Monday, October 20, 2014

A Solent Indian Summer Sailing Weekend?

J/111 sailing Hamble Winter series on Solent, EnglandGarmin Hamble Winter Series #2 Report
(Hamble, England)- There might have been a mixed bag of weather conditions but the central Solent hosted some great, close racing for the second weekend of the 2014 Garmin Hamble Winter Series, this week comprising the first of two MDL Hamble Big Boats championship weekends. To say the weather was benign might be the understatement of the week- t-shirts, shorts and shades for many aboard the J/111s, J/109s, J/88s and J/97s!

For the second race of the Garmin Hamble Winter Series the forecast predicted a light Northeasterly wind that would build to around 17 knots as the day went on, and so it proved, with all classes fitting in two races from a start-line near Hill Head.

In the GHWS IRC O Class, the top three J/111s are having a close fight for the podium.  After posting two 2nds for the weekend, Martin Dent’s JELVIS lies second overall.  Just behind tied on points at 10 apiece are Chris Body’s ICARUS (2-4-4) and Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II (4-3-3).

The IRC 2 Class has a trio of J/88s sailing IRC as a group for the first time and they’re learning quite quickly how to make them go faster!  At this stage, Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT lies 3rd overall with a 2-7-6 and just 2 pts back is Ivan Trotman’s JOJO with a 4-8-5.

IRC 3 saw a first and second apiece for two J/97s, Andy Howe’s BLACKJACK II and Charles Ivill’s ETB TYES/ JUST LIKE THAT, who now sit a point apart at the top of the leaderboard. John Noe's La Nef IV had two thirds.

In the J/109s, Roger Philips' DESIGNSTAR 2 extended her lead over the rest of the fleet with another two first places. Chris Burleigh’s JYBE TALKIN is sitting on second with a 3-4-4 followed by Adrian Wheal’s JOLLY JACK TAR with a 9-2-2.

Race day sponsor was the Bugle Pub, who generously provided competitors present at the prize-giving with £30 vouchers for food and drink.

J/111 sailboats- sailing across Solent, EnglandMDL Hamble Big Boat Championship
The weekend also hosted the first of two MDL Hamble Big Boat Series weekend, featuring racing for Farr 45s, J/111s and IRC0 and 1 classes keen to finish off their season with some close and exciting racing. On Saturday, the fleet sat under AP for 3 hours awaiting the breeze, but eventually their persistence paid off and a light breeze filled in which allowed the race team to fit in two races on a short windward-leeward course. The Big Boats raced with the main Garmin Hamble Winter Series on Sunday.

The J/111 class was topped by Cornel Riklin's JITTERBUG, which scored two firsts and two seconds to place them 6 points clear of Chris Body's ICARUS. Martin Dent's JELVIS finished the weekend equal on points with ICARUS but a place behind her on countback, in third.

The MDL Hamble Big Boat Championship returns for its final weekend in a fortnight. Next weekend sees the third Garmin Hamble Winter Series race day and the final weekend of the Doyle Sails Hamble One Design Championships.  Sailing photo credits- B. Malas   For more Garmin Hamble Winter Series sailing information

Announcing NEW J/112E!

J/112E cruiser racer sailboat
(Newport, RI)- The J/112E is the newest addition to J/Boats’ “E” Series of versatile performance sailing yachts. The “E” is for elegance and evolution in performance cruising design. Why settle for anything less than sailing with comfort, style and speed?

Dual Purpose Versatility
36 feet is a magic size in the J/Boats line-up. With a spacious two-cabin accommodation plan and a comfortable, ergonomic cockpit, the J/112E is as well suited for the annual cruise as she is sprinting to Mackinac Island or short-handing through rough weather. Versatility in sailboat design means not only a sailboat that can do many things, but one that can do them across a wide range of conditions.

J/122E interiorBring The Outdoors In!
The J/122E (interior picture shown here) set the style trend for the “E” series, taking an already proven light and airy interior plan and adding significantly more natural light by way of large port lights and optional hull ports. The J/112E redefines this concept in 36 feet with a spacious two cabin/ aft head layout with 6’3” headroom that promises to be as comfortable in port as she is at sea. The varnished walnut joinerwork adds just the right proportion of classic wood accents without taking away from the incredible sense of open space.

