friday, April 20, 2018

J/80 UK Nationals Return To Lymington!

J/80 sailing off England (Lymington, England)- The Royal Lymington Yacht Club has published its Notice of Race for this year’s J/80 Nationals, to be held Saturday 18th to Monday 20th August.

The dates for the Nationals dovetail well with Cowes Week, which finishes on Saturday 11th August. The short gap is convenient for teams entering both events, especially those not based in the Solent and having to transport their boats by road.

The Championship was last held at Lymington in 2016, when 26 boats competed in what was universally agreed to be a hugely successful and entertaining event. The race report and video from 2016 can viewed on Royal Lymington’s web page.

The team responsible for the 2016 event has re-assembled to anchor this year’s Nationals. Arrangements largely replicate 2016’s; Berthon Marina is providing a comprehensive berthing package, race management and protest / umpire teams will be international standard and, weather permitting, racing will be in Christchurch Bay, one of the country’s finest race areas.

The event has already attracted generous support from a range of companies; Solent Projects Ltd, North Sails, Berthon Marina, Harken and Nick Cox Chandlery.

So what are you waiting for? Use this wet weekend to get your entry in for the J/80 event of the year! On-line entry is now open, with incentives available for early entrants. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Wild & Crazy J/Fest San Francisco

J/105s sailing San Francisco (San Francisco, CA)- “In the face of a challenging weather forecast, the St Francis Yacht Club held its annual J/Fest last weekend, with J/24s, J/70s, J/88s, J/105s, and J/111s competing.

Rain? Low Clouds, Wind? Sun? Well, parts of all of the above; it all turned into a glorious weekend. The tide charts professed that we would have an ebb tide but the starting line had strong flood currents going well into the early afternoon, making "local knowledge" all the more important,” commented photographer Chris Ray.

In each race, around 20 of the 27 J/105 teams tried to start at the signal boat, tack to port and foot out to the late ebb in the middle of San Francisco Bay.  Those who were pinned off the line on starboard, going southerly toward the shore into more flood, even for just 1 minute, quickly found themselves a quarter mile behind any who escaped to the North into the westerly river, swollen by recent heavy rains.  Those in the river found themselves sliding sideways, at several knots, upwind toward the starboard lay-line, accomplishing impressive VMGs up to 9.5 knots due to both the favorable tide and the enhanced apparent wind.

J/105s sailing at J/FestDespite being in some second or third row starts, Bruce Stone and Nicole Breault’s ARBIRTAGE and others were still able to tack around the signal boat, and go bow down on port, reaching out to the river and catching up to anyone in the peloton sailing their boats normally upwind on a beat.

Nevertheless, there are always exceptions to the rule and in one start, ARBITRAGE spotted a left shift before the gun and boogied down to the tidally-unfavored pin end, starting on port and crossing the entire fleet, then footing back out to the ebb.

The regatta was initially dominated by new owner Tim Russell and the talented team on NE*NE that scored two bullets and two 5ths, leading ARBITRAGE by 3 points going into the last race.  However, just before arriving at the three boat length circle around the last leeward mark, NE*NE violently luffed ARBITRAGE sharply and caused a collision.  After untangling themselves, both boats passed several others on the remaining two legs, with NE*NE finishing that race in 2nd and ARBITRAGE 3rd, while securing 1st and 2nd, respectively, in the regatta. However, after a long evening in the protest room, NE*NE was DSQ’d and ARBITRAGE moved up to the top spot on the podium.  Ryan Simmons on BLACKHAWK took second, Phillip Laby on GODOT third, Ian Charles on MAVERICK fourth, and Jeff Littfin’s MOJO in fifth position.

J/70s sailing at J/FestAccording to Christy Usher, skipper on the J/70 CHRISTINE ROBIN and also the local San Francisco Bay Fleet Captain, “the Pineapple Express late-season weather system finished its 24+ hours of rain just in time for J/Fest 2018! Sufficient sun, adequate breeze and San Francisco currents greeted the 48 boats in five classes. The 27 boats in the J/105 fleet made for challenging starts with everyone angling for the "ebb elevator" in the middle of the bay. 

