Wednesday, February 22, 2017

USF Wins Southern Collegiate Offshore Regatta

J/105 Univ South Florida Southern College big Boat winners (Charleston, SC)- Nine universities from across the U.S. competed in the Southern Collegiate Offshore Regatta, held February 11-12 in Charleston, SC. Held in keelboats using PHRF, the 7-race series was won by University of South Florida. The competition was staged in a fleet of donated boats randomly assigned to the nine teams with racing inside Charleston Harbor on medium-distance courses.

The University of South Florida team won on the J/105 JOYRIDE with an amazing record of 5-1-2-1-4-1-2 for just 16 pts total.  Not far off the pace in third place were the College of Charleston racing the J/120 ILLYRIA with an extremely consistent scoreline of 3-2-3-2-2-2 for 24 pts total, losing a tie-breaker for the silver based on 1st’s against another team. Securing 5th position on the J/105 SKIMMER was the Vanderbilt University team with a total of 43 pts. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

RORC Caribbean 600 Race Preview

RORC 600 course (English Harbour, Antigua)- The RORC Caribbean 600 has quickly become an important event in ocean racing circles in the course of its short history and a 'must do' race on the calendar of those who take their ocean racing seriously. The RORC Caribbean 600 circumnavigates 11 of the Leeward Islands, starting and finishing in Antigua, going as far north as St. Maarten and as far south as Guadeloupe. The race has grown steadily in its nine-year history and the 2017 edition is due to have a new record entry of over 70 boats.

J/122 El Ocaso sailing CaribbeanCommodore of RORC, Michael Boyd is delighted at the rapid development of the RORC Caribbean 600, “this is the tenth anniversary of the RORC Caribbean 600 and with Rolex's support we fully expect to see up to 100 boats competing. This event is quickly becoming a priority on the international racing circuit and we look forward to its continued success for many years to come.”

The 9th edition of the race starts in Antigua on 20th February 2017 at 1100.  Vying for class honors will be a number of veteran offshore J/Crews from both Europe and the Americas. In Class 1 will be David Ballantyne’s J/133 WINGS from the United Kingdom.  Then, in the large 27-boat Division C will be Robert Hiller’s J/122 EL OCASO from the USA, Henry Van Melle’s J/46 JENT from the Netherlands, Kevin McLaughlin’s J/44 SPICE from the USA and Andy Middleton’s J/120 SUNSET.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/  For more RORC Caribbean 600 Race sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Ingham Crowned J/24 Midwinter Champion

J24 Midwinter Champions (Indian Harbour Beach, FL)- Just a few days after being named US Sailing’s 2016 National Coach of the Year, Mike Ingham earned his first J/24 Midwinter Championship, helming TARHEEL. The Rochester, NY-based skipper accumulated just 23 points over eight races at Eau Gallie Yacht Club in Indian Harbour Beach, FL to dominate the 31-boat fleet. Here is how it all went down just south of “moon shot” town- NASA’s Cape Canaveral.

On the first day of racing, the sailors enjoyed clear blue skies with breeze and between 10-15 knots of breeze over four races. Keeping all his scores in the top six (6,5,2,4) put Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team at the top of fleet. Mike Ingham’s Tarheel won two races, but added a 16 to give him 21 overall points for second place. Will Welles’ Bogus was two notches farther back in third.

Ingham opened the day with his first victory, ahead of Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger and Daniel Borrer’s Jesus Lizard. Odenbach snared the next win, with Welles and Ingham completing the top trio. White and Todd Fedyszyn’s Spoony Tactics watched Welles cross the finish line first in race three, before Ingham succeeded in the day’s final battle (followed by John Poulson’s Long Shot and Andrew Carey’s Mr. Hankey).

J/24 sailing MidwintersOn the second day, another four races were completed Saturday. With eight races now in the books, Mike Ingham’s Tarheel and Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger were tied on points at 23 going into the final day of racing on Sunday. Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team sat in third place with 29 points.

