Sunday, February 7, 2016

Olcese Eclipses J/24 Peru Nationals

J/24s sailing off La Punta, Peru (La Punta, Peru)- A very nice fleet of ten J/24s participated in the 2015 Peruvian J/24 Nationals held off La Punta along Peru’s dramatic and beautiful Pacific coast line.  Under the watchful eye of PRO Luis Yarlaque, the sailors were put to the test over the three-day championship weekend with a total of nine races.  After one discard race, the winner was again Luis Olcese’s SCARAMOUCH.

After the first five races, the young skipper Javier Arribas Jr. was on a roll.  After accumulating a 2-4-1-2-3, Arribas’ HAWKY was comfortably leading the series.  Perhaps a bit of championship pressure or a combination of that and some early celebrations may have impacted their fall from grace with the sea (e.g. Neptune)!  After amassing only 12 pts in five races, the HAWKY crew just could not keep it together and added a quick 6-5-3 for 14 pts in the final three races to still land on the podium, but collecting the bronze instead.

Javier Sr sailed WAYRA consistently all weekend and after Javier Jr’s Phoenix-like fall, took over the silver behind Olcese’s SCARAMOUCH.  Rounding out the top five were Lucas Peschiera’s TIAMAT in fourth place and Augusto Navarro’s 7 BARES in fifth position.   For more Peruvian J/24 Nationals sailing information

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Performance J/105 Sailing in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

J/105 Puerto Vallarta charter school (Puerto Vallarta, Mexico)- Learn how to sail faster and better and be part of a team.  Plus, you’ll learn how to dock, anchor, cruise and make monkey fists in between!  Join Captain Eugenie in Puerto Vallarta for 1/2 day or full day courses on a J/105 in the gorgeous water of Bahia de Banderas, one of the world’s most picturesque bays.

Captain Eugenie is a fully licensed 100T captain, as well as an ASA and US Sailing coastal and offshore cruising certification instructor. A sailor, teacher and entrepreneur, she has been sailing for more than thirty years. She has run and been part of four sailing schools— the Spinnaker Sailing school in San Francisco, the City of Oakland’s youth sailing program, the J/World Sailing School program in Puerto Vallarta, and currently the Vallarta Yacht Club Junior Sailing Program.

Eugenie operated private charters, provided sailing instruction, did deliveries, and captained boats while she ran the programs above. She co-founded the company J/Concierge, a support team for J/Boat owners in San Francisco while working for J/Boats.

Today, she is the State of Nayarit’ s Sailing Coach for Opti sailors, and the Mexican Sailing Federation (FMV) and the Mexican Optimist Association (AMVCO) has chosen her to take the Mexican Opti team to North American, South American, and World Championships. She speaks French, Spanish and English fluently and is dedicated to making students, of all ages understand and love sailing.

Please be sure to contact Bart Smit about sailing/ chartering his J/105 in Puerto Vallarta!  Contact Bart at email- bartsmitj80@icloud.com.     Check out their J/104 PuertoVallarta Facebook page

Commodore Wins J/22 Commodore's Cup!?

J/22 Cayman Island team sailing Caribbean (Cayman Islands)- JUST LEAVIN’, the J/22 sponsored by Yellow Pages, took first place for the third year in a row for the J/22 Commodore's Cup.  At the helm was Commodore Mike Farrington and crew consisting of Matt Diaz and Ralph Harvey.

If you recall, earlier in the Caribbean winter sailing season, Farrington was the winner of the Montego Bay YC’s J/22 Jammin’ Jamaica event.  Farrington and crew are on a roll and may be headed for the big time in the 2016 J/22 Worlds this coming August in Kingston, Ontario’s CORK Regatta!

The Commodore's Cocktail party was well attended, where the 50th anniversary celebration for the club was announced.    For more J/22 Cayman Islands sailing information

Friday, February 5, 2016

JEBEDEE Leads Italian J/24 Winter Series- Wins Act IV

J/24s sailing Italian Winter series (Taranto, Italy)- After the fourth event in the Italian J/24 Winter Series, in which two more demanding races were sailed in very cold northerly winds up to 22 kts, we find the team of JEBEDEE leading the series with a 3-1-1-1-2-2-1 record for just ten points.  The team of owner Nino Soriano from CN Maestrale and skipper Luca Gaglione are proving to be a very tough combination to beat.

Italian J/24 crew sailing Winter SeriesFollowing JEBEDEE in the standings is FIVE FOR FIGHTING J owned by Tommaso De Bellis and skippered by Tarantino Andrea AirĂ² with just 12 pts total.  Then, lying in third place overall is DOCTOR J that is owned by Sandro Negro and helmed by Marco Raeli with 21 pts.  Rounding out the top five are Massimo Ruggiero’s CANARINO FEROCE in 4th and Marcello Bellacicca’s MARBEA in 5th place.

