Wednesday, December 21, 2011

J/80 Coupe de France- A Vintage Year

J/80 France- Interface Concept sailing in WorldsINTERFACE CONCEPT Wins, Three Women's Teams in Top Ten!
(Paris, France)- It was truly a vintage year for the J/80 class in France.  Strong turnouts at all major events.  And, the total number of French teams participating in this year's Coupe de France J/80 exceeded all expectations- 189 boats sailed, up 17% from 2010!  That's a remarkable performance given the economic and political times we live in today.  To provide you some context, the International J/80 is by far the largest European circuit of one-design keelboats- larger than all other sportboats combined!  And, it is the only national one-design keelboat circuit that has women's teams competing at the highest level of sailing in the sport- women's boats took three of the top ten in this year's circuit!

J/80 Ecole Navale sailing in Coupe de France 2011The 2011 Coupe de France included the following eight events:  Spi OUEST France, Valle des Fous Regatta, Grand Prix Ecole Navale Regatta, Grand Prix Crouesty, Deauville Open J/80, Pornic J/Cup, Telegramme Lorient Regatta and Nationals St Cast.

After sailing in a wide variety of weather conditions in a broad and spectacular array of sailing locations, the creme'd'la'creme of French J/80 sailors would surely rise to the top of the standings.  It takes talented teams that can weather the good, the bad and the ugly in terms of starts, mark roundings, wind shifts, currents, boat-to-boat tactics to do well in these types of series.

At the end of it all, Eric Brezellec sailing INTERFACE CONCEPT 2 proved his fantastic performance in this year's J/80 Worlds in Copenhagen, Denmark was no fluke.  Eric's team has been sailing consistently and it's clear the French J/80 sailing teams, in general, have stepped up their game to a world-class level.  Perhaps the motivation of a J/80 Worlds in Weymouth, England and the next worlds in France are helping the teams sail faster and smarter!  Nevertheless, congratulations are due to Eric's IC2 team winning and the rest of the top ten players:

J/80 fleet sailing off French coast2. CN ST CAST GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES- Maxime Rousseau- 1st women's team
3. J'ILE DE RE- Christine Briand- 2nd women's team
4. VOILERIE ALL'PURPOSE- Sylvain Pellissier
5. ECOLE NAVALE CG29- Patrick Bot
6. CHARLY- Pierre Metais
7. INTERFACE CONCEPT- Jean-Charles Moriceau
8. GAN'JA- Luc Nadal
9. MARINE LORIENT TRI-UGENT- Gwénolé Bernard- 3rd women's team
10. BABY J- Jean-François Guionet

For more Coupe de France J/80 sailing information

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ECC VIVIENDAS Wins "El Mundialito"

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off Santander, SpainBANCAJA and GO FIT Complete the Podium
(Santander, Spain)- This year's "Mini-Worlds" (as El Mundialito refers to) held each fall in Santander, Spain almost always seems to live up to its billing, hosted by Federacion Cantabra de Vela.  It is an event that attracts some of the top one-design/ keelboat talent in all of Spain.  Who can argue with the turnout, thirty-one J/80s and about 140 crew, with some of Spain's best sailors in the mix-- J/80 World Champions, TP52 Champions, Olympic Champions and friends of the Martinez's (one of them, Iker Martinez, is now racing the Volvo 70 TELEFONICA in the Volvo Race), amongst others.

This year, Cantabria hosted a new edition of its traditional 'Mundialito' fleet that has been hosted for the last six years in the J/80 class- one of the the largest and highest quality International One-Design keelboats fleets worldwide. Top sailors are invited as "guests" to participate as both skippers and crew with the J/80 owners.  Two races were held on Saturday in the interior bay of Santander with a Northeast wind between 8 and 10 knots, sadly no racing on Sunday for this fun-loving, highly competitive bunch of sailors due to no wind.  Perhaps a good thing since Saturday night many sailors had fun to dawn on Sunday?  It is the way the Spanish play, love the sailing, dinner and dancing late, wake up late and do it again-- so far, so good, a few J/80 Worlds title holders from Spain attest to the fact their formula works!

This year, the winner of the competition was Pichu Torcida's familiar ECC VIVIENDAS, sailing with "guest sailor" Ariane Mainemare Malaga.  It was hard for the other teams to match their speed and cleverness, posting a 1-2 to once again be "the best on the bay"!  Just behind them in second was BANCAJA, sailed by Javier Lopez-Vazquez, Alvaro Alfonso Madrid Mazarrasa and Colon de Carvajal, which also had a fantastic weekend with a 2-3 record. Behind them, it was a hard-fought contest for third place.  In the end, GO FIT sailed by David Madrazo and Ignacio Triay combined forces, with Triay skippering to a 6-4 snatched the third spot on the podium.  That's an awesome performance for Triay along with another famous shipmate, Ignacio Postigo (creator of the Cantabrian MedCup TP52 Circuit).  This trio beat out the current J/80 World Champion on a tie-breaker, Ignacio Camino on NEXTEL ENGINEERING. Camino and friend Armando Gutierrez sailed to a 5-5, but had to be content with fourth place finish.  Just off the pace and sailing well was RAITA sailed by Rafa and Jesus Gonzalez Maliach Colvee, with Canarian tactician Susana Romero called the shots, their 4-9 securing them fourth place. Another regatta favorite, the CROCS TEAM sailed by Javier Aguado of Menorca (2nd in Copa del Rey) and Laureano Wizner, finally took 6th place after sailing to a 9-6.

Yet another fixture in "El Mundialito", Jaime Rodriguez-Toubes, accompanied by good friend Toño Piris on YATES & COSAS,  finished a creditable seventh. The FONESTAR Team with Jaime Borras at the helm took the honor of winning the second race from start to finish to finish in eighth position. Ninth was MAQUECHE sailed by Rafael Pascual Alfonso Esposito, who had as sailing guest Javier Polanco.  Rounding out the Top Ten was LOUPE sailed by Alberto Padron and Cesar Obregon.