In winds between 6-8 knots following a brief onshore postponement, John Poulson’s Long Shot began the day with his first of two bullets, trailed by Ingham and White. John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen earned line honors in race 6, as Ingham took another second and Even Petley-Jones’ Lifted placed third. With a victory in the next battle, Odenbach made a move up the leaderboard (Aidan Glackin’s Mental Floss and Mollicone rounded out the top group) before Poulson ended the day the way he started it (Will Welles’ Bogus and White followed).

J/24 crew sailing MidwintersThe third day dawned with a virtual mill pond, a condition sailors often describe as a “glass-out”- flat water and the sky being reflected on the surface.  With no promise of wind in sight, despite everyone’s best efforts, all races were cancelled on Sunday due to the lack of breeze.  As a result, Ingham was declared the 2017 J/24 Midwinter Champion. Travis Odenbach’s Honeybadger was initially tied on points with Ingham after Saturday’s races, but a scoring penalty was later posted, leaving Odenbach with 29 points and second place, which is where he ended up after no races were completed Sunday due to lack of breeze. Both John Mollicone’s Helly Hansen and Carter White’s Sea Bags Sailing Team also tallied 29 points, with Mollicone clearing the tie-breaker for third place. Will Welles’ Bogus captured the fifth position with 41 points. “It was really hard to be consistent,” shared Ingham. “It was too shifty. If you got out of phase, it was really hard to get back.”

Sailing with Tucker Gilliam (bow), Scott Smith (mast), Scott Griffin (tactics) and Paul Abdullah (trimmer), Ingham now proudly holds The Lambert Lai Trophy, named in honor of the previous USJCA President who passed away in 2014 and also raced in the Rochester, NY fleet. Team Tarheel was previously led by Peter Bream, who died last October. Ingham has sailed the boat for the last two regattas. “The fun thing about this is it’s the Tarheel team, which was really Peter getting these guys sailing when they were younger,” explained Ingham. “I had this feeling that I needed to do him proud. And I don’t mean winning. I mean just being a sportsman because that’s the way he was.”  For more J/24 Midwinters sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Why J/105s Are San Francisco's Favorite Sailboat?

J/105s in Latitude 38(San Francisco, CA)- An Enduring Favorite on San Francisco Bay: the J/105.  The Biggest Fleet on the Bay: J/105 Fleet 1 San Francisco.  An Enduring Model for J/Boats: Fleet 1 and the J/105.  Learn more from this article written by Martha Blanchfield,, as appeared in the February Latitude 38.

Within the U.S., the J/105 remains one of the most successful one-design keelboat classes in the over 30-foot range, with major fleets located in Chicago, Annapolis, San Diego, Houston, Marblehead, Cleveland, Seattle and San Francisco. There are two international fleets: J/105 Canada class in Toronto, ONT, and the J/105 Chile Class. Shares J/Newsletter publisher, Stuart Johnstone, "J/Boats also ‘technically’ has fleets on the Solent in the U.K. and the Netherlands, but rarely more than five to six boats show up for events.”

San Francisco J/105 Fleet 1 lists 73 member boats, which makes it the largest and likely most active, one-design on the Bay. What’s the recipe for success? Much of it starts with an invention in 1991.

J/105 sailing San Francisco BayA Design For Success
In the late 1980’s/early 90s, having routinely participated in the Ultimate Yacht Race series for Ultimate 30s and One-Design 14s, Rhode Island brothers Stuart and Peter Johnstone got an idea to create a keelboat that relied on the same simple sprit + asym combo of these two boats. Not an outlandish notion—being members of the J/Boats legacy known for their top selling models J/24 (introduced in 1977) and J/22 (introduced in 1983).

