Sunday, June 30, 2013

Long Beach Race Week Preview

(Long Beach, CA)- One of the classic California regattas will be taking place this coming weekend off Long Beach, renowned for being the host of the famous match race series, the Congressional Cup.  The conditions are considered the best in southern California, with summer sea-breezes often developing out of the West at 10-17 kts.

Over the course of time, the event has become a big J/Fest with six J one-design fleets participating, including J/24s, J/70s, J/80s, J/105s, J/109s and J/120s. In addition, there are two PHRF divisions with several offshore J racing teams sailing.

Five teams are sailing in the J/80s, including multiple class winner Curt Johnson sailing AVET and Cal Week's runner-up Steve Wyman on NUHUNU.  The J/24 class has a small turnout but had some good teams participating, including past winner Susan Taylor's TAKE FIVE.  For more Long Beach Race Week sailing information

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Gorgeous New York YC Annual Regatta

NEWPORT, R.I. (June 16, 2013)  – The New York Yacht Club Annual Regatta presented by Rolex—the oldest regatta in the country—has entered the history books for the 159th time. With 153 teams competing, the 2013 edition also was the largest Annual Regatta on record, with enough action on the water and ashore to guarantee the event’s venerable reputation into the next century.  The regatta was blessed with great sailing conditions all three days, starting with the immensely popular Around Jamestown Island Race, a 20nm affair that can challenge the best sailors anywhere.  A massive frontal system was moving offshore, greeting the sailors with 20-30 kts of NNE breeze on Friday's Round Island race. Saturday saw beautiful SSW breezes in the 6 to 13 kts range with partly cloudy skies and balmy temperatures.  By Sunday, a weak cold front presented the fleet with dazzling blue skies and a cool fresh Northerly blowing 8-15 kts in the morning that slowly died off by noon, followed by 6-14 kts of classic SSW sea-breezes under sunny skies in the afternoon.

“We are proud and privileged to be able to open our home to this many yachtsman and sailors that come from all over the world, both professional and Corinthian, with great crews,” said Commodore Thomas Harrington after an Annual Regatta dinner that hosted 800 sailors and is as much of a tradition as the racing. “We extend the hospitality of the New York Yacht Club both on the water and off, because what we are about is sharing in our traditions. And like anything else, to have a great party you need people to come, and they came.”

J/Teams were a significant part of the regatta, and the parties! Racing on Course Bravo were the J/80s, also preparing for their North Americans next week being held concurrently with Storm Trysail Club's Block Island Race Week.  Taking the crown with three bullets on the last day were Will & Marie Crump sailing R80.  Finishing with three 2nds on the final day to snag second overall was John Storck and family racing their famous RUMOR!  Taking three 3rds on Sunday to take the bronze on the podium was Jeff Johnstone racing LITTLE FEAT.  Taking fourth was Guy Nickerson's PRESSURE and fifth was Peter McCarthy's EAGLE.   Sailing photo credits- Rolex/ Daniel Forster   For more New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Stellar J/80 UK Nationals

J/80 one-design sailboat- sailing upwind off Cowes, England (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron from Friday 14th June to Sunday 16th June 2013, the large J/80 fleet held their National Championships in widely varying, challenging sailing conditions on the Solent.  Winner in the J/80s was Rob Larke on J2X.

Expectations were high amongst the J/80 fleet following a stellar 2012 season. The J/80 World Championships came to the UK for the first time in seven years, and hosted an incredible seventy-six boats from nine nations including the USA and Hong Kong. Twenty-six boats then went on to compete in the J/80 UK Nationals in September. The Nationals provided a nice warm up for UK teams sailing the 2013 World Championships in July, where more than 130 boats are expected to travel to host city Marseille.

The first day of the regatta on Friday could not have been nicer.  Both fleets were presided over by PRO Captain Simon Van Der Byl. Conditions on the race-track (in the area of Brambles Bank) were some of the Solent’s finest with a brisk but variable 10 to 18 knots from South to South West. Captain Van Der Byl explained, "We really did have the best of days. We had to use the Z flag on the first start for the J/80 fleet but after that the behavior of both the J/70s and the J/80s was immaculate."

