Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Japan Wins Gold Match-racing J/80s

J/80 fleet for Asian Games- ready to go sailing in match racing
(Guangzhou, China/ Shanwei Sailing Center- Nov. 20th)- Japan won the Gold Medal in Open Match Racing of Sailing at the 16th Asian Games in co-host city Shanwei. This is a tribute to the long-term focus of the Japanese Sailing Team in the match-racing arena, no doubt helped by the presence of Peter Gilmour and his influence on the Japanese America's Cup programs over time. A surprise Silver Medalist was the Indian team skipper by Balraj Balraj.  Third was Korea getting the bronze led by Sungmin Cho.  Here are the standings for the Asian Games Sailing medalists and their crew:

1. Gold- Japan- OKAMOTO Yasuhiro- skipper, SAKAMOTO Wataru, WADA Daichi, YOSHIFUJI Hiroaki

2. Silver- India- BALRAJ Balraj- skipper, HELEGAONKAR Trunal, SINHA Atool, TARAPORE Farokh Fa, YADAV Shekhar Sing

3. Bronze- Korea- CHO Sungmin- skipper, KIM Sungwok, LEE Dongwoo, NAM Yongjin, PARK Gunwoo

Read more about their in the Sailing section here on the Asia Games 2010 site.   

Zen Sailing by Lee Carlson- J/80 Sailor

J/80 sailor Lee's new book on life and sailing* Now and Zen-  We sail for a lot of different reasons.  Some people like to win races, but they don’t even really like the pure act of sailing.  Some people never win a race in their life, but they just love being out the water.  Then, there are those of us for whom sailing can become an act of personal salvation.  Lee Carlson has an excellent story to tell about how sailing gave him back his life through his book “Passage to Nirvana”.

You can read the whole version of the events in Lee’s life that led up to his need to write this book, but the short version is that a culmination of some pretty negative things – a nasty divorce, his mother falling down a flight of stairs and dying, topped off by being hit by a car and sustaining a traumatic brain injury – gave the net result of his book. Somehow, Lee found the resolve to recover his life and did so largely because of the support of his fiancĂ© Meg, and their boat, aptly named “Nirvana”.  Toss in some Zen, and you have a book not so much about Lee’s life, but lessons that can be applied universally.  Here’s a quick Q & A with a guy who has had more than his share of bad luck, but who has also had the good fortune to have the ability to turn it around.  Scot Tempesta at Sailing Anarchy did one of his famous "SA InnerViews" with Lee--- here's the intro, you gotta read the rest.  Absolutely amazing and inspiring story.

SA - What is your background in sailing?  Where, and on what, have you sailed?

Lee - I was born on the Navy base in San Diego when my father was on a destroyer there. I started sailing soon after I was born, going out with he and my mother in a Star. I grew up at the Buffalo Canoe Club on Lake Erie. I raced with some of the top Lightning sailors in the world, and I also raced the usual and not-so-usual assortment of dinghies and small keelboats: Tech Dinghies, Lasers, 420's, 470's, Albacores, Sharks, J24's. Then I graduated to larger keelboats: Ted Hood's fantastic centerboard one tonner “Abino Robin”,  an Ericson 39 “Warlock” on Lake Erie and LIS, Eight-Meters on Lake Ontario (changing headsails in the middle of the night in freezing 8-ft. seas while clinging to a knife-edge bow with no lifelines is not something one ever forgets), and other bigger custom keelboats. Those were the days of the SORC and I raced on the maxi Windward Passage, on a mini-maxi that was a Doyle team boat, as well as racing captain of a Dubois 46 and as crew on assorted other boats. I also cruised fairly extensively, first on my family's Islander 37 on the Great Lakes, with a few charters in the Caribbean. My father bought part ownership of a 34-footer with a family in Miami, and we used to do family vacations in the Bahamas, before the drug scene got too bad. For my honeymoon my wife and I bareboated in the Virgins. When I moved to New York City to become a magazine editor, I raced a number of different boats on Long Island Sound, such as an Evelyn 32. Before my accident I was crewing regularly on a J/80.   Read the rest of Scot's SA InnerView here.   For the book, you can get it here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Italian J/80 Winter Championship XV

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing on Lake Garda, Italy
(Tigullio, Italy)- The fourteenth of November.  1400 hours. On a lake in Italy.  Mediterranean climate.  Warm. Sunny. Gentle warm breeze. Anything wrong with this picture?  Not if you live in Italy.  Or, you live someplace else driving a desk and wish you could be there!

