Monday, September 1, 2014

1,800nm Around Islands Race- Most Brutal Ever!

J/111 British Soldier sailing RORC Round Britain & Ireland RaceJ/111 and J/122 Excel in Body-Breaking Conditions
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Three yachts finished the RORC Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race on Friday 23rd August, deciding the winners of both IRC One and IRC Two and there were celebrations on the dock for all that survived to tell the tale of what may be one of the world’s most demanding races, short of the Volvo Ocean Race.

The J/122, RELENTLESS ON JELLYFISH, skippered by James George and owned by Chris Radford, crossed the finish line off the Royal Yacht Squadron line on Cowes at 14:52:57 on 22 August to win IRC Two.  The “Jellyfish” crew has been competing in the RORC Season's Points Championship since May and their result in the Sevenstar Round Britain and Ireland Race has lifted them to Top Yacht in IRC Two and third overall for the season! The crew let out a big cheer as they heard the news dockside.
J/122 Relentless on Jellyfish- winning IRC 2 in Round Britain & Ireland race
"The last night was just awesome," James George explained dockside. "Through some clever navigation by Tom Gadsen and David Lowe after Blackrock, we not only overtook our friends on the J/111 BRITISH SOLDIER, but got seven miles in front of them. However, BRITISH SOLDIER was after us all the way up the south west coast. It got up to about 25 knots of wind as the last night approached and we took down our spinnaker to have dinner, but BRITISH SOLDIER kept their spinnaker up and so did we, as a result. They put their biggest spinnaker up and started pulling into us, so up went our biggest spinnaker! It just went on and on, all through the night, pretty much a full-on match race after 11 days at sea!  BRITISH SOLDIER was a worthy opponent; they shortened the gap to just a few miles by St. Catherine's Point where the tide was turning. We made it into the Solent just in time, while they had to punch the tide. I have got to say that was one of the most incredible nights sailing I have ever had, or will have and for that reason, the Round Britain and Ireland is the best yacht race I have ever taken part in."

J/111 British Soldier team- with Jeff Johnstone of J/BoatsAll of the Jellyfish crew were dockside to give three cheers to BRITISH SOLDIER as the Army Sailing Association's team finished the race. Jeff Johnstone, President of J/Boats was also on the dock. Jeff was attending the J/111 World Championship in Cowes: "It is great to see our boats being used in such a terrific offshore race and the extraordinary condition of the boats after taking a pounding in such wild conditions, with gales and massive seas, is testament to the crews. The skipper of Jellyfish told me they broke a batten and a light bulb, which is amazing after what they have gone through and for British Soldier to race with just five crew was remarkable (after losing some to injuries and putting them ashore!).”

There were only five serving members of the British Army on board BRITISH SOLDIER, a boat that is normally raced with eight. Due to a crew member returning to duty before the start and another taken off during the race with a dislocated shoulder, BRITISH SOLDIER was two men down, but still full of fight. Soldier's skipper, Phil Caswell spoke about the experience:  "A tough race, but there was never any need to motivate the lads, they just got on with it and the battle with Jelllyfish was the catalyst that we focused on. Congratulations to their skipper and crew! This race has been an incredible experience for us. All of the crew are decent sailors but with an average age of just 25, we have massively increased our experience. In a short period of time, we have learnt so much and I am sure the Army Sailing Association will be back for the next race. This race is something that we will all draw on for the rest of our lives. Racing around Britain and Ireland is a fascinating experience."   Sailing photo credits- Patrick Eden and also Paul Wyeth (    For more RORC Round Britain & Ireland Race sailing information

YCBG Team Triumphs @ J/70 Bundesliga

J/70s sailing Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga in Berlin, Germany (Berlin, Germany)- This past week, the Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailed its third Act on the beautiful Wansee Lakes of Berlin, Germany.  The YC Berlin-Grünau with Jochen Schümann was the winner, just two points ahead of the Norddeutsche Regatta Verein (NRV) from Hamburg with Johannes Polgar as skipper.  The Deutsche Touring YC of Lake Starnberg with Julian Stückl as team leader finished third.

The very close total scores of the Berlin event reflects the “high voltage” competition that was palpable until the last race on the Wannsee. As a result of Schumann’s YCBG taking to top score, it prevented the first “hat trick” by any club in the series.  Nevertheless, Hamburg’s NRV team second place put them firmly in the lead on the overall series leader table with a five pts lead.