It is important to mention the presence of Galician Malal Bermúdez de Castro sailing aboard SOLVENTIS, which was third in the first race but boomed the second race to finish 11th overall.  Also,  Italian J/80 Champion Max Rama finished in the middle of the fleet in his first major test against to top Spanish teams in their home waters, not bad!  The defending champion, SOLUCIONES CINQUA, sailed by Alejandro Diaz was not so lucky and ended up in the middle of the fleet, too.  Many other top sailors and Spanish champions were sailing, however, "El Mundialito" is a weekend designed to bring together representatives of the top offshore and one-design fleets in Spain-- the end result is not important, and indeed there is no award.  Nevertheless, the sailors love having fun and competing at the highest level in the world.  The success of the event is due to the enthusiasm and generosity of the owners of the J/80 fleet at the Real Club Marítimo de Santander.  An extraordinary event, a model for other top sailing clubs and countries to follow as they introduce more people to the sport of sailing.   For more J/80 Mundialito Regatta sailing information

Saturday, December 17, 2011

JJ PALMENSIS Lanzarote Island Cup J/80 Champion!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing off Lanzarote, Canary Islands(Lanzarote, Canary Islands)- For a fleet of twenty-five boats, it's hard to beat some of the world's best J/80 sailors in the windy, wavy conditions you often see for even the evening beer can racing off the Canaries.  Blessed with "super San Francisco" conditions- 15-30 knots, sunny, clear azure blue waters, it's hard not to like racing in these conditions, especially planing off the wind in clouds of spray.

Gustavo Martinez and team on JJ PALMENSIS found the racing and the conditions very much to their liking, they're proclaimed Champions and Kings of the J/80 World in the Canary Islands! They worked hard to earn the top of the podium over three weekends of sailing, ultimately, beating out past J/80 World Champion Rayco Tabares sailing the famous GRAND HOTEL ISLAS CANARIAS.   For more Lanzarote Island Cup sailing information.


J/80 Go Fit sailing off Spain(Santander, Spain)- The Federacion Cantabra de Vela hosted the Trofeo IMPREDIGITAL for a big fleet of 27 J/80s with over 100 sailors on the starting line-- an excellent turnout for this event.  The racing was marred by some controversy as five of the top ten boats were disqualified for OCS violations.  Nevertheless, for most of the fleet is was a great day of sailing.

The wind started out of the West and kept veering to the Southwest in an oscillating-persistent wind shift, making for challenging, tactical racing.  Furthermore, with a strong adverse current whistling down the shoreline, it was also important to short-tack the beach to gain tactical advantage on the boats around you.  The racing started near the beach of Magdalena and the windward mark was near FCV yacht club.

In the end, GO FIT sailed by David Madrazo won, followed in 2nd by Tonio Piris sailing YATES & COSAS, 3rd was Jesus Amaliach on RAITA, 4th Luis Arrarte on ROGUE and 5th Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS.   For more Trofeo ImpreDigital sailing information

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

INVICTUS Wins J/80 Hong Kong Nationals

J/80 Hong Kong sailboat fleet- sailing off Royal Hong Kong YC(Middle Island, Hong Kong, China)- The J/80 class in Hong Kong were treated to "chamber of commerce" conditions-- sun and gorgeous 12-15 kt Easterlies- for the first J/80 Hong Kong Class Championship.  Hosted by the gracious Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club, the highly competitive fifteen boat fleet were treated to some great racing over the first weekend in November sailing in the waters off Lamma Island.

The regular fleet racers we're pleasantly surprised to see three bullets of the four-race first day go to Tristan Stewart on JAVELIN, they were sailing in only their second regatta outing with the J/80 - well done guys! Other notable results for the day was a 1 and a 2 for Peter Backe on INVICTUS, a 2 in the first race for Rob Tanner on his new boat EPEKWIT'K and a third for Lucinda Ho on MOZZIE.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Hong Kong ChampionshipFrom the dock, Sunday looked very soft at first but the forecast held and the fleet enjoyed a building breeze throughout the day. After two general recalls in the first race, the RHKYC's PRO sent up the black flag and, not surprisingly, the sailors held back and saw a much more conservative start.  Louie Perfectua in JELIK 7 took the first race, with Andrew Moore & Lionel Welch on TIGRINA in second.  JELIK 6, helmed by Rafael Buitre took third.

With the whole fleet suitably warmed up there were some very crowded mark roundings and finishes for the rest of the day. Race 6 was especially close at the first top mark with the majority of the fleet approaching on port lay and plenty of slaloming to avoid boats already around the mark with kites on their way up or made.  Peter Backe on INVICTUS won race 6 and 8, and Tristan Stewart on JAVELIN was back on form to take the bullet in Race 7.

At the end of the day, "Congratulations" are on order to Peter and his crew on INVICTUS for the overall win, Louie on JELIK 7 in second, and Tristan on JAVELIN for third.  Sailing Photo Credits- Ris Sattinasiri Wood   Full results:   J/80 Hong Kong Class Association:

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Sailing J/80 ECC VIVIENDAS, Pichu Becomes "El Maqueche"

J/80 sailboat- sailing away from starting line- ECC VIVIENDAS(Santander, Spain)- Pichu Torcida and his championship crew on the J/80 ECC VIVIENDAS were proclaimed "El Maqueche", celebrating the overall win after winning the third and final race of the series.  Second overall went to yet another J/80 World Champion, Ignacio Camino on NEXTEL ENGINEERING and third overall was GO FIT sailed by Paul Santurde and David Madrazo.  With two J/80 World Champions at the top of the fleet, the fleet of thirty J/80s knew they were going to be in a battle to be in the top positions.

