Monday, April 29, 2013

Glorious Warsash Spring Championship!

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing Solent Warsash Spring series(Warsash, England)- It was a busy weekend for Warsash Sailing Club on 20th/21st April with racing on both days for the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Championship and the fifth Sunday of the Spring Series. Perhaps the warmer weather had enticed new entries on the water, resulting in 150 boats ready to enjoy a busy programme of racing. Over the weekend, the race officers ran 40 separate races - a challenging but rewarding time all round.

Saturday- Spring Championship Day 1
The Spring Championship offers an intense schedule of four days’ racing, with no discards allowed.   White Group includes classes for J/70 and J/80.

Although the day dawned with the River Hamble resembling a millpond, everyone was pleased to see the wind fill in and racing got underway without delay.

White Group completed three good races between 40 and 50 minutes in length before the wind faded away and PRO Peter Knight called it a day amidst requests from competitors and race officers alike to enjoy a beer on the terrace in the sunshine. Information from ‘Bramble-Met’ confirmed this to be a good decision since there was a lull of well over an hour before any wind returned - too late for racing.  Betty (Jon Powell) won the first J/80 race with Juicy (Allan Higgs) 15 seconds astern. J’ai Deux Amours (Stewart Hawthorn) was a slender one second adrift in third place but returned in the second race to win. Betty came back on form for the third race.

Sunday- Spring Series Day 5,  Spring Championship Day 2
The weather was bright and sunny with a forecast south-westerly breeze set to build from 10 to 17 knots during the day. The Black Group committee boat set up station near Universal buoy using courses with an initial windward leg to Williams Shipping or West Knoll buoy. The plan was to offer a longer race well over two hours to the Spring Series competitors followed by a short race for those boats entered in the Spring Championship only. The conditions offered the best sailing in the series so far, only a few sunbeams short of champagne sailing – the champagne instead being presented after racing. Smaller boats needed to choose carefully to find clear air avoiding the  powerful IRC1 and IRC2 classes speeding downwind. Sundays in the Solent are also also busy with commercial traffic and the North Channel saw several shipping movements to avoid.

White Group enjoyed good sailing with a start near Meon. The moderate breeze remained fairly stable from the south-west necessitating only a single slight reorientation to the course to maintain good beats and runs.  Racing took place on a small neap tide which may have led boats into a false sense of security. Several had to take penalties after misjudging the tide at the windward mark. This had its effect on Betty which moved her from first boat at the end of Saturday to third overall on Sunday after six races in the J/80 Spring Championship. J’ai Deux Amours grabbed the opportunity to consolidate three wins.

J/80s are having a battle for second place while Stew Hawthorn sailing J'AI DEUX AMOURS is seemingly sailing away with the Spring Champs.  The next four boats, successively, include JUICY (Allan Higgs), BETTY (Jon Powell) and AQUA J (Patrick Liardet) and they're all within 7 pts of each other!  Exciting racing!  On the Spring Series side, Powell's BETTY is still ruling the roost and it's unlikely he'll get unseated from their throne atop the standings.  However, the battle is also for second place in the Series, with Gillian Ross' ROCK & ROLL and Allan Higgs' JUICY within 3 pts of each other, so anything goes in next weekend's finale.
Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie   For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Saturday, April 27, 2013

J/80s Hong Kong Nation's Cup

J/80s sailing around Hong Kong, China(Hong Kong, China)-  The Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club's Nations' Cup has already attracted 73 entries from 23 nations - many of whom will spend the days leading up to the event deciding what costumes to wear and what national delicacy to bring to the 'after-party'.  The race starts on Saturday, April 27th and the intent is to go "around the island" (Hong Kong, of course) as members of "national teams".

Crews are formed along the lines of nation of origin or allegiance. While the Nationality Criteria states that "100% of crew members must be nationals of the country which is represented by the boat they are racing on", the same criteria then go on to offer a multitude of different ways that a 'wannabe' can qualify - all the way down to representing a Nation in the Miss Universe Pageant.

Racing will feature a pursuit race following a simple course, starting in Victoria Harbour at Kellett Island and taking the fleet eastwards, out through Lei Yue Mun Gap, to a turning mark which will be selected to suit the prevailing weather conditions. Once around, the boats will re-enter the Harbour and, with a bit of cooperation from the wind gods, race back to the finish line at Kellett Island.

Coveted prizes include the right of the winning nation to place their flag on conspicuous display behind the Club's Main Bar until the 2014 race and, of course, the bragging rights that go with proving themselves to be "Champion Sailing Nation of The Year".