The beginning of the Winter Championships in Tigullio started this past weekend in Italy.  For those of you so inclined, they still have room on some of their boats for refugees from America and northern Europe to join them for the next few weekends!  They promise an enormous amount of generous, warm-hearted, real-Italian hospitality, fabulous food, extraordinary wines, delectable truffles, deliciously yummy breads and tasty cheeses and a lot of love to spread around to any fun-loving J/80 sailors!

J/80 Italian sailing team- sailing around markThe PRO managed to run two splendid races on the first day.  Only a mild "scirocco" with 10-12 knots, warm, mild, dry air gracing one's skin, beautifully replenishing the strains of a weeks worth of abuse driving a desk at the office.  As our Italian friends say, the Tigullio is no longer the "Gulf of Nesci" and continues to give an "elixir" for anyone taking days of sailing and racing for the benefit of their well-being.  Out on the water it just so happens that JENIALE crushed the faithful with MONTPRES in second and OLD SPIRIT third.  In the second race, JENIALE walked away again (next time feed them more red wine at dinner!), second was J'BES and third OLD SPIRIT.  While these are just the first rounds of sailing, the next are on November 28.  Still time to book Alitalia or British Airways and join them!  Sailing Photos by F. Prandini.  For more J/80 Italian Winter Series sailing information.  

Asian Games J/80 Tour de Force

China hosting Asian Games for sailing in Guangzhou(Guangzhou, China)- South China's host city of the Asian Games is one of the top ten cities in China.  For most Westerners this may mean nothing.  However, taken in the context of most cities around the world, Guangzhou is in the world's top 20!  Or, perhaps for many of you, a more sobering thought taken in the context of history, over half of the world's top 20 cities are in China-- and Beijing is not the biggest! 

Taking place on the water off the Shanwei Water Sports Centre is a remarkably well-organized and efficiently run regatta with a fabulous technical tour'de'force of media employing every imaginable means of technology to bring it home to the Chinese masses- live on-water video, helicopters, remote control drones doing live video and so forth.  Nothing is spared to ensure the event is brought to the living rooms of those in the Asian/ Middle Eastern World.  Remember, the "Golden Triangle" comprised of Japan to China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines and points in between comprise over $20 trillion USD in GDP today....hmmm, a bit more than America.

J/80 fleet for Asian Games- ready to go sailing in match racingSailing in this event are an Olympic cross-section of classes, including Lasers, Optimists, and Hobie 16s.  Plus, J/80s for match racing.  So far, the Malaysian Team is doing quite well in the J/80s match racing.  Not far off the pace are the Singapore and Chinese teams.  The list of teams competing in the event include China, Japan, Korea, Pakistan, Bahrain, Singapore, Malaysia and India. According to Jim Johnstone in Xiamen, China "we got the J/80s ready for the Asian Games this past week.  The list of countries participating in the event will someday read like a "who's who" for top Asian sailors.  The event so far has been very good, the area that they are sailing in is quite windy this time of the year.  Best compared to American sites like Corpus Christi, Texas where it blows 20+ knots each day and it's relatively warm.  The teams have had two brand new 3/4 oz conventional spinnakers blow-up and one T-bone, but we are dealing with those things. Since there are only 8 teams it is not hard to pull two boats out of the rotation and switch on the dock." 

J/80s sailing at Asian Games in Guangzhou, ChinaThe 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, opened in dramatic style with a ceremony which drew on Guangzhou's rich maritime history, held in a purpose built arena, located on a small island on the Pearl River. Sailing is one of the 42 sports in this multi-sport event, held every four years in Asia, allowing athletes from all over the Asian continent to compete.