Only half the races scheduled for the regatta were sailed due to the light, fickle winds of the second weekend.  On the last day the boats went to "Abra del Sardinero", inside the giant sand-spit off Santander's river, hoping to get in two races in a building, but very light sea breeze.  After first trying to get in a race at 1530 hrs late in the afternoon, the PRO Enrique Perez finally convinced the sailors to wait and give it one last shot at 1700 hours, just before sunset!  At that point, the sea-breeze sprung to life and filled in about 7-8 knots.  The PRO and RC team were ready for it, quickly setting a windward-leeward short course, two times around.  In these conditions, most of the fleet went left towards the beach, including ECC VIVIENDAS, followed closely by NEXTEL, YATES & COSAS, BANCAJA and GO FIT.  At the bottom of the run, Pichu's ECC VIVIENDAS continued leading, but BANCAJA jumped into second position ahead of NEXTEL.

By winning the last race, Torcida became "El Maqueche" by scoring a 1-2-1 to easily win with four points, well clear of Ignacio's NEXTEL in second place with 8 pts.  Third was GO FIT's Santurde and Madrazo, fourth was Cesar Obregon's LUPA and fifth was Alex Diaz's SOLUCIONES CINQUA.

Next weekend will be the traditional "Mundialito" (mini-Worlds for J/80s in Spain), sailing a doubleheader Saturday and Sunday. This regatta invites J/80 sailors from all over Spain to share a weekend of racing with members of the YC Maritimo de Santander.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

J/80s Sailing Mar Menor

J/80 one-design sailboat- Spain MAPFRE sailing with spinnaker(Cartagena, Spain)- Along the SE tip of Spain jutting into the Mediterranean is a gorgeous "ocean lake", a fully enclosed body of water with access to the sea via a ditch cut through the border island.  The flat water and strong sea-breezes make for fun, fast, exciting sailing.

Setting the bar high in this series was Carlos Martinez sailing MAPFRE to victory in the Trophy V "Infanta Cristina".  The trophy series started in October, completing six races over three weekends in 8-12 knot NE winds.  Such steady, stable breezes made for very competitive sailing as it was not easy to break away from the fleet on massive, oscillating wind shifts.  Instead, it was like sailing in ocean breezes with mild oscillations in direction and minor changes in wind speed.

The courses were windward-leeward, with a duration of approximately 50 minutes per race. The presiding PRO Jesus Moreno, aided by the stable wind conditions, managed to get off nearly flawless races for the J/80 fleet.

At the end of the series, behind Carlos Martinez's MAPFRE, was Emilio Azofra's OPORTO YATES in second and Charles Beltri's SAYULA in third- in a very tight final match only 2 points separated the top three when all results were tabulated.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

JALAPENO Burns Benelux J/80 Championship

J/80 sailboat- sailing Benelux National Championships(Grevelingenmeer, Belgium)- Last weekend the Benelux J/80 sailors were greeted by unseasonably warm, sunny weather like their British counterparts across La Manche (the Channel).  In the the bright weather was some "bright sailing" by Team JALAPENO, sailed by Erik Scheeren.  "Hot weather, hot boat", they played a dominant role all weekend.  The first race marked the JALAPENO boys "thankful" streak as well-- after a failed start in race one, they chose the "other side" of the field and the race course, this decision ultimately resulted in a spectacular first place in race 1!

J/80 one-design sailboat fleet- sailing off starting line- Belgium & Netherlands NationalsThe mild weather and shifty breezes resulted in position changes every race for the compact fleet.  Amazingly, the mild weather also resulted in conservative starts, no recalls, an unusual scenario for the J/80 fleet!  One team got their boat well underway while others were looking for the right settings.  Plus, while the wind strength was building gradually all day, one also had to be looking for wind streaks and stay in them.  This was especially important for finding the right course for downwind speed to the finish line.  Saturday saw a lot of good racing!  At the end of the day, Laura Vroon's JOI DE VIVRE stayed close and took a first place in race 4, but it was not hard enough to beat TEAM JALAPENO, who were hotter than hot!

On Sunday, the Grevelingenmeer was just like the rest of the Netherlands (or for that matter, the rest of Europe), with a dense fog shrouding the entire lake.  After the racing was postponed twice, it was decided not to sail anymore race.  This made for a slightly anticlimactic finish for the regatta, but despite the limited number of races, there was no dissatisfaction with the results-- it was quite clear to most all of the contestants that the superior performance of TEAM JALAPENO on Saturday made them a worthy 2011 Benelux Open Champion!  And, speaking of being "thankful", we must give "Thanks" to Tom-Erik "Chief" of the lake and Grevelingencup organization.   For more J/80 Benelux Open Championship sailing information

Monday, November 28, 2011

Cherry Defends RYA National Match Race Crown

(London, England)- Racing J/80s on the Queen Mary Reservoir just underneath the flight paths from Heathrow Airport, Nick Cherry defended his RYA National Match Racing title this weekend for the fourth time! Eleven teams showed up to do battle, with skippers and their crews having earned their berths at the grand final through five qualifying rounds, their positions in the ISAF Match Racing world rankings, or as defending champion.

In addition to Southampton’s Cherry, the impressive line-up of teams that qualified include Skandia Team GBR and Women’s Match Racing World Champion, Lucy Macgregor; Britain’s top ISAF ranked skipper, Poole’s Mark Lees; and Mark Campbell-James who holds three RYA National Match Championship titles (2009, 2008, 2005).  "The kids" also joined the party in the form of the RYA’s Youth National Match Racing Champion James French. Said young James before the regatta stared, “We are really looking forward to the finals at the Queen Sailing Club where we will have the opportunity to race against some of the best match racers in the country. We are as prepared as we can be and are looking forward to competing against a lot of the older teams at the event. Having competed in the Governor’s Cup, I hope my experience will pay dividends and that we can get a good result come the end of play on Sunday."  This group of match-racing mercenaries all got underway Friday morning (18 November) with a 22 flight round-robin which was followed by knock-out quarter-final and semi-final rounds before the Champion was to be decided in the final round on Sunday 20 November. 

