Friday, April 27, 2012

JOCONDA Scoops Italian J/80 Winter Championship

(Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy)- Over the course of the four weekend winter series held on the beautiful waters and bay off Santa Margherita and Portofino, Italy, it was pretty clear that JOCONDA was sailing strongly and was determined to finish well in their series.

The regional J/80 fleet saw testing conditions over the course of the series, with relatively light breezes from the southern sea-breeze quadrants most of the time.  In the end, with eleven races sailed,  JOCONDA won the Winter Championship Trophy Miramare!

In second place in both rankings was JENIALE, which was lacking in consistency and good performance.  MONTPRES was sailing well and managed to sail to third place while J-BES managed a fourth.
For more J/80 Italian Sailing information

Thursday, April 26, 2012

MANDOVI Leads El Trofeo Primavera

J/80 one-design sailboats- off SpainGO FIT Leads Trofeo El Mundo Cantabria
(Algorta, Spain)- The J/80s in Spain continue their spring series in their various sailing regions.  Held over several weekends, these regatta serve to warm-up their teams to world-championship calibre in a very short period of time-- all possible due to the high level of talent in their fleets, giving many sailors the chance to practice and train hard against Olympic and World Champions!

In the Trofeo Primavera being sailed off Punta Galea near Algorta, Spain, the MANDOVI team is setting the pace, having won two races last weekends.  MANDOVI now sits in first place with only six points followed by JET SET and FREUS that are tied on ten points each.

J/80s sailing off SpainOver in Santander, the J/80s are racing for the title of Champion of El Trofeo El Mundo Cantabria-  in short, "Champion of the Cantabrian World".  A bit tongue-in-cheek, of course, but no less fun and serious for the top teams practicing for the upcoming worlds just under two months away in Dartmouth, England.

After last weekend's racing, it is David Madrazo's team on GO FIT that is leading with a strong, consistent performance of a 7-2-2-1-2-2 for only 9 total points.  Immediately behind him are two J/80 World Champions, with Ignacio Camino on NEXTEL ENGINEERING with a 5-3-1-3-8-3 for 15 pts, good enough for second place, and Pichu Torcida on ECC VIVIENDAS in third with a 1-20-5-7-4-1 for 18 pts.  Rounding out the top five are Jesus Gonzalez on RAITAN with a 6-17-7-2-6-5 for 26 pts in fourth and in fifth is Tonio Piris on the familiar YATES Y COSAS, starting out strong with a 3-1-4-5 but DNC'd the last two races for a total of 43 pts.  For sailing photo credits in Algorta- Patricia Merino Fotografía  For J/80 Spain sailing results

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

J/Teams Sailing PalmaVela

J/80s sailing Palma Majorca, Spain(Palma de Mallorca, Spain)- 116 boats, 1,000 sailors, 16 represented countries and 15 divisions make up the impressive line-up of the 2012 Mapfre PalmaVela regatta, the principal opening event for the 2012 sailing season on the Mediterranean. During the four next days, 15 divisions will be competing on four race areas distributed throughout the bay of Palma, probably one of the world's most famous sailing areas.

J/145 sailing PalmaVelaThe J/80 fleet will have nineteen teams and will feature the participation of Olympic champion and winner of the last edition of the Copa del Rey Audi Mapfre, José María van der Ploeg at the helm of GREAT SAILING as well as past winner of the PalmaVela, Carlos Martínez sailing MAPFRE.  Sure to give them a good-ole fashioned run-for-the-money will be Gary Kamins and crew (Jay Lutz) from California YC and Houston, TX.