In 1990, the duo was discussing the idea of an asymmetric spinnaker keelboat design with their 63-year-old father. Shares Johnstone, "Fast is fun when it's easy! So, our next design was either going to be a 23-foot J/70 or the 34.5 foot J/105. My Dad (Bob) won that debate since he wanted to sail in comfort both offshore and around the buoys. Uncle Rod (Rodney Johnstone- the designer) initiated the design on the J/105 (LOA 34.50 foot) in 1990 and launched it in 1991.” An interesting tidbit— the J/105 design was also based on input from the late Sir Peter Blake. Adds Johnstone, “We were engaged in working on a J/65 offshore racer for the Whitbread Race (Volvo Ocean Race). Every time we ran the J/65 design through Peter's global weather model it got faster. In other words, the design got beamier and flatter aft.” Requirements for that J/65’s offshore, fast-reaching machine ended up shaping parameters for the J/105, as well as an eventual J/65 offshore cruiser, a limited production custom build model.

J/105s starting on San Francisco BayTwenty-five years later and the J/105 remains incredibly popular, surpassed in annual sales only within the last three years (35 to 37 foot marketplace) by the J/111 model. Globally, more than 680 J/105 boats can be counted. What started off as a vision to be a fun offshore PHRF boat easily handled by five or six crew, has become a one-design class with longevity. Johnstone says, “We see strong on-going demand for its purchase as a used boat, and the investment is not only affordable, but preserves its value. In Europe, it has become a de facto single or double-handed boat in IRC/ORC events in the RORC and European offshore circuit. The J/105 has won the Fastnet Race in the 2H class three times, plus several RORC Channel races. Crews have campaigned J/105s to wins in the Transpac Race in the double-handed, as well as full crew, divisions on more than one occasion. And, today, a huge 105 fleet has developed down in Chile, with fleets in Algarrobo and Puerto Montt- fleet popularity continues to grow down there since they modified the rules to be family-friendly; a mandatory steering wheel (so kids can drive) and unlimited crew (within the weight limit, so lots of kids can sail)- a brilliant idea the American fleet should adopt!”

J/105 sailing past Rolex markLore and Legacy of a First: Fleet 1
Fleet 1 was formed in 1994 by Don Trask, the J/Boats dealer in Alameda, plus Art Ball and Chris Corlett who sold and promoted the boat. Today, the group is very active in local racing, and major regattas can draw 25 or more boats to the start line. Crews race year round with tier A and B events. A events require the boat must be weighed by the fleet measurer. A events stipulate a total crew weight limit of 1,044 pounds, and there is a new sail limit of no more than two or three per year, alternating. Additionally, the skipper must be an owner (with some rare exceptions). The class permits only Category 1 sailors (non-professionals), although a full owner may be Category 3 sailor (professional). B events are not governed by requirements of A.

One veteran skipper/owner is Theresa Brandner, owner of Walloping Swede. A dedicated A series racer, Brandner has competed right up to 8.5 months into a pregnancy. And once her daughter was born, she joined after only two months. Tucked safely below within line of sight, she always responded with a squeal of happiness when mom talked to her from the above cockpit during the time that the boat was being delivered to and from the races. Another fun fact about Brandner: a vendor is marketing her t-shirt design that says “I used to chase the boys, now I pass them,” accompanied by the Lima, AKA “Follow me,” flag.

This group has personality. Names such as Natural Blonde, Hazardous Waste and We Be Jammin' can be seen. One competitor reveals there’s a skipper who knows, and apparently sings, every word of T-Pain’s “I’m on a boat.”

Brandner adds, “During the dotcom boom everyone wanted a J/105, including people who hadn't really raced before. We saw more than 33 boats on the start, so chaos was expected. There were a lot of collisions, protests, drama, and the fleet developed a very bad reputation.” Around 2004 an annual mandatory rules/tactics seminar, with a penalty on an owner’s season score if the boat did not show up, was established. “That helped. Collisions and protests are far more scarce now.”

J/105 sailing down San Francisco BayGunning It at ROLEX Big Boats
Bowman Tone Chin is a regular Fleet 1 racer. Just before the 2016 ROLEX Big Boats Series in San Francisco he quietly asserted- watch Godot! We’ve got a shot at winning it.” Chin, one of three recent crew pick-ups last season, was all grins at the St. Francis Yacht Club day three of competition. After a rough start (15–3–7 finishes in a division with 26 boats), the crew pulled together on the remaining race days to strike a 1-1-1-2 tally.  As a result, they just edged past Blackhawk for the Rolex win. Owner and skipper Phillip Laby wrapped the season with not only a 2016 Big Boats success, but also recognition for being overall best of the fleet for the year.

