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.