The first boat home in the inaugural event in 2011 was England, followed by Ireland, Australia, Sweden, Scotland and Japan. The 2012 edition had to be abandoned due to lack of wind and miserable weather conditions, however the 'after party' more than made up for any disappointment.

In addition to the fleet of one-design J/80s will be a raft of handicap-racing boats, including a J/111, J/105, J/109, J/92 and even J/24s!  More fun and games racing around Hong Kong Island!
For more Royal Hong Kong YC Nation's Cup sailing information

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Poole Yacht Club Triumphs @ Inter Club Challenge Cup

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing on Solent, England (Southampton, England)- This past weekend, a team of young sailors from Poole Yacht Club has won the inaugural British Keelboat Academy Inter-Club Challenge Cup.

The event was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club on behalf of the British Keelboat Academy, and aimed to get more young sailors out racing on yachts to increase the engagement of sailors, clubs and boat owners in the opportunities which the BKA is able to offer to support the development of young sailors.  The format is based on the best scores of two boat teams from each yacht club (one IRC boat and one J/80 team).

Poole Yacht Club's winning team the J/80 LAST CHANCE sailed by Chris Doe. Combined with her team-mate, their aggregate scores over three races was 13 pts.  Their score was enough to hold off the RORC team that included Nick Haigh's JAI DEUX AMOUR with on 18 points.

Some 80 young sailors took part in the event, all demonstrating great skill on the water to handle their boats in gusty conditions, with driving rain later in the day and the continuing unseasonably  cold weather not making things any easier.

Many of the sailors were new to this size of boats and were using this event as part of making the transition into keelboat racing. On some boats, the sailors were supported by more experienced older sailors on board, whilst several boats had been entrusted to a complete crew under the age of 25 - great testament to the skill of these young sailors.

Jim Macgregor, from Poole Yacht Club, summed up the event from their perspective: "It was the first time many of the Team had sailed a keelboat outside of Poole, so to visit the Solent and keep Teams from RORC, The Royal Yacht Squadron and The Royal Southern Yacht Club behind them was particularly satisfying and will have given their self-confidence a huge boost, further bolstering their enthusiasm to do more. The tough conditions encountered in getting the team boats from Poole to The Solent and back just added to the character building experience of the event. Bonding was further built by the youngsters being empowered to organise and run the campaign themselves, under the watchful eye of Chris Doe who, at 26, was by far the eldest of the 27 sailors (average age under 19).  Suffice to say the rest of the club was right behind the Team with support whenever it was needed. There can be no doubt that Poole YC's win and the networking experienced will have given them a whole new view on their future sailing plans and a will to apply for a position in the British Keelboat Academy."

After sailing, all participants were able to hear from an experienced panel about the opportunities at the top level of yacht racing. Current BKA squad member James French, himself only 20, talked about the his experience skippering the British team at the recent Red Bull Youth America's Cup trials and, particularly, the benefit of the experience and training he had received as part of the British Keelboat Academy.

Luke McCarthy, British Keelboat Academy Head Coach, commented: "It was great to see so many young sailors out on the water and all sailing their boats really well in some tough conditions.

"I am sure that many will go on to be really successful keelboat sailors, and we look forward to welcoming lots of them to the BKA in future. Thanks to all those involved with making this first event such a success."

Editor's note- after reviewing the results, it does appear the best two boat team (IRC + J/80) in fact happens to be the Royal Southern YC's Adam Munday sailing his J/97 INDULJENCE, taking 2nd in IRC Class with 6 pts and his team-mate, the J/80 SEAFIRE sailed by Bruno Van Dyke, that won the J/80 one-design class with 5 pts, making for a combined total for both boats of 11 pts??  Were these two sailors and their Royal Southern YC team not the winners according to the format? One wonders.

In the J/80s, congratulations Bruno Van Dyke's team (RSYC) sailing SEAFIRE to first overall.  They were closely followed by Nick Haigh's JAI DEUX AMOURS team (RORC) in second and by Chris Doe's LAST CHANCE team (Poole YC) in third.   For more Inter-Club Challenge Cup sailing information    For more British Keelboat Academy sailing information

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Warsash Series Swings Into Spring Sailing- Finally!

J/70 one-design speedster- sailing fast on Solent, England(Warsash, England)- After three weeks of freezing weather, a hint of spring was in the air on 14th April 2013 for the fourth Sunday in the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series. With the temperature rising to double figures, the thermal layers could be left behind and there was no ice to clear from the decks. Although the forecast promised 16-20 knots from the south with gusts to 30 knots, these did not materialize and the full program of racing could be completed for all classes.