Laby, a Southern California native who grew up racing Lasers and similar small boats, has been active in Fleet 1 competition for several years.  Following a move to San Francisco Bay Area in 2006, plus a 20-year sailing hiatus, he re-engaged with the sport, spending time with various local fleets. “I came to favor being aboard the J/105,” he exclaims. “The San Francisco Fleet 1 is large and competitive—both attractions for me.” Within a year he and boat partners Rich and Mary Pipkins had acquired hull 375- Racer X. Says Laby, “We had a lot to learn and climbed a steep curve. The first year saw too many shrimps, fouled maneuvers, third row starts and lots of upwind speed, but no point. In 2008 we finished 8th overall, the following year 7th, and broke the top five with a 5th in 2010.”

They raced together for approximately three years prior to an amicable parting in 2011 (the Pipkins now campaign Racer X in single-handed events) when Laby came upon hull number 44 Orion. When hunting to purchase, he opted for models built in the early nineties. “The newer boats came with more bells, whistles and inventories, but I sail with a minimum of instrumentation. The older boats were less expensive, and since I was moving from a partnership to a solo program I favored the cost savings.” Renaming the boat to Godot has a story, “I reference the 1950’s play “Waiting for Godot” by Samuel Beckett, in which the main characters wait endlessly for the arrival of the infamous Godot. In the meantime, the audience experiences the characters’ friendships and how their shared vision binds them together. Pursuing a vision connects us to our passions and those with shared interests. Naming my boat Godot helps remind me it’s all about the journey.”

He immediately set to building a team. “There is plenty of talent in the Bay Area, but once a crew is assembled systems need to be worked out. A primary challenge was learning what to focus on and when to trust. This became easier as my roster filled with more skilled crew.” Second, Laby had to figure out how the boat responds. “Knowing when to press on the gas, or pull-in the sails is critical. Being in sync with the crew and knowing how quickly each can respond has a big impact on execution--especially critical at the starts, but also at any crossing or rounding. In the beginning I used to count and time much more than I do now; today it’s more instinctual,” he smiles.

On San Francisco Bay learning is that much more challenging for each execution. Not as familiar with the local conditions as his peers, he used to follow the leaders. “I had no idea where I should be going! Sometimes they lead us to success, other times not so much. The last couple of years I have gained confidence in my own knowledge. In 2016, I started discussing strategy with the crew. We now have the confidence to follow our convictions. And, as a result, we now tend to lead to the favored places, as opposed to follow; this has elevated our sailing to a new height.”

In 2014, ‘15 and ‘16 Godot earned a Fleet 1 ranking within the top three spots. A note about this skipper—he’s also the mainsheet trimmer—a rarity when racing in Fleet 1. In 2017, Godot will complete the full Fleet 1 schedule. Laby may also head to the 2017 J/105 North American Championship at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas, in October. Obviously, that would be a time and cost commitment--as a father and tech start-up executive, his schedule is already full. “All told, we’ll be on the water at least 30 days for competition, plus days for practice.”

Enduring Fleet and Design Success
Success of Fleet 1 is tied to popularity of the J/105, a boat that is called “ideal” for Bay conditions. She is able to withstand strong and unpredictable winds. She is quickly rigged and the asymmetric spinnaker on bowsprit streamlines operations. There’s ample cockpit space, plus a fair amount of room below. And, the J/105 has been deemed a great value. When it comes to racing, the playing field is fairly level for this class, as rules dictate an owner-driver rule, tight restrictions on Category 3 professionals and annual sail purchase restrictions that keep racing affordable and as Corinthian as one-design can be.