Upwind is a Breeze – Downwind is a Blast
As a famous yacht designer once said, “a barn door with a bed sheet can sail downwind, but only true sailboats go to windward.” The J/112E joins her sisterships, the J/97E and J/122E, as an exceptional upwind performer. V-shaped bow sections provide superior directional stability and reduced slamming in waves. Freeboard forward and topside flare help to keep the deck dry. A long waterline combined with a low vertical center of gravity results in a smooth, sea-kindly motion – more like that of a 40 footer.

J/112E is a moderate displacement design with a high aspect, non-overlapping sailplan. This efficient set-up provides ample sail power in light winds (while most others are motoring), and easy to down-shift options when the wind builds.  The J/112E is no exception. All one needs is a mainsail and 105% jib to enjoy easy, high performance sailing in winds from 5 to 25 knots. Plus, J’s are renowned for being able to sail well under mainsail alone, fun for harbor tours or safe sailing in storm conditions.  For downwind fun with minimal effort and crew, one can deploy the asymmetric spinnaker from the retractable carbon sprit.

Efficient & Comfortable Cockpit
Sailors spend more time in the cockpit than anywhere else on board. The J/112E cockpit is second to none, embracing the extraordinary cockpit ergonomics pioneered by the J/111. The single large diameter wheel allows the helmsman to sit outboard to easily see the jib telltales and waves.  With the J/112E main and jib controls within easy reach, the driver can adjust the sails upwind without leaving the wheel or troubling the crew – who might otherwise be relaxing in the comfortable cockpit seats.  For more J/112E sailboat information

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Indian Summer @ J/22 Westerns

J/22 sailing on Lake Minnetonka (Lake Minnetonka, MN)- Racers enjoyed unseasonably warm temperatures, topping out in the 80s, for the J/22 Western Great Lakes District Championships/ Evergreen Cup. Sixteen boats participated in the regatta, which was held September 27 and 28, 2014 on Lake Minnetonka and hosted by J/22 fleet #1 at Wayzata Yacht Club. To increase the number of boats on the line, several J/22 owners from the lake generously offered their boat to guest skippers and crew.

Five races were completed on day one of the regatta in wind speeds from 5 to 11 mph. The final race was canceled on day two as a result of extremely light breeze.

"My favorite part of the entire regatta was rounding the top mark of the first race simultaneously with 10 other boats," says Mike Bowers, fleet captain. "Nothing could be more fun than racing against a group of equally skilled sailors."

Mike Miller, EN FUEGO’s boat owner remarks, "We had the best communication effort to date on 486. This gave us a competitive edge in a highly talented one-design fleet.”

John "Ole" Olson from SUPER LULU PUPPY, hull number 989, was very proud to have daughter Maggie driving. "So many people at the yacht club have helped Maggie develop as a skipper. Many of the top sailors in the fleet jumped on our boat for a few of the rumbles in the bay and other races. The whole fleet supports her success."

A trophy was also awarded to the top women's team 1048, MOXXIE. Holly Jo Anderson, along with experienced crew Kathleen Cahill, Danielle Lindeman and Jenny Wilson finished just ahead of the Minnesota Women’s Sailing Team, DONE DEAL.

J/22 sailors from Lake Minnetonka"Wayzata Yacht Club boasts the largest number of women sailors in the country," explains Anderson. "Young talented female and male sailor participation is growing as a result of our strong high school and college sailing programs as well as the many experienced instructors at the community sailing schools."

No regatta is complete without a celebration and great food. Jill Fynboh's exceptional meals on Saturday and Sunday were delicious. Trophy technical shirts were donated by Carol Pine of Pine & Partners and Paul Cossette, owner of LynLake Brewery.

In addition to thanking the many volunteers that helped coordinate the event, J/22 fleet #1 recognizes the outstanding WYC race committee, including Blake Middleton and Jarod Silverman. And thank you to Sue Slack and Tim Oelschlager, volunteers on the race committee boats.

The top five teams for the event included AQUAVIT (John Dyer, Bruce Martinson and Bill Richards) in 1st, WHO’S DRIVING (Dave Brasch, Kevin Kenny and Mike Bowers) in 2nd, EN FUEGO (Mike Miller, helmsman Mike Schmidt and Matt Carlson) in 3rd, SUPER LULU PUPPY (John Olson, Claire Hanley, Terry Foster and skipper Maggie Olson) in 4th and HURRICANE BAR & GRILL (Jon and Kim Monson, Brynn Paterson and helmsman Chad Olness) in 5th.