The sportsboats in White Group also assembled in the entrance to Southampton Water. Relieved to find no forecast Force 4-6, a three-round windward/leeward course was set parallel to the shore, 0.65nm long. The J/70 class got away but there was disappointment for EXESS in the J/80s, having led all the way round, to return and find she was over the line at the start. This left the win to current series leader BETTY (Jon Powell).

In the second White Group race there were individual recalls in the J/70s and J/80s but this time everyone returned quickly. Halfway through, the wind started to shift and had soon gone through 90 degrees to the south-west. The race was shortened and the committee boat moved inshore ready for the third race. With the wind in the 8-10 knot range the J/70s got away cleanly only for one of the forecast gusts to come in at over 20 knots just two minutes before the J/80 start. At this point the committee boat’s anchor began to drag causing a short delay. The enthusiasm of the fleet to get under way showed when half the boats were too keen on the start line. With several hidden in the middle a general recall was needed before all went smoothly on the next attempt. Again, there was close racing in the J/70s. This time the fleet finished within 27 seconds after 50 minutes of racing. Simon Cavey in PHEEBS posted two wins and a third for the day, whilst BETTY (Jon Powell) gained the same score in the J/80s.

The J/80s continue to see Jon Powell and crew riding the mighty BETTY fast, hard and furious, never letting up on the fleet and rarely showing a chink in their armor.  With 19 pts, the betting is good that BETTY is well on her way to taking the J/80s with 19 pts after 12 races!  Behind them by 23 pts is Gillian Ross's ROCK & ROLL in second overall.  They're followed by Allan Higgs' JUICY with 59 pts in third place.

Next weekend sees additional racing on Saturday for the Spring Championship whilst the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series meets for the fifth time on Sunday 21st April 2013.  Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie    For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Monday, April 22, 2013

J/80s Love Big Winds @ Charleston Race Week

(Charleston, SC)- Sperry Top-Sider Charleston Race Week has a reputation for consistent, solid breeze. In fact, Charleston’s great wind is one of the big reasons this event has grown so spectacularly over the past decade.  It was on the eve of the regatta when most weather models predicted big breeze for the start of racing on Friday, with Sunday promising similarly apocalyptic conditions. And that is exactly what the 2013 edition received. With the 287 teams scattered about on harbor and offshore courses, race organizers were eager to seize the day, completing 3 to 4 races in Friday’s 15-30 knot winds.  Saturday’s moderate breezes and calm seas allowed for some recovery, but it was another 3 to 4 race day to insure each fleet was given the chance to sort out the pecking order in the standings. With the podium positions far from certain, Sunday looked to be the determining factor if not for one thing: the forecast. If Friday’s winds were “monster”, there really wasn’t an appropriate superlative to describe what happened Sunday morning. Rapidly increasing winds and huge seas offshore (8 feet at the mouth of Charleston Harbor) prompted the principal race officers to cancel all competition offshore. Inshore, the race committees set up courses and attempted to get races going on all three courses, but the action was quickly cancelled for everyone.

The J/80s had a mild turnout and in the end it was Bert Carp who reigned supremo taking near straight bullets to win class on USA 11.  Just behind them two points back was Richard Donn's SUPERFLOUS that took second and in third overall was Brad Bertram's ROCKET DOG.  Congratulations to all for job well done!  For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Warsash Spring Series- Halfway report

J/80s racing Warsash Spring series on Solent, England
J/Teams Anticipating Warmer Spring Soon!
(Warsash, England)- The six-Sunday Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series resumed on 7th April 2013 after a break over the Easter weekend. On a positive note, this was the warmest day of the event so far this year which has seen very cold conditions. However, the sea temperature has yet to warm up - 4.5 degrees compared with 10 degrees at the same time in 2012! Nonetheless, crews and race officers alike donned their thermals and foul weather gear to enjoy a great day’s racing in a steady 10-14 knot breeze from the south-east in a fairly flat sea state.

On Peter Knight’s White Group line the wind steadied around 120 degrees, so the three 40-50 minute races could use the same course. The slightly warmer temperature may also have been reflected in White Group’s spinnaker handling. With slightly less numb hands, there was a significant reduction in the numbers taking the wide route round the leeward gate.

