Sunday, December 21, 2014

J/22s getting some “Snow and sailing satisfaction”!

J/22 sailing Harbor Spring frostbite series (Charlevoix, Michigan)- Nothing diminished the enthusiasm and hot-blooded passion to get out on the water for this intrepid trio of J/22s.  Using a snow-blower to access the docks, they dusted off their J/22s and went for an afternoon sail on the nice, wide-open, boat-less harbor in Charlevoix, Michigan.

Perhaps one of the perfect little harbors to go “frostbite” sailing since it’s nearly landlocked on crystal clear, azure waters.  Plus, it’s easy to setup a short course right off the docks of Irish Boat Shop where there’s plenty of warm grog and roaring fires! Learn more about J/22 frostbite sailing at Irish Boat Shop in Charlevoix, Michigan.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Growing J/24 One-Design In Melbourne

J/24s sailing off AustraliaRacing at its absolute best!
(Melbourne, Australia)- Here’s some perspective for those of you supporting and developing one-design fleets.  Doug MacGregor, President of the J/24 Victoria class offers some insights on the success of their local fleet in Melbourne:

“Fourteen J/24s on the water on a Sunday.  Seventy Sailors.  Blue skies.  Perfect winds.  Three blistering races.  And excellent race management.  The most active keelboat class on the bay ‘giein’ it laldy’ as they say in Scotland.  Was it a state titles?  Was it a National Championship?  Was it a regatta?  Nope!  Just a normal J/24 Sunday race day!

As predicted, this season is turning out to be like no previous J/24 season.  The days when Pacemaker would win race after race by ten boat lengths are gone.  There are now any one of five boats that can win a race and the latest development is that even some of the historic middle markers are popping up at the pointy end.  There now is no boat that is noticeably quicker than any other and the J/24s are now producing racing that is all about seamanship, tactics, crew work and reading the shifts.

Feel like you are missing out?  Rob Date (Victorian Ocean Racer Of The Year and owner/skipper of Scarlet Runner) doesn’t, he skippered Hyperactive for a sprint day.  Albert Doggett (Fast Company) doesn’t, he trimmed on Crackerjack.  Geoff Wood (Fast Company and Calm) doesn’t, he trimmed on Crackerjack earlier in the season.  Marissa Chalkley (owns Hush) doesn’t, she crews on Jet.  Husband Pete Chalkley and Marissa both crewed on Code Violation in the NSW state titles.  Peter Fitzgibbons “Fitzy” (Veloce) doesn’t, he crews on J/Force.  Joelle Roderick (38 degrees) doesn’t, she crews on Hyperactive.  Hey, the list is long and I don’t want to lose our dear reader, but you’ve just got to try this stuff!

Final point.  Fourteen boats on the water at Sandringham Yacht Club.  That’s more than the J/24 Nationals in Sydney earlier this year, it’s more than the NSW State Titles held a couple of weeks ago and its 82% of our available racing fleet.  Fantastic numbers in anyone’s book!”  For more J/24 Australia sailing information

Friday, December 19, 2014

J/24 CARRERA Rocking Buenos Aires

J/24 Argentina- sailing Pan Am Games trialsWins J/24 Nationals & Pan Am Qualifiers
(Buenos Aires, Argentina)- Over the past few weeks, the Argentina J/24 class was hosting two major regattas on the Rio del Plata, hosted by Club Nautico Olivos.  The first regatta was the J/24 Argentine Nationals and the second was the Pan Am Qualifiers in J/24s for the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The Nationals took place over two weekends, starting on November 22nd and 23rd and concluding on November 29th & 30th.  The regatta saw fifteen teams participating, a great turnout for the Argentine J/24 class.  Teams showed up from Buenos Aires, Bariloche, Cordoba, Mendoza and Mar del Plata J/24 fleets. After three days of racing, very light winds marred the first weekend of sailing, the CNO PRO managing to get in just three races.  The following weekend, the CNO PRO- Ernesto Lupi managed to squeeze in three more races in reasonable breezes on Saturday, thanks to their early start at 1100 hours.