According to Nino Soriano, "After the Christmas break, the Winter Championship City of Taranto resumed with a beautiful day full of cold and wind. Not much wind for the truth. The crews, in fact, were divided on using the jib or the genoa as headsail. On the other hand, we know that in Taranto, when the wind is northerly, it creates major headaches for race officials who must place the race course; the oscillations are continuous, both in intensity and direction. We managed to stay out of trouble, stay in phase for most of the legs and were lucky to post a 2-1 for the day and stay in the lead for the series. A big thank you to the organization by Ondabuena and SVMM and throughout the race committee with John Rochira to direct operations!”

The Winter Championship will continue on Sundays during the 7th/ 21st of February and 6th/ 20th of March.   For more Italian J/24 Winter Championship sailing information

Spectacular Mount Gay Round Barbados Race!

J/24s sailing off Barbados (Bridgetown, Barbados) – The final day of the Coastal Series at the 80th anniversary Mount Gay Round Barbados Regatta, organized by Barbados Cruising Club in association with Barbados Tourism, and Mount Gay, concluded in fine style today with sunshine, wind up to 28kts, and a relatively flat sea. The fleet reveled in the conditions along the south coast of the island with a long beat out to Oistins and a rewarding blast back home.

In Carlisle Bay, where winds remained around 18-20 kts, the J/24 fleet enjoyed yet more close battles in the final four races of the series. With Robbie Yearwood and team on ISLAND WATER WORLD DIE HARD from Grenada, and Neil Burke and team on IMPULSE equal on points going into the final day’s racing, competition was guaranteed to be intense.

The situation looked good for Burke and team on IMPULSE with two wins in the bag after the first two races, while Yearwood and Team ISLAND WATER WORLD DIE HARD suffered with a couple of penalties, which left them having to count a third and a fourth. Living up to their name, however, Team DIE HARD fought back and won the final two races, which left them snatching the title from IMPULSE by just one point.

Commenting on the team’s impressive win, Robbie Yearwood said: “Absolutely delighted. After the first two races today we had a bit of a conference, settled down, put the past behind us, did what we had to do and focus on moving on. Thankfully it paid off.”

Peter Lewis and team on the J/105 WHISTLER sailed CSA Division and had one of the best starts of the day at the pin end of the line. They kept up the pace on the long beat to South Point and some good kite trimming on the long run back ensured them their third win of the series. In doing so they beat Conviction the local TP52 sailed by Clint Brooks and team representing the Barbados Offshore Sailing Syndicate (BOSS).

After three days of intense racing and lay day tomorrow, crews are making the most of the local hospitality tonight at the Post Race party at Barbados Yacht Club. Lay day activities tomorrow include a Mount Gay Rum distillery tour at Brandon’s in the morning, and a specially laid on regatta exhibition polo match and party at Holders Polo Field, St James in the afternoon. For more Mt Gay Round Barbados Race sailing information.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

PACEMAKER Triumphs Over Australian Convicts

J/24 sailing off AustraliaThe "Black Prince" Wins Another J/24 Nationals
(Victoria, Australia)- Host for this year’s Australian J/24 Nationals was the wonderful crew at Sandringham YC.  Nineteen teams showed up to compete for class honors in one of the most resilient one-design classes in Australia.  Blessed with a variety of conditions, it was not altogether surprising that the local hero, e.g. the “Black Prince of Sandy” (David Suda) made sure no one vanquished his PACEMAKER team on home waters.  Here is how it all went down way, way Down Under.

DAY ONE
After an abandoned practice day and with the possibility of Day One being a no-go as well it is great to be able to say we got 3 good races in. The first two races were with most people on genoas in 12 – 15 knot SE breeze and the third race onto jibs with the wind coming in around the 18-20 kts mark.

As wind came up the shifts got trickier and swung through a wider arc with the beach side of the course paying dividends more often than not. A little confusion with reading the sailing instructions or not …! saw a number of boats taking the unnecessary scenic route around the hitch mark on the second leg …. uugh! In general the fleet was well behaved and everyone is happily back in the marina showing off their battle flags.  The Black Prince of Sandringham is in the lead with a 1,2,1 from Steve Girdis, Brendan Lee, Ron Thomson and Simon Grain.

J/24 sailing off Australia around markDAY TWO
Perfect sailing weather today (it’s always like this at Sandy!) with a 10 knot SE breeze and flat water. Shirts and shorts sailing so the northern hemisphere overseas visitors are very happy. Three races in today and the big mover is Jet with two bullets and a second to Convicts in race 6. With the drop now in place this brings the leader board to Pacemaker on 9 points from Jet on 13, two back to Convicts and a further five back to By the Lee.