In the J/80s, Race 2 saw a general recall when a mid-line bulge occurred a few seconds too early. Given a second chance, the class then got away cleanly although ROCK & ROLL just beat the gun in the third race and had to return. Out for the first time this season, Stewart Hawthorn in J'AIX DEUX AMOURS took all three wins.  At this stage halfway into the series, Jon Powell's BETTY continues to maintain a healthy lead on the fleet.  Rounding out the top five are Gillian Ross' ROCK & ROLL, Mark Baskerville's MISTRAL, Allan Higgs' JUICY and Vladimir Phillips' JABBA.

Back in the clubhouse John Wallace, the local director from sponsor Brooks Macdonald, and his family enjoyed the warmth and after-race banter whilst presenting the weekly champagne prizes. The Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series continues on 14th April 2013.   Sailing photo credits- Iain McLuckie   For more Warsash Spring Series sailing information

Monday, April 15, 2013

J/80 Charleston Race Week Preview

(Charleston, SC)- Starting on April 18th, a massive navy of J/Teams will descend upon the beautiful sleepy town of Mt Pleasant, South Carolina and transform the Charleston Harbor Resort & Marina into "J/Town".  Of the 295 boats participating, 117 J/Teams (40% of the fleet) are sailing in the event coming from all points of the compass, by far the dominant boat brand for Charleston Race Week.

J/80s sailing will have spirited competition between Jim Kershaw (Leesburg, VA) on COOL J; Brad Bertram (Augusta, GA) on ROCKET DOG; Rick Donn (Thornwood, NY) on SUPERFLUOUS; and Bert Carp (Annapolis, MD) on USA 11.  Cool.   For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

Saturday, April 13, 2013

J/80 North Americans Announcement

J/80s sailing downwind under spinnaker(Block Island, Rhode Island)- The 50th Anniversary of the Storm Trysail Club’s Block Island Race Week is 3 months away, and this year Storm Trysail has offered to host the J/80 North Americans.  A package deal has been arranged by the J/80 Class Association and the Storm Trysail Club, which includes launching and hauling, trailer and vehicle storage, a mooring in Great Salt Pond, and all the racing and parties you can handle in one week, for less than $1,000!

There is no event like Block Island Race Week, and there is no boat like the J/80!  Stable and fast on and off the breeze, easy to sail in any condition, and with an established, tried and true set of Class Rules, the J/80 continues to be the boat many love to sail. Combined with the unmatched Race Management of the Storm Trysail Club, this year’s J/80 North Americans are not to be missed!!  For more J/80 North Americans sailing information-

Next, in anticipation of an outstanding week of racing at BIRW, the New York Yacht Club has invited the J/80 Class to participate in the New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta.  This prestigious event, taking place June 14-16, is on the Bucket List for many sailors worldwide.  J/80 sailors can bring their boats to Sail Newport for the Annual Regatta and enjoy the hospitality and experience of the NYYC Race Committee, while getting tuned up for the North American’s at Block!  Storage for boats and vehicles has been arranged so there is no need to worry about dropping your rig and moving your boat from place to place.  This also allows teams a great opportunity to take on a partner and give someone else a chance to steer the boat for the podium, and spread out the cost of transportation.  For more New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

J/80 Sailors Frozen @ Spi Ouest

J/70s sailing SPI Ouest France Regatta (La Trinite sur Mer, France)- Of the 423 boats sailing, over 130 alone were J/Teams (31% of the entire fleet) and, it's safe to say, that after the first day of racing many were wondering how they were going to survive the chilling weather forecasts for the next four days of sailing.  Facing unusually cold, windy conditions for this traditional Easter Regatta, the competitors woke up three mornings in a row to temperatures in below 0 C. (under 32 degrees F), winds blowing 15-25 kts for two of the days. Over the course of the regatta, dropouts were not uncommon, especially with the smaller one-designs-- several people were "med-evac'd" to the hospital using RIBS for treatment of hypothermia.

After a freezing rainy and windy Thursday, the next two days were relatively quiet. However, on Sunday, the last day of racing saw a return to the strong winds and an icy northeast breeze gusting to thirty knots!  While some suffered, others rubbed their hands with glee.  For Eric Brezellec and his tactician, Sebastien Col, the last day of breeze left them ashore. Their J/80, INTERFACE CONCEPT, did not have to sail the last race as they had already won the regatta the day before!

J/80s sailing SPI Ouest France RegattaOthers in the J/80 class were less fortunate.  The phrase "caught a cold" fits perfectly with the beginning of the competition and for those that endured it for four days.  The OMANI SAIL girls team, in particular, had a tough challenge for them, sailing in conditions they've never experienced in their lives-- icy cold rain, hail, and huge winds.  Said Nicolas Honor, the head of the OMANI SAIL team, "the shock was violent, they'd never seen hail, much less sailed in less than 0 deg C!  After hoisting their spinnaker on the first day, the decided to return to home port-- a good idea and I understand!"