The J/80s were first away for Race 1 of the two races scheduled. Once the fleet had settled down following the deployment of the Z flag, Kevin Sproul led Race 1 from the start in J.A.T and took the bullet at the finish line. Sproul said, "The Squadron did a fantastic job with the course. We sailed well and we had good boat speed. In the second race Stewart Hawthorn just got past us. It was great racing." Hawthorn and his crew on board J’ai Deux Amours were clearly pleased with the way things went for them. "We managed to get away from the fleet and get ourselves inside the leading pack at the penultimate mark. From then we managed to stay ahead until the line." But, it was a day where consistency delivers its own rewards and a mid-fleet result for Hawthorn in the first race countered by consistency and some strong and intelligent sailing by Allan Higgs with Team Juicy and Jon Powell with Betty put them in second and third place respectively, each on eight points at the close of the first day.

It was a challenging day on the water for all on Sunday. Having completed the first two races of the championship on Friday in sublime race conditions, competitors were sent ashore and racing was abandoned before the first start sequence on Saturday, as an easily sailable 21 knots quickly built to a steady 33 knots in the course area near Mother Bank on the Solent. Three races were scheduled for Sunday, of which two were completed by the J/70s and the J/80s in a fading breeze of between 6 and 12 knots which swung between 230 and 190 degrees.

J/80 international one-design sailboat class- sailing off Cowes, EnglandSunday was a ‘double bullet’ day both for Rob Larke and his crew in the J/80 National Championship fleet on J2X.   For Rob in the J/80 fleet, two wins on the final day of racing, although impressive, were not sufficient to overhaul Kevin Sproul and his crew on board J.A.T who had led the regatta from Race One and, having never posted a result outside of the top two across the series, were deserving winners of the 2013 J/80 UK National Championship.

Both fleets were invited to a Pimms loaded prize-giving on The Platform at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday afternoon, which, unsurprisingly, was extraordinarily well attended. PRO Captain Simon Van Der Byl thanked competitors for their sportsmanship throughout the weekend and presented prizes alongside the Rear Commodore for Finance, the Honourable Patrick Seely.

In the J/80 fleet, Gillian Ross and her crew from Rock & Roll were presented with the prize for Most Improved J/80 which was sponsored by Race Yacht Services. Rock & Roll’s results got better and better as the championship progressed, perhaps aided and abetted by the team’s visit to the Isle of Wight Festival.

The Best Corinthian J/80 Team at the J/80 Nationals was Jon Powell and his crew on Betty. There are many full-time professional sailors racing J/80s and J/70s and both classes acknowledge that recognition is due for outstanding achievement by the ‘amateurs’ in each fleet. In the J/70 Class The Best Corinthian Team was Simon Ling and the boys on board Team RAFBF Spitfire Powered by SLAM. The prizes were generously sponsored by Fastnet Insurance.

It was a short hop back to the podium for Jon Powell: he and his crew on Betty finished third overall at the 2013 J/80 UK National Championship with 15 points across the series. Rob Larke and J2X finished in second place with 11 points. J.A.T finished on just 7 points and the 2013 UK National Champions, Kevin Sproul, Phil Taylor, Chris Taylor and Chris Fisher were presented with the silverware and were congratulated by the assembled fleet.

The next key event on the 2013 calendar for J/80 sailors is AAM Cowes Week and then the J-Cup in Plymouth later in August. The 2014  J/80 UK National Championships will take place at Poole Regatta from the 24th to 26th May 2014.   Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson   For more J/80 UK Nationals sailing information

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Block Island Race Week Preview

(Block Island, RI)- For many sailors in northeastern America and their friends from the around the world, Block Island Race Week is the highlight of the sailing summer.  Hosted by the Storm Trysail Club with professional, well-managed race committee's, sailors can count on fantastic racing for five straight days of sailing from June 24th to 28th.  Included in the schedule is another one of those fabulous "round island" races, the 25nm Around Block Island Race sailed mid-week.  While many enjoy the sailing, it's not unusual for many of the thousand-plus sailors to enjoy the renown "Block Party" that goes all week long, fueled by Mt Gay's famous rum and, equally as famous, The Oar Restaurant & Bar's famous "mudslides".

This year the sailing teams are looking forward to one of the largest fleets to assemble in years, with 183 boats registered to sail, J/Boats having by far the largest brand presence in the regatta with 80 boats participating (44% of the fleet!).  Six J one-design classes are sailing, including the J/111s, the J/80 North American's and East Coast Championships for the J/109, J/105s, J/44s and J/29s.  J/Teams are also sailing in the IRC and PHRF handicap divisions.