In a great display of sailing our ‘Local Guest’ skipper Peter Lee (Brendan’s father – ‘By the Lee’) sailing one of our youth boats ‘Sidetracked’ in a last minute entry finished 3rd (11 places ahead of the boy racer son) in one of the races and was up there for most of the other two. We’ve always known that Sidetracked (a revitalised Jarkan) was a fast boat and that Pete is a good driver (he taught Brendan all he knows – and plenty he has forgotten). Might be time to think about your own boat Pete !

In other news, after yesterday’s clean racing we have the first protests today so the room will be busy – a certain lady skipper in the middle of it I gather. Bruce Alexander on Gunboat with a new crew did a bit of trawling with the kite but was otherwise in the thick of it. Dave McKay on Stockcar had his drop with an OCS – gotta listen to the radio Dave !

In general, the racing is tight with an average of 35 – 40 min per race and the fleet finishing within 4 minutes in each race. Tomorrow is a lay day, so racing resumes on Thursday.

J/24 fleet starting off AustraliaDAY THREE
A tough day on the water today with Southerly winds of 22-28 knots and big seas – hard work up wind but great surfing downwind.

Only two races were sailed with the third being canned when in the starting sequence, I think many were quite glad to be going back to the marina.

Dave Suda, ‘The Black Prince of Sandringham’ showed his mettle again today with two wins from Simon Grain and Steve Girdis in a tie for second in the first race and from Simon Grain and then Steve Girdis in the second race. Brendan Lee was 4th in both races. Brendan and Dave were both very fast upwind today with Jet picking up the places downwind.

‘Mr J24′ Hugo Ottaway in Bruschetta VI, Robyn Coombs in Hyperactive, Ron Thomson the new National President in Kicking and Dave McKay in Stockcar are the bunch fighting out the placings from 5th to 8th, all pretty close on points and it’s anyone’s final placing in this group.

Of particular note is John Neville in Vice Versa currently lying in 9th and sailing very well, consistent placings have given John his best Nationals position so far – well done John.

Up to yesterday the Thommo Cup was alive and well with equal numbers of wins to both Janette and Ron, but today’s stronger conditions have seen Ron take two wins off Janette, tomorrow’s forecast lighter conditions may suite Janette more. This is the first Nationals the two have battled it out in their own boats, so tomorrow will be an eagerly anticipated climax to this battle.

There are the usual hard luck stories on windy days and Peter Lee’s day came to an abrupt end with the kite and Fitzy’s head being trashed. Fitzy is getting stitches in the Sandy Hospital but is basically ok it appears – hard head !

There are a few skippers licking their unexpected placings at the back end of the fleet. Just remember guys you are in a classy even if smaller fleet than we would like and the boats further up the food chain are not going to give anything away. It’s tough and getting tougher.

A belated welcome to Zibo Madej from CYCSA in Adelaide with a crew of Chinese from Shanghai, not everyone speaks English on the boat, so it is a vertical learning curve for the crew and in today’s conditions it must have been hard work. Well done Zibo and thanks for coming to the regatta, with more practice and time I hope we will see you again and further up the fleet.

The handicap placings are very similar with Dave Suda leading from Simon Grain, Steve Girdis, Brendan Lee and Hugo Ottaway.

J/24s sailing in big waves off AustraliaDAY FOUR- THE FINALE
The Black Prince of Sandringham has been returned to his throne.

The final day was a series of ups and downs. Steve Girdis sailing Convicts Revenge came up from 3rd to claim second and Jet went down to 3rd. With the first race sailed in lighter airs Jet had the edge on speed and moved closer to the top with another win, Dave was getting worried, but as Brendan reminds us all that Simon hadn’t had his bad race yet and he did in the 3rd race of the day – our new drop!

With the breeze building throughout the day Pacemaker reeled off a string of firsts and Convicts a string of seconds – game over.

Brendan and Hugo came in with consistent 3rds and 4ths to cement their overall 4th and 5th positions.
Kirsty steering Robyn Coombs’ Hyperactive took out 6th even with an apparently spectacular Chinese on one of the runs. Ron Thomson won the Thommo Cup but Janette did a great job sailing in the rough conditions to record a very consistent result mid fleet.

The Handicap result mirrored the One Design except that Hugo took out 3rd overall from Jet in 4th.

The committee and club excelled at a memorable presentation dinner, with the usual ‘short Scottish’ speech from President Doug MacGregor and MC for the raffle and other comments from the classes funniest resident wit John Neville. The Victorian committee did a great job with the whole organisation of the regatta, it’s a huge job and the team brought it together very well, the club’s race management volunteers lead by Graeme Watt and Craig Wiley also excelled on and off the track, a big thank you on behalf of all the competitors.