J/80 one-design sailboats- match race sailing in England at RYA regattaAt the end of the day, the event was overshadowed by frustrating sailing conditions across the course of the three day regatta only allowing for a number of round robin races to take place. With an array of match racing talent in attendance at Queen Mary Sailing Club (Staines), the first day of the grand final welcomed a promising 10-12 knots allowing for nine flights to take place before poor light meant racing was abandoned mid-afternoon.

Day two of the Championships was another slow start for the 11 teams who had qualified for the event over the course of the year. With light, intermittent winds flicking left to right, the race committee managed to make it through to flight 15 by the close of play on day two (Saturday 19th November).

With no racing on the Sunday due to heavy fog (!?), Nick Cherry was awarded the prestigious title on his percentage of wins in the round robin stages. Across the two days of racing, Cherry and his crew won six out of the seven races while Mark Campbell-James won seven but lost two therefore finishing in second place with a lower percentage of wins to that of Cherry. Skandia Team GBR’s Lucy Macgregor finished the weekend in third after winning three out of her four races.

On winning the trophy for a second consecutive year and for a staggering fourth time (2011, 2010, 2007, 2006), matching that of fellow match racer Mark Campbell-James who finished runner-up for a second consecutive year, Cherry commented: “We are delighted to win! Looking at the trophy Mark CJ is the only skipper with his name on it as many times and one was a first equal - So I’m claiming the most outright wins of this trophy!  

Cherry skippered his crew of Matty Adams, Connor Myant, Sam Richmond to a total of six out of seven race wins giving them an 85.7% win percentage clinching them the 2011 RYA National Match Racing title.

“One of the main things that went well was our draw in the pairing list! We ended up racing most of the lower ranked teams and none of the top seeds so have to acknowledge that was a factor. Our closest race was against BUSA ladies, skippered by my girlfriend Charlotte Lawrence which after several lead changes came down to inches at the finish. That was certainly a battle I was glad to win,” said Cherry.

“Although I haven't done a lot of match racing this year due to my focus on the Figaro with the Artemis Offshore Academy, we have sailed as a team for a long time and were always confident we could put up a good fight. Going into the event I would have certainly put Skandia Team GBR’s Lucy Macgregor and her crew as favourites, having trained with them earlier in the year it's obvious that their hard work and new coaching setup has made them a strong unit. I was also looking forward to a good race with Team Wight Match, having crewed for Sam in Bermuda last month it could have been a bit of a grudge match if there had been wind on Sunday!”

Cherry added: “We had some good close races this year, however I think the key to our success was always sailing in a low risk style by just doing enough to get the points on the board. Out teamwork is also a crucial factor in our success as well as our experience and of course this weekend the weather was also a big factor.”

The event this year has been a huge success and an enormous "Thank You" on behalf of everyone must go to the Royal Thames Yacht Club for all their help and support in running yet another successful RYA National Match Racing Championship.  For further sailing information on the RYA National Match Racing

ECC VIVIENDAS Leads El Trofeo Maqueche

J/80 sailboats- sailing into starting line at Santander, Spain(Santander, Spain)- If the previous weekends were tough on the past J/80 World Champion, it was clear that Pichu Torcida and team were not going to take the defeats lightly.  This past weekend, with spectacular winds, sun, gusty westerlies in the Bay of Santander, the J/80s were simply flying around everywhere, most of the time upright!  After a month worth of October's light wind conditions, the sailors were happy to see the more typical breezes of this time of year.

J/80 sailboats- sailing on reach off Santander, SpainThis regatta is fun because it incorporates both buoy racing and "coastal tours" for the 20 sailing teams that were participating.  The coastal tours were starting and finishing in front of the Club Maritimo and turns in front of Marina Beacon Bay of Biscay in Camargo, and turns near the Isla Horadada. The sections of the course heading west saw spinnakers hoisted, vibrant in color, pulling with enormous power, with boats exploding off the tops of waves.

The best team of the day was ECC VIVIENDAS, with Pichu Torcida scoring a 2-1 for 3 pts.  They were three points clear of a three-way tie for second place, which included Paul Santurde/ Dave Madrazo's GO FIT with a 1-5, SOLUCIONES CINCO's Alfredo Gonzalez with a 4-2 and NEXTEL's 3-3.

Watch this group of world-class sailors continue to duel for the top of the podium over the next few weeks, a bunch of tough hombres who don't give any quarter in the tightest of situations.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Sunday, November 27, 2011

J/80 GO FIT Wins Trofeo A&G Private Banking

J/80 sailing team - Go Fit sailing off Santander, Spain(Santander, Spain)- After a break at the end of the summer, the Spanish J/80 teams are at it again, sailing their fall and winter series on both the chilly Bay of Biscay on Spain's northern Cantabrian coastline and the warm, sunny, southern climates along the southern coastlines in the Mediterranean.

Off Santander, twenty-eight teams congregated to sail for the honors of the coveted Trofeo A&G Private Banking.  Top Spanish J/80 sailors, Jaime Piris (FONESTAR) and David Madrazo (GO FIT), shared the wins in the two days of racing sailed on a "spring-like" weekend.  The J/80 class returned to enjoy a weekend of excellent afternoon racing in the Open Sardinero with spring weather and a fairly steady northeast wind of 8 knots.  The races were very exciting, with many options and opportunities for different parts of the course to gain and lose.  However, it seemed that the northern part of the course farthest from land paid over the parts on the downwind legs.

The day opened with two strong candidates to win the Trofeo A&G Private Banking, which were Pichu Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS and Dave Madrazo's GO FIT, separated by only 2 points.  The first race of the day proved to be a determining factor in the series.  While FONESTAR's Jaime Piris won and MAQUECHE's Alfonso Pascual and Iñaki Samaniego finished second, it was GO FIT's Madrazo who had a fierce fight to beat OPTICA CENTRALE for third place to retain a slim one point lead going into the last race over Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS.

