Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Warsash Spring Champs Report

J/70 sailing Warsash spring series on Solent(Warsash, England)- It was a busy time for Warsash Sailing Club on 12th/13th April with racing on both days for the opening of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship and the fifth Sunday of the Spring Series. As the weather became warmer, entry numbers have increased so that some 140 boats were out to enjoy the full schedule of racing. During the two days, the race officers ran over 50 separate races – a challenging but rewarding weekend all round.

Saturday– Day One
For Black Group, the south-westerly breeze started light but built by the end of the afternoon to a brisk 17 knots. Four races were scheduled and completed, largely using windward/leeward courses.

In 2013, Warsash Sailing Club decided to open the Spring Championship to all IRC handicap classes. Although entries were modest for the smaller boat classes last year, IRC3 and IRC4 entered excellent fleets this time. In IRC 3, Diamond Jem (J/109 - Robert Stiles) finished the day with a two point lead. Iain MacKinnon’s Tigh Soluis II headed three of the four races for the J/109s with Jubilee (Tony Dickin) taking Race 1.  After a slow start, Duncan Mcdonald’s J/111 team SHMOKIN JOE took two wins as did Louise Makin & Chris Jones’s JOURNEYMAKER 11.

The White Group committee boat set up station in what might be regarded as their usual spot near Meon buoy close to the entrance of Southampton Water. The weather did not turn out as forecast with a shifty breeze reaching 20 knots at times. The stronger wind caused some equipment failure- the J/80 Juicy finished flying their mainsail from the head and clew only when the tack and bolt rope gave way. Nonetheless, four races were completed. It was a clean sweep for Ian Atkins, out for the first time in the J/70 class, with Boats.com.  In the J/80s Aqua-J (Patrick Liardet) and Betty (Jon Powell) each took two wins.

J/80s sailing Warsash spring series on the SolentSunday- Day Two
For Black Group, Sunday’s wind started in the north and went light before switching eventually to the west, then south-west at 10/12 knots. Two races were planned for each class and the committee boat anchored near Flying Fish buoy. A 10 mile course was set for IRC1 and IRC2 with shorter courses for the remaining classes. Boats in IRC1 pushed their start, with many over the line early. Several collided with each other and the committee boat. After a general recall, the restart, subject to the “Z flag”, meant an extra penalty for being early and this time the class got away. There were individual recalls for several classes but all boats returned to start correctly. By the time IRC3 got underway, IRC2 were coming downwind close to the line. One of the many temporary wind shifts meant that for a couple of classes the first leg became biased with little tacking to the windward mark at Wilson Covers. This was where IRC4 joined the parade, having started earlier from a separate line. Most skippers went for a white sail reach to the spreader mark at Hill Head buoy, though a few sailed high hoping to use their kites. After that all the spinnakers went up, followed by a game of tactics – whether to gybe and stay out of the tide or go straight to Sunsail. The majority stayed on the bank but there was more wind in the main channel, where some made significant gains.

Aiming to complete two races, the start sequence for IRC1 began as IRC3 was crossing the finish, so a certain amount of dodging was necessary.  Courses involved a couple of windward/leeward legs then a long tactical downwind leg against the tide when all the boats hugged the Lee-on-Solent side before crossing south to North Ryde Middle. The breeze picked up and backed on the way across. There was then another tide versus wind decision before the finish just west of Bart’s Bash.

Black Group saw the J/111 teams experience rather topsy-turvy results for many boats.  Leading the series is JOURNEYMAKER 11 with a 1-3-4-1-1-1 for 11 pts, with a comfortable 7.5 pt margin.  Second is Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG with a 4-2-2-3-2.5-5 for 18.5 pt.  Two points back is Mcdonald’s SHMOKIN JOE with an 8-1-1-2-6-2 tally for 20 pts.  Fourth is David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM and fifth is Andrew Christy & Chris Body’s ICARUS.