With the top three contenders in the J/70 fleet swapping firsts, seconds and thirds across five races, it was SFYC’s Chris Kostanecki on JENNIFER who ultimately bested StFYC’s 1FA and CHRISTINE ROBINE, helmed by Scott Sellers and Tracy Usher, respectively. Taking fourth was Justin Foox’s FLOTEK and fifth was Tom Thayer’s RAMPAGE.

After three races on Saturday, competitors enjoyed a taco buffet, Mt. Gay cocktails, Stephanie Teel's awesome band and the eternally amusing and rowdy J/Fest Raffle, thanks to our supportive sponsors. The two looming Sunday races ensured everyone stayed upright after the party and the next morning lined up for clearer skies and ample wind. Thank you to the Race Committee and Protest Committee (who were busy all weekend).”

J/88s sailing J/FestThe J/88 class saw Marc McMorris’ crew on M-SQUARED from San Diego YC overcome all the “local knowledge” teams to win counting just 1sts and 2nds in the scoreline, finishing with 7 pts total.  Ironically, counting just 2nds and 3rds and taking second overall with a dozen points was Paul Recktenwald’s LAZY DAWG from Stamford YC, yet another “alien” visiting San Francisco Bay!  Third was top St Francis YC team COURAGEOUS, skippered by Donald Payan.  Rounding out the top five was Aya Yamanouchi’s BENNY in fourth and Steve Gordon’s INCONCEIVABLE fifth.

In the J/111 class, Dorian McKelvy’s MADMEN just missed an “all bullets” regatta, winning with just 6 pts total.  Second was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS and third was Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG.

The usual battle for J/24 supremacy had the usual protagonists slugging it out all weekend-long.  In the end, it was the EVIL OCTOPUS from Richmond YC, skippered by Jasper Van Vliet, that posted a scoreline of 2-1-1-2-4 for 10 pts to win.  Second was good friend Paul Van Ravenswaay on FERAL ROOSTER with a record of 5-2-2-1-3 for 13 pts.  Sailing was much tighter than meets the eye on the scoring.  As such, third place was determined by a tie-breaker between DOWNTOWN UPROAR and Val Lulevich’s SHUT UP & DRIVE, both with 14 pts each and just one point in arrears of FERAL ROOSTER.  On countback, it was DOWNTOWN UPROAR getting the nod for third place.  Sailing photo credits- Chris Ray  For more J/Fest San Francisco sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Dubarry Women's Open Keelboat Championship Announcement

Women's J/109 team in England (Hamble, England)- The Women's Open Keelboat Championship (WOKC) will be returning to Hamble for its 10th anniversary edition in 2018.  This year the event, hosted once again by Hamble River Sailing Club, is being held on the weekend of June 2nd and 3rd. The volunteer team which organizes WOKC is delighted that Dubarry has agreed to return as title sponsor, having been a generous supporter of the championships since their inception in 2008 and having been the title sponsor for the last seven events. This means there will be some fantastic Dubarry prizes up for grabs, yet again!

UK Women's Keelboat Championship"The Dubarry Women's Open Keelboat Championships is an event that Dubarry has been involved with for the past seven years. The camaraderie both on and off the water drives the growth and popularity of this event each year and we thoroughly enjoy sponsoring this wonderfully talented group of sailors. The WOKC event is now bigger than ever due to its excellent organization, complimented by eager participants and organizers and Dubarry is delighted to be associated with this event and wish everyone a successful and enjoyable weekend on the water,” said Marketing Director, Michael Walsh.

The organizers are looking forward to offering two days of fun and competitive racing on the water along with some great social events ashore (the frocks and flip-flops party is unmissable), with funds being raised for the event's two charities- “Breast Cancer Care” and the “Hamble Lifeboat Trust.” The racing format will focus on IRC racing and, after last year's record entry of twenty boats and the return of the J/80 class, the WOKC is anticipating the 10th anniversary edition will be the biggest and best yet.

J/111 women's sailing team"We are thrilled that Dubarry have once again agreed to be our title sponsor," commented Jen Smyth, one of the organizers of the Dubarry Women's Open Keelboat Championship 2018. "With their continued support we have seen entries increase steadily and, we hope, this 10th anniversary edition will see even more ladies on the water. It's a pleasure to be working with the team from HRSC again and we are all looking forward to putting on a competitive regatta and a top notch party for all the teams and supporters."