For the final race of the weekend and the series, it was going to be a big battle between GO FIT and ECC VIVIENDAS.  In the end, GO FIT maintained control of the race and took the final race to become the overall winner after eight races.  It was quite an accomplishment for Madrazo to win over Pichu Torcida, a two-time J/80 World Champion!  Behind these two, the rest of the top five included third- LUPA (Obregon), fourth- BANCAJA (Lopez-Vazquez) and fifth- MAQUECHE (Pascual).   For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

CO-PILOTES Dominates French J/80 Nationals

J/80 sailing French Nationals off Saint Cast, France(Saint Cast, France)- The record fleet of seventy-four boats were treated to a superb weekend of sailing in the 2011 French J/80 Nationals, hosted in Saint Cast along the Bay of Biscay by Centre Nautique Saint Cast.  The event also marked the "changing of the guard" amongst the leaders in the French fleet.  Many of the top teams that had been dominating the standings all season long found themselves fighting for contention at the top of the fleet.  A new leader emerged that probably surprised everyone in the fleet, the team of CO-PILOTES for YC Granville won sailed by the team of Benoit Charon, Christian Ponthieu, Gael Fichet and Olivier Camebourg.  And, they won BIG!  Twenty four points big after seven races!

The first day of racing dawned with spectacular sailing conditions.  Gorgeous weather, moderate breeze, sunny.  Most importantly, the 74 boat strong fleet managed to get in three races on the first day.  It was an impressive level of competition.  At the end of the first day, the leader-board saw Yannick Le Clech's COTE D'ARMOR BLANC in first with an 8-2-5, followed by Charon's CO-PILOTES in second with a 2-13-4 and Clement Guihot's APCC J-PRANGOO in third with a 7-6-15.  Clearly, high scores for all in the top three.

J80 sailboat- rounding mark at French Nationals, Saint Cast, FranceDay two was a tough day for most teams.  Only two races were sailed that put a premium on getting clear lanes, clear air and to the correct side of the course.  Large gains and losses happened to many of the teams.   After a delay due to the presence of haze, driven by the wind, the fleet sailed in light ESE winds from 2 to 9 knots under clear skies and mild temperatures.  A pretty day for sailing, but tough on the tacticians!  There was a tremendous premium on getting off the starting to get to where you needed to go.  And, the multiple general recalls only heightened the anxiety for the top skippers in the fleet.  After the clouds of dust cleared from the battlefield, a new leader emerged to lead the pack, Charon's CO-PILOTES overcame great odds to win both races!  Dropping back significantly was Le Clech's COTE D'ARMOR BLANC with a 9-DSQ.  Ascending rapidly up the ladder was Quentin Ponroy's JIINGLE with a record of 3-10-24-12-7, good for third overall going into the final day of racing.

J80s sailing around mark off  FranceThe third and last day of the French J/80 Nationals was an opportunity for the committee to launch two nice races in a 12-15 knot wind, an ideal setting for the final, determining races in the regatta. The best performances of the day went to top French women skipper, Christine Briand, racing J'ILE DE RE to a 5-6, and also to Simon Moriceau sailing INTERFACE CONCEPT III to an 8-2.  As a result, the top five again saw a significant change in the standings as some of the top French teams all season long prevailed in their consistency to stay in the top ten in most races.  Sailing a superb regatta, and "congratulations" to his team, was Benoit Charon's CO-PILOTES from YC Granville, finishing out with a 7-10 for just 25 points after 7 races!  Behind them in second was Nicolas Troussel's BRETAGNE CREDIT MUTUEL with a record of 14-8-33-11-2-1-13 for 49 pts (drop included).  Third was Quentin Ponroy's JIINGLE, fourth was Christine Briand's J'ILE DE RE and fifth was top French sailor at the J/80 Worlds, Eric Brezellec on the familiar INTERFACE CONCEPT II.

Congratulations to the CNSC Race Committee for getting off seven excellent races over the three days.  Not an easy task considering the conditions of the wind, current and the aggressiveness of the fleet that caused a number of general recalls.    Sailing photo credits- Luc LeGrand/ Fox Images  For more French J/80 Nationals sailing information

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hainan Freedom Community Wins J/80 China Cup

J/80 China Cup sailing team- winners (Daya Gulf, Shenzhen, China)- Inaugurated in 2007, the China Cup International Regatta is the biggest boat sailing regatta held in China, approved by the General Administration of Sport of China.  Each year, the regatta attracts over 80 teams from more than 20 countries, gaining wide attention from the sailing community and the international media.  It's a unique event.  It's aimed at building an international recognition that China is serious about developing the sport of sailing and, most importantly, in the long run China plans to popularize the sailing culture in China.  With a steady and vigorous development program in place for the next 5-10 years (Chinese rarely think short-term), it's likely the China Cup and the sport of sailing will continue to grow rapidly in China!

To underscore their determination, consider who's behind the management of the event- the Chinese Yachting Association; the Shenzhen Administration of Culture, Sport, Tourism, the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club and the Shenzhen Vanke Longcheer Yacht Club.  With this kind of horsepower behind them, it's good to see the J/80 one-design fleet in "good hands"!  And, as hosts the Chinese are absolutely second-to-none in terms of ensuring all sailing participants are having a great time.  With fashion shows, fireworks shows, music in the form of concerts and DJ's, it's hard to remember that you're there to go sailing!  Nevertheless, the sailing in the Daya Gulf was fun and challenging for all.

On Day One, the China Cup racing teams were hoping the wind had used up all of its tricks so they would not have to contend with them later in the week!  The first day of the regatta dawned grey and breezy as boats prepared for the Simpson Marine Passage Race from Hong Kong to Daya Bay, Shenzhen.  However, the sun soon poked through the clouds and the breeze filled in from the northeast.  By 0830hrs there was 15 knots of wind snapping the battle flags of the boats exiting Victoria Harbor.  In a "classic Chinese Lucky Ritual", some of the local sailing teams stopped to make a "lucky double-figure-8" in front of the Joss House Bay Tin Hau Temple before continuing on to the starting area off Steep Island!  We wonder, did it work for anyone?!