In the ORC fleet will be the J/145 ACE sailed by Fred Stelle that has on-board a great crew, including J/Boats designer Rod Johnstone.  Since they're the "small boat" in a big-boat class, life could be interesting chasing down the big-boys when the sea-breeze builds on a choppy, wavy bay off Palma.  For more PalmaVela sailing information

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Spectacular Sailing At SPI OUEST France Regatta

J/111 one-design sailing- SPI Ouest France regattaJ/111 J-LANCE 7 & J/80 INTERFACE CONCEPT Winners
(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- The weather was challenging- ranging from sunny and windy to grey, cool, light and shifty.  Nevertheless, the host club, the Société Nautique de la Trinité-sur-Mer, masterfully orchestrated a fabulous, gracious and excellent competition across the board for the enormous 438 boat fleet and the giant J/Classes. In short, one of the most famous spring regattas in the world lived up to its billing as one of the premiere sailing events on the international sailing calendar.

J/80 one-design sailboat- start SPI Ouest France regattaIn one short burst of spontaneous combustion and energy, the quaint, lovely little seaside town called La Trinite sur Mer on Quiberon Bay became a bustling metropolis for some of the world's best sailors in both offshore sailing as well as one-design classes.  All the boats that participated were in for a challenging four days of sailing: great 20-25 kt sunny breezes the first day, two days of cloudy, grey shifty sailing, concluding with another partly cloudy windy day for the finale.  For many of the classes, the regatta outcome was not determined until the last day.  The huge J contingent of 141 boats (32% of the fleet with J/Boats being the largest brand in the regatta!) from across Europe and the U.K. had a wonderful time.  Nine J/111s sailed their first European One-Design event and the 119 J/80s were treated to a tour'de'force by a renown French sailing team.

J/111 one-design sailbot- sailing in SPI Ouest France regattaFor the J/111 class, the racing could not have been any closer.  Literally, the outcome came down to the last leg of the last race to determine who would win!  And, even crazier was the fact that the winner was determined on a tie-breaker!  Prophetically, it became a titanic battle between one of the top offshore French sailing teams led by Didier LeMoal on J-LANCE 7 and the #1 British J/109 offshore team that has now hopped into the J/111 class- the team of David & Kirsty Apthorp on the famously-named J-DREAM.  The regatta went down to the wire for the top three boats.  After six races, J-DREAM was a leading with a 2-1-2-3-1-1 record for only 10 pts, J-LANCE 7 was in second with a 1-3-3-2-2-2 for 13 pts and third was John Van der Starre's XCENTRIC RIPPER with a 3-4-1-1-3-5 for 17 pts.  But, the last four races changed everything for this group.  Didier's team on J-LANCE 7 managed to finish off with a 1-1-3-1 to J-DREAM's 8-2-2-2 and XCENTRIC RIPPER's 2-5-1-3.  As a result, J-LANCE 7 won the tie-break on most 1sts to win the class with J-DREAM second and XCENTRIC RIPPER third.  Rounding out the top five were two other French teams, Stephen Blanchard's LE JOUET in fourth and G. Thomas' ALPHALINK EXTREME YACHTING in fifth.

The J/111s enjoyed excellent media coverage of their event, thanks to BLUR.SE founder Peter Gustafsson (he was sailing his brand new J/111 BLUR!).  For a preview of what it's like to sail the J/111 in tight-quarters one-design racing, see these videos edited by Peter's friend Stefan Blom on VIMEO and also read John Van de Starre's report from X-CENTRIC RIPPER below in the J/Community section.

VIMEO - Day OneDay TwoDay ThreeDay Four

J/80 one-design sailboat- ready for sailing at SPI Ouest France regattaWithout question, the dominant one-design class in SPI Ouest France were the 119 J/80s-- by far the largest one-design class the SPI OUEST Regatta has ever experienced for several years in a row. Why?  Because they're having fun and it's a simple sportboat to sail in France!  Considering the strength and the depth of experience seen at this year's world-class event, it was remarkable to see one team simply dominate the racing over a wide variety of sailing conditions.  The top Frenchman at last year's J/80 Worlds in Copenhagen, Denmark simply demonstrated speed, smart tactics and great boat-handling-- congratulations to Eric Brezellec and crew on INTERFACE CONCEPT for a fantastic sailing series-- hard to beat a record of 1-2-7-1-2-1-7-4-1 tossing a 7th for an aggregate of 19 pts!  Nevertheless, while Eric's was a dominating performance, two other top French teams were giving him a "run-for-the-money".  Coincidentally, like their big brother J/111 teams, they also had to settle for "who-beat-who" on a tie-breaker!  Second was Vincent Vandekerhove sailing DUNKERQUE PLAISANCE to an equally strong 6-1-1-7-bfd-1-1-5-2 record for 24 pts.  Were it not for a BFD in race 5, Vincent and the very fast, smart-sailing DP crew might have won the regatta outright.  Third was Nicolas Lunven sailing GENERALI to an incredibly consistent 2-16-2-2-3-3-2-6-4 also for 24 pts.