Thanks also to our long time sponsor MonJohn Security for once again supporting the regatta, also to John Neville’s Data Agility and Iguana Design for contributing to the success of the event. Remember if you have a need for security, IT and graphic design, please support our sponsors where you can.

Luis Ferreiro’s on water photography is superb. Alan Cousins drove the boat all week and got Luis close to the action.  In fact, I think Luis had such an enormous lens I believe he had to back away at times.  Luis has captured the action, the excitement, the struggle and the color of each day in stunning clarity and focus. The shots are brilliant!  Go now to http://www.sportsnap.com.au and find your boat and marvel at the images. Guys and girls I also urge you to consider purchasing a shot or two to help make Luis’ week long effort worth his while – when you see the images you will know we want him back next time!  For more Australian J/24 Nationals sailing information

Swedes Win YC Monaco Sportsboat Winter Series III

J/70s sailing off Monte Carlo, Monaco (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- Conditions could not have been better for Act III of the YC Monaco Winter Sportboat Series, with eight races completed over the three days.  The sailors from North Europe, including eight German, three Swedish and two Russian teams, enjoyed steady southwesterly breezes beneath sunny skies all weekend.

In total there were thirty-four boats jostling for position on the start, confirming Monaco’s reputation as the European winter regatta center for the J/70 class to prepare for the upcoming season’s big meetings.

Sweden’s Oscar Lundqvist and crew sailed FANNY super-fast and won the weekend, eight points in front of the Englishman Charlie Esse on BABY J, who came back with a vengeance on the Sunday.  Taking third overall was the German sailor Claas Lehmann on TRES MARKELLER, who did not win a race but was consistently at the front of the fleet throughout the weekend.

Congratulations for a fine performance by YCM member Stefano Roberti on PICCININA, who managed the most race wins during the weekend, proving that the 18-strong Monegasque fleet is improving all the time.

The next event for the J/70 class in Monaco- the Mediterranean classic, the Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse held from Friday, February 12th to Sunday 14th February- Valentine’s Day weekend.

Thereafter, the winter series continues with Act IV from March 4-6 and Act V from March 18-20.   For more YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

J/122 JACKPOT Wins Pittwater-Coffs Harbour Race

J/122 Jackpot sailing off Sydney, Australia (Sydney, Australia)- Adrian van Bellen and crew, sailing the beautiful J/122 JACKPOT, sailed a brilliant race to win IRC 2 and ORCi in the 35th Pittwater to Coffs Harbour race, hosted by Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club, Newport.  In fact, on IRC Overall they took second the Maxi 80 footer BEAU GESTE!

After a light nor’easter start at the mouth of Pittwater, the highly competitive 40-boat fleet headed north as the breeze turned southeast at Sydney Heads, for the run up the coast.  As with most offshore racing, the 226-mile ‘Coffs Race’ is full of challenges, but the winds were favorable for the fleet, finishing in a 10-15 kt southeasterly breeze.

“It’s unbelievable, the conditions were perfect for us,” said van Bellen, who is a first time Coffs race owner/skipper. “I cannot speak highly enough of the crew; the credit should go to them. They are an inspiration to me.”

Although relatively late-comers to sailing, it has been a steep learning curve for Adrian and Maree, who have enjoyed some great results locally in Sydney racing in their J/122.  Achieving a 1st in their first major offshore race is a credit to them, the crew, and of course the J/122 JACKPOT.

Also a big well done to Ralph, Jenny and crew, sailing J/109 SWEET CHARIOT.  They thoroughly enjoyed their first foray in distance sailing their J/109, finishing 6th in IRC2.

Experience The Miami Boat Show!

J/122E sport cruiser sailing off Newport
(Miami, FL)- Next week, the “new” Miami Boat Show will be taking place from February 11th to 15th with the sailboats located at Miamarina along the waterfront park.

J/70 Versadock Drysail systemOn display will be the J/70 one-design speedster floating on the very cool “Versadock Drysail” system. J/70 owners can enjoy the pleasure of sailing within minutes, while at the same time storing their boat 100% out of the water.  The DrySail system won the "Equipment Innovation of the Year” from Yachts & Yachting Awards in 2014. It’s the perfect evolution in docking for lifting-keel sportboats like the J/70- learn more about it’s amazing benefits at the show!

In addition, the new J/88 Oceanvolt will be participating in the “Discover Sailing” program being run by the Miami Boat Show.  Hop aboard and experience the pure joy of “silent running” with all-electric power!