Entries are now open and early entry is advised to take advantage of the early-bird booking fee of £75, available until 17:00 on Friday 25 May. After that date, entry fee will increase to £95. Boat entry is available from HRSC either online or via the admin team on +44-2380-452070.  Follow Hamble River SC here on Facebook  For more Dubarry Women’s Open Keelboat Championship sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

ENFANT TERRIBLE Triumphs @ Italian J/70 Cup I

J/70s sailing off ItalyThe famous Italian Rossi yachting family makes history!
(Sanremo, Italy- The first Italian J/70 Cup saw epic sailing for the fleet of fifty-nine boats from eight countries across Europe sailing off the “Garden City” of Sanremo and hosted by YC Sanremo.  The fleet was treated to steadily building winds over the three days, culminating with cancellation of all racing on Sunday due to the Mistral blowing in excess of forty knots!  In the end, a famous, familiar name in Italian yachting circles stood atop the podium after five races, Alberto Rossi’s ENFANT TERRIBLE- ADRIA FERRIES, a name most often associated with winning multiple Farr 40 World Championships.  There’s was not an easy win as a rogue’s gallery of Italy’s top sailors were fighting hard to be atop the leaderboard.

J/70s sailing off Sanremo, ItalyDay One- Light and Shifty
The first day started under light wind conditions and the YC Sanremo RC and PRO managed to get two races off for the very aggressive fleet.

Chaired by Fulvio Parodi, the YC Sanremo Race Committee promptly started the fleet at 1230 hrs in the “levante” breeze of 8-10 kts, a breeze that ultimately kept decreasing all afternoon.

Leading after the first day was Gianfranco Noe skippering CALVI NETWORK- LIGHTBAY SAILING TEAM, their 1-2 score gave them a three point lead.  Sitting in second place was Alberto Rossi’s ENFANT TERRIBLE team with a 2-4 for six points.  Winning the second race was Valerya Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE team from Moscow (Taganrog), Russia; they were sitting in the third position with a 12-1 for 13 pts.

Rounding out the very talented top five was Franco Solerio’s L’ELAGAIN Italian crew with a 4-10 (they are two-time winners of the Italian J/70 Cup) in fourth place and the fast Polish crew of MAG EWA with Krzysztof Krempec as skipper posted a 5-8 to secure fifth.

The Corinthians Division saw Gianluca Lamaro’s JERIATRIA leading (12th overall), following by Paolo Tomsic’s SOCIETE NAUTICO GRIGNANO and Alessandro Zampori’s BOBERASCO.

J/70s sailing upwind off Sanremo, ItalyDay Two- Strong Winds, Big Waves
In the morning, the fleet was greeted by 15+ kt winds and enormous waves rolling into the bay.  By the time the racing started just before midday, the breeze kept building with gusts over 22 kts.  Fortunately, three more races were added to the overall scoreline and crews could now discard their worst race for their total “net scores.”

Relishing the big breeze and big waves was none other than Alberto Rossi’s ENFANT TERRIBLE team, posting a 1-1-3 to dominate the day’s standings and, as a result, win the coveted GARMIN CUP- a special trophy given for Saturday’s racing.  Holding on to second place was Noe’s CALVI NETWORK with their 3-2-BFD, throwing out their BFD to sit just one point back from ENFANT TERRIBLE.

J/70 winner- Alberto Rossi- Enfant TerribleRossi commented, “I am extremely pleased with today's outcome, as well as yesterday's. The crew is new, compared to last year, and things on board are going well. Today's conditions, though very wet, have been extremely fun. I also want to thank and give recognition to the YC Sanremo Race Committee that produced great racing today in strong winds to bring home three races on a beautiful day of sailing.  Another reason for my satisfaction today is the amazing series of top three races by my daughter- Claudia and her crew on PETITE TERRIBLE! It brings me great pride to see she found her rhythm, knowing how to recover and get back in the game.”

J/70 women skipper- Claudia RossiThe third victory of the day went to Claudia’s PETITE TERRIBLE Sailing Team.  Her 2-3-1 scores were added to her 9-29 from day one to give her 15 pts net and the bronze position on the podium!