J/24s sailing off Buenos Aires, ArgentinaIn the end, the team on CARRERA, skippered by Matias Pereira with crew of Augusto Rossi, Roberto Bellinoto & Federico Ambrus managed to hold onto their lead from the first weekend to take the championship by just one point.  Sailing in the Nationals for the first time, Rodrigo Benedetto and his team of Alejandro Giralt, Augusto Bassanetti, Hernan Suarez & Sebastian Peri Brusa took second place by winning two of the six races!  The LUCA VIVES team of Alejo Rigone, Gustavo Gonzalez, Joaquin Suarte Argerich, Fernando Gwodwz & Matias Maffioli took third place on a tie-breaker.  Rounding out the top five were Santiago Doval in 4th and Chiqui Figueroa in 5th.

The Argentina selection qualifiers for the Toronto 2015 Pan Am Games took place this past weekend.  The most significant difference for the Pan Am qualifiers versus the Nationals is that the boats sailed with 100% jibs only and there were only four crew members permitted for each boat.  Yet again, Matias Pereira’s crew on CARRERA (Federico Ambrus, Guillermo Bellinotto & Juan Pereira) sailed like champions to become the Argentina representative in the 2015 Pan Am Games.

The three-day selection event was again characterized by unusually light winds.  Eight teams participated in the event.  The first day saw light 6-8 kts NE winds with remarkably large wind shifts all day.  The CNO Race Officer- Santiago Sharpin- managed to run three races.  Yet again, Pereira established an early lead the first day, never to relinquish it until the end of the regatta.

The second day saw drizzle, light unstable air from the ESE and reduced visibility to some fogginess. Nevertheless, after postponing sailing until 1340 hrs, the first race started and Aeljo Rigoni’s LUCA VIVE won the first race of the day.  Another postponement ensued with the second and last race of the day started at 1640 hrs.  Despite the light winds and lousy weather, CARRERA won the 5th race of the series to lengthen their lead over the fleet.  Nevertheless, the racing was very tight and close together, with the entire fleet finishing in less than two minutes!

The final day of racing on Monday was not much different than the previous two days.  Again, the fleet was postponed to a 1315 hrs start time. CARRERA again showed her transom to the fleet, winning race 6, followed by Francisco Van Avermaetre’s MENDIETA and Luis Cerrato’s NORMAII SANDRO.  The second race of the day didn’t start until 1430 hrs. It was declared the last race by PRO Santiago Sharpin, enabling Pereira’s crew to take a DNS drop race and still win the championship!  After starting slowly, the MENDIETA crew (Van Avermaetre with Rafael de Martis, Carlos Lacchini & Geronimo Galvan) won the last race and secured second place overall.  Taking second in the last race and happily getting a bronze was Alejo Rigoni’s crew on LUCA VIVE (Gustavo Gonzalez, Joaquin Duarte & Fernando Gwodwz).  For more J/24 Argentina sailing information

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Balmy Winter Around Vashon Island Race

J/160 JAM sailing Vashon Island race off Seattle, WA (Seattle, WA)- “74 hearty boats and crews made the Dec 6th start off the slag pile near Ruston to compete in the second ever counter-clockwise race Around Vashon Island, the first installment in the 2014/2015 South Sound Sailing Series.  It felt like a warm fall day out there compared to last year’s 24 degree temps and for all those that want a screamin’ deal on a Christmas tree or even several cords of wood, the Fall Vashon was for you - formerly regarded as Winter Vashon, I stand corrected by prominent members of Tacoma Yacht Club that winter doesn't start till Dec 21st!

Back to the tree issue, apparently the recent giant tides, northerly winds and extreme river runoff pulled everything imaginable off the shoreline and deposited it in Commencement Bay.  There was more driftwood afloat on the Southern Puget Sound than is standing in the forests nearby!  The calls at the start line were interesting in the light air – “one boat length, boat to leeward, log ahead, don’t come up or you’ll catch the shrubbery!”  Grass clippings, shrubbery, and a copious amount wood from stumps to deadheads- it was all out there, and fortunately for everyone the wind was so calm and the water so flat that it was easy to foresee these hazards and take evasive action.