J/70 sailing German sailing leagueThe Wansee provided many exciting races in ultra-difficult sailing conditions. The wind shifted a lot, in fact providing “tornado-like” swirling puffs and driving many of the top sailors wild with Mother Nature’s “mind games”— everyone trying to out-guess one another how it would shift or fill in next (perhaps a bit like the famous “Mystical Lake” at Tufts University in Boston, MA!).

Before the last of the 45 races - 15 for each club - it was really dramatic. The situation came to a head in a three-way battle between the YC Berlin-Grunau, the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein and the Deutsche Touring YC (Tutzing). In the end, the most experienced team led by YCBG skipper Jochen Schumann and their team of Ingo Borkowski, Gunnar Bahr and Erik Powilleit prevailed against their competition by scoring a 2nd in the last race to win by two pts overall!

Jochen Schumann sailing for YC Berlin-Grunau"We wanted a small yacht club to go out and beat the big clubs, and we did that. Despite fewer training opportunities, you can sail with a good team and get consistent performances in the front of the fleet. I hope it remains so exciting,” said Jochen Schumann at the awards ceremony. With the victory, the club from Germany’s capital city Berlin improved by two places to sixth in the overall series standings.

The Deutsche Touring YC took third for the third time in a row in Berlin and, as a result, remain in second overall in the League standings. "We want to consolidate our position in the series and see if it finally goes forward at the next regatta in Kiel," said helmsman Julian Stückl- his team included Patrick Follmann, Phillip Blinn and Luis Tarabochia in Berlin.

The win for Schumann and crew at YCBG did not come easy.  In fact, after the first four races on the first day they were lying in 8th place!  In the twelve races sailed on day one, there were eight winners. The leading trio was Württemberg YC, the Deutsche Touring YC and Kieler YC and the overall series leader NRV was nowhere close to the podium!

J/70 family sailing German sailing leagueAll teams completed the day with four races and for the two clubs from the south it ran very smoothly.  The 2nd place team in the 2013 Lake Constance event, the Württemberg YC (WYC), took two 1sts and two 2nds to lead the fleet- the team of Stefanie Rothweiler, Felix Diesch, Marvin Frisch and Christian Severens simply did not miss a beat, nor a windshift! Close behind in second place with three 2nds and a 1st was the DTYC team of Julian Stückl, Patrick Follmann, Phillip Blinn and Luis Tarabochia. Third at the time with two 1sts a 3rd and 4th was the Kieler Yacht-Club with the crew of Sönke Boy, Oliver Studnitz, Sinje Haasler and Thorben Nowak.

At the end of the first day, a clear favorite could not be determined, especially with eight different teams winning races out of twelve total!  The big surprise was the crew struggling aboard YCBG— Jochen Schumann’s team of Ingo Borkowski, Gunnar Bahr and Erik Powilleit could not win a single race for the Yacht Club Berlin-Grunau. The triple Olympic champion and his crew found themselves in eighth place, in fact, finishing last in their first race!  A humble opening gambit for what many thought were going to be the top team all weekend long!

J/70 sailors celebrate with Willy KuhweideThat evening, the German sailors celebrated the 50th anniversary of Willy Kuhweide’s victory at the 1964 Olympic games in Tokyo. The guest of honor traveled all the way from the USA and was enthusiastic about the J/70 Segel-Bundesliga format: "German Sailing has experienced a real boom in recent years, which is also due to the fantastic development of the J/70 Segel-Bundesliga. This is great!”

The second day of racing marked the brilliant comeback of YCBG’s team led by Jochen Schumann.  After sailing 29 of 45 total races, Schumann’s team rapidly ascended the leaderboard after compiling three 1sts and three 2nds to take the regatta lead.  They were followed by defending regatta champions DTYC in second and Kieler YC in third.  While YCBG staged an epic comeback, so did DTYC, by pulling themselves up by their collective “bootstraps” and keeping themselves in contention with a 1-1-2-4-4. "The DTYC has sailed from a hopeless situation again and again to the front and to maintain consistent scores,” commented Andreas Buchert.