Perhaps most remarkable about this event is the degree to which national sailing authorities (NGO's) in Asian nations take national pride and success in such endeavors as seriously as they do.  It does not take one to scratch the tablets of world history very deeply to appreciate their perspectives in the age of discovery and exploration in the 16th century onwards.  Asia was at the cross-roads of powerful commercial interests and sailing ships, captains, navigators, navies were integral to their successes or failures over the course of time.  Seems to many that they're learning from such experiences fast and accelerating quickly past many of their friendly Western friends not only in the sport of sailing, but in business and culture, too.

Indicative of this change is how sailing is perceived by leaders in the Middle East and Asia and how strongly, in fact, they support sailing as a sport and activity for their growing middle classes.  Leading up to the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, a number of sailors and their sponsors in these countries issued some very interesting statements supporting such endeavors.  Read more about their sailing initiatives in the Sailing section here on the Asia Games 2010 site.   

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

J/80 BMW Sailing Cup Finals

J/80 BMW Match Race- Hamburg, Germany- sailing on the bayGermans Compete For Match Race Supremacy In Hamburg
(Hamburg, Germany- Nov. 6-7)- How's this for a headlin
er- "BMW Yachtsport 2010.  BMW ORACLE Racing wins the America's Cup, while the BMW Sailing Cup, the largest international amateur regatta series, enters its fifth season".  The BMW Sailing Cup has evolved over the past 5 years, according to BMW Yachtsport, into "the biggest amateur sailing event in the world. A sporting challenge, team spirit and joy in sailing are just a few reasons why the BMW Sailing Cup is enjoying increasing popularity.  Six J/80 sailing yachts are made available to amateur crews and each event can take up to 90 sailors in 18 equal strength teams for each regatta on the circuit."  Add in world famous, gorgeous, sexy, Der Spiegel tabloid star and Olympic Gold Medal figure skater Katarina Witt, and you have an amazing feast for the eyes to savor over a few days of sailing on the famous Hamburg harbor.

J/80 BMW Match Race- Katarina Witt sailing in Hamburg, GermanyBefore the Germany Final got underway on Friday, Hamburg was visited by several celebrities and professional yachtsmen. After three races, TEAM NORD with Ulrike Schumann, Niko Mittelmeier and Phillip Buhl were able to celebrate their victory over Markus Weiser while stars like ultra-hot ice-skater Katarina Witt were enjoying their first experience out on the un-frozen water. The biggest winners, however, were the children-- 10,000 Euros were raised for the World Childhood Foundation!  That's a cause for celebration and kudos to BMW Yachtsport Team for supporting such an wonderful program!

A noteworthy prelude to this event was Germany's Championship of Champions held the week before, the winner was-  Markus Wieser.  Germany's sailing elite met in Hamburg the previous weekend for the 31st Championship of Champions. Only German, European and world champions in Olympic and international classes are invited to this exclusive and historically unique regatta. European Dragon champion Markus Wieser and his crew of Matti Paschen and Eberhard Magg defeated 35 other teams on Hamburg's Alster to win the Championship of Champions for the first time.

J/80 BMW match race- sailing around mark in Hamburg, GermanyIn the finale, which featured the top three teams, the BMW Yachtsport Ambassador (Markus Weiser) and his crew produced two immaculate races to leave the opposition in their wake: second place went to the team skippered by Denmark's Sten Mohr, who was part of the afterguard in the BMW ORACLE Racing team for the 32nd America's Cup and was at the helm of the then Challenger of Record in the semi-final of the Louis Vuitton Cup. German match race champion Stefan Meister came third.

"It is fantastic to win this important regatta for the first time," said Wieser. "We produced the best sailing in difficult conditions and with little wind, and were deserved winners. We won all the starts and always led coming to the first buoy. The fact that our crew is used to sailing in various boat classes, as well as in match and fleet races, really paid off. This versatility was the key to our success."  Despite their good performance in Berlin, Wieser ran into the chainsaw of a top-class field in Hamburg; the most important sailing regatta in the capital region all year.  For more BMW Yachtsport German sailing information      English version of BMW Yachtsport.  