Also, on display will be the gorgeous new J/122E sporting jazzy red designer accents and the spectacular open, airy, modern Scandinavian interior design.  It is a sailing yacht that is truly a “wolf in sheep’s clothing”- her sisterships have won just about every major offshore race around the world.   For more Miami Boat Show information

Monday, February 1, 2016

J’s Sweep Epic Key West

J/88s sailing Key West Spirited One-Design Racing in J/70s, J/88s, J/111s (Key West, FL)- Storm Trysail Club’s first year at hosting the famous Quantum Key West Race Week was certainly a trial by fire.  With an army of hard-working volunteers, plus the capable leadership of John Fisher and Bill Canfield, and the support of Quantum Sails Group, the STC team was able knock out nine-plus races for virtually every fleet in what proved to be remarkably difficult sailing conditions over the five days.  In fact, the sailing was epic all week, with enough wind to force a cancellation of all racing on Tuesday due to a gorgeous sunny day with steady 35 kts registered at Sand Key Light, and closing out the week with even more fresh-to-frightening sailing conditions on Friday with winds in the 20-35 kts range.

Amongst the J/Teams, there were some extraordinary performances in the one-design classes.  In the J/111s, Peter Wagner’s crew from San Francisco, CA sailed SKELETON KEY to an emphatic victory and was crowned J/111 Midwinter Champion, surprising even themselves since it was their first time racing Key West.  In the J/70s, Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK did what many thought was impossible, by winning the massive, highly competitive class for the second year in a row.  Then, also sailing their first Key West as a team, Mike Bruno’s J/88 WINGS won their class in a rough & tumble duel for the top three slots to take the inaugural J/88 Midwinter Championship.

In the handicap world, it was tough sledding for the J/125 DOUBLE TROUBLE sailed by Peter Krueger’s team from San Francisco, but they managed a third in IRC 2 class.  Over in ORC 1 class, the dueling J/122s fought it out to the finish, but Robin Team’s TEAMWORK pulled off an amazing “four-peat”, to win for the fourth time at Key West!  Then, wonder of wonders, the J/80 family one-design racer turned offshore handicap crusher, saw Henry DeGroot’s WIRED sail to a 10 point victory over an ORC2 class that included extreme sportboats like the GP 26s and Farr 280s.  Here is how it all went down over the course of the five days.

J/111 Skeleton Key sailing Key WestDAY ONE
The regatta got off to a rousing start on the “City of Key West Day” with strong winds welcoming the 133 boats in 12 classes and organizers getting in three races on all three divisions.

While the tourists enjoyed Martin Luther King Holiday by strolling Duval Street, sailors from 16 countries took to the waters off the southernmost point of the United States and found ideal conditions- northeast winds that exceeded 20 knots for Race 1 and diminished slightly for the subsequent starts when the sun broke through and brought out the azure seas so famous in Key West.

It was a bumpy day on the water with three to four foot waves rolling through the course areas, giving a challenge for all teams.

Peter Wagner, a first-time skipper in Key West made an impressive debut, winning all three races in J/111 class - earning the “City of Key West Boat of the Day” honors aboard SKELETON KEY. Wagner (Atherton, CA) is a San Francisco Bay sailor and is accustomed to the big breeze.

"That's our home turf so these are conditions we are certainly very familiar with. That said, this venue is very different from San Fran," said Wagner, who had another Bay area sailor - Seadon Wisjen - aboard as tactician.

Wagner took delivery of his boat last May and this is only the fifth regatta for his team. He called Key West Race Week a "legendary regatta" and admitted he's been remiss in not previously attending.

"We got off the line clean and stayed in phase. We didn't try to make it too complicated," Wagner said. "We're not going to get too excited about one day. It's a long regatta and I'm sure the other boats will have their moments."

J/70 Calvi Network sailing off Key WestIn the J/70 class, Carlo Alberini (Pesaro, Italy) and the CALVI NETWORK crew picked up where they left off last year- posting a pair of bullets and taking third in the other race. CALVI NETWORK captured class honors at Quantum Key West 2015 and earned Boat of the Week honors as a result.

Tim Healy and his team on HELLY HANSEN got the gun in Race 3 to move into second place, five points astern of CALVI NETWORK and just one ahead of FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO (Julian Fernandez Neckelman, Mexico City). It is no surprise to see those three boats atop the leader board since they finished 1-2-3 at the J/70 World Championship.

"It was a great day on the water. I'm glad we got three races in... real happy the race committee decided to do that," said Healy, whose team overcame a broken spinnaker halyard. "It was breezy and a real bumpy - a lot more than I remember. We're pleased with how we did on the first day."