In the Corinthians Division, the leader after the first day, Lamaro’s JERIATRIA, slipped to fourth place after posting 45-45-49 for a total of 110 pts.  After a slow start, Tomsic’s SOCIETE NAUTIC GRIGNANO posted good scores of 15-16-12 to leap into the lead with 51 pts net.  Similarly, Edoardo Meroni’s GIJETTA added a 27-13-19 to take over the silver position on the podium with 89 pts net.  Then, sliding into the bronze slot was Marco Schirato’s JOSETTE with a 15-50-17-26-18 tally for 94 pts net.

On Saturday evening, during the cocktail hosted by Royal Hotel Sanremo, the crew of ENFANT TERRIBLE was awarded the Garmin Trophy and a Garmin Quatix 5 smartwatch.

J/70s sailing off Sanremo, ItalyDay 3- Game Over
As the sailors woke up on Sunday morning, they were greeted by the spectacular view of monstrous waves rolling in from offshore, crashing on the beaches and breakwater, tops getting blown off in 40+ kt gusts.  Needless to say, it was not unexpected as the mistral kicked into high gear, forcing cancellation of the days racing.  As a result, the leaders after day two did not change.

What is notable about the regatta was the phenomenal comeback by Claudia Rossi’s PETITE TERRIBLE team on Saturday.  It may be the first time in one-design yachting history that father & daughter skippers lead their teams onto the podium (1st and 3rd) in any ISAF/ World Sailing one-design class!

“It is always a pleasure to host the huge J/70 fleet at our yacht club. With these five races at the beginning of season, we hope to have satisfied your hunger for sailing after the long winter break.  We wish you fair winds and God Speed for the rest of the season.  We hope to be able to host you again in Sanremo in 2019,” commented Beppe Zaoli, President of YC Sanremo, during the award ceremony.

Next, after the Sanremo event, will be the Italian J/70 Cup Act II in Porto Ercole, hosted by YC Argentino from May 11th to 13th.  Facebook sailing video- Alberto Rossi’s ENFANT TERRIBLE off San Remo  For more ALCATEL J/70 Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, April 16, 2018

J/121 Spring Tune-Up & Open Course Racing

J/121 sailing offshore (Newport, RI)- J/Boats will be hosting the first J/121 Spring Tune-Up on May 11-12 for recently launched boats in Narragansett Bay, RI.  The event will be based out of Newport Shipyard, and up to five boats are expected.   With the support of major sailmakers (including North Sails, Quantum Sails, Doyle Sails, UK Sails), a two-day coaching and training session will focus on getting teams up to speed fast, with an emphasis on tuning, sail trim, sail selection & changes, and boathandling.

The program will be especially beneficial for crews that will be participating in the 2018 Newport to Bermuda Race, hosted by the CCA (Cruising Club of America) that starts on June 15th.  The format will include on-board coaching both days and video debriefs after sailing each.  As an added benefit, each boat will have a app collecting real-time GPS speed, course, heel, and implied wind direction for analysis post-sailing (broadcast LIVE here on

Friday at 1230 hrs is registration and a welcome briefing.  At 1330 hrs, the teams rendezvous off Fort Adams for boat-on-boat testing for speed, trim and tuning all afternoon.  A few boathandling maneuvers will be evaluated and coaching will be done via “open mike” on VHF so that all teams can learn from each other.  Sailing is followed by debrief and refreshments at Newport Shipyard.

On Saturday, the teams will gather at 0930 hrs for a skippers meeting, followed by a 1030 hrs warm up race. Then, an “open course” race will be started by 1200 hrs, again with on-water and on-boat coaching, followed by post-race debrief and refreshments.

Post-race analytics will be displayed by and the Open Course scoring will be evaluated for the following:
  • Overall winner- speed and time
  • Winner of each leg- base on average speeds
  • Fastest speed on any leg
As part of the discussions over the weekend will be 2018 J/121 Open Course Circuit schedule for the northeast region.  Currently, the proposed schedule follows:
  • Jun 1-2- Leukemia Cup- Newport, RI
  • Jun 9-10- New York YC Annual Regatta- Newport, RI
  • Jun 15th- CCA Newport to Bermuda Race- Newport, RI
  • Jul 17-21- New York YC Race Week- Newport, RI
  • Aug 17th- Ida Lewis Distance Race- Newport, RI
  • Aug 31st- STC Stamford Vineyard Race- Stamford, CT
Learn more about the J/121 Offshore Speedster here Add to Flipboard Magazine.