J/111 Lady's Sailing Team- sailing SPI Ouest France regattaCongratulations must go out to the top women sailing team that was led by the French team of Maxime Rousseaux on CN ST CAST- GRAND OUEST ETIQUETTES, finishing 4th overall out of 119 boats!  She ended up defeating a number of Olympic Medallists, World and European Champions along her route to to the top five.  Fifth behind here was French J/80 Champion Luc Nadal on GANJA.  Top British team was Royal Southern YC's Kevin Sproul sailing ULTIMATE SAILS to sixth and top Spanish team was Inigo Jauregui on GOLD SAILING in eighth.

The J/122s and J/133 had a tough road to drive in a very competitive 32 boat IRC 1 Class.  In the end, the top J/122 was MADE IN LOVE (J. Patier) finishing 7th, followed by another J/122 JOLLY JOKER (R. Marchais) in 12th.  Ending up 13th was Yves Grosjean's J/133 JIVARO and just behind them was the J/122 NUTMEG IV (F. Lognone) in 16th.

Finally, in the largest IRC fleet, IRC 4 class with 64 boats, the J/97 MISPICKEL V sailed by B. Fagart managed to finish 6th despite a "slow start" in Races 1 & 2 and a bad race 8. Otherwise, the MISPICKEL V team were on track to be a regatta leader with a 4-2-8-1-4 for one of the best records in the fleet!  "Next time" promised the crew!   For more Spi Ouest France sailing information

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

J/80 Italy Winter Championship

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing in Italy(Santa Margherita Ligure, Italy)- The J/80 class in Italy continues to enjoy a passionate following of sailors, much like their J/24 brothers.  This year, the J/80 Winter Champion was JOCONDA.  After sailing four weekends (from February to April 1), the local J/80 fleet was pleased to have lots of races on the water in front of the Hotel Miramare and the beautiful bay of Santa Margherita (just around the corner from a very famous sailing "water-hole" known as Portofino).

The racing was tight for the fleet but it was clear that JOCONDA's team had the upper hand over this year's winter sailing season.  After 11 races JOCONDA proved they were worthy of being crowned the Winter Champions of the Trofeo Miramare.  In second place was class evangelist and long-time support JENIALE!  Third in the standings was MONTPRES.  For more J/80 Italy sailing information

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Tabares Wins Hotel Princess Yaiza Cup

(Lanzarote, Canary Islands)- The Fifth Princess Yaiza Cup, emblematic in many respects of the Canary Islands J/80 Champion, was hosted this past weekend by the Real Club Náutico Arrecife Nautica on the spectacular and windy waters off the islands.  Presiding over the festivities and the regatta was none other than Princesa Alexia herself, saying to the teams at the start of the regatta, "I wish everyone lots of luck, enjoy fair winds and show a lot of sportsmanship!"

Princess AlexiaThe first day of racing saw the fleet experiencing up to 19 knots of breeze and the offshore trade winds built up strength over the course of the day.  It was pretty clear from the outset, the fleet of twelve boats was going to have to figure out how to overcome the dominance of former J/80 World Champion, Rayco Tabares sailing the famous Canary Hotel Princesa Yaiza.  They didn't.  As Rayco's team led from the outset.