One of the unique “fleet-building” exercises that J/22 Fleet #1 has gone through, in addition to supporting keelboat sailing for their local high schools and colleges, is the “Let’s Rumble & Learn Weekend” that was held just prior to the J/22 Western Great Lakes Championship.

The once a month fleet-specific rumble format at Wayzata Yacht Club (WYC) offers sailors several short races in one day. If you blow a start or go up the wrong side of the course, you get the opportunity to improve on the next race. At the most recent WYC J/22 rumble, the fleet used this opportunity to work with boat owners and crew-members to advance their boat tuning, handling and racing experience.

J/22 women's sailng team on Lake MinnetonkaOrganizers invited J/22 class expert, Terry Flynn of Quantum Sails to provide whiteboard, on-the-dock and on-the-water training on everything from boat setup to sail trim and racing tips. The event started on Saturday afternoon with a whiteboard presentation by Lars Hansen on forestay measurement and boat tuning and setup. This discussion moved to the docks and one of the J/22s for a hands-on presentation given by Terry Flynn on boat tuning, crew position for optimal speed and more.

“Sailing on a boat with very light crew weight, I was pleased that Terry Flynn set the record straight on a few misconceptions,” says Kathleen Cahill. “These small adjustments, such as crew position, could make a big difference for us.”

In addition to Flynn, several top-of-the-fleet experts shared their knowledge during the races by rotating every two races onto different boats. These experts included Mike Bowers, John Dyer, Terry Foster, Lars Hansen, Kevin Kenney, Andy Marston, Mike Miller, Mike Schmid, Kurt Taken-Holtze, Matt Thompson and Thorn Turner. Each of the coaches offered a little different perspective and a range of valuable input and feedback.

“It was interesting to see the varied interests in what each boat wanted to get out of not just the training session, but from racing at WYC,” explains Mike Bowers. “I coached a crew that was involved to advance their competition; another boat made it a fun family activity; and one team wanted to improve their overall seamanship. I think it is great that one sport and one club can support such varied interests. It was enjoyable to help everyone get closer to their goals.”

“What a great event. This should get added to the schedule for years to come,” says Lars Hansen. “Looking over my notes there are three things that everyone can work on. First, the skipper must focus on driving before anything else. Second, the trimmer should take responsibility for their sail. By the time the skipper tells the trimmer to adjust the trim the moment is already gone. Third, communication is critical. For example, the spinnaker trimmer should be communicating to the driver during the entire downwind run. Talking about pressure on the sheet gives the skipper clues to heat it up or drive deeper. Someone else, possibly the foredeck, should be watching behind and to the side of the boat for puffs. A small adjustment to catch a puff can make a big difference.”

“As a new boat owner in the fleet, this was an incredible learning experience. The boat tuning classroom and on-the-dock training reinforced what I learned from Lars when he helped put my boat in for the first time this year,” says Holly Jo Anderson. “Thorn gave the entire crew excellent tips during the races. Applying his suggestions, we even got the bullet on the second race. Having experience racing with four people on a J/22, Kurt pointed out some hardware changes that will definitely improve boat-handling efficiency.”

During the race, Sean Delany videotaped various boats. Once back to the club, Flynn reviewed these video clips with the group—showing proper sail trim, boat heel and more.

“I would like to thank everyone at WYC who helped put on such a successful event. I really like the format and the club and class did a great job supporting this style of seminar,” says Flynn. “The large number of guest skippers helped everyone in the fleet gain hands-on training. This type of format used at more clubs would definitely build participation.”

WYC J/22 fleet #1 offers a special thank you to organizers, Terry Flynn, the fleet’s expert coaches and food sponsor Veritas Marketing for making this a successful event that will likely be repeated in years to come.   Sailing photo credits- Jarod Silverman @ Minnetonka Photography   For more J/22 Fleet #1 regatta and sailing information

J/Teams Sailing Famous Rolex Middle Sea Race

J/122 sailing off MaltaThe Most Beautiful Course in the World?
(Gzira, Malta)- American tycoon Ted Turner once described the Rolex Middle Sea Race course, a 606 nm route circumnavigating Sicily and its neighboring islands, as the ‘most beautiful in the world’. It is a tour that on October 18, a fleet of 123 yachts is expected to start, eclipsing the current record of 99 entries set last year.