J/109s are having quite a battle for the top five.  The two leaders are just four points apart, Tony Dickin’s JUBILEE in first with 11 pts and Iain Mackinnon’s TIGHT SOLIUS II in second with 15 pts.  The battle for third is virtually a three-way tie with Tor Mclaren’s INSPARA in third with 26 pts, Roger Phillips’s DESIGNSTAR 2 in fourth with 26 pts and David Mcgough’s JUST SO in fifth with 29 pts.

White Group experienced shifty conditions too with the breeze moving through 110 degrees during the day and ranging between 10 and 15 knots. The first race had to be abandoned for all classes after one lap but with some nifty relaying of courses, all three races were completed. CRO Peter Knight felt competitors had coped admirably well at the starts given the wind against tide situation, most boats were on the line every time with no need for general recalls. Ian Atkins’ run of success in the J/70s was halted by Django (Malcolm and Tristan Jaques) in two races. There was close racing in the J/80s and a dead heat between Betty (Jon Powell) and Boysterous (Ali Hall) in the first race, each scoring 1.5 points, with Juicy (Allan Higgs) only 24 seconds adrift in third place. Jasmine (Douglas Neville-Jones) came to the fore in Race 2 and Rock and Roll (Gillian Ross) in Race 3.

It was a good sunny day to enjoy Warsash Sailing Club’s riverside garden after racing where Jonathan Broad, Investment Manager from Brooks Macdonald, presented champagne to the weekly class winners and WSC member Aron Wellband from the SB20 Flutter won the jacket donated by SLAM UK. The event now takes a break for the Easter holiday and returns on 26th/27th April for the grand finale of both the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series and the Spring Championship.   For more Warsash Spring Championships sailing information

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

J/Teams Have a Scream @ PSSR

J/70 sailing PSSR Regatta in Seattle, WA(Seattle, WA)- It was a fun weekend regatta with three J/70s & two J/80’s in one class, nine J/105’s in another, and three J/29’s in a mixed PHRF class.  The report from Ben Braden follows:

“If you didn’t return to the dock with a smile on your face it’s time you quit sailing and take up horse riding! It simply does not get much better than the two days of racing that showed up for this year’s Puget Sound Spring Regatta, hosted by Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle. Fifty-five boats made it out April 12/13 for two of the most stellar days of the year for sailing in the Pacific Northwest.

J/80s sailing on Puget SoundFifty five boats split up on two different courses with 4 One Design and 4 PHRF classes. Up on the North Course, set just North of Meadow Point, they had the fast PHRF class with ratings from -21 to 36, a one design Farr 30 class with 6 local boats, a 9 boat PHRF class with ratings from 57 on up to 87 and a burgeoning J/105 class with 9, count em, 9 local boats on the line. Down on the South course, set off the Shilshole Bay Marina, there was the always active Melges 24 fleet with 8 boats, a PHRF J/70 & J/80 class, an 8 boat PHRF class with ratings from 114 to 129 and 5 boat San Juan 24 fleet rounding out the racers.

The forecast wasn’t great for wind Saturday, but it wasn’t bad. Thank God, once again, the foreguessers had it all messed up and what was supposed to be 10 knots of breeze turned into 12 to 16 with some gusts recorded at 18 to 20! The sun was out, the wind was blowing, the pink skins were thronged on Bikini Beach and the race committee rolled off race after race in the solid Northerly breeze.

As the day went on, the flooding current combined with the strong Northerly to create some river-like conditions in the middle of the sound. Way far over on the right corner you could find some current relief on the South course, way, way far over. Boats had to over stand the mark by what felt like 50 boat lengths before tacking over to layline. The driver then lined up the mark on the leach of the jib, yes the leach, and then powered along to weather as they crab walked over the mark some half a mile away. Still just barely getting around the mark after the biggest over stand anyone had ever seen. But if you made it around cleanly it actually paid off to hit the far right corner!

J/70 sailing on Puget SoundUp on the North course there was no relief from the current to be had and the safe move became coming in on port approach to the weather mark. Safe on laying the mark and not hitting it, but not safe on starboard traffic. Boat after boat didn’t lay the mark on both courses and many were seen spinning their circle just below the weather pin. Consider yourself in the minority if you didn’t hit a weather mark at PSSR, the current was that strong.