J/133 Constellatoin sailing Vashon Island Race off SeattleThe deliveries to TYC on Friday were pleasant and even a 6am start Saturday out of Des Moines was downright enjoyable.  OK, a full thermos of hot coffee was helpful there. TYC made everyone feel welcome, as usual, with free moorage, dinner Friday night, use of the small boat hoist, friendly staff, and a hearty Saturday morning breakfast. The course was "innovative" this year with two virtual marks at the North end of Vashon. I've always felt Swiftsure Bank and for those that can remember back that far, the Cobb Seamount, were virtual as well, so for inland sailors to have a chance to round not only one but actually two virtual marks, a challenge to be certain.

J/27 sailing Vashon Island race off SeattleThe start was light, with just enough wind to get to the line and have steerage to dodge the debris.  The forecast southerly was promising though and every time you got that little puff it was a header so spinnakers were the order of the day with the racing fleet chasing the burgeoning cruising fleet East across Commencement Bay. The tugboats must work hard on the weekends down here as two were required to plow through the start line and create a few delays. Small boats, that start first, seemed to have some advantage in these conditions because even as far into the race as the North end of Vashon Dennis Clark, in his J/27 LXIII, was still in the company of 40‘ers!

Point Robinson was the first geography gate and those that were willing to play a little West in the light South westerly started slipping north to lead the charge into the stronger winds. It was obvious light is fast on December 6th and the ability to just be plain slippery paid.

What a gorgeous day, too, as Mt. Rainier was clearly visible and you could identify the airliners by the paint on their tail every couple minutes rising out of SeaTac Airport. Boats swapped gybes and pleasantries as they hull speeded their way north to the mysterious virtual gate. Which headsail to use? How windy is Colvos passage going to be? Discussions were required and the lead boats were visually inspected as they began to heel over on their way South into the passage. Where is my weather drone when I need it?

If you ever wanted to see what a boat can do upwind sailing well, this was your day. The J/133 CONSTELLATION was deadly as they stampeded South down Colvos passage under a heavy spread of canvas.

After correction in the IRC fleet, John McPhail’s gorgeous navy-blue J/160 JAM took second.  Class 2 was dominated by the J/133 CONSTELLATION, owned by Ron Holbrook.

J/109 Tantivy sailing Vashon Island race off SeattleClass 3 was not an easy task in a class of five, count em‘, five J/35’s and two J/109s!  All very capable and fast designs.  Taking second in class was the always well-sailed J/109 TANTIVY.  Class 4 saw one of the West Sounds fastest J/105’s take third- DULCINEA.  Class 5 once again watched that beautifully maintained J/29 SLICK, owned by Mayfield & Nelson, slip into first place in this always tight class.

Almost taking the spread on the day was the amazingly rebuilt J/27 LXIII, owned by Dennis Clark - taking Class 6 by over 35 minutes!  Behind them in third was the well traveled J/27 TRUE NORTH.

As the sun went down on the 2014 Winter Vashon so did the wind, the lights of TYC started to twinkle as the last few boats made the slow crawl to the finish watching their hopes of correcting out on the "Big Boys" slipping away again. A cup of holiday cheer and a warm bunk never sounded better as the sails were furled and hatches were battened down for a long winter’s night.

Call your local sailmaker and convince them there is no snow on them thar hills anyway so they may as well go sailing!  Have them come out and critique you at Duwamish Head Jan 10th hosted by the very cordial Three Tree Point Yacht Club.   See you on the water!”  Thanks for the contribution from Andy Schwenk.  Sailing photo credits-Jan Pix @ SmugMug

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Beautiful J/Models for Home or Office J/122 model (San Cristóbal, Dominican Republic)- Celebrating their 20th anniversary, Denis Cartier’s model-making business- has produced a number of gorgeous J/models, ranging from the J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80 up to the J/109, J/122 and J/44.

With their great devotion to both the sea and sailing, Abordage has been proudly producing beautifully handcrafted ship models, either classic or modern ships, since the Company’s inception in 1989.

From their well-established boat yard in the Dominican Republic, the highly skilled team of craftsmen works with only the finest of materials and produces every ship model in minute detail and with innovative perfection.  If you have an interest in these remarkably affordable models of your boat, please visit-   For J/Model examples, please take a look at some of the stunning detail here.