China Cup- winners of J/80 one-design sailboat teamThe first start, for the J/80s got off to a clean.  Tt soon became evident that the day would be a frustrating one, with the wind beginning to drop off to 1-5 knots soon after the start, leaving the boats to wallow through the chop that was left behind. Not only was the wind light, it was also fluky.  Many crews watched incredulously as boats 200 meters away sailed on the same heading but on a different tack! This feat was repeated several times in the next few hours as the fleet struggled to find their way out of the wind hole and back on course. Those boats that had headed out to sea did the best, finding fresh breeze sooner than the rest of the fleet.  Just after 1300hrs the wind filled in from the northeast again.  As a result, the J/80s had their course shortened, but the rest of the fleet raced on until they crossed the line just off the breakwater of the glittering new Shenzhen Maritime Sports Base in Daya Bay. First boat home for the J/80 was JIVE, sailed by Dave Campbell from Royal Hong Kong YC.  Second in was Patrick Lam on JELIK 6 and third home as Bonnie Cheng on JELIK 7, a sweep for the RHKYC sailors.

Day Two started with light winds, with only 6 to 8 knots blowing through Daya Bay as the Race Committee set the course for Race 2 of the weekend. However, they got the fleet off as scheduled, with the international fleet keen to get some ‘round-the-can’ racing in after the long passage race on Friday.  Soon the wind dropped off even further, forcing Race Officer Russ Parker to shorten the course for most classes.  The final rounding for the fleet turned into a comical farce, with retired boats cluttering the area as those still racing tried to find the wind, and the room, to get to the finish. The result was that many boats failed to finish the course in the allotted time.  JIVE won their second race in a row in the J/80s with Wong Chi Hin getting 2nd sailing INVICTUS and Fang Liang Long sailing HAINAN FREEDOM COMMUNITY (HFC) finishing 3rd.  Unfortunately, eight other J/80s didn't make the time  limit.

The fleet had time to catch some sun and have a chat as the Race Committee tried to lay the course for Race 3. Although the wind picked up it was shifting from 340 degrees to 210 degrees, creating as much as a challenge for the course officials as for the crews trying to match their skills against each other. The starts finally got under way at 1415hrs, and the long wait showed as nearly all the starts had boats over the line early due to impatient skippers.  The wind built nicely as the fleet worked their way up to the first mark and held at between 6 and 10 knots for much of the race. However, the Race Committee once again had to shorten the course due to light winds.  This time, Fang's HFC won Race 3 with He Jiang's TEAM YIN in second and Hong Shen Hao's team on SMART HERO SAILING in third.

Light winds continued to haunt the fleet on Day 3 of the competition, but some fast thinking by the race committee kept the boats on the water and going head to head for sailing glory.  The winds blowing through the fleet while tied up at Shenzhen Maritime Sports Base in Daya Bay raised everyone’s hopes that racing would finally take place in 12 to 15 knots of breeze. However, by the time the starting sequence was underway the north-northeast wind was down to 5-8 knots.  All classes were sent off on a 2-lap around-the-cans course for Race 5.  The wind died to three knots as the fleet came downhill towards the finish.  Again, Fang's HFC team took the bullet followed by Hong's SMART HERO SAILING in second and Wong Sai Man's team on FOOTLOOSE in third.

With some boats struggling to complete the first race of the day in dying breezes the Race Committee took drastic action for Race 6, the Audi Islands/Geometric Race. The committee boat led the fleet offshore to a spot just south of Dalajia Dao before they found sufficient breeze to get the race underway. This shaved several miles off the planned 15-mile route of Course 3, which led the fleet in a counter-clockwise lap around the island.  By 1420 hours the Race Officer had the starting sequence for the second race of the day underway.  Winds were hovering around 5 knots at the start but soon built as the fleet headed north and around the island. Spinnakers soon filled the horizon, with boats vying for boat speed as there were little tactical decisions to make on the prescribed course.  It was a picture perfect finish, with the wind having built to between 8 and 10 knots and the fleet sailing into the sunset. There were plenty of spectator and media boats on hand to record the sight. By 1700 hrs the fleet has crossed the line, with many keeping their spinnakers up for a sunset cruise back to port.  It was clear that a new standard was being set on the J/80 course, Fang's HFC again won another race and now held a commanding lead for the week.  Second home was Wong's INVICTUS and third was Hong's SMART HERO SAILING.

For Day 4, the wind showed up just in time for a fabulous, glorious last day of sailing.  Perhaps the "lucky double-figure 8's" off the Tin Hau Temple in Joss Bay paid off!  There was 15 to 20 knots of breeze blowing through the harbour at the Shenzhen Maritime Sports Base in Daya Bay as boats were being rigged and readied for the last day of racing. Boats were in such a competitive mood that there were collisions in the harbour even before the boats were on the water!! Top spots in several classes were left to be decided on the last day and the tension could be felt up and down the docks.  The first race of the day got underway in 15 knots, with the Race Committee hoping to capitalize on the wind with three races. However, the wind soon died, and the Race Officer cut the course down to one lap for the J/80s. By the time the last boats crossed the line the wind was down to 5 knots, with boats wallowing in the chop left behind by the earlier wind.  Reading like a "broken record", again Fang's team on HFC won the race, with Hong's SMART HERO second and Wong's FOOTLOOSE third.

By the time the starting sequence began for Race 8, the Audi Islands/Geometric Race, the wind was back at 12 to 15 knots. The Race Officer sent the fleet off on the longest island course available in the sailing instructions, at 22 miles long. The fleet threaded their way through a giant figure-8, passing Xiaolajia Dao, Zhongyang Dao, Chizhou and Dalajia Dao, with the wind keeping the boats at top speed the whole way.  By 1620 the entire fleet had crossed the line and were on their way into port to enjoy cold beers. Once again, the final race offered the crews a lovely spinnaker run into the setting sun, with strong breezes keeping them busy to the very end.  You might ask, did it happen again?  Incredibly, yes, it did.  Fang Liang Long's team on HAINAN FREEDOM COMMUNITY won the China Cup Regatta simply going away over the horizon, winning 5 of 7 races sailed.  Second was Dave Campbell on JIVE having sailed very consistently in the top five.  Third was Hong Sheng Hao's SMART HERO SAILING, having won a tie-breaker over fourth place Wong Chi Hin's INVICTUS.  Fifth was Wong Sai Man's FOOTLOOSE!

