Friday, September 19, 2014

HEY JUDE Wins J/105 Canadians

J/105 Hey Jude (Toronto, Ontario)- It could be said there are other good Canadian sailors other than Terry McLaughlin (an Olympic Medalist, America’s Cup sailor and two-time New York YC Invitational Cup winner), but that is a short list amongst the sailing cognoscenti north of the border.  Nevertheless, in the world of one-design sailing it can happen that at any one time even pretenders to the throne are more than capable of upsetting the status quo.  Amongst those sailors happens to be Jim Rathbun.

Jim is a quick learner; having sailed with Terry McLaughlin as tactician on his boat HEY JUDE in the 2009 J/105 North Americans on Long Island Sound.  With Rathbun steering and McLaughlin on tactics, they nearly pulled off a “quickie” on their “south of the border” neighbors, having to settle for second place instead.  In 2013, Rathbun’s team on HEY JUDE pulled off the inevitable, taking the J/105 North Americans in Annapolis, MD, the very seat and hotbed of all J/105 talent in all of the USA.  So, it’s not surprising that Rathbun’s team on HEY JUDE are continuing on that winning role by taking the Canadian J/105 Championship in 2014.  He promised as much in Annapolis, MD last fall!!

While Rathbun’s team won three of six races to take the overall win over Terry McLaughlin’s MANDATE team, it was clear they were the only teams in contention.  All other J/105 crews in the top five were fighting amongst each other for the remaining scraps in the pile.  Greg Mezo’s team on FORRO took third, with Peter Hall’s JAMAICA ME CRAZY on fourth and Bill Bevan’s ENDEAVOUR taking fifth.

This event was the last major regatta for all Lake Ontario J/105 teams taking place in the upcoming J/105 North American Championship hosted by Royal Canadian YC late in September.  For more J/105 Canadian Championship sailing information

Thursday, September 18, 2014

J/70 Denmark’s Official Sports Boat!

J/70s sailing around mark in Denmark sailing series (Copenhagen, Denmark)- In conjunction with the final Danish Sailing League event sailed recently in Aarhus (see news below), the Danish Sailing Association (Dansk Sejlunion) has announced that their future one-design keelboat for its associated clubs will be the International J/70!

The decision by the Danish Sailing Association has been a lengthy process.  In fact, the input from club sailors participating in the Danish J/70 Sailing League was critical to the decision.  After three league events- Rungsted, Sønderborg and Hellerup- the J/70 was tested thoroughly in all sailing conditions (light air, flat water to heavy air and rough, steep seas).  In short, the sailors have been more than enthusiastic about this exciting boat.  The Association’s committee was also quite impressed by the J70s ability to handle many different crews with a wide range of experience, plus they felt it was quite impressive the J/70s have been able to withstand the punishing sailing conditions with the inexperienced crews.

Helping the local Danish sailing clubs on the purchase and finance of their J/70s is “DS Club Finance”.  The sailor and entrepreneur Ib Kunøe, Chairman of Consolidated Holding, launched with the Danish Sailing Association a financing solution for clubs through the establishment of DS Club Finance.

Said Ib, "Sailing has again become a party that everyone can enjoy - just take a look at the interest in the Sailing League. People come by the harbor and are greeted with sailing taking place right on the waterfront. As spectators, we are practically in the middle of the race and experience it all first-hand."

"The task of the sailing clubs is that they have to create an environment that fosters the best team and defend the club's honor in the Sailing League. So, you create an environment that is important to the sailing club’s sporting profile. Here, it is OK to win bragging rights," says President Hans Natorp.  He continues to say, “It is the local experiences and the community of sailors that create a fun, warm, inviting ‘club life’ that ensures new generations of young people become aware of sailing's endless possibilities.”

Ib Kunøe agrees. Ib says, “I expect the new J/70 sports boats will retain the majority of juniors and young adults in the sailing club teams across Denmark, thus reducing the dropout rate.  Sailing must be fun, exciting and accessible to all.  The J/70 is a perfect boat for our club sailors in Denmark.”   For more information on, please read Danish Sailing Magazine BAADMAGASINET.  For more Danish Sailing League information

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Bodensee YC Tops J/70 German Sailing League @ Kiel!

J/70 sailing off Kiel, Germany (Kiel, Germany)- Even outside the Kieler Woche, the city of Kiel ,Germany is known as “Kiel-Sailing-City” at the highest level of sailing anywhere in the world. The fourth stage of the J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga for the best sailing clubs competing from all over Germany recently took place at the Kiel Fjord.