The Rolex Middle Sea Race has seen USA boats take the title on four occasions and, for one, George David’s RAMBLER set the record in 2007 (47:55:03).  Ironically, as avid J/24 sailors in their pasts, both David and Ken Read (America’s Cup & Volvo Ocean Race veteran and 5x J/24 World Champion) were on board for the record run.

“The front arrived with five visible water spouts, perfectly defined and rather large, they brought a big lump to your throat,”‘ commented Ken Read after finishing. “The third appeared in front of us and the last two formed within a couple hundred yards of Rambler. The water would start foaming and spinning in a 50 metre circle right in front of our eyes. A wild sight that I will not forget for a long time.”

“Then came the breeze, and with it, 25-57 knots of wind for the next 20 hours. The front hatch blew off its hinges and about two hours of bailing followed this little glitch in the program. As soon as you thought you had a breather, another squall hit. Right up to the finish, where we had 53 knots of wind five minutes before entering the harbour in Malta. During one very violent squall we were literally flying off the waves – surfing at over 30 knots.

“When George bought Rambler he asked that we sail in events that would show him how tough the oceans can be – ‘Well George, I think we nailed that one’.”

While the fleet of J/Teams participating in this year’s RMSR may not break the outright record, some of their teams have been known to break another even more notable record, the ability to win their classes and overall a number of times.

J/122 sailing Middle Sea RaceThe event’s fascination is largely drawn from its alluring, 608-nautical-mile racecourse – a rigorous anti-clockwise loop around Sicily that introduces numerous “corners” that present changing and complex meteorological shifts. The route includes the deep azure waters around Sicily including the Aeolian and Egadi Islands, as well as Pantelleria and Lampedusa. One of the most stunning vistas is Stromboli, the active volcano that is a course mark.

Godwin Zammit, Commodore of the Royal Malta YC, commented about the success of the Rolex Middle Sea Race:  “The interest in the race has been growing year on year and with entries up over 20% on last year's record entry, the Royal Malta YC organized additional berths for competing yachts. Including family and friends of the competing crews, we estimate that well over a thousand people will be visiting Malta for the race. There are many reasons why the race is proving so popular, the Royal Ocean Racing Club has a long association with the race and it is now part of their season's points championship and many of the 18 yachts that have come from Great Britain are doing so for that reason and there is a strong contingent from Italy with 33 yachts visiting from nearby.”

Last year, IRC 3 division came to a dramatic conclusion with David Anastasi's J/133 OILTANKING JUNO winning the class by under three minutes. The class of over 25 yachts has strength and depth, including the class winner of the 2014 Cape to Rio Race (Iskareen) and Class winner of the 2014 RORC Caribbean 600, the British entry Sleeper.

J/122 sailing Rolex Middle Sea Race off MaltaIRC 4 division has over 30 entrants and is arguably the most competitive class. The most successful Maltese yacht of the modern era will be racing in IRC 4. In 2011, Lee Satariano's J/122 ARTIE, co-skippered by Christian Ripard and with an all-Maltese crew, won the race overall! ARTIE will be returning to the race course this year with a real chance of winning. However, last year the outstanding Maltese entry was Aaron and Edward Gatt Floridia's J/122 OTRA VEZ, which was the winner of IRC 4 and the first Maltese boat after time correction.  Yet another J/122, DAMACLE sailed by Roy Caramagno from Italy, will be joining the fray and hopes to continue the J/122 tradition of winning class and overall!

Not to be outdone by her larger sisterships, the J/109 JARHEAD, sailed by Greg Nasmyth from Great Britain, hopes to eclipse IRC 5 Class and give the rest of the big boys a run-for-the-money overall!  It has been done before!  Thanks for contribution from Louay Habib.  Find Rolex Middle Sea Race on Facebook
For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing information

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Enright's Team ALVIMEDICA Sailing VOR Leg 1

Volv0 65- Alvimedica- skipper Charlie Enright of Newport, RI (Alicante, Spain)- Charlie Enright and Team ALVIMEDICA  have started the Volvo Ocean Race off Alicante, Spain and they are now five days into their first 6,500+nm Leg #1.  They successfully navigated the Straits of Gibraltar and, needless to say, they are enjoying a real one-design race with dramatic swings taking place nearly hourly as the duel with the six other contenders for the race lead.  They’ve gone from 1st to 5th, then back to 1st more times than you can remember.  Epic, drama-filled days, creating enormous anxieties for the navigators making new “calls” just about every hour (often less!). 