5 to 6 races Saturday for everyone on both courses and as the procession began the long reach into the marina, the smiles were seen all across the fleet. Even though, the stoke level was high in the clubhouse on Saturday night, even with the sore muscles and bruises from a 6 race day in 12 to 16 knots of breeze.

Sunday dawned looking way better than the forecast 0 to 5 knots out of the North and as the first horns blared away on the committee boats it actually built up into the 10 to 12 knot range! Class 4, the J/105s had a close battle going between Delerium & Jaded and with 7 other boats pointing at their transoms they each need to reach down and keep sailing hard.

Down on South course, the Sail Northwest Crew on the J/70 Just Listed had an equal hold on the J/70-J/80 class with Crazy Ivan solidly in 2nd and DaSpencer & Periodot battling it out for 3rd place.

So with winds way better than forecast, once again the sausage course racing commenced and with less current than Saturday the way far corners didn’t play into the game as much on the South course and the current and wind lanes were shifting all over the Sound. For a while the far left worked well to get to weather, then it shifted to right middle for just as long. The sailors really had to pay attention to the wave action and the color of the water to find the strongest winds with the least adverse current. Those who did this the best could make up for the worst start in the history of sailing and round the weather mark in front of their competition. Peaking out at 12 knots the winds eventually settled in to the 8 knot range with the lightest winds at the end of the day for the final races thrown off just before the time limit ran out on racing for another amazing day at PSSR.

There is never any wind in Seattle, and it always rains – remember this while your finishing this article and looking at Jan Anderson’s amazingly sharp and colorful pictures. It’s too bad we have to live here and deal with these conditions, somehow we make it through.  After another 5 to 6 races Sunday.  That big one design class, the 9 local J/105s, was once again sailed away with by the fast crew aboard Jerry Diercks Delirium. 10 points behind them, but just three points in front of the third place Jaded, was Erik Kristen’s well sailed Jubilee. It’s great to see the resurgence in this fleet – a perfect PNW platform.

Down on the South course, in Class 6, the consistent sailing of the crew on the J/70 Just Listed (often seen on a boat called More Uff Da) left them solidly in the lead by 10.5 points over the shiny blue J/80 Crazy Ivan. Class 7 saw the J/29 Here & Now in second.   Sailing Photo Credits- Jan Anderson  For more PSSR Regatta sailing information

Charleston Race Week Report

J/70 sailing Charleston (Charleston, SC)– From the newly, massively, dynamic J/70 fleet to the revved-up PHRF classes, there was a tremendous amount of racing activity across Charleston area waters for Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week on April 11-13; the 19th edition hosted racing for 16 separate classes.

The growth of the event drew competitors from 27 states and five continents, from as far away as New Zealand, Scandinavia, Brazil, Guatemala, Australia and Peru. Many of these foreign sailors are among the sport’s top names, including Vasco Vascotto from Italy (in the J/70 Class), 2013 College Sailor of the Year Juan Maegli of Guatemala (in the J/24 Class), Jordan Reese from Australia (in the J/70 Class), and Peruvian Olympic Laser hopeful Stefano Peschiera (in the J/24 Class).

J/22s sailing CharlestonThis pantheon of stars notwithstanding, the majority of the competitors racing in Charleston are folks whose faces wouldn’t catch notice on the pages of a sailing magazine, yet they’re definitely capable of scorching up the race course. A case in point is the J/80 crew on board DO IT FOR DENMARK- Will & Marie Crump of Annapolis, who sailed masterfully with Thomas Klok and Alan Terhune. In fact their performance was so flawless that they won the regatta handily with all bullets. Taking second was past J/80 North American Champion John Storck on RUMOR with 30 pts.  Third was determined by a tie-breaker, with Ken Mangano on MANGO taking third overall and Alex Kraus on COOL J getting the short end of the stick to take fourth.  Fifth was Chris Johnson on DRAGONFLY.