And the Corinthian Boat of the Day winner was Luis Bugallo's J/70 MARNATURA from Vigo, Spain, on the strength of earning a 13-12-13 scorecard in the 54-boat class.

J/122 Teamwork sailing off Key WestSome of the closest racing of the day came in the two ORC classes competing on Division 3. TEAMWORK and ORION, a pair of J/122's, chased each other around the course all day and wound up separated by just one point. Skipper Robin Team steered TEAMWORK to results of 1-2-1 while counterpart Paul Milo (Leesburg, VA) led ORIO to a 2-1-2 score line.

"Just as expected, we really mixed it up with the Orion boys," said Team, who hails from Lexington, NC. "We had a real nice tacking duel on the last upwind leg of the third race."

Heavy air favored the J/122s as most of the other designs in the class (Evelyn 32, B-32, Tartan 101) were lighter. "Both our boat and crew love big breeze," Team said.

The ORC system also seemed to be working well among the sportboats in ORC 2, where Henry DeGroot's venerable J/80 WIRED was racing against a fleet of new sportboats and managed to take second for the day!

Mike Bruno on WINGS got the gun in Race 3 after placing second in Race 2 and led the eight-boat J/88 class by three points.

Tuesday’s forecast for big breeze of 25+ knots held true, with the fleet enduring a 2 hour postponement and races canceled for the day by 1130 hours.  Despite the spectacular, sunny weather, it was truly howling offshore, with the proverbial dogs getting blown off chains in 35+ kt winds along the beaches.

DAY THREE
Wednesday started well. During his morning weather briefing, Ed Baird alerted the assembled sailors about the importance of Wednesday’s racing.

“More than likely, there’s going to be three races today. That means the regatta is going to be more than halfway complete by the time you come off the water,” Baird said. “Like I tell my kids with their junior regattas, this is moving day. This is when all the action happens. Some boats are going to fall off the cliff while others are going to climb up the standings.”

Baird’s words proved prophetic and many teams did indeed make a major move on Mount Gay Rum Day as multiple races were contested in perfect 15-18 knot northeasterly winds that held steady enough to provide the closest race action of the week.

J/80 Wired sailing Key WestWIRED, a J/80 owned by Henry DeGroot of Newton, MA, was the slowest-rated boat in an ORC 2 class comprised primarily of sport boats (three Farr 280s, three GP 26s). However, DeGroot and his team sailed quite well so far, winning three races and placing second in three others.

“I’ll admit it’s very helpful to have a favorable rating, but we are trying to sail the boat as well as it can possibly sailed and I think we are doing that,” said DeGroot, who holds a seven point lead over the GP 26 Rattle N Rum (Mike Beasley, Annapolis, MD. “Our best finishes have been due to good starts. After the first couple legs, the other boats get away from us and it basically becomes a race against the clock. This is my third straight Key West with this team and we work very well together. We pretty much had an error-free day.”

Skipper Peter Wagner and the SKELETON KEY team further stretched out the lead in J/111 class. Two bullets on Wednesday gave the San Francisco Bay area boat a total of five for the regatta and a comfortable 11-point lead over SPACEMAN SPIFF.

J/111 Spaceman Spiff sailing Key West“The Skeleton Key guys start well and are very consistent. They’re also darn fast,” said Rob Ruhlman (Cleveland, OH), skipper of SPACEMAN SPIFF. “If we’re going to do something we need to do it tomorrow.”

In an attempt to get the best bang for the buck value in races, Division 2 P.R.O. Dave Brennan actually completed four races today, which was enough to trigger a discard in the scorelines for the J/70 classes.

Italian skipper Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK posted scores of 2-3-1-3 on to maintain the lead in the J/70’s, the largest fleet in the regatta with 54 boats. Branko Brcin is calling tactics for the defending regatta champion, which now has a low score of eight points and leads the reigning J/70 World Champ FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO (Julian Fernandez Neckelmann, Mexico City) by three points. RELATIVE OBSCURITY (Peter Duncan, Rye, NY) and HELLY HANSEN (Tim Healy, Newport, RI) are still in the mix with 14 and 19 points, respectively.

“There are a lot of very good boats and very talented sailors in this field. We prefer strong wind so we are enjoying the racing here this year,” Alberini said. “The game is far from finished. Tomorrow is a new day and we must keep our focus.”

The ORC 1 class is close; where J/122 sister ships ORION (Paul Milo, Leesburg, VA) and TEAMWORK (Robin Team, Lexington, NC) are battling every race and are only two points apart.

Skipper Mike Bruno (Armonk, NY) and the crew of WINGS stayed on top of the J/88 class by closing with consecutive second place finishes on Wednesday. Rob Fear is tactician on WINGS, which leads Deviation by three points.