The regatta team from Kieler Yacht-Club, including PRO Philip Rosenberg provided the sailors on the water an organization at the highest level. On land, the state capital Kiel and Kiel-Marketing GmbH made sure the sailors were more than taken care of with professional class, red-carpet care.

The first day went into slow motion. Only five of 45 races scheduled were completed. An unusual sight at the top after a day in Kiel with very little wind.  The second day was not much better. Only eight more races could be completed. At this point, the Bodensee YC defended their lead before the Norddeutscher Regatta Verein crew and the Wannsee sailing team.

J/70 sailing Germany segel-bundesliga off Kiel, GermanyThe wind-puzzle at the first Segel-Bundesliga in Kiel meant it was a challenge for all sailors all weekend.  Bodensee YC Überlingen (BYCÜ) won with crew of helmsman Andreas Buchert, Dr. Klaus-Peter Stengele, Jonathan Koch and Joseph Pochhammer in Kiel. "The fact that we begin here as well and win in the end, we had not thought of. It was an up and down. We appreciate the support of the fans and the city, which are close behind us as the only Bundesliga team from Überlingen," says Andreas Buchert.  With the victory in Kiel and in fifth place in Berlin in August, the BYCÜ catapulted out of the relegation and is now fifth in the series table.

Behind by three points behind in second place were the defending champion Norddeutscher Regatta Verein (NRV) with Sven-Erik Horsch, Carsten Kemmling, Florian Weser and Niklas v. Meyerinck and only one point behind them were the Luebeck Yacht Club with Simon Grotelüschen, Janika pulse, Arne Holweg and Niclas Kath.

KIEL.SAILING.CITY proved to be the perfect station for the Segel-Bundesliga. "That the Segel-Bundesliga is positioned close to the shore in front of the audience, was a great experience. For today, I had specially ordered more wind, that Neptune did not, for that I apologize. The races were still very exciting and we look forward to welcoming you again in the Bundesliga Kiel," said Gerwin Stichs, Councillor for Social Affairs, housing, health and sports for the city of Kiel.  Sailing Photo Credits: Sven Juergensen
YouTube sailing video Summary-
Day 1 sailing video-
Day 2 sailing video-
Day 3 sailing video-
For more J/70 Deutsche Segel-Bundesliga sailing information

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hellerup SC Tops J/70 Danish Sailing League

J/70s sailing Danish Sailing League (Aarhus, Denmark)- The Danish Sailing League's first season ended Sunday afternoon with Hellerup Sailing Club at the top of the podium as sovereign Danish champions for sailing clubs.

The winning HSC team included Mads Christensen, Ida Hartvig, Trine Abrahamsen, Casper Peetz, Kvid Kristian Sorensen, Morten Halkier and Christina Otzen along the way.

"I've tried to win the ISAF World Cup and other things in my time. But this is the first time I've seen someone come up to me and say that WE are ‘number one’. I am proud to have helped to create a sense of community within the club about this," said the skipper Mads Christensen - the only one who has sailed all four events for Hellerup SC.

"Hellerup is a club that does a lot of racing, and it means a lot to the team to win this. This strengthens the club and it will be needed when all the others come in next season with even stronger sailors!”

"Overall, Danish yachting be really proud of the league's first season. We have had many young sailors back in the sport, and we have created something really fun and with very close sailing. I believe that the league may be the ‘Game-Changer’ for the sport of sailing," said Mads Christensen.

J/70 sailing with Danish women sailorsThe Royal Danish YC demonstrated its participation with four different crews for each of four events! 16 sailors in total. In Aarhus, the KDY had four young match racing talents. The result was a second place finish at the event - and second place as the final series standings!  "It went very well and we can be satisfied, although we were also disappointed about not winning," said Hans-Christian Rosendahl for KDY.

The big drama on the last day played out in the battle for the league's third place that also provides access to the forthcoming Champions League Tournament in Copenhagen.

All five clubs were in contention. Kaløvig and Aarhus had the best starting point. But with three first places in the last three races, the Kerteminde Sailing Club came from behind and took third place at the very end.

"It's absolutely fantastic, I almost do not know what to say. We did not expect it,” said skipper Kim Haugaard.  "We chose to focus on our starts with open air as the most important criteria. Even if others were ahead of us. It worked, we can see now," he went on.

Kerteminde SC had a total of eight sailors participating, with Thomas Møhl as the only one who has sailed all four events.