For J/Boats, the J/105 has been so successful that it ultimately influenced the design for all future models: successive boats always incorporate the sprit + asym configuration. Shares Johnstone, “As a matter of fact, J/Boats was the first company in the world to mass produce asymmetric spinnaker keelboats starting in 1991. The only precursors were primarily dinghies--International 14s (U.K.), International 12s (New Zealand) and Aussie 18s (Sydney, Australia). The Ultimate 30s were all custom boats with lightweight keels, but followed the same basic idea. The world followed J/Boats' innovation.”

For would-be J/105 crew candidates, there are ways to get the attention of owners. Laby suggests visiting the Crew List page on the fleet site, His bowman Chin maintains an active Facebook page where calls for crews and requests to crew are posted occasionally- Foredeck Union,

Saturday, February 18, 2017

HELLY HANSEN St Pete NOOD Regatta Preview

J70s rounding mark in St Petersburg NOOD (St Petersburg, FL)- The first of the many Sailing World NOOD Regattas will be starting this weekend in St Petersburg, FL, hosted by the St Petersburg YC.  A record fleet has turned out for the event, fueled in part by the huge J/70 class.  Racing will be taking place from Friday, February 17th to Sunday, February 19th on Tampa Bay.  The weather forecast looks promising, with light easterlies on Friday, followed by moderate norwesterlies on Saturday and more lightish southerlies on Sunday.

The event attracts a broad cross-section of sailors in both one-design fleets as well as PHRF fleets.  The event is dominated by J/crews from across America, with strong fleets in the J/24 and J/70 one-design classes, as well as a competitive contingent of J/88s, J/29s, and J/105 in the PHRF buoy racing classes.  In the PHRF random-leg classes that get to roam around Tampa Bay, there will be a rematch of top teams sailing J/40s and J/42s!

J/70 sailing St Pete NOODThe J/70 class is out in strength, again, after just completing their Quantum Winter Series last week at Davis Island YC on Tampa Bay.  Thirty-four teams are headed for the starting line that include a number of top teams that had sailed in the Quantum Key West Race Week and are gunning for the J/70 Midwinters the following weekend, as well as the Bacardi Miami Sailing Week later in March.  At the top of that heap is the 2016 J/70 World Champion, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT crew from Wayzata YC in Minnesota.  They will be hard pressed by a hell’s kitchen of crews that are all capable of being at the top of the leaderboard, including Darby Smith’s AFRICA from Marblehead, MA; Marty Kullman’s NEW WAVE from the host SPYC; Peter Cunningham’s POWERPLAY RACING from the Cayman Islands; Robert Willis’ RIP RULLAH from Columbia YC; Brian Keane’s SAVASANA from Beverly YC in Buzzards Bay, MA; and Rich Lehmann’s WIND CZAR from Little Traverse YC in Harbor Springs, MI.  Of note for the J/70s are the very talented HELLY HANSEN Junior Crew led by Blair McCarthy from St Petersburg YC.

J/88 Wings sailing St Pete NOODIn the PHRF race course, it promises to be a significant “dust-up” between top J/88 crews and J/cruising crews.  In PHRF 1, three J/88s are sailing, all at the top of their game.  Those crews include Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION from Huguenot YC in New Rochelle, NY; Tod Patton’s BLONDIE 2 from Milwaukee YC and Northbrook, IL; and Mike Bruno’s WINGS from American YC in Rye, NY.  They will be up against two J/105s, Jody Abrams’ ARIEL from SPYC and George Cussins’ FIRE & ICE from Apollo Beach, FL.  Sailing in PHRF 2 are perhaps two of the fastest PHRF boats on Tampa Bay, Ray Mannix’s J/29  SEMPER FI from Largo, FL and the St Pete Sailing Association and the trio aboard the J/29 MEATIER (Brian Davies, Brian Kennalley, and Ed Mui from Chicago Corinthian YC in Chicago, IL). 

The NORTH SAILS Race Rally fleet sees Jeff Russo’s J/40 INTREPID taking on Roger Gatewood’s J/42 SHAZAAM for class and line honors all weekend long!  Both crews hail from the famous Davis Island YC across Tampa Bay.