It’s turning into a mind-numbing game of nerves as each crew “bobs & weaves” through the fleet and whatever the wind Gods deliver to them as they play gybing angles downwind off the coast of Africa.  For many, it’s been a maddeningly frustrating start to the race as they are now past the Canary Islands and sailing on a southwest course along the African coastline towards their next mark off Recife, Brazil.  Unlike the last race, this time the whole fleet took the “classic” trading ship route down along the coast of Africa before going hunting for the offshore tradewinds.  Also sailing fast is the J/80 superstar sailor from Spain, Iker Martinez on MAPFRE and J/24 ace Ian Walker from Great Britain leading Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing!   Follow the Volvo 65s racing “J/One—Design style” around the world here on the live tracker.

Wet'n'Wild Finale @ AYC Fall Series

J/105s sailing on Long Island Sound (Rye, New York)- The jury was out whether or not the weather forecasts were going to hold as predicted, or simply wash-out like they did the previous weekend.  With Saturday looking a bit wet with gusty SSE 10-20 kt winds (due to an approaching cold front) and Sunday looking cooler with a puffy westerly of 10-15 kts and sunny skies, everyone was hoping the forecasts would hold enough to get in 4-5 races over the weekend.

As it turned out, the American Yacht Cub PROs were blessed with perhaps a bit too much breeze on Saturday afternoon.  With a massive swell of 3-4 feet rolling in from the east down the entire fetch of Long Island Sound and a cross-chop on top of 1-2 ft due to the southerly breezes blowing off the windward shore, it was just about all the fleets could take on the East and Southwest courses. With passing rainsqualls, the gusts were hitting steady 27-30 kts at times, but lulls were easily dropping down into the mid-teens!  After completing two races by 2:15pm, the AYC PRO called it quits and sent the fleet home, as many of the various handicap and one-design fleets were decimated by dozens of boats withdrawing from the second race and heading home.  The sailing conditions were hardly extreme, just 15-25 kts. However, it’s not often that you see the only three boats racing in IRC 1 all broaching simultaneously, perfectly choreographed gybes onto port, with oversized asymmetric kites all flogging themselves to pieces (Steve & Heidi Benjamin’s Tripp 41 HIGH NOON, Andrew Weiss’s CHRIS DRAGON & John Barry’s MC 38 CARBONADO).  By Sunday, most everyone had regained their composure and enjoyed a beautiful day on Long Island Sound in sunny, shifty 10-18 kt westerly winds.

The J/122 WINGS was leading IRC 2 but dropped into second, the first time they’ve been beaten in the AYC Fall Series in recent memory!  On the comeback trail was John Pearson’s J/122 RED SKY, vaulting into third on the podium with a steady 3-3-4-4 for the weekend.  Fourth was Ron Richman’s J/133 ANTIDOTE. In PHRF 1, the J/111 ANDIAMO sailed by Paul Strauch took fourth. In PHRF 2, Ken Hall’s J/100 NEVERMORE finished third.  Then, in PHRF 3, Tom & Julie Sinatra’s J/29 SMOKIN J ran away from the fleet to win with a 1-2-1-2-1 score for just 7 pts!  Third was Aleksandr Tichter’s J/29 AKULA and fifth was Jason Viseltear’s J/80 UPSETTER.  They were followed by another J/80, Glenn Sheets AISLING in 6th.

J/44 racer cruiser sailboats- sailing one-design on Long Island SoundIn one-design circles, the twelve-boat J/44 fleet was given quite the “schooling” by Len Sitar’s VAMP, posting four 1sts and one 4th to win with just 4 pts net!  Bill Ketcham’s MAXINE took second by virtue of winning the last race with 10 pts net.  Third was Jim Bishop’s aquamarine green GOLD DIGGER, sitting on fourth was Jeff Willis’ CHALLENGE IV and in fifth was Joerg Esdorn & Duncan Hennes’ KINCSEM.