At the end of the day, everyone returned to Sheraton Dameisha for more cold beers and the chance to bask in the glory of their wins and congratulate their friends on their success.  Next time we want to see more Americans and Europeans join us-- we're having too much fun!  Thanks for the contribution from Cameron Dueck.    For more China Cup sailing information

Sunday, November 20, 2011

J/80 Wins "Best Sailboat (Under 40')" in China

(Xiamen, China)- Congratulations to Hudson Wang and his team at Hudson Yachts in Xiamen, China.  This past week, the J/80 was awarded the "Best Sailboat (Under 40')" by the Chinese Sailing Federation for its role in expanding the sport of sailing in China.  They were given this title because the J/80 has been the principal one-design selection and the largest fleet for the following events:

- China Cup in Shenzhen- the premier International sailing event in China
- China "Club Cup"- largest yacht/ sailing club event in China
- Asian Sailing Games- largest one-design keelboat class
- Taiwan Straits College Cup- largest college sailing regatta in China
- Taiwan Straits Cup- a challenge cup between China and Taiwan

For more information J/80 sailboat information

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Swinton Wins BMW Berlin Match Race

J/80 sailboats- match racing in Berlin, Germany(Berlin, Germany)- Gorgeous autumn sailing conditions.  Picturesque lake in one of Europe's most historically significant cities.  Exciting match racing with some of the worlds best sailors on J/80s throwing the boats around the cans just a few feet from shore with thousands of screaming spectators cheering you on.  Throw an Australian match racer into the den of wolves and hope he comes out alive?  Maybe, maybe not.

This past weekend was one of the top match-racing tour events around the world.  Coveted for many sailors for being an extremely well-run event, in a fabulous location with extraordinary hospitality.  Supported by BMW Yachtsport, replete with some famous German Hollywood A-Listers, actresses, actors and sporting types.

With that as a backdrop at the BMW Sailing Facility on the "Wannsee", the "golden boy" sailing off into the golden autumn sun was none other than Australia's Keith Swinton! Perhaps the latest generation version of "the cardiac kids"!  Keith's team beat Alvaro Morinho's team from Portugal by the skinniest of margins- just 3-2 in the finals.  Germany's Markus Wieser won bronze, all sailing in front of nearly 5,000 spectators.

J/80 fashionistas- BMW Match Race- sailing event- Berlin, Germany"We are very happy and completely satisfied to be able to prevail against this high-class competition," said Keith Swinton, helmsman of the Australian Black Swan Racing team, as he was greeted with applause and champagne at the dock. In the best-of-five final, the two teams kept the competition open until the last minute. Only the fifth race decided victory over defeat, the prize money totaling nearly 20,000 Euro and valuable ranking points on the World Match Race Tour. "If this continues, we’ll need defibrillators," said sports presenter Nils Kaben as it came to a showdown at the last down-wind course. The Australian team secured overall victory at around 3pm with a lead of only one boat length.

The jubilant crew, winners of the 20th BMW Berlin Match Race, hugged each other, fists pumping in the air-- like the famous "boxing kangaroo" on Australia II in Newport.  They were a popular winner, with around 750 spectators on the escort ships "MS Schöneberg" and "MS Kreuzberg" and the many volunteers and visitors on land applauding.

"To be honest my money was on Morinho. He was pretty strong," said Markus Wieser (a top German match racer with multiple World and European titles), who was defeated in the semi-finals by the Portuguese sailor. Wieser gave everything once again in the Petite Final and won 2-0, he said, "The young Australian has really surprised us with his victory - congratulations."  The other surprise was that not only Wieser did not make it to the Grand Finale, but nor did top German sailor Jochen Schumann, twice winner of the America´s Cup and Olympic Games.

In the afternoon the well-known German sports-casters Nils Kaben (ZDF) and Andre Keil (NDR) paid tribute to the winners at the BMW Sailing Cup Base (along with a few "sailing starlets/ groupies" from Germany's film and fashion world- seen above). Andreas Pochhammer, Chairman of the Sailing Club House on the Wannsee (VSaW), and Oliver Witte, Chairman of the Berlin Yacht Club closed the 20th Edition of the BMW Berlin Match Race with heartfelt thanks to organisers, sponsors and especially to the many volunteers. "We’ve all come together to make this event possible. We are delighted with the event and we are now looking forward to 2012. "    BMW Match Race Sailing Photos  For more BMW Match Race Cup sailing information


J/80s sailing BMW Sailing Cup- Berlin, Germany(Berlin, Germany)- In early October, the J/80 team called BERLIN ONE took the German BMW Sailing Cup Championship. This victory in the national final of the world's largest international regatta series for amateur also secured the team's invitation to the International Final in spring 2012, when BERLIN ONE will be up against the national winners from Italy, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Spain and Turkey. Jantz and his crew on BERLIN ONE earned their ticket to the Germany Final by winning the regatta on the Lake Wannsee at the beginning of July.  The event was organised by BMW Niederlassung Berlin, in cooperation with the 'Verein Seglerhaus am Wannsee' sailing club.

"We experienced the fascination of competitive sailing at close hand, with excitement right down to the final race, and all against the unique backdrop of HafenCity. That is what makes amateur sport and the BMW Sailing Cup so special," said Magnus Wiese at the presentation ceremony, Chief of Events/ Tradeshows/ Sports Marketing for BMW Germany. Wiese and Oliver Kosanke, Chairman of the cooperating Muhlenberger Sailing Club, presented the prizes and congratulated all 14 teams.