St Pete NOOD gutter racerWhile the racing on the water promises to be epic, perhaps the roughest and toughest test of sailing skills make take place ashore!  This year marks the inaugural HELLY HANSEN Gutter Boat Regatta at the NOOD.  Meet on the race track at 1900 hrs Saturday night at the post-race party to keep the competition alive.

Grab your “gutter boat racing kit” Thursday evening at registration, first come first serve.  Take a few minutes between Registration and Saturday's party to build your winning catamaran! Foilers??  Maybe.  Each kit contains a sail, trimaran frame, two pieces of balsa wood, a mast, and four screws. You may want to bring some more materials to set yours apart from the rest.  The winning boat will go home with a sweet Helly Hansen trolley bag!  Sailing photo credits- Paul Todd/   For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

J/122 Stars in Conch Republic Cup!

J/122 Second Star off Key West (Key West, FL)- This year’s version of the Conch Republic Cup regatta, hosted by the Key West Community Sailing Center and the Club Nautico Internacional Hemingway, was a bit of an anti-climactic event and might have been termed “the three leg fiasco”.  The weather Godz simply would not cooperate for the fleet of 20+ boats.  In fact, the weather was extreme, with light airs predominating for the first leg across the Gulf Stream from the start at Key West, FL to Varadero, Cuba along the northeastern shoreline of the island.  Then, the next leg westward down the Cuban coastline from Varadero to Havana was blown out due to a massive cold front sweeping across the Gulf Stream.  The in-port race in Havana was also canceled, this time due to no wind.  So, the regatta organizers decided to do a mash-up of trophies and honors using the final leg from Havana back across the Stream to Key West!!

Cuba ChevyDespite the somewhat catastrophic weather forecast, JD Hill’s beautiful navy blue J/122 SECOND STAR from Dallas, Texas, fresh off a Quantum Key West Race Week class win, elected to start the regatta.  As a result, those Texas storm troopers took off on Sunday afternoon after Race Week hangover and headed out across the Gulf Stream in the Key West to Varadero Race for the Michele Geslin Memorial Cup.  In the end, Hill’s SECOND STAR crushed the 8-boat PHRF fleet to win the trophy, celebrating their good fortune with loads of delicious Cuban mojito’s and plenty of awesome Cuban cigars.  However, by the next day, it was clear Mother Nature was not cooperating for the rest of the week, so the Texas crew elected to head home early.  Sailing photo credits- Alan Clark/  For more Conch Republic Cup sailing information

Friday, February 17, 2017

Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race Update

Marblehead to Halifax Top J/Boat Team Wins Balthazar of Champagne!
(Marblehead, MA)- Registration is open for the biennial Marblehead to Halifax Ocean race that starts off Marblehead Neck on July 9th.  The 363-nautical mile Marblehead to Halifax is one of the oldest races on the eastern seaboard, beginning in 1905.  It's co-sponsored by the Boston Yacht Club in Marblehead, MA and the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax.

The race has been a popular one for J/sailors across the northeastern seaboard, with class and overall wins taken by J/Teams over the course of time- J/35s, J/40s, J/44s, J/120s, J/111s all have garnered silverware in this famous race.

Marblehead champagne awardsWhat is the latest, exciting news!?  Jennie Aspinall, Vice Commodore of the Boston Yacht Club and Chair of the 2017 event, has a challenge for J/Boat sailors, “We are looking forward to a full fleet of competitors at the starting line in July.  If there are eighteen (18) or more J/Teams sailing in this year’s race, we will offer the winning J/Team a Balthazar of champagne (worth 16 bottles), plus second place a Salmanazar (worth 12 bottles) and third place a Methuselah (8 bottles worth)!”  Time to get motivated to win a prize that not even any America’s Cup winners enjoyed in their last champagne bath in San Francisco!!  Just one of those bottles can start a party!   For more Marblehead Halifax Race registration and sailing information

Thursday, February 16, 2017

New York YC 163rd Annual Regatta Announcement

J/35 Leading Edge sailing Newport Large Contingent of J/Teams Plan Participation
(Newport, RI)- The oldest regatta, hottest new (and classic) boats, best sailors, fabulous sailing conditions, and unmatched shoreside amenities and hospitality (massive cocktail parties) that only the New York Yacht Club Harbour Court and Newport, R.I., can offer. All these things and more make the 163rd New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex, June 9 to 11, the event to attend this coming summer.