The J one-design teams are loaded with excellent sailing talent.   With their North American Championship on the line, the J/80's sixteen boats are also the largest J one-design class participating.  There are several top teams sailing with North American, Sailing World NOOD, Key West and East Coast champion credentials amongst them, including R80 (Will & Marie Crump fresh off a NOOD and New York YC Annual Regatta wins), RUMOR (John Storck, Jr and family), Clarke McKinnney, Bert Carp, CHURCH KEY (Chris & Liz Chadwick), FKA (Les Beckwith) and COURAGEOUS (Gary Panariello). For more Block Island Race Week sailing information

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Russian Federation Cup Sailing J/80s In Canary Islands!

J/80 one-design sailboats- Russian Sailing Federation CUP
(Lanzarote, Canary Islands)- The leadership of the Russian Sailing Federation are again hosting their famous Federation Cup in Lanzarote, Canary Islands, sailing J/80 one-designs from November 3rd to 10th, 2013. company is the general sponsor. The organizers of the competition are RUS7 sports club and the racing will take place out of the first-class marina - Puerto Calero, which is a technical partner in the Cup.

J/80 Russian Federation Cup- sailing Canary IslandsSince 2010, the "Fed Cup" has been sailed in the J/80 offered by the local Lanzarote J/80 Fleet, the event has established itself as the best regatta for Russian Sailing Federation members and has become the principal event on the sailing calendar for dozens of sailors. The success of the regatta is guaranteed by several factors- fun boats to sail; perfect time of year to sail in Lanzarote with big breezes, big waves and plentiful sunshine; the high quality of the sailing teams; a combination of fleet racing and team racing offers something for everyone; the presence of the leading officials of the Russian sailing community; and the spectacular location of the five-star hotel Hesperia Lanzarote overlooking the waterfront and the sailing area!

The spirited competition on the water with past Russian Olympic Sailing Team members, veteran Russian professional sailors as well as novice sailors first learning the ropes of how to get a J/80 around the race track make for lively discussions during the evening social festivities and, especially, at the famous "fish barbecue" (one of the most popular dinner party events of the week!).

For more information on the Fed Cup please visit  For more Fed Cup sailing information, please contact Alla Frolova- Tel. +79185565984, or email-

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Rocha Takes J/80 Catalonian Championship

J/80 one-design sailboats- sailing off Spain (Catalonia, Spain)- The J/80 Catalonian Championship took place during the MedSailing Regatta, that saw all wind conditions with varying speed and directions. Despite the challenging wind conditions, the highly competitive fleet managed to sail six races.

The J/80s in attendance were an exceptional fleet, counting amongst them five of the top ten overall J/80 World's sailing teams.  The racing was so tight that the winner couldn't be announced until the last race. Hugo Rocha, from CN Cambrils, took the trophy after a hard-earned championship. In the first day of racing he was always in the top of the leaderboard and he secured the win with an exceptional second half of the championship, where he scored two seconds and a first.

As mentioned above, some of the best sailors in the world J/80 rankings were present. Among them, Carlos Martínez with ZHIK/NOVASAIL, had a spectacular first half of the championship scoring three bullets in the first four races. But on the second day, light winds worked against him and he obtained second place overall in the MedSailing regatta.

Javier Chacártegui, on board HM-HOTELS, was very consistent in his performance and finished all races in the top positions. However, he was tied in points with Carlos Martínez in the overall standing, and since he had less wins than Martínez, he finished third overall, 17 points ahead of the fourth boat.

Other outstanding sailors taking part of this regatta were the current World Champion José María van der Ploeg, on board FACTOR ENERGIA. However, he was unlucky and broke his bowsprit in a collision during the first race of the championship. Even if the Protest Committee ruled in his favor, he was prevented from racing in 4 of the 6 final races. However, on the last day he proved his talent by winning one of the two races of the day.