By the second day average winds were 25-28 knots gusting to 30 knots plus-- just your average Canary Islands sailing day, as Ken Read of PUMA Volvo 70 fame acknowledged after months of practice there prior to the start of the Volvo Ocean Race (quote- "I thought the roof of my condo was blowing away each night!").  Nevertheless, after contemplating for awhile the decision to go sailing, even the hardiest souls admitted it might be a bit much for most of the fleet, so the RC/PRO wisely cancelled sailing for the day.

J/80s sailing Princess Yaiza CupAs a result, the winner of the regatta was Rayco Tabares, the 2009 J/80 World Champion in Santander, Spain.  Second just one point back was Rafael Lasso.  Third on the podium was a family affair- Carlos Morales sailing with his three brothers, Alejandro, Gonzalo and Miguel!

On March 23, 2012 the President of the Real Club Nautico de Arrecife Jose Alvarez Juan Padron with SAR Princess Alexia of Greece and Denmark presided over the awards ceremony in which different crews winners received recognition in the presence of different authorities, representatives of the different ports of Lanzarote, other competitors and attendees.

Rayco Tabares said, "I am very happy to have won my third Cup in honor of Princess Alexia with my team, this year we missed a lot of people, but otherwise all participants showed a very high level of competition with excellent crew. We are preparing for the World Championship to be held in England in June and this kind of racing can help us confront these challenges.  The northeast wind (typical of Arrecife) of the race was suitable for testing and competition, we were all very evenly matched and that is reflected in that nothing separates us from one point between each of the first four boats.  I am more than satisfied with my team after the bad start (ED NOTE- they "shrimped" their spinnaker).

Carlos Morales on the third place IKOS Crew said, "The most important is that the first four teams were just a point apart each, it shows that there was a very similar level.  We had a very good race, so I'm very happy and is a good result.  This race is special because it is named after my wife and it is great to participate. In this edition I have the luck to have had a crew of my three brothers Michael, Alexander and Gonzalo. Is the first time we sailed the four together and the experience is more than positive because we enjoyed together, so hopefully we can repeat soon."  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

SPI OUEST France Preview

J109 sailing SPI Ouest France regatta(La Trinite sur Mer, France)- Perhaps one of the most significant rights of spring every year in the sailing world in Europe has to be the famous SPI OUEST France sailing regatta held in the quaint, lovely little seaside town called La Trinite sur Mer on Quiberon Bay.  The ambiance is renown, the restaurants delicious, the wine even better, and the international gathering of sailors from all points of the compass make for a highly entertaining venue.  The beautiful harbor often has some of the elite monster multihulls parked stern-to on the main quay (the 130 footer Banque Populaire or 100 footer Groupama, for example) and, due to their enormous popularity the 100+ J/80s are parked on the other side, a commanding presence at the heart of Grand Prix French sailing.

This year another good turnout was anticipated.  A total 438 boats of which 141 (32% of the fleet) are J sailing teams are coming in from across Europe and the UK.  Nine J/111s will be participating in their European One-Design debut, 116 J/80s are racing for class honors and sixteen J/Teams are sailing in the four IRC handicap classes.

J/111 speedster sailing off FranceStarting with the J/111 class, nine boats are represented from across continental Europe and the UK.  So many of these teams have never sailed against one another it's impossible to make any predictions as so many are well-sailed.  Most certainly all the teams will have steep learning curves as they learn to extract maximum performance from their J/111s race-to-race. There are three French teams, LE JOUET (Stephane Blanchards- must see his website-, J-LANCE 7 (Didier Le Moal) and ALPHALINK EXTREME YACHTING (G. Thomas).  Two teams are from the United Kingdom, including J-DREAM (the champion J/109 team of David and Kirsty Apthorp) and OJE (A Hill).  From Benelux are two entries, XCENTRIC RIPPER (John Van der Starre and Robin Verhoef from the Netherlands that sailed the Fastnet Race Doublehanded) and DJINN ( Jean-Patrick Smal) from Belgium.  Long distance awards will surely be contested between JUSTICE (B. Flavio) from Italy and BLUR (Peter Gustafsson's J/109 champion team from Sweden).  For a preview of what it's like to sail the J/111, see the BLUR/Peter montage video-- totally cool!!