The twelve J/109s saw Jonathan Rechtschaffer’s EMOTICON leading from the first weekend onward, never losing their grasp on first and finishing with a blindingly quick 1-1-2 to close with just 12 pts net.  Jim Vos’ SKOOT played catch-up the whole time, but could only manage to grab a trio of 3rds to close with 14 pts net.  Third was Jack Forehand’s STRATEGERY with 18 pts.  Fourth and fifth was determined by the outcome of the last race, with the advantage going to Bill Rogers’ BIG BOAT over Adrian Begley’s MAD DOGS & ENGLISHMEN.

The fifteen J/105s were also led start to finish by Paul Beaudin’s LOULOU, posting two 1sts and four 2nds and not having to sail the last race!  Seven points back was George & Alex Wilbanks’ REVELATION in second and Jeremy Henderson & Harald Edegran’s CONUNDRUM took third.  Damian Emery’s ECLIPSE was not up to their usual form, settling for fourth and in fifth was David Greenhouse’s SKIPPERDEE.

As the biggest fleet in the regatta, the seventeen strong J/70 was going to have tough competition.  Never relinquishing their first weekend lead were the Ploch Sisters (Megan & Madelyn), sailing SUGAR DADDY to an extremely steady 1-1-3-2-1-2 for 7 pts net!  Hanging with them most of the time was Scott Bursor’s SLINKY, taking second overall with 17 pts net.  Third was Andrew Shea’s SHAKE’N’BAKE with 24 pts, followed by Sandy Weil & Markus Lahrkamp on ICE NINE in fourth and Trevor Roach’s SEMI-CHARMED in fifth.   Sailing photo credits- Todd Young/ AYC.com   For more American YC Fall Regatta sailing information

SAILING Champions League Preview

J/70 SAILING Champions LeagueWorld Childhood Foundation Joins As Partner
(Copenhagen, Denmark)– For the first time in international sailing history one club will be nominated as the best sailing club at the newly established "SAILING Champions League" (SCL) in Copenhagen taking place from 17th to 19th October 2014. The hosts from the national German sailing league (Segel-Bundesliga), the Danish sailing league (Sejlsportsligaen) and the Royal Danish Yacht Club are expecting 24 clubs from 15 nations. In addition to the European Sailing Federation as patron, the World Childhood Foundation (Childhood) has joined the event as the Charity Partner.

The competition starts this weekend in Denmark, following the same format of national sailing leagues in Germany and Denmark. The great interest in the SCL demonstrates that the organizers from Hamburg were correct in assuming that competition between clubs is a great social as well as international sailing event.

The participating clubs are sending a crew of four of their best sailors and hope to be the first winners of the sought-after "ROBBE & BERKING SAILING CHAMPIONS LEAGUE TROPHY“. Robbe & Berking has donated a five kg (11 lbs) silver bowl as a perpetual trophy. The clubs will sail in fleet races on the majestic waterfront of Copenhagen on eight J/70 one-design boats.

The clubs will be sailing right in front of the famous "Little Mermaid" at the entrance of the Danish capital. 45 races are planned in three days, each of the races lasting between twelve and fifteen minutes. Thanks to the broadcasting of technology partner SAP, you can follow the races live on sailing-championsleague.com. The expert commentators are Andy Rice from the UK and Marcus Bauer from Germany – two sailing experts and former competitors in the Olympic 49er.

This worldwide sailing premiere combines the sport of sailing with a charity event for “Childhood”, supported by SAP. “SAP SE has been a founding partner of the ‘World Childhood Foundation’ since the beginning and we are happy to be also connected via the sport of sailing now,” said Stefan Lacher, Head of Technology Sponsorships of SAP SE.

“Childhood” was founded in 1999 by H.M. Silvia the Queen of Sweden. “Childhood has a close partnership with the sport of sailing for many years. The SCL is a great new possibility to sail for children in need. Together, we will ensure that more children have a happy childhood and therefore we want to further develop this partnership,” says Susanne Labonde, Executive Director of Childhood Germany.  So far, the 24 clubs have raised over 250,000 Euros!   For more SAILING Champions League information