J/70 sailing Danish Sailing LeagueThe stage is set for a close battle for next year’s qualifiers to the 2015 Sailing League season. At least 15 clubs are in the qualifying tournament held in late October. The registered clubs are- Elsinore SC, Horsens SC, Struer SC, KAS - Kjøbenhavns Amateur SC, Gilleleje SC, Vedbaek SC,  Sejlklubben Lynæs, Thuroe YC, YC Furesøen, Bogense SC, Godalming Bådelaug, SC Lynetten KØS, Boating SC, Hadsund SC, and Skærbæk Bådeklub.

“The number of registered clubs largely live up to expectations,” says the league's project manager Peter Wolsing. “It's really positive with so much support. More than ten percent of all member clubs in the Danish Sailing Association is now either in the league or trying to qualify,” said Wolsing.  He elaborates, “In reality, we are now close to having enough clubs to form the second division. Two leagues will allow the development of sports boat sailing in Denmark a tremendous impetus. And that is precisely Sailing League's main mission - to create a broad and accessible platform for attractive sports boat sailing in Denmark.”

The qualification regatta will take place over the weekend of 25-26th October in Copenhagen, prior to the planned Champions League competition shortly before.  Register for the regatta- contact Peter Wolsing,   Danish Sailing League summary- YouTube Sailing video   For more J/70 Danish Sailing League sailing information

Monday, September 15, 2014

Newport Harbor Dominates NYYC J/70 USQS

J/70 USQS sailing series (Newport, RI)- The three yacht clubs that finished on the podium at the 2014 U.S. Qualifying Series for the New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup have at least two things in common. First, each has previously earned a berth in the Invitational Cup. Second, each club was less than satisfied with their previous showing at that event.

Next September 2015, those three clubs--Newport Harbor Yacht Club, Eastern Yacht Club and Seattle Yacht Club--will have a chance to redeem themselves at the 2015 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex.

Each of the teams took a different path to the podium in the 2014 U.S. Qualifying Series. Newport Harbor was utterly dominant. Led by skipper Michael Menninger and tactician Jon Pinckney, Newport Harbor won 13 of 17 races. The team, which also included Taylor Grimes and Gregory Helias, wobbled slightly on the final day with an eighth and a 12th. But the latter was the result of a jib halyard issue and eventually rectified with a redress claim, which was approved by the jury. Newport Harbor also won three races on the final day.

NHYC J/70 sailing team"It wasn't the best day," says Menninger. "We had one bad race and one breakdown, but we never got worried. We just kept plugging away. We knew we had good boatspeed, we knew we were still sailing well. Our mentality on the boat didn't change at all."

For Eastern Yacht Club, on the other hand, the final day was a constant battle. The team entered Saturday with a tenuous grip on a top-three finish. Time after time, skipper Bill Lynn and his team found themselves staring at a host of transoms, and they were forced to grind through a very stubborn fleet. The end result, a second-place overall, was worth the effort.

"We seemed to just dig ourselves little holes and them climb out of them," says Lynn, who sailed with Alden Reid, Ben Richardson and Megan Watson. "We were probably sailing a little too conservatively at times--except for the one time we did circles at the windward mark when we stuck it somewhere we shouldn't have. I think overall we were trying not to be over [early at the start], trying to stay with the pack. We had great speed, which made it easier to dig our way out when we had to."

Lynn was part of a team that won the inaugural J/70 North American Championship last fall in Annapolis, Md., but he said that the rule changes for this event--which prohibit changing the rig tune and don't allow any crew to hike with their legs over the side of the boat--made it hard to transfer much of what he has learned about the J/70 to the USQS.

"I've spent a fair amount of time in these boats," says Lynn. "It helps you downwind with the technique when you're figuring out when to plane, but upwind it's a totally different animal because you can't tune the rig."

Eastern Yacht Club finished fourth at the 2011 Invitational Cup and missed earning a spot for 2013. Lynn says the club is eager for one more bite at the apple.

For Seattle, the route to its second Invitational Cup bid was paved with consistency. Of the 11 races in the championship series, Seattle finished between third and sixth in nine. Andrew Loe, who skippered the club's USQS entry in 2012 and its Invitational Cup team in 2013, knew exactly what was required to earn his club a return trip to the Invitational Cup.

Just outside of the top three were New Bedford and Shelter Island. Both clubs were competing in the USQS for the first time and both came on strong on the final day, a good sign should they come back in 2016.