The Perfect Gift For People Who Love Sailing!

J/Sailing Calendar 2015 (Newport, RI)- HOT Off the Press!  Order your J/Calendar 2015 now! There’s still enough time to fill the stockings or toss some under the tree for your favorite sailors!

For 2015, we have created another beautiful calendar for J sailors who love the joys of sailing a J in some of the most spectacular harbors and waters of the world.  Whether you are a cruising, racing or armchair sailor, these stunning sailboat photographs will transport you to wonderful sailing experiences in far away places.

The 2015 sailing calendar features photos of J/70s flying off Monte Carlo & Lake Garda; J/24s dueling off Sweden, Newport & Seattle; surrealistic J/80s off Santander, Spain; J/120s gliding off San Diego; J/111s serenely sailing on the Solent; J/22s sailing off the Netherlands; and other gorgeous images of J/105s and J/122.  A great gift for loved ones, family, friends and crew (see gallery here). Order your 2015 J/Calendar today here!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

White Hot Rum Series A J/Team Festival

J/105s sailing in Hot Rum seriess off San Diego, CAJ/70s Eclipse PHRF Class 4!
(San Diego, CA)- For the three weekends that comprise the San Diego YC’s Hot Rum Series, it’s clear the veterans know you can expect just about anything the weather Gods can throw at you— from full-on gales to simply no wind- known as a “glass out”.  While the first weekend offered somewhat reasonable racing, the last two races of this year’s series were fraught with peril.

For example, Hot Rum #2 was another busy day on the water for competitors and Race Committee. With the addition of a nice westerly breeze, maneuvers at the start line were much easier to accomplish and nobody came in contact with the RC Signal boat.

However, on the return leg, our “Check In” notice of outbound Navy Ship @ 1500 materialized. We are not given notice of what, precisely when, or how the vessels will maneuver or be getting underway. That’s (understandably) the US Navy way. Departure times for their operations are not generally subject to negotiation or influenced by recreational traffic. However, much more than you are probably aware, the US Navy makes regular considerations for recreational traffic both in the bay and in the Coronado Roads, in the course of their everyday operations.

While it was unfortunate that there was also an outbound car carrier passing Ballast Point just moments before the US Navy Sub got underway, in the midst of dozens of Hot Rum competitors negotiating each other, light winds, changing tide and inbound at Ballast Point meant this mix of commercial traffic, US Navy subs and Hot Rum sailors had about as good an outcome as there could have been— e.g. complete and utter chaos reigned!

Know that the Harbor Pilots and SeaTractor crew, along with the US Navy Sub Crew and Security boats accomplished their task swiftly and with much more traffic, much closer than they would ordinarily allow, without complaint. A big “Thank You” to them, and all sailors who complied with directions and alterations of course. Working together with all the various facets that make up the San Diego Bay is what makes Hot Rum Series contest unique, interesting, and possible!

Then, for the following weekend, the weather Gods again didn’t cooperate, with light airs prevailing most all day and most boats roasting in the beautiful SoCal “Sunny Diego” weather.

In Class 2, the J/120s turned out seven strong and some crews had a successful go of it in less than ideal J/120 sailing conditions.  At the top of the heap was Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, taking 2nd in class and garnering top honors for J/120s.  Following them was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY at 5th in class and 2nd J/120.  Third J/120 was Ernie Pennell’s TAMA JAMA.

Six J/105s took up the challenge in Class 3 with Dag Fish’s VIGGEN taking class honors and 2nd in class.  Third in Class and 2nd J/105 was Dennis Case’s WINGS, losing a tie-breaker with VIGGEN at 13 pts each.  Notably, Herb Zoehrer’s J/35 Z-FORCE had a good outing, taking 7th in a class of 40 boats!

The most surprising outcome of the series was the extraordinary performance of the top J/70s, with Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR winning class with Karl Pomeroy’s ZERO TO 60 taking 2nd only one point back!  The third J/70 was David Cheresh’s FLARE in 8th.

Finally, hanging tough in Class 5 yet again was Mark Clements’ classic J/24 BRIGADOON, closing with a superior performance in the last race by taking 3rd in a fleet of 26 boats!   For more San Diego YC Hot Rum Series sailing information