Monday, December 17, 2007

J/80 Across the Atlantic

“The rough wind had brought up some nice waves rolling in from astern and with storm jib and main our J/80 was constantly planing with top speed above 15 knots. The full moon gave full control over the big waves and I could freely choose which waves to surf down. I thought that this night’s sailing alone was worth all the effort and hard work preparing for this trip when I suddenly see something dark by the side of the boat. It takes a few seconds before I realize that the boat is surrounded by dolphins. Sometimes three to four dolphins jump just in front of the bow, sometimes side by side with the boat. I am actually playing in the waves with the J/80 together with the dolphins. Amazing! I woke Andreas down below (who hadn't been able to sleep anyway in the racketing noise) he looked up and realized where the whistling and clicking noises he had heard actually came from.”

Two good friends and fellow sailors Jens Utbult and Andreas Granberg from Sweden have taken on the challenge to sail to the West Indies from Portugal aboard their J/80 and are just now nearing completion of the crossing/odyssey. Why, you might ask? “The idea of sailing to the West Indies was born during a warm summer night on our way to Fårö. A J/80, is an eight meter long racing boat with the same conveniences as a two-man-tent and is so fast that it even leaves some 40-feet boats behind. J/80s have been sailed in races like Gotland Runt and other ocean races many times but still, no one has crossed the Atlantic Ocean in one. We will change that during 2007.” Follow their adventure here.

Friday, November 23, 2007

J/80’s 1-2 in Asian Sportboat Champs

The J/80 recently debuted in Asia at the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Maersk Asian International Sportboat Championship, where two out-of-the-box J/80 yachts took the top two spots, finishing ahead of a mixed fleet of custom and production built sportboats from China, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore. Jeff Johnstone of J Boats and his all-Hong Kong crew edged out colleague Jeff Brown of San Diego to complete the one-two sweep. Brown, with partner Hudson Wang, recently opened the J Boats Asia dealership with an office in downtown Hong Kong and with plans for a mainland China office in 2008.

The Asian debut comes at a time when J/80 activity is booming worldwide. The recent J/80 World Championship in La Trinite-sur-Mer, France had 124 competing teams - a record for the Class, and momentum continues to build. "The J/80 is a solid all-around performer that’s really easy to sail," Johnstone said. "It's more stable than most sportboats, and so attracts and rewards sailors from a wider age and ability range."

Brown is equally enthusiastic about the J/80's Asian debut. "We see Hong Kong, China, and Asia as great opportunities for J/80 sailing and for the J/80 Class," said Brown. "There is no better small keelboat for new sailors - the J/80 combines the speed and responsiveness of a small boat with the comfort and stability of a larger yacht. With momentum so strong around the world, we're hoping to host the J/80 Pacific Rim Championship in a few years!"

The J/80 will be on display at the Shanghai International Boat Show next April.

Friday, November 16, 2007

J/80 2007 NA Championship

Kerry Klingler sailing his J/80 Lifted with crew including Doug Lynn, Neil Bresnan & John Bowden recently won his second consecutive J/80 North American Championship and third J80 NA title overall by winning the final show-down race where a single point separated the top three boats.

Just six weeks before the J/80 NA Championships the J/80 Class organization faced a terrible problem. Lake Norman, N.C., where the regatta was scheduled to take place was drying up because of the severe drought in the southeast USA. With too little water to launch boats and race it was panic time! The class’s first call was to Kristen Robinson to ask if Eastport YC, in Annapolis, could host the regatta. The club accepted and started organizing a first class event in record time. The class embraced the move and teams from as far away as California changed plans. The end result was a true championship regatta, raced by 33 competitors who love the boat… Complete wrap-up.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Venue Change! J/80 NA Championship

Due to the very low water levels in Lake Norman, NC the 2007 J/80 North American Championship regatta has recently been moved to Annapolis, MD. Eastport Yacht Club will now host the event. Dates for the regatta remain the same, Nov. 9-11, and if you have already registered, your registration fee and application will be transferred to the new race organizers. If you have not already registered, please do so now! Annapolis is the Sailing Capitol of the World and promises great race committee, great parties and a great atmosphere. Details, including a new NOR, schedule of events and information on visiting Annapolis, will be posted shortly. Please help Eastport Yacht Club, Fleet 18 and your J80 USA Executive Board in making this a great National Championship! for latest info