The dominant one-design class in SPI Ouest France are the 116 J/80s-- easily the most consistent and largest one-design class the SPI OUEST Regatta has ever experienced over the course of three decades of hosting this famous regatta.  Like their J/111 big brothers, it's going to be pretty hard to determine who's going to the dominant teams, but certainly there are a few standout J/80 sailing teams that are worth mentioning that will factor into the leader board.  From France, you have renown class leaders like GANJA (Luc Nadal), ATLANTIS (Louis Sambron), INTERFACE CONCEPT 1 & 2 (Eric Brezellec and JC Moriceau, respectively) and TBS (Pierre Follenfant-- perhaps the "sleeper" in their group of world-class sailors, Pierre is a former 470 and Flying Dutchman champion).  From Italy you have their class leader JENIALE! sailed by Massimo Rama.  The Spanish contingent have nearly a dozen boats sailing with one of their top boats in attendance, GOLD SAILING skippered Ignacio Jauregui.  The host of the 2012 J/80 Worlds are the United Kingdom and their contingent is pretty strong, including ULTIMATE SAILS (Kevin Sproul, a multi-class champion), RAF BENEVOLENT FUND (Terry Hanlon of the British RAF Sailing Team) and BALTIC WHARF LTD (Henry Bomby, a top youth sailor in the UK).

The IRC Handicap rule grouping has significant competition across all four classes- IRC 1 to IRC 4.  In the 32 boat IRC 1 Class, the big J's are sailing with the J/133 JIVARO leading the charge sailed by Yves Grosjean, followed by a very tough group of J/122s, including NUTMEG IV (F. Lognone), JOLLY JOKER (R. Marchais) and MADE IN LOVE (J. Patier).  Given a good series, any one of these boats has proven over the course of time at various events around France, Italy, the UK that they can win.

In the 32 boat IRC 2 class, the top J is the J/120 RHAPSODIE V (J Godet), with two J/109s taking chase in the form of POULICO 10 (CV Arcachon) and FRANJPANE (P. Mouret), followed by the J/105 J-SQUARED (V. Jomier).

The 46 boat IRC 3 fleet has the J/92s UNISAILS BAINBRIDGE (SP Quiberon) vying for honors against a fellow J/105 MISS J (F. Guillemot).

Then, in the largest IRC fleet, IRC 4 class has 64 boats battling amongst the a wide range of boats, from the J/24 up to the super-fast J/97.  If things go well, the J/97 may prove again that it's the master of its domain, this time the J/97 MISPICKEL V sailed by B. Fagart will be up against some formidable competition.  Thrown into the fray doing battle against all the "modern" boats is the "classic" J/24 with four of them competing against the big boys, including J'ADORE (E. Richard), JINETTE (C. Gury), MARTA (P. Lemaistre) and INSULARIS (A. Garcia).  For more Spi Ouest France sailing information

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Piris Wins J/80 Compesca Trophy

J/80 sailing off Santander, Spain(Santander, Spain)-  Thirty one boats competed in one of the first major trophies of the famous J/80 Santander fleet sailing season-- the Trofeo Compesca.  The Cantabrian fleet takes no prisoners, amongst them are multiple J/80 World Champions, Olympic and European Champions.  In the end, Tono Piris too his crew on YATES Y COSAS to a one point victory over current 2011 J/80 World Champion (Copenhagen, Denmark) Ignacio Camino's famous NEXTEL ENGINEERING.  Third was yet another 2010 J/80 World Champion (Newport, RI), Jose Maria "Pichu" Torcida's ECC VIVIENDAS.   The fleet enjoyed good weather, sunny days, and plenty of wind over the course of three weekends of sailing.   For more Spanish J/80 sailing information