With the U.S. Qualifying Series now finished, the New York Yacht Club will work to finalize the roster of invited teams for the 2015 New York Yacht Club Invitational Cup presented by Rolex. That list will be released by early 2015. As with the past three editions of the Invitational Cup, the premier international Corinthian big-boat competition, a diverse and very competitive field is expected to challenge the two-time defending champions from the Royal Canadian Yacht Club (which in both cases featured top J/24 and J/105 sailor and Olympic Medallist Terry McLaughlin as its skipper— a formidable opponent!).
For more NYYC Invitational Cup USQS Sailing information

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Heather Gregg-Earl- Top Woman Sailor's Global Perspective

Heather Gregg-Earl- J/70 sailor and owner of MUSE (Nantucket, MA)- Nantucket Race Week inspires perspective on the global picture for some sailors.  This annual summer event is a nine-day experience that brings the entire Nantucket community together in a fun-filled week of regattas, awards ceremonies, and parties. Over the course of the week, there are 15 race events that provide sport for everyone from young dinghy sailors and families in the household one design to grand prix racers at the very top of their profession.

Skipper Heather Gregg-Earl won the IOD Celebrity Invitational Regatta, with Robbie Doyle as her celebrity tactician, raced in IOD International One Design class boats. Her victory also earned Nantucket Race Week’s overall “Best Performance in a One-Design Class” presented by Stacee Mahoney, Regional Manager, Porsche Cars North America. Hearing of the award, Heather commented on the mission of Nantucket Community Sailing, which the Celebrity Invitational and other NRW activities help sustain:

“Bringing sailing into kids lives is such a wonderful and valuable initiative – and after having had a son experience the world through sailing this summer I wanted to share a quick story.

My 11 year old son had the opportunity to go to the Opti Europeans in Ireland and also to spend 10 days in Israel beforehand training with the Israeli National Opti Team.

I flew the 4 US kids over to Tel Aviv, which was before the conflict erupted, but had to return while they stayed. They got out the day before the airport closed and had a wonderful time. My son came back to tell me the story of having sailed on the Sea of Galilee, then on the Med, his local host family, his time living on a kibbutz, the Hebrew words he learned, and then with great big eyes, he told me “mom, there is a place called Gaza!” (as if no one knew about it, very cute) and proceeded to tell me they had to go into a bunker at midnight when they stayed with their local family.

He grew up a lot this trip and it really hit me that this experience was all possible because of his sailing.

While many kids may not pursue sailing at the national/international level, the principles are all the same. Independence, making new friends, teamwork, camaraderie, confidence, and a desire to experience the world and the sea with different eyes, the work NCS does in bringing sailing into kids life’s is, in my book, life changing.

Thanks to Nantucket Community Sailing for all it does to make sailing accessible to all.”

Nantucket Race Week is hosted by the Nantucket Yacht Club and the Great Harbor Yacht Club to benefit Nantucket Community Sailing (NCS), a non-profit, educational organization that provides affordable access to sailing and water sports to the public. Now in its 20th year, NCS served over 2000 sailors last year, providing free equipment and instruction through many community outreach programs, including sponsoring and coaching Nantucket’s High School Sailing Team, offering scholarships to year-round island youth, running informal sailboat races for all levels and teaching adaptive windsurfing and sailing clinics for disabled athletes.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

J/30 North Americans Preview

J/30 one-design family cruiser racer- sailing fast upwind (Riverside, CT)- Born in 1979 after the J/24 had taken off like a rocketship, the J/30 has enjoyed a remarkable degree of success across the world as an all-around 30 ft family cruiser-racer.  Having survived the infamous Fastnet Race in 1979 (one double-handed) and others having won numerous Rolex Submariner watches in the famous Rolex St Thomas Regatta in the Caribbean, it can be said the J/30 has enjoyed at least four or five of its nine lives.  Many proud owners today continue to extol its virtues as a nice all-around 30 footer that is easy-to-own, easy-to-sail, and enjoyed by the whole family at an affordable price on today’s “pre-loved” marketplace.  That the upcoming J/30 North Americans hosted by Cedar Point YC from September 11th to 14th has thirteen boats registered for the weekend regatta is a testimony of the boat’s enormous popularity over three decades.

This year’s regatta has teams from New Jersey, Maryland, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Illinois and Michigan- eight states represented after thirty years!  That is quite remarkable and a testimony to the J/30s passionate and loyal owners.  Many top J/30 teams are present for this year’s event.  Given the cross-section of teams sailing, it would be fair to say just about any of teams (both local and visiting) have a fair shake at the top of the leaderboard.

Many familiar fast J/30s will be present, including Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello’s BEPOP from Annapolis YC, Steve Buzbee’s BLUE MEANIE from Raritan Bay YC, Carl Sherter’s FAT CITY from local host Cedar Point YC, Dennis Bartley’s PLANXTY from Oak Park, IL, Bill Kneller’s RHAPSODY from Portsmouth, RI and Russ Atkinson’s WILDCAT from North Cape YC in Rockwood, MI.  For more J/30 North Americans sailing information