The winner of the Catalonian Championship, as well as of the MedSailing Regatta, was Hugo Rocha, from CN Cambrils. The runner-up was Oriol Cornudella from Club Náutico El Balís, who thanks to a fourth place in the last race managed to skip in front of Javier Scherk (Gunter), from RCN Barcelona, who finished only a point behind and took the third place in the Catalonian podium. Thanks for the report from the Catalonian J/80 fleet.   For more Spanish J/80 sailing information

Thursday, June 20, 2013

MATCH THE WORLD Dominates J/80s In Normandy

J/80 one-design sailboats at Normandy Sailing Week, France(Le Havre, France)- Sailing on the northern coastline of France can be an experience many never forget, especially with famously powerful Lows rolling in off the chilly North Sea and slamming the western European coastline with gale force winds and massive 10-15 foot waves smashing into the beaches.  Toss in 20 ft plus tidal range and massive amounts of current across the race courses and the conditions can truly be described as challenging.  This year's Normandy Sailing Week participants had the best of all worlds, sunny skies for most of the event with NE winds in the 15-25 kts range with enormous seas topped by breaking white caps every single day.

The thirty J/80s sailing in the fourth part of their J/80 French Cup Series saw the two leaders run away with the series.  With many of the top teams practicing for the J/80 Worlds in Marseilles, France in July, this event was going to be a good test for how well the various team's preparations were going.  There was no question the J/80s loved the fast and furious pace of the sailing with prolonged surfs and planes in the big breeze.  The conditions also may have had an impact on the outcome of the top five as many of the familiar faces on the French J/80 circuit were eclipsed by some newcomers-- some very experienced "newbies" at that!  Winning the event with a clear demonstration of speed, boat-handling and smart sailing was Romain Bethune sailing MATCH THE WORLD. Starting out by winning the first four races in a row, they never relinquished their lead after the first day of racing.  MATCH THE WORLD's record of 1-1-1-1-3-4-2-1 for 14 pts net was good enough to take the gold and win by five points.  Second overall was a "new girl on the block", Maxime Mesnil sailing MANCHE BASSE NORMANDIE to a very strong 3-2-2-2-1-1-5-3 scoreline for 19 pts net!  Third was yet another class newcomer, Alexis Henri sailing VADK ONE, coming on strong in the end to beat out current European J/80 Champion Eric Brezellec skippering INTERFACE CONCEPT on a tie-breaker at 36 pts apiece!  Fifth was Frederic Hauville from the French Naval Academy, sailing ECOLE NAVALE CG29 to a solid series with most finishes in the five!

Normandy Week is sailed at the end of the Seine River near Le Havre, so current is a very important factor in local tactics. Early on, current maps and information were gathered to be well prepared. Even some famous Belgian Laser sailors with local knowledge got us some extra info. For more J/111 Europeans and J/80 Normandy Sailing Week information

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New York YC Annual Regatta Preview

(Newport, RI)- An impressive lineup of J sailing talent will be participating in the oldest regatta in America, with over a century and a half’s worth of history and lots of family fun. For three days, yachts sailing in IRC, J one-Design classes as well as a PHRF Cruiser-Racer division will be hosted at New York Yacht Club’s Harbour Court and will race on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.  The leading brand by a significant margin are the forty four J's (29%) sailing in the fleet of 153 boats.

“Newport is a great place to sail and offers a very impressive nautical town steeped in tradition,” said Terry McLaughlin, the Canadian Olympic silver medalist, J/24 Canadian Champion, current J/105 owner and former America’s Cup skipper who will be at the helm of John Hele’s 42 footer (himself a past J/24 Canadian champion). “As well, the New York Yacht Club always does a bang-up job on and off the water. The event has a long history and a lot of competitive classes, so it attracts a wide range of boats and people. I’m a great proponent of one-design racing, because I like to cross the finish line and know immediately how we did,” said McLaughlin.  McLaughlin & Hele and the rest of the fleet have been invited to kick off the event on Friday, June 14 with a separately scored 21nm Around the Island Race. The circumnavigation of Jamestown remains a favorite among racing sailors visiting Newport, and at stake in the IRC division is a Rolex Submariner watch, which will be presented to the overall winner during that evening’s festivities at Harbour Court.

J/80s have a fleet of seven remarkably competitive teams, including North American and Sailing World NOOD champions peppering the fleet.  Chief amongst the leaders will be the Storck family's renown RUMOR, Will Crump's R80, Jeff Johnstone's LITTLE FEAT and Chris & Liz Chadwick's CHURCH KEY.    For more New York YC Annual Regatta sailing information

Sunday, June 16, 2013

The J/Boats "Impact" Developing Sailing Markets Worldwide

J/80 sailing development in China (Liuzhou, Guangxi Province, China)- Developing recreational sports in countries such as China has always been a challenge.  The economies in these developing countries have been in booms, the wealth has come in to the households, but the people do not have the background and knowledge that developed nations have had to really enjoy the boating life.  Lack of swimming, fear of water and lack of good instruction are all real things that need to be addressed before you can even get new sailors on the water.  Riviera Liuzhou Yacht Club in Guangxi Province, China has a formula that is working. This location is in the heart of China, 5 hours from any coastline-- not the location most would think would see the largest growth of new keel boat sailors in Asia.