Thursday, August 30, 2007

New J/80 Production in USA

J/80 momentum is cranking along worldwide and production has resumed in the USA with new 2008 models shipping from Pearson Composites in Rhode Island. Current J/80 Midwinter and former J/80 World champion Kerry Klingler picked up Hull #1001 last month (pictured). Designer Rod Johnstone sold his bigger J and will be sailing a new J/80 at the North Americans in November. The 2008 model incorporates several new features: new style rails and stanchions reduced to the 450mm class minimum height; molded companionway step; tack line clutch; Sparcraft France J/80 anodized spar package; J/Europe style bowsprit and end fitting; all California gray deck; Harken carbo block upgrade; Ronstan jib tracks and plunger cars. A special boat/trailer package is available this fall from your local J Boats dealer.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Ole! Spanish Armada takes on J/80 Worlds

First a great showing at the America’s Cup, both as host country and a leading challenger, and now Spain has shown its stuff at the top of the one-design world with 3 out of the top 4 placings in the 2007 J/80 World Championship. Spain is the newest country to adopt the J/80 as its one-design keelboat of choice (100 new boats delivered in the past 14 months with another 30 on order) but you wouldn’t know it by the way they handled the windy conditions and a record 124 boat fleet off of La Trinite, France last week. Spanish skippers Jose Maria Torcida Seghers and Ignacio Camino battled against each other until the last and decisive 11th race. Torcida Seghers aboard ECC VIVIENDAS emerged as the new J/80 World Champion with an impressive 5 wins in 11 races.

"We came here with very limited objectives knowing we would face the word's best. We've only been sailing seriously and competitively in the J/80 since last October. We decided to train as a team with the entire 30 boat fleet gathered in Santander. All that hard work has paid off."

Germany's Ulrich Muenker's third place overall prevents the Spaniards from heading home with a unique grand slam in the J/80's World history. For the very first time, the Worlds winner did not come from the organizing country. The 2008 Worlds will take place in mid-July in Kiel, Germany.

Overall top six (results...)
1. Jose Maria Torcida Seghers, ESP, 29 points
2. Ignacio Camino, ESP, 46
3. Ulrich Muenker, GER, 57
4. Rayco Tabares, ESP, 61
5. Sylvain Pellissier, FRA, 65
6. Glenn Darden, USA, 66

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

J/80 Class Growth Explodes in Europe

Spi-Ouest Regatta in France will serve as the official European kick off for 2007 J/80 one-design racing season and (as of this post) has registered over 77 boats, a record for the class and an explosive 40% growth rate over the fleet at the event last year. Needless to say this will be the largest class at the event for the second year in a row.

J/80 demand is on the rise in a major way with over 100 new J/80s being built this year alone and production set to resume in the USA at Pearson Composites. J/80 is the official Royal Yachting Association training and match race keelboat, the choice training boat of the French Naval Academy, the latest new fleet in America’s Cup host nation, Spain, with a newly established J/80 one design fleet now in Italy. It is also the training boat of choice for J/World Sailing Schools around the world. J/80 is coming of age and 2007 promises to be a great year! more on the J/80.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

J/80 Class Nearing Milestone

Now in its 14th year, the J/80 is in more demand than ever. 45 boats were recently shipped to Spain and another 50 are on order for England, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and the States. By year’s end, over 1000 boats will be sailing worldwide. The French Navy selected the J/80 for use at their Naval Academy and sailing clubs, and last year hosted the Military Sailing Championships. The Royal Yachting Association (UK) picked the J/80 as their sole keelboat for training, match-racing and corporate sailing. The Swedish Sailing authority (SSSR) features the J/80 for its match-racing development program, and J World Sailing School uses J/80s at its locations in Annapolis, San Francisco, San Diego, Puerto Vallarta and Stockholm. Class racing is booming and the 2007 J/80 World Championship will be sailed in La Trinite sur Mer, France July 1-7. 70+ boats expected from at least 7 nations.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Large J/80 Fleet for Spi Ouest

The annual Easter weekend regatta based in La Trinite, France is the highlight sailing event of the year for most French sailors. The International J/80 class participation has grown each year and in 2006 was the largest class of the regatta with over 50 boats. This year promises to be even larger with over 60 boats (30 of which have already entered) in the first event of the 2007 French J/80 Annual Circuit. In early July, La Trinite will also host the 2007 J/80 World Championship where over 70 boats are expected to attend. J/80 sailors who wish to charter a boat for the worlds are encouraged to contact J/Europe directly in order to make arrangements to reserve a boat.