“It has been really close sailing. Wings sails very consistently and very fast, which keeps us on our toes,” said DEVIATION skipper Iris Vogel (New Rochelle, NY), who sandwiched a pair of bullets around a seventh on Wednesday. “We had one bad race today and we cannot afford to do that. We need to be more consistent.”

DAY FOUR
It was coming down to the wire for several classes. Three more races on all three courses were sailed on Thursday in solid 10-14 knot winds that started out of the northeast and slowly clocked around to the east, all per prediction.

The 10 classes on Divisions 1, 2 and 3 had completed nine races. Division 1 and Division 3 courses intended to hold one start on Friday to finish a 10-race series. Division 2 managers had the option of running two races for the J/70 classes.

J/70s sailing off Key WestHELLY HANSEN skipper Tim Healy was hoping for two races on Friday since he stood second in J/70 class, 10 points behind CALVI NETWORK. That was not insurmountable in a 54-boat fleet, although skipper Carlo Alberini and his crew had not finished worse than sixth so far.

"Those guys are going really well so they would have to make a mistake," Healy said. "In a fleet this size, anything can happen. We were over early in the last race last year and lost the series, so you never know."  The J/70 fleet attracts serious talent; for example Brian Keane's SAVASANA has among its crew World Match Racing Champion Taylor Canfield from St Thomas, US Virgin Islands.  With that kind of talent in the top ten, anything can happen.

Healy and his HELLY HANSEN team found another gear on Thursday, winning two of three races with a runner-up result in the other. "We changed some things with our tuning and rig to account for the short chop and it really helped. The boat felt really good today and we were going well as far as boat speed," he said."

TEAMWORK and ORION, a pair of J/122's, had been battling all week and were just three points apart going into the 10th and final race. Skipper Robin Team (Lexington, NC) steered TEAMWORK to victory in six races, placing second in the other three. Skipper Paul Milo (Leesburg, VA) and ORION won the three races TEAMWORK did not and finished second in all the others.

"It's been a dogfight just like we expected. Every tack, every gybe, every mark rounding - we are within feet of Orion," said Team, a multi-time class winner in Key West. "We've gotten to know the guys on Orion and they're an awesome group to sail against."

Team credited his foredeck crew comprised of son Coleman and Matt Welborn for the two wins on Thursday. "We're making our gains on the downwind legs. We just seem to be able to carry the kite deeper into the leeward mark," he said.

Milo admitted it would be tough to make up three points in one race, although Teamwork could have some sort of breakdown. "That's an incredibly well-sailed boat and the fact we're chasing them around the course, and sometimes the other way around, is very encouraging. We've had a lot of fun competing against Teamwork this week," he said.

J/88 Wings- winner of Key West J/88 MidwintersSkipper Mike Bruno (Armonk, NY) and his crew on WINGS held a four-point lead over skipper Iris Vogel and the DEVIATION team in J/88 class, so it would come down to tomorrow's result to determine a winner.

Meanwhile, WIRED increased its lead in ORC 2 class with skipper Henry DeGroot steering the J/80 to a 3-2-1 score line. WIRED now had 15 points, six better than the GP 26 Rattle N Rum (Mike Beasley, Annapolis, MD), so it was not not over yet in that class either.

In the J/111 class, skipper Peter Wagner (Atherton, CA) had sailed SKELETON KEY to an insurmountable 14.5 point lead over SPACEMAN SPIFF (Rob Ruhlman, Cleveland, OH).

DAY FIVE
Lightning, thunder and torrential rain opened the final day, with organizers debating if the conditions were safe to proceed with two races to finish the J/70’s in Division 2 and one for all other classes.

With several titles at stake, but bad weather threatening, this was not an easy call. Forecaster George Carras from Commander’s Weather described the moist tropical conditions in the atmosphere as “juicy and unstable,” with a chance for more thunderstorm cells, but with nothing on the radar the fleet headed out for one more day of battle.

When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PRO’s pulled the plug for these classes for the day.  But racing proceeded on the Division 2 and 3 areas where the ebb tide was not as strong and produced nothing more serious than some OCS calls for some teams.

“It was wild out there. For the last couple of legs, the wind was over 30 knots and the waves were real big. We hit 16 knots surfing downwind with the kite,” said Robin Team, skipper of the ORC 1 class champion TEAMWORK. A win in this final race gave the North Carolina boat a total of seven bullets for the week with a low score of 13 points, five better than fellow J/122 ORION (Paul Milo, Leesburg, VA).

“It was a great week with incredible conditions and we’re thrilled with the result,” said Team, who has now captured class honors at Key West Race Week four times. “Our entire crew worked really well all week. Jonathan is a master tactician and consistently put us in the right position.”