J/70 video interviewOn Saturday evening, there was the premiere of “Sailor Talk" from leading sailors involved in the German Bundesliga sailing with presenter Matthias Bohn. Included were Janika Puls from Lubecker YC, Andreas Buchert from Bodensee Yachtclub Überlingen and Heiko Winkler from Schwerin Yacht Club.  Here is the discussion (in German)-

The fourth regatta in the J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga series will be sailed from 5-7 September, on the inner fjord in Kiel, Germany in just two weeks!
J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga- sailing summary   J/70 Segel-Bundesliga Facebook page.   For more J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

Saturday, August 30, 2014

J/24 Downeast Regatta Announcement

J/24s sailing downwind (Portland, Maine)- This year's J/24 Downeast Regatta will be the U.S. J/24 Class Northeast Regional Championship where the top teams not already qualified in the Northeast Region will qualify for the 2015 J/24 World Championship in Germany.  The event is hosted by Portland YC and sailed on the spectacular Casco Bay.

Also, the Downeast Regatta in 2015 will be the site and event for the 2015 J/24 North American Championship being sailed from September 10-13 (more news here- 

The regatta organizers expect strong participation both this year and next with its close proximity to the 2014 Worlds (Newport) and 2014 Nationals (Buzzards Bay), both about 3.5 hours driving distance to their site in Southern Maine.

On average the Downeast Regatta sees 30 boats and about 6 races with very strong competition. With similar currents and conditions to the Newport World’s inside courses it is a perfect event for tuning your team and boat.  Be sure to note that FREE hosted housing for boats is provided to “out-of-town” J/24s on a first-come,  first-served basis. 

Finally, here’s a deal that can’t be beat anywhere (but, it’s only available for a short time)- the $275 entry fee includes: Launch & Haul, Lobster Dinner on Saturday, Live Musical Entertainment and Dancing on Sunday, Snacks and Chili on Friday, BBQ Dinner on Sunday at haul-out location, Gritty's Beer and Mixed Drinks all weekend, breakfast Saturday and Sunday, two great days of racing, and much more. Better act fast, since this deal ends on August 24th 2014.  For more J/24 Downeast Regatta sailing information

Friday, August 29, 2014

J/160 ATLANTIC Captures Penobscot Bay Rendezvous

J/100s sailing at Penobscot Bay RendezvousJ/100 SMITTEN & J/80 CHAISE LOUNGE Class Winners, too!
(Rockland, Maine)- And what a party it was for the crew aboard Ben Blake’s magnificent J/160 ATLANTIC.  The gorgeous french blue hull beauty sliced through the cobalt blue waters of Penobscot Bay with ease on her way to winning the largest class in the regatta- PHRF Cruise division!  Once again the parties and entertainment were memorable as were the spectacular days of racing on the scenic waters of western Penobscot Bay.  Co-hosted by Wayfarer Marine and Lyman-Morse Boatbuilding, the three-day regatta enthusiastically enjoyed local food specialities (lobstah’s!) along with evening dancing and fireworks.

In the Spinnaker Division 2, Shane Flynn’s J/100 SMITTEN walked off with all bullets, beating out her sistership, the J/100 SEA SMOKE sailed by Cabot Lyman, that took 3rd in class.  Fourth was Mark Scheffer’s J/40 LEGACY.

J/80 sailing upwind on Penobscot BayThe Spinnaker Division 3 was over-run by local knowledge, with Jesse Henry’s J/80 CHAISE LOUNGE taking two bullets to win their group.  Then, Patti Spaulding’s J/24 HAVOC took two seconds to secure the silver.

Finally, in the Spinnaker Division 1 Double-handed division, Scott Miller’s J/122 RESOLUTE took fourth and Doug Coleman & Chris Holm’s pretty J/46 SKITTERYGUSSET took fifth.

The famous PBR Fish Taco Bar never fails to satiate even the most ravenous of sailors and the evening entertainment on Saturday night was received warmly by many sailors seen dancing the night away.  Sailing photo credits- Billy Black. For more Penobscot Bay Rendezvous sailing information

J/80 NAs + Worlds Preview

J/80s rounding mark (Annapolis, MD)-  Over the course of a three week period, the International J/80 Class will be hosting two massive events on their calendar on the Chesapeake Bay, with their North American Championship hosted by Annapolis YC from September 10th to 14th and the World Championship hosted by Eastport YC from September 25th to October 4th at Eastport YC.

While predominantly a North American affair, both events will feature a “who’s who” of top J/80 teams from the past few years.  The J/80 NA’s have 25 boats registered while the J/80 World’s have 30 teams scheduled to start; there’s about 95% overlap between the two as many are using the NA’s as a “pre-Worlds” practice regatta.