Spi Ouest air temperature dataFor the rest of the J/80 teams, it was a battle to overcome cold as well as the challenge of sailing smart.  In the beginning, ATLANTIS's Louis Sambron gave Brezellec's crew on INTERFACE CONCEPT some tough battles.  But, a 19-5-38 on Saturday killed their chances of being a contender for the lead.  The same was true for Michael Vasquez's GOLD SAILING from Spain, accumulating a 7, BFD and 14 to drop them from contention as well.  Then, the team on GENERALI led by Nicolas Lunven compounded finishes of 10-9-10 over the first 7 races with a 26th in race 9 on Saturday to torpedo their chances as well.  In the end, while Brezellec's win was a "runaway", a total score over ten races of 12 points (seven 1sts, 2,3 as counters), the fight for the balance of the top five was a dog fight, to say the least.  In the end, Vazquez's team on GOLD SAILING hung in to finish 2nd overall, a full thirty points back from Brezellec's with 42 pts.  Lying third just one point back was Lunven's GENERALI with 43 pts.  One point back in fourth was Sambron's ATLANTIS with 44 pts and rounding out the top five watching all the drama unfold before him was Simon Moriceau's team on INTERFACE CONCEPT 2.

Spi Ouest wind speed forecastAs for the J/70s, suffering no less than their counterparts in the J/80s, the cold was equally taxing on their abilities to sail fast and smart and not be too "numb" from the chilly, windy sailing conditions. In the end, perhaps the ultimate survivor was M Thomas skippering OEUST GREEMENT, winning the J/70 class by just one point! The top four places were so close, that the last race determined how the entire top five finished in the overall standings.  Second was Fred Bouvier of J/Composites sailing J BECRE. Third was M. Kerscaven sailing PL YACHTING with 24 pts.  Fourth was FLAHAULT MARINE sailed by M. Ferchaud, perhaps sailing the most "dyslexic" series-  five 1sts and three 10ths! Rounding out the top five was M. Chapelot sailing ALBERTO.

In the world of IRC racing, many crews either dropped out, replaced crews, or spent time keeping crew-members warm.  With just 18 boats, IRC 4A may well be one of the smaller IRC divisions, but it's incredibly competitive.  And, up to that task was the J/97 MISPICKEL V sailed by B. Fagart, capturing a 5th overall in the difficult weather.

Finally, the "little boat" division is IRC 4B with 40 boats thrashing around the race track freezing their butts off for most of the regatta, much like their colleagues in the J/70s and J/80s.  And, none other than the "classic" J/24, now over 35 years young, managed to sporting a fleet of six boats to duel it out for J/24 "bragging rights".  In the end, top J/24 was INSULARIS's A. Garcia taking 7th in class.  Second J/24 was MARTA's P. Lemaistre taking 9th in class.  And, third J/24 was BOLERO's P. Ravel. Until next year!  May it be much warmer for all sailors in the third weekend of April- Easter Weekend 2014!  For more SPI OUEST France Intermarche sailing information

Saturday, April 6, 2013

J/80 French Easter regatta results

Demonstration of the crew of “Interface Concept” in J/80 class finishing with 30 points ahead of second: Eric Brezellec won his third consecutive Spi Ouest France. He will be a great chance for France at the J/80 Worlds to be held in early July in Marseille. Second place is for the Spanish Mikel Vasquez Sailing Gold” and third forGenerali” skippered by Nicolas Lunven, a former winner of the Solitaire du Figaro. In strong wind and cold conditions, the J/80 French Cup is starting well!

As usual now at La Trinité sur Mer, over 100 (exactly 107) J/80 were present for this major event. Due to the significant number of boats, the J80 fleet has been split in a gold and a silver groups for the final races.

Eric Brezellec: “We won seven of the nine races. This is great! This is a great victory because the level has increased. We had to fight to win so many races. We prepared last winter at Port La Forêt. We make a good team for our workouts. I'm having the same crew for the World: myself, Sebastien Col, Josselin Le Moine and Yann Château".

The same weekend took place the 48th edition of the SNIM at Marseille won by Stéphane Sollari on “La Nautique” in the J/80 class. Conditions were also windy but temperature much more suitable! J/80s raced at the same area they will next July for the Worlds, close to the beaches and the Corniche, a fantastic viewpoint to the races in the bay.