The format is familiar to any repeat participants: Three days of racing, including Friday’s Around-the-Island Race, a rockin’ regatta banquet on Saturday night, and post-racing socials on the other two evenings. The list of invited yachts includes IRC racers and One-Designs. PHRF Navigator racing will be available for those who prefer a more casual brand of competition sailing random-leg events in Narragansett Bay.

As in years past, one-design classes are anticipated for J/88’s, J/105’s and J/109s.  Multiple J/teams will be participating in the IRC and PHRF categories, including J/35s, J/109s, J/120s, J/122s, J/111s, J/44s and others.  Remember, last year’s crazy Around the Island Race??  A J/35 from Houston, Texas won the overall trophy and the Rolex Submariner watch!!  Good times were certainly had by that happy crew on LEADING EDGE!  Sailing photo credits- ROLEX/ Daniel Forster   Block off your calendar now and start making plans to be on the starting line. NOR and entry forms available here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Another Glorious 3 Bridge Fiasco

Three Bridge Fiasco start fiasco
J/Crews Collecting More Pickle Dishes!
(San Francisco, CA)- The 362 entries in the Singlehanded Sailing Society's 2017 edition of the Three Bridge Fiasco had more wind than predicted; except when they had none at all. One of the factors that makes the race a real “fiasco” is that the crews, all singlehanded and doublehanded, must choose which way to start and finish and which direction to sail around the three marks: Blackaller Buoy near the Golden Gate Bridge, Red Rock just south of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge, and Yerba Buena Island in the middle of the Bay Bridge.

The clockwise pack had a restart when the wind died north of Treasure Island.  Fortunately, the current on this patch of water was mellow, though at least one boat dropped an anchor.

Kame Richards, a local sailmaker and highly successful racer, offered some advice about strategy at the skippers' meeting on Wednesday. "If you go clockwise you're statistically in an okay group," he commented. Probably 95% of the racers went clockwise on Saturday, but this year it was the contrarians who finished first. "The tidebooks are going to be wrong," stated Richards. "The tides will not be normal.” He was right on that score. It wasn't so simple as flood turning to ebb. Rip currents abounded. The velocity of rushing water in some places was unusual on the Bay. Patches of meringue and weird whirlpools popped up in seemingly random places, all adding to the day's challenges.

With so little breeze and such strong currents, the starboard rounding of Yerba Buena was far trickier than the much earlier port rounding of it by the CCW boats had been. Some boats were dragged into the island and ran aground, others piled up into a buoy tender docked at the Coast Guard station there.

Some of the clockwise crews had fretted about typically light air at Red Rock and the flood turning to ebb, so they went straight to Red Rock after the start, leaving Blackaller Buoy for last. (As it turned out, there was plenty of breeze at Red Rock, though the ebb did start early there).   In the late afternoon, this group shot toward the Golden Gate Bridge on a river of 4- to 5-knot ebb. Turning toward shore, they found an equivalent back eddy of flood surrounding their last mark. As Kame explained: "When it's ebbing very hard, all the water can't fit under the Golden Gate Bridge. Some of it hits Fort Point and gets bounced back along the City-front." (Thanks to LATITUDE 38 for intro).

Despite the often-challenging conditions, it was Tony Castruccio’s J/30 WIND SPEED that won Class 1- Singlehanded Monohull overall, plus winning class!  Just behind him, finishing 5th overall in class was the J/24 IRISH BLESSING sailed by Chad Peddy!  In the Class 2 Singlehanded Spin division, the J/88 WHITE SHADOW sailed by Jim Hopp took home the silver, followed by Todd Olsen’s J/92S WINDTRIP INFINITY in third.