BMW Motorsport/ Yachtsport- sailing J/80 one-design sailboat in Berlin, Germany"It was a thrilling and extremely exciting final, which was thoroughly enjoyable. We did everything right in the first of the final races. The maneuvers worked brilliantly and we coped very well with the conditions on the Elbe. However, we discovered just how narrow the margin between success and failure can be in the second final race. We were leading when the gennaker dropped into the water as we rounded the final buoy. Third place was just enough to clinch the overall victory at the 2011 BMW Sailing Cup. We are now looking forward to the International Final," said Jantz.

Professional coach Hannes Baumann, who, as bowman alongside Tobias Schadewaldt in the 49er class, is well on course for the 2012 Olympic Games, congratulated his team on its excellent performance on these difficult tidal waters. 14 professional yachtsmen and women, including Ulrike Schumann and Olympic hopeful Kathrin Kadelbach (470 team with Friderike Belcher), really got into the swing of things throughout the entire final weekend as they cheered on the teams they trained from the shoreline.  For more BMS Sailing Cup sailing information

Friday, November 11, 2011

French J/80 Nationals Preview

J/80s Europe- sailing to start
(Saint Cast, France)- Over seventy-one boats including three from England and one from Spain are ready to set sail in the 2011 French J/80 Nationals, hosted in Saint Cast along the Bay of Biscay by Centre Nautique Saint Cast.

What a fantastic success for the J/80 French Class!  It's extraordinary to see so many competitors sailing the final regatta of the 2011 season, a four day event taking place in the beginning of November.  From Thursday the 10th of November to the 13th of November, this armada expects to have a great event on the gorgeous Saint Cast Bay.  This event also determines the final results of the French J/80 Fleet season series that started back in April with the famous Spi OUEST Regatta in La Trinite Sur Mer.

The CNSC is proud to host the event, "Between J/80 and the CNSC is a long history or tradition. We acquired our first J/80 in 1999, at the time few J/80s were distributed in France, it was a bet on the future! But, it was perfect for our requirements.  We needed a boat for sailing education, but also for racing, and it should be reliable, robust and modern.  Twelve years later, given the number of boats racing in the Coupe de France, it was the right choice at the time!  Since 1999, we have trained many crews (about fifty), and with good results: 3-times Champion of France!"

What ever the results, it's clear the top French J/80 teams are already focused on the 2012 J/80 Worlds that will be sailed across La Manche (the English Channel) in Dartmouth, England, followed by the J/80 Worlds 2013 in France! Given the strong showing of the top French teams at this year's 2011 J/80 Worlds in Copenhagen, Denmark, it's apparent that the strong national rivalries between Spanish and French sailors at the top of the heap in world-class one-design and offshore events is proving to be an enormous catalyst to raise the level of their game a few more notches.  Amongst the top teams competing will be multiple regatta winner Erik Brezellec on INTERFACE CONCEPT 2.  For more French J/80 Nationals sailing information

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NEW! J/80 Winter Tour 2012!

J/80 Winter sailing tour miami, florida(Miami, FL)- The J/80 Class in America has organized a Winter Tour 2012 for those J/80 owners that wish to take advantage of all the free Florida sunshine that's unencumbered by any winter blast from up North!  This series will feature three race weekends spread out over a month and a half all taking place on Biscayne Bay, Florida.  The races will include the following venues:

- Jan 15-25- J/80 Midwinters- Key West, FL-
- Feb 11-12- “Valentines Cup”- Miami, FL- hosted by the US Sailing Center in Miami.
- Mar 8-10- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week-
- Mar 24-25- “Biscayne Cup”- Miami, FL-

The J/80 competitors will be able to arrange mast-up storage at either the US Sailing Center or the Shake-A-Leg Sailing Center. Details will be posted as they become available at

CHURCH KEY Unlocks J/80 East Coasts

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing in Annapolis, MD(Annapolis, MD) -  This year's J/80 East Coasts were hosted by Eastport YC in Annapolis, MD.  Ramzi, who was sailing the J/80 STACKED DECK, had this to report of the crazed weather and conditions that sailors faced this past weekend on the Chesapeake Bay:

"What an amazing weekend we had! We had windy, choppy and shifty weather on Friday but had solid racing... getting in four races!  We knew that the weather would be questionable for Saturday so we did all we could to get in all we could with races starting at 10:30 and ending at 4-ish.  We had a fun event Friday night with one of our sponsors hosting wings and beer.  We decided to cancel for Saturday after our party Friday night when we learned that AYC had cancelled the J/105 regatta.  We figured that if they were concerned... perhaps we should follow.  Although the weather didn't get as awful as predicted... it was still pretty bad and the right decision.

Saturday we had a big BBQ party at the EYC clubhouse... lots of raffle goods and auction item. A lot of food, beer and fun.  We were able to make the most of the situation given the weather.

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing in East Coasts off Annapolis, MDWe started early on Sunday (10:30) and targeted for as many races we could get by extending the "no later than" time to 3pm. We shared the course with the J/22s and got in three races (almost four but had to abandon the 4th race due to unfair wind situation)... on a sunny day with good but shifty breeze."

At the end of the day, the J/80s can say they made the most of the weekend despite the weather conditions.  After completing seven races over the three days, Chris Chadwick's team on CHURCH KEY sailed a solid regatta to win by 10 pts.  John White's crew on US 1162 was second, narrowly beating Will and Marie Crump's JEFF's BOAT by just two points.  Fourth was class up and comer Kristen Robinson keeping the wheels on their shopping trolley and hanging tough on ANGRY CHAMELEON to get snag fourth.  Bill Hunt's FIREBOLT started strongly with a 1-3-5-2 winning the regatta Friday to fade to fifth on Sunday's racing with some deep finishes in the shifty conditions.   Sailing photo credits- SailFast Photos   For more J/80 East Coasts sailing information