In the regatta’s largest class, the 80-boat J/70 fleet, Jim Barnash on SUPERFECTA took top honors in the J/70 Class by four points over Rob Britt’s crew on HOT MESS from St. Petersburg, FL. For Britts, who has only been sailing the boat for three months and sails with an all Corinthian team of friends, it was a very sweet moment after taking a 1-2-1 in the last three races.  Third was Will Welles from Newport, RI on SCAMP, fourth was Joel Ronning on CATAPULT and fifth was Tim Healy on HELLY HANSEN.

J/24 sailing CharlestonThe J/22s and J/24s also sailed on the same circle as the J/80s.  In the end, it was Aden King’s BATTUB taking the J/22 class honors followed by Arthur Libby’s TORQEEDO and Chris Sands’s QUICK BEAT in 2nd and 3rd, respectively.  For the J/24s, it was a nail-biter going into the last set of races.  The win was determined by a tie-breaker at 24 pts a piece, with Mike Ingham from Rochester, NY taking it Skip Dieball’s RUDIE/ GILL RACE TEAM. Third was Ron Medlin’s BASH.

Elsewhere across fleet, the competition for first in class was much tighter even though the offshore competitors weren’t able to race on Sunday due to a lack of wind. In PHRF A class, the J/111s and J/122 were having an extraordinary battle for the top three.  The fight was fought all the way until the final leg of the last race on Saturday.  Rob & Ryan Ruhlman’s J/111 SPACEMAN SPIFF again reigned supreme (like they did at Key West Race Week), as not only the top J/Team but also taking 2nd overall in class.  Third was Robin Team’s famous J/122 TEAMWORK from North Carolina.  Fourth and fifth were J/111 class newcomers Rob Stein on KINETIC and John Yonover’s EVONNE.COM/3.

J/122 sailing CharlestonIn PHRF B class, the two J/120s cracked the top five with Rick Moore’s MOOSE DOWN grabbing 4th and John Keenan’s ILLYRIA taking 5th.

PHRF C was dominated by J crews.  Dave Pritchard’s J/92 AMIGOS/ GILL RACE TEAM took first with another almost perfect record of 1sts, followed by Steve Thurston’s J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN in second and Miles Martschink’s J/29 MONGO in fourth.  Fifth was a great performance by Robert Key’s J/27 AUDACIOUS.

The Pursuit classes (spinnaker and non-spinnaker) enjoyed a bit of a renaissance, having grown by over 300% from previous years.  In the Spin class, the J/120 EMOCEAN sailed by Bill Henckel took a 2-1-1 to win by a massive 9 pts in just three races.  Sailing Photo Credits- Priscilla Parker and Allen Clark/ Photoboat.com.  For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

Monday, April 21, 2014

J/80 “Best Sportboat” @ Shanghai Boat Show

J/80 Shanghai Boat Show winner (Shanghai, China)- The International J/80 continues to garner accolades in the world of Asian yachting.  This past weekend, the J/80 won the “Best Sport Boat and Day Boat” in China. The J/80 was noted by the Judges at the Shanghai Boat Show (the largest in China) for “being a safe, fun and easy boat to sail that is also affordable”— the primary reasons for winning this category in China over the past 5 years. 

Accepting the award for J/Boats Asia are Mr. He, Jim Johnstone and Frank Lin. The group photo includes all of the Chinese dealerships on stage that have provided the support for the J/80’s success across China— all major provinces in China were represented!   For more J/80 sailboat information

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Les Voiles de St. Barths Update

(Gustavia, St Barths)- Les Voiles has continued to grow in each of its five editions, both in entry numbers and shoreside activities, and many competitors have been heard to say that organizers have figured out the perfect racing/shoreside formula. Racing begins Tuesday and on Thursday, the now traditional lay day on St. Jean Bay, competitors will enjoy lunch at Nikki Beach.

With many in the 70 boat fleet returning from prior Les Voiles editions, the international fleet is drawn from across the Caribbean (St. Barth, St. Maarten, Anguilla, Martinique, Antigua, BVI, Puerto Rico) as well as the U.S., Canada, the U.K., The Netherlands, France, Spain, Malta, Sweden, Australia and Ireland.