Superb J/80 Pornichet French National Series

J/80 France Pornic Cup winners- one-design sailboat(Nantes, France- Oct 30-31)- With sixty-six participants, under optimal conditions, perfect organization both on water and on land, a good atmosphere and sailors thrilled to be racing, what more could one ask for in the penultimate event of the French National J/80 Series. Great sailing for the large fleet and challenging conditions all four days.

The crew of ATLANTIS, skippered by Laurent Sambron was untouchable for four days. Their composure and consistency enabled them to climb the top of the podium for the third time (they're winners in 2006, 2007).  One notable performance was that of the SPANISH GOLD Sailing crew, comprised of Almandaz Iker, Sanchez Inigo, Borja Ponte, Jaunegi Inigo-- their long journey was rewarded with a second overall! They are part of the top 5 best teams in Spain (the other four went to America to show Americans how to sail J/80s downwind).  Third was INTERFACE CONCEPT II sailed by Yannick Le Clech, Xavier Haiz, Gildas Mahe and Ronan Dreano.

J/80 Coyote- Jurassic Park- Bruno Trouble of Louis Vuitton fame- sailing off NewportOn the last day of racing, the whims of the wind Gods forced a delay for the race committee. Originally scheduled for 10 am, the racing didn't start until 11 am.  Even then, with wind oscillations of 45 degrees every fifteen minutes, the PRO was having a difficult time setting a good course.  Nevertheless, a race was launched at 11:30am with a change of course during the race. The "traditional" general recall, the black flag, had to be used on the aggressive fleet. It's almost a custom for the J/80 class!  But again, it was a very good race under a bright sun and mild temperatures for the season. No one was arguing since it was such a gorgeous day.  After the races, everyone went home happily, feeling it was one of the best regattas all year in the French National Series. It's worthwhile to note the excellent job performed by the race committee team and the PRO from the Metropolitan Club Nantes- Saint Nazaire (APCC).  M.I.A. was dear friend Bruno Trouble on COYOTE/ JURASSIC PARK, perhaps still nursing some strained muscles and some good vintage California (and Newport) wines after the J/80 Worlds (seen here to the right having a ball off Newport!)-- the Clarke Cooke House Candy Store evening after the J/80 Worlds Awards was lots of fun!  For more French J/80 sailing results.  Photo courtesy of Paul Todd/ Outside Images.  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

J/80 Worlds Coffee Table Book Published

J/80 Worlds Coffee Table book- Paul Todd- Outside Images(Auckland, NZ)- Paul Todd's Outside Images is pleased to announce the publication of the J/80 World Championship 2010 Coffee Table book.  This book is a memento to sailors and everyone involved with the J/80 World Championship held in Newport, Rhode Island October 2010. There are over 200 images through out the book and each chapter relives some of the awesome sailing and how close the regatta was between the American and Spanish teams.

The book will make a great holiday gift for crew and skippers alike, it opens to extraordinary double page spreads that are 26 inches wide.  This book will look great just sitting on the table for everyone to browse through and get a real taste for the action that played out in Newport between the teams and crew.  Take a sneak peek and place your order for the book.  Your family and friends who love sailing will love you even more for such a thoughtful gift!    View the J/80 Worlds Coffee Table  Book here.

Also you can order any images in the book as prints or digital downloads or any image taken at the regatta.  There is also coupon offers for 3 or more images 25% off ( J80worlds3 ) and for 5 or more 40% off ( J80worlds5 )  It can be applied at the "checkout" stage of purchasing prints or digital downloads at  There are over 500 high-resolution images on the web site.

Follow links to see images from each day's racing:   Day 1     Day 2      Day 3    Day 4   

British Crush Americans Sailing J/80s!