Elsewhere on Division 3, skipper Henry DeGroot and his crew on WIRED completed an impressive victory in ORC 2 class by winning Race 10. Simona Pasqua served as tactician on WIRED, which won five races and finished second in four others in totaling 16 points

“We are surprised and delighted. We have to thank the people who put together ORC for the great number they gave us. We were very happy with how our rating worked out,” said DeGroot, a resident of Newton, MA. “This is our third straight Key West with the same crew. It’s always a fantastic regatta and we love coming here, but winning certainly puts a golden tinge on things.”

Four of the ORC 2 entries elected not to compete on Friday and DeGroot admitted his crew had never raced in such severe conditions. “Today was about surviving. There were a lot of gear breakages and other issues on our course and we just had to find a way to get the boat across the finish line,” he said.

Mike Bruno and the WINGS team led at the end of each day’s racing en route to topping the J/88 class. Bruno, from Armonk, NY, won Race 3 then finished second in five of the last six starts. This was Bruno’s first trip to Key West as skipper of his own boat. It was only his fourth event since taking delivery of the J/88.  “This is one of the world’s great regattas so I’m pretty excited,” Bruno said. “We had real good boat speed and I think the key was we were real consistent.”

J/88 Deviation- skipper Iris Vogel sailing in Key WestBehind Bruno’s WINGS team was Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION, she took the silver on a tie-breaker on 33 pts over Tod Patton/ Jeff Johnstone’s BLONDIE 2.  Rob Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Canada was just one point back in 4th place with 34 pts, finally having gotten his mojo going winning three of the last six races.  Fifth was Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH.    The BLONDIE 2 dry-sailed at Truman Annex all week using a simple single-point lift system.  “It was easier than launching a J/24 at Sail Newport,” said co-owner Jeff Johnstone.  “We’d wanted to have the boat plugged in overnight to charge the engine batteries (BLONDIE2 has the new Oceanvolt electric propulsion system) and dockspace was already booked in town, so Herb Reese and Coffin Marine got us set-up for the week.”
Skipper Carlo Alberini and the crew of CALVI NETWORK also led from start to finish in capturing the J/70 overall class win for the second straight year in Key West.  Branko Brcin called tactics for Alberini, who got the gun in five races and finished second or third in four others to finish with an impressive 15 points.

J/70 Calvi Network wins Key West“I come back every year to Key West because the regatta is so good – always great wind and excellent race management,” said Alberini, who previously raced a Farr 40 and Melges 32 here. “I have no words to describe how happy I am. This is just fantastic.”

Alberini (Pesaro, Italy) praised the performance of his crew, which also included Sergio Blosi (jib trimmer) and Karlo Hmeljak (main trimmer); “My crew is amazing. I am so lucky to have three very talented sailors. Sailing is a team sport and the best helmsman in the world cannot without a strong crew,” said Alberini, who earned the Quantum Sails Boat of the Day honor today.   Skipper Peter Duncan (Rye, NY) and the RELATIVE OBSCURITY team were runner-up in J/70 class with 27 points, four ahead of Tim Healy (Newport, RI) and the HELLY HANSEN crew. The balance of the top five included Fernandez’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO in 4th place (with World Champion Bill Hardesty as tactician) 36 pts back and in 5th position was Flip Wehrheim who sailed John Brim’s RIMETTE with USA Match Race Womens’ Champion Steph Roble as tactician.

J/70 Marnatura- Corinthians winners at Key WestSkipper Luis Bugallo and the Spanish sailors on MARNATURA were the top Corinthian entry, finishing seventh. His crew included Fernando Campos Marquez (spinnaker trimmer), Enrique Freire Faria (jib trimmer), Jose Luis Freire (tactician) and Gerardo Prego Menor (bow) crewed aboard MARNATURA, which earned the Quantum Corinthian Boat of the Week award.  Second in Corinthians was Rob Britt’s HOT MESS from Tampa, FL and third was Tim Molony’s JOUST from Annapolis, MD.

J/111 Skeleton Key wins Key WestPeter Wagner and the SKELETON KEY crew made a successful debut at Quantum Key West, winning the J/111 class in dominant fashion. SKELETON KEY, which does most of its racing on San Francisco Bay, also reveled in the big breeze while notching seven bullets and a pair of seconds.

“I really enjoyed my first Key West. We had great conditions and it was a really well-run event. The race committee did a fantastic job,” said Wagner, who hails from Atherton, CA. “We’re just really fortunate that we managed to sail consistently and we had a lot of fun doing it. We got off the line well and Seadon did a great job of managing things tactically on the course. We had really solid boat speed throughout.”
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