No one knows yet how the Spinnaker division will be further divided into classes, but White Rhino, chartered by Steve Cucchiaro (Boston, Mass.), is hoping to have a good run against their competitors.

“Affinity (with my brother Bob aboard) will be very difficult to beat if we sail against them, and there is a good chance of that,” said White Rhino’s tactician Jack Slattery (Marblehead, Mass.), who in the years since twice being named a Collegiate All-American has worked his way into demand as an afterguard pick for various grand-prix racing programs. We are one of the longest boats in the division but not the quickest. But either way, we are going for placing.” Among the notable crew on White Rhino are Cucchiaro’s son Connor Cucchiaro, Slattery’s wife Dru, Mark Laura (main sheet), Stu Johnstone (strategist), Cam Lewis (mast), Brian Thomas (trim) and Larry Rosenfeld (navigator).

On the first day, Gustavia’s Quai General de Gaulle was abuzz with competitors. With nine classes separated into four starts, the fleet was sent off in a light southeasterly breeze of about 8-10 knots, sailing courses of 21nm. The light breeze made for a long day for most, though no one was complaining given the otherwise ideal conditions. With the breeze forecast to build throughout the week, all boats will have a chance to revel in their best conditions.   For more Les Voiles de St Barths update

Saturday, April 19, 2014

J/111 New Zealand- Sailing Report

J/111 DJANGO sailing New Zealand(Auckland, New Zealand)- The J/111 DJANGO has been sailing for over the past year “down under” in Auckland, NZ.  Sailed by her new owner Andrew Reid and often sailed with Doyle Sails NZ sailmaker Andrew Pilcher aboard, they’ve had some great experiences and successes in the offshore world.  Here is some of their commentary from the J/111 thread on Sailing Anarchy (amusing reading!):

“The SSANZ B&G SIMRAD two handed series is hugely popular here in Auckland - with around 150 entries. Race 1 (60 nms around the Hauraki Gulf) was sailed in variable conditions, 0-17 kts TWS from a bunch of different directions. After a nice start, Team Django kept it all together to take the Division 1 handicap win.”

You can experience what it’s like to sail their J/111 here- YouTube sailing video.

Later in November, J/111 #1 Django completed the New Zealand Round North Island race double-handed. Four legs, approximately 1,000 nautical miles total (you can see the results here- http://www.ssanz.co.nz). Congratulations to the two Andrews!

J/111 sailing with Code Zero in NZHere’s their report- “It was an amazing race, with a bit too much upwind for our liking (!) but we managed the 7th fastest total elapsed time, 5th overall on handicap, 2nd in Division and a Division win on Leg 2. This leg was the fun one, from Mangonui in Northland, around NZ's two northern Capes (well, 3 actually), then a fast ride down the West Coast, high speeds at night, oil rigs, seismic ships towing 4.5km arrays, heaps of dolphin action, almost becalmed in NZ's notoriously stormy Cook Strait, 5 kts tides across to Wellington (in our favour, luckily), and a match race to the finish! The same 5 boats we diced with at North Cape were in a bunch that finished within 10 minutes of each other 500 miles later in Wellington. Unbelievable. This race is a true adventure, and uber competitive. Everyone is relentless - short-handed sailing is highly addictive and heaps of fun. Apart from the lack of sleep, the degree of difficulty of every maneuver being tripled and the lack of sleep. Hats off to all the crews! Our next distance race will be from Auckland to Fiji in June 2014. Fully crewed, this one, so should feel quite luxurious being able to sleep for up to three hours at a stretch! A couple of photos attached, one three sailing at the start in Auckland, and the second two sailing with the mini Zero off Cape Egmont on the way to Wellington.”

And, regards the NZ SSANZ Round North Island Two-Handed race, here is a summary from Andy Pilcher of Doyle sails- AP makes up one-half of the unbreakable J/111 Django crew!  Said Andy:

"Finished! Well, that was epic, in every sense of the word. The final leg was, well, pretty crappy for the most part. If I said that Leg 3 was the longest 200 miles I'd ever done, then Leg 4 was the longest 340 miles I've ever done. I honestly think that you could not have designed a race to be more upwind, especially given the number of corners we turned, only to find the wind had bent around the corner just before we arrived there!