J/80s sailing in RYA Match Race regatta on Queen Mary Reservoir- London, England
(Queen Mary Reservoir, London, England- Oct. 27-31)- Do recall, last weekend was Halloween.  The ghouls, skeletons and goblins were racing around frightening everyone about.  And, Count Dracula was reincarnate as the British team and just sucked the living blood out of those poor Colonialists.  Indeed, the oldest international team racing contest in the world took place this past weekend on Royal Thames YC's London sailing venue at Queen Mary Water in a fleet of 6 evenly matched J/80s jointly owned and managed by Royal Thames Yacht Club and Royal Yacht Squadron (based in Cowes, England).  And, the results were ghoulish, if not plain ugly and deadly for the Americans (Colonialists).

Britain wins for first time since Admiral Nelson's triumph in Trafalgar?  Or, perhaps the 1851 100 Guinea (America's) Cup? Well, not exactly.  1999, to be more precise.  Nevertheless, Andy Cornah and his fellow skippers Ben Field, Mark Lees and Jon Pinner - all members of the Royal Thames Yacht Club team racing squad - reversed more than a century (actually, decade) of American domination in the British-American Cup today with an emphatic performance on Queen Mary Water, West London to take the oldest prize in keelboat team racing by 7 wins to 2.

The British-American Cup, originally donated by the Seawahnaka Corinthian Yacht Club in 1922 as an International Challenge match in Six Metres has been held biennially ever since but was last won by the British in 1999. In 2008 yet another American win brought the Fourth Series of the Cup to an end after 16 matches. Rather than see the competition die Royal Thames challenged the USA to a Fifth series and put up a new British-American Cup. Although the guardians of the contest have always been yacht clubs (in the USA Seawahnaka, in Britain a number of Clubs) the competition is by tradition open, with selection trials held in both countries.

Selection trials for this year's event were held in April and since then Cornah and his team, determined not to preside over yet another British defeat, have practiced together assiduously. Most international team racing is three-on-three over short courses with races lasting about 12 minutes; the BA Cup is unusual in calling for teams of four boats a side, sailed over longer courses and with races lasting 40 minutes.  The tournament allows for up to 13 of such races, spread over three days, with the match going to the first team to win 7 races.

Racing for the First Match of the Fifth Series began on Friday 29th October with four races sailed. The British opened well with a straightforward win, then fought off a determined American challenge to win more narrowly. In the third race all but two of the eight boats racing were over the line at the start but the British were slower to respond to the recall (with Cornah failing to respond at all) leaving the Americans the yachting equivalent of an open goal. The Yanks needed no second bidding. Stung, the British came back strongly to lead after Day 1 by three races to one.

Day 2 saw more close racing and the signs of an American resurgence (bloody Colonialists are sure hard to beat down, eh?).  They narrowly lost the first two races, then in the third managed by excellent and aggressive team racing to turn what looked at mark two to be a solid and unbreakable British 1-2-3 combination into an American 1-2-3 win.  In race four although Cornah for Britain led the race America held a solid 2-3-4-5 position at every mark until the last one. The 14 points thus scored would have been enough to give America their third win - but at that final tuning mark Cornah turned-in a true 'Captain's Innings' blocking and slowing all four US boats to allow his team mates to catch-up, re-engage and eventually convert their losing 1-6-7-8 placings into a winning 1-2-3-7.

This is a competition that has often seen the British start well then fade while the Americans dig deep, find new resolve and shift up a gear to pull the fat from the fire - it happened in 2008 in the USA, in 2007 and in 2003 in UK waters - so no British supporters risked so much as a smile as the boats lined up for the first race of a possible five today.  No one smiled when the Brits went round mark one in positions 1-2-3-7 (13 points) with the Americans 4-5-6-8 (23 points - lowest score wins). No one smiled when the Brits held that 1-2-3 while Ben Field, in the 7th-place British boat, ran such effective interference on the American boats that the gap between them and the leaders widened further. No one smiled as the Brits rounded the final mark still 1-2-3 - the order in which, at last, they crossed the finish line.  Then everyone smiled.  Well, everyone British, that is.  Good on ya mates!  Job well done!  Time for the Colonialist upstarts to head for home and lick their wounds, no tea party for them this time around.  Completel British American Cup sailing report.   British American Sailing Photo Credits- Ingrid Abery