First up are the NA’s.  The local talent includes top teams like Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI, Bert Carp’s ELEVEN, David Andril’s VAYU and the trio of Will & Marie Crump & Tom Klok sailing WHO’s HEIDI (the current J/80 NA champions).  Top visiting teams will be Nizar Abuzeni’s ARROW (St Paul, MN), Tod Patton’s BLONDIE (Northbrook, IL), Tim Mahoney’s CANNONBALL (Staten Island, NY), Chris & Liz Chadwick’s CHURCH KEY (Weston, FL), Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS (Manhasset, NY), Forbes Durdin’s MOJITO (Houston, TX), Kevin Hayes’ MORE GOSTOSA (Gilford, NH), Terry Flynn’s QUANTUM RACING (a team from League City, TX that are also past World Champions), David & Elisabeth Neasmith’s SEQUEH (Nepean, Ontario, Canada), and Bill & Shannon Lockwood’s SHENANIGANS (Holmdel, NJ).

After these crews sail the NA’s, they will see other top American teams join them for the World’s, including Ryan McCrillis skippering ALOHALANI from Kailua, Hawaii; Bill Blank’s BLIND SQUIRREL from Purcellville, VA; John Dickey’s BORN 2 RUN from Lewes, Delaware; Les Beckwith’s FKA from Wolfeboro, NH; Chris Palabrica’s HIJO DEL BANDIDO from Carmel, IN; Ken Mangano’s MANGO from Severna Park, MD; Paul Parson’s PARSONS PROJECT from Houston, TX; and Brian Keane’s famous SAVASANA from Weston, MA (past Key West J/80 Midwinter Champions).  For more J/80 North Americans sailing information

Thursday, August 28, 2014

J/70 Sailor Heather Gregg-Earl Dominates Nantucket Regatta!

J/70 sailor Heather Gregg-Earl, wins Nantucket IOD Invitational regatta (Nantucket, MA)- The annual Nantucket Race Week IOD Celebrity Invitational Regatta on August 14-15 once again attracted an elite list of accomplished North American sailors to serve as tacticians for  skippers and teams in a benefit for Nantucket Community Sailing.

Organizers generally don’t make the same skipper/tactician pairing two years in a row, so when skipper Heather Gregg of Stage Harbor YC won in 2012 with Celebrity Tactician Robbie Doyle, she couldn’t test the magic last year. But when the two paired up again last week, the magic was alive again, never finishing worse than second, winning the 14 boat event without sailing the final eighth race.

Nantucket Sound delivered optimal race conditions for the fleet of International One Design sloops, with 15-17 knot westerly winds and moderate seas.

Gary Jobson helming, with Jud Smith calling the shots, took second, begging the question “Which ones aren’t celebrities?” Peter Bromby of Bermuda as tactician, with skipper Ted Moore of Marblehead, both first-timers at the event, took third.

The consistency of top finishes, amongst the deep and high level competition, earned Heather Gregg-Earl the “Nantucket Race Week Overall Best Performance Award” from event sponsor Porsche cars.

According to Heather, “It was a solid 15 kts from the Southwest...perfect Nantucket Sound Cape day...lots of sun and wind and tide coming in all day on both Friday and Saturday.  First day, we got a 2-1-1-2. Big waves, particularly on port tack!!  Second day, we got a 2-1-1 and didn't have to sail the last race.  All my J/70 driving was paying off. We just boarded out the jib and flattened the main...then let’er rip!  We were higher and faster both days.  It felt good!”  For more information about his fun Nantucket Race Week Regatta

J/24 German Open Preview

German J/24s sailing in Europe (Hamburg, Germany)- From 29 to 31 August, the best German sailors in the J/24 class are expected to sail at the NRV Champions Week on the Baltic. The organizers, Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV), expect more than 200 participating sailors.

"We have scheduled a total of ten races for the weekend. It will be tight racing for the participants,” announced the Race Director, adding, “I know both the sailing area as well as many of the participants for several years. In the J/24 class is the sailing legend Frank Schönfeldt from Hamburg and the defending champions from 2013- ROTOMAN with skipper Tobias Feuerherdt.”

The J/24 German Open is taking place out of the Bolton Marina, one of the most modern ports on the Baltic coast and longtime partner of the NRV for many of its sailing events. This remarkable marina was opened in 2008,  designed by the architect Andreas Hundsdörfer from the outset as regatta hosting site and offers excellent facilities for participants and spectators.  "We wish the participants exciting race days and are already looking forward to the 2015 J/24 World Championships soon,” says Mr. Hundsdörfer.
For more J/24 German Open sailing information