To summarize, we left Napier heading E/NE to get out of the Hawkes Bay. Then veered left to head N/E towards East Cape.

From there, another left turn to head across the Bay of Plenty towards Cape Colville, bearing N/W, before the final left turn heading S/W into a 35- 40kt wind against tide maelstrom, for the "dash" back into Auckland.

Sure enough, there to greet us at every turn was a windshift with our name on it, saying "Hey lads, welcome to the corner, your next leg will be upwind".

It was not entirely unexpected, however. The weather people had been predicting this type of Leg well in advance, just as they'd predicted Leg 3 would be entirely upwind. Why is it that the crap weather forecast's are always the most accurate??

Anyway, as with the previous leg, we surprised ourselves with a better than expected performance, and were delighted with our finish in the morning.

I need a bit of time to get my head around it, but am rapt to have been able to do this race, which was a real adventure, and just worth it to have simply completed a circumnavigation of the North Island and see this incredible country of ours from a unique angle.

Hats off to Andrew Reid for his impeccable preparation of the boat, where we sailed over 1,200nm and didn't break so much as a shackle.  It's been a pleasure and a privilege. For the final time - on this journey anyway - "Django Out”.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Latvia Wins Yachting Russia Cup

J/80 RUSSIA Yachting Cup (Lago di Garda, Italy)- One of the oldest yacht clubs in Europe is the Fraglia Vela Riva, located on the picturesque northern shores of Lago di Garda in Italy.  Last week, FVR hosted the ninth edition of the "Yachting Russia Cup" for the Russian-speaking yachting community. Competition was held on International J/80 one-design sportsboats in a format of match races for all participating teams.

Nearly 60 athletes from Russia, Ukraine, Latvia, Belarus, Germany and Italy were divided into 11 teams. According to rules of the Cup each skipper has the right to choose from all participants one crew member, then the rest of the crew is formed by drawing from a lottery (e.g. pulling chits out of a hat with people’s names on them).  With such a method of defining the crew, it forces each team to be engaged in team organization, training and working together as a unit. As a result, the team that works well together in such a short period of time and makes the least number of mistakes wins!  It is a fun format that leads to great camaraderies and fun parties in the evening!

The first three days were not typical for Lake Garda- heavy overcast skies and a light, variable breeze from every wind direction. But, thanks to the accurate and harmonious work of the race committee, the sailors managed to participate in 43 matches to determine the top four crews. Then, the semifinal meetings were held and participants of the championship and consolation finals were defined.

Since the beginning of the event, there has been a significant increase in the skill of the participants.  Today, there are very aggressive tactics immediately after entering the starting zone, using every form of obstacles, rules, dial-ups, and so forth to gain advantage. The racing is so good, it’s already difficult to call this match racing event a competition amongst “amateurs”.

J/80 Russia Yachting Cup winnersOn the last racing day, the weather was typical for the lake- in the morning the sun shined brightly and a nice wind blew down the lake. Until lunch, the northerly “adabatic” winds blew from the north at 10-15 kts, enough to conclude the semifinal matches. Then, during lunchtime, the wind died and changed into the south and filled at at 15-20 kts gusting to 25 kts.  It was an intense fight for the finalists, the skilled helmsmen and crews were in a hard-fought battle at the start and all the way around the race course.

Triumphant after a long, hard race was Sergey Pervushkin from Riga, Latvia on the Baltic Sea.  Taking second after their loss was Sergey Ezhikov from Kaliningrad, Russia.  In the “repechage finals”, it was Dmitry Zaritsky from Kaliningrad, Russia taking the win to score third for the series over Pavel Minayev from Samara, Russia.

The next Yachting Russia Cup will take place in Kaliningrad, Russia from July 31 to August 3, 2014. Thanks for the contribution from Dmitry Zaritsky and for the sailing photos credits- Maria Guryeva.  Find more photos here on Facebook- Yachting Russia  For more Yachting Russia Cup sailing information