In the Doublehanded world, there were several notable performances.  In Class 10 Double Non-Spin, the J/124 SPIRIT OF FREEDOM sailed by Bill Mohr & Reid Rankin placed 4th, while another stablemate, the J/88 INCONCEIVABLE sailed by Steven & Zach Gordon took fifth position.

Winning Class 11 Double Spin was the J/125 CAN’T TOUCH THIS sailed by Rich Pipkin & Mary McGrath.  Just off the pace in 6th place was Howard Turner & Jay Crum’s J/111 SYMMETRY.  Also, in the top ten in this class were Doug Bailey & Brian Capehart’s J/105 AKULA in 8th and James Goldberg & Lana Chang’s J/109 JUNKYARD DOG in 10th place.

In the large J/105 Double class, winning was Chris Kim & Mike Lazarro’s VUJA STAR.  Nearly a half hour behind them in 2nd was Adam Spiegel & Chris Tholstrup’s JAM SESSION, with William Woodruff & Mike Weinman’s RUSSIAN ROULETTE in 3rd, John Robison & Simon James’ LIGHTWAVE in 4th and Phil Laby & Matt Skafel’s GODOT in 5th position.

The highly competitive J/22 Double class saw local rock star Russ Silvestri & John Bonds sailing StFYC’s TOM ALLEN to the top of the heap.  Next was Gerard Sheridan & Halsey Richartz’s SAMBA PA TI in 2nd with Mike Menninger & Ben Lezin’s GOOD in 3rd place.

The J/24 Double class saw old rivalries continue, this time with Darren Cumming & Loren Moore’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR winning, followed by Val Lulevich & Mark Humberstone’s SHUT UP & DRIVE.

The Double SF Bay 30 class was one of the closest fought finishes in the entire fleet between three J/32s and two J/30s.  Winning was Luther & Robert Izmirian’s J/32  PARADIGM, just 2:28 ahead of 2nd place finishers, Jenny Thompson & Chris Jensen’s J/30 FRICTION LOSS.  Third was yet another J/30 only 1:18 further back, Peter Jermyn & Curt Brown’s IONE.  Fourth was Lewis Lanier & Galen Loving’s J/32 STRATOCASTER and fifth was John Riley & Larry Weinhoff’s J/32 LA DOLCE VITA.

At the top of the Double J/70 class was Morgan & Jordan Paxhia’s PENNY PINCHER with a narrow 3min lead over Davis King & Tim Anto’s ALLONS-Y.  Taking third was Fabio Maino & Felice Bonardi’s SCILLA and 4th, only 17sec back was Scott Sellers & Geoff McDonald’s 1FA!  Sailing photos- Erik Simonson /  For more Three Bridge Fiasco sailing information

J/88 Razzes Offshore Fleet In Taz!

J/88 sailing off Hobart, Tasmania (Hobart, Tasmania)- Australia’s southern-most J/88 has been competing in the Combined Clubs Long Race series out of Hobart, Tasmania, and has recently claimed its first corrected time victory against much larger boats. The Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, the Derwent Sailing Squadron and the Bellerive Yacht Club conduct the long race series jointly, with races typically being 30-50 nautical miles in length. There are 28 yachts competing in the mixed fleet, including a Reichel Pugh 66, Marten 49 and Sydney 47.

New J/88 owners Peter and Karen Davis have raced JIYUU in the first 3 races of the season, and have scored results of 9, 3 and 1 on AMS corrected time. The first race down the Dentrecasteaux Channel was a real test for their first outing, with winds reaching 50 knots on the beat back up the river.

“We saw 18 knots on the speedo whilst running down the river under A2,” said Peter, “but unfortunately broached just before the leeward mark which took the edge off the day”.

The second race was a more manageable affair, and a building sea breeze saw the J/88 run up the river under (new) A2 to catch a number of larger boats.

The third race was the highlight, with a lot of spinnaker work, and a delightful sunny day with light winds.

“We found the J/88 kept moving in the lighter breezes, and accelerated rapidly under kite when the breeze came in,” said Peter.  The J/88 finished 12th on line honours, and first overall on corrected time.  For more J/88 sailboat information