Two years ago, Mr. He and Frank Lin of Liuzhou had the idea of starting a club. They pushed the local government for access to get things started. With docks completed in October of 2011 they hosted their first national Masters Cup Regatta with 14 new club-owned International J/80 one-designs.  Not really knowing what they were up against, they were smart to bring in some help to organize and run the event. In the spring of 2012 they hosted another Masters Cup Regatta.  They invited sailors from around China, Hong Kong and Singapore; as a result most of the Asian sailing world began to understand where Liuzhou was located and its promise for opportunity.  But, this did little for local sailing. As we all know, local sailing is the key to growth.

In the Summer of 2012, Jim Johnstone started working with Liuzhou to help them train the instructors to establish the sailing program and help them create some local teams to compete in other events around China. As of June 2012 there were a handful of instructors that had sailed before this program started.

J/80s sailing on river in China- sailing school development programWith many days on the water practicing and several local companies taking instruction from the club, the first base of sailors was generated and the instructors continued to improve their skills. Liuzhou won the China Club Match Challenge and was also 5th out of the 28 team fleet.  Recently, Liuzhou sailors were 4th in the China Cup and 1st in the Round Hainan Regatta in Sanya (the "Hawaii" of China, its southernmost island resort where the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race stop-over was hosted). The Liuzhou sailing team then went on to compete in Qingdao where they placed 1st in 8 out of the 9 races. With many more events scheduled for 2013, Liuzhou is a city that other teams are worried about competing against!  That's a remarkable transformation for what many thought were "farmers" in the outback of China!

What was still missing was local racing going into 2013. With 14 boats available the club went out to the students that had taken lessons and pushed for each of the sailors that had some background to sign up for a boat and bring friends that didn't have any knowledge but wanted to learn. An 8 week Sunday series was born with all 14 boats signed up.  Sailing was simple windward-leeward courses with spinnakers and a goal of 5 races per afternoon between 1pm and 3:30pm.  Prior to racing there was a 30 minutes instructional class that would cover whatever topic the fleet seemed to need the most from the previous weekend (spinnaker handling tips, rules lessons, basic tactics, sportsmanship etc).

One important rule was that a club member had to be on each boat. However, the club has two memberships. An associate membership that allowed limited use of club boats and access to the docks or the full membership that would allow full access including the club house that is not completed yet. Membership is important not only for showing growth but to cover the people under the club insurance policy.

Each Sunday, the Riviera Yacht Club gets 70 to 90 new sailors showing up to compete in these races. None of the trained instructors were allowed to sail in any of the boats and coaching was provided on the water with two inflatable crash boats. However, instruction was limited to the following: a) coaching the last two place boats if they fall behind the fleet and b) on-the-water judging to help people with the rules and keep the damage to a minimum.

The race committee was also keeping things simple: Postponement flag, individual recall flag and general recall flags along with a race committee flag were all that were used. Three minute dinghy starts were used so no sailors needed a stop watch. 2 minutes after the last boat finishes the next start would sound. Only windward leeward courses, but depending on the wind, the distance would change. The race committee had the ability to limit sails in conditions of higher winds. No spinnakers, even no jibs were used at different times to make sure that the overall group was capable of managing the boats around the course and keep it fun.

Whether you are racing Cowes Race Week, Yachting Cup, Key West Race Week, China Cup or any of the other events around the world it is very difficult to imagine so many inexperienced people out racing at one time.  If you are in Newport or Hong Kong you may have several new boats to a fleet but most of the boats have a veteran or experienced sailor as part of the crew. They may not be good, but there is someone on the boat with experience.  The J/80 being a very forgiving sailing platform, the protected river environment allow Liuzhou to pull this off more then some of the other exposed sailing areas.

Thanks to the foresight of the Riviera Yacht Club owners for getting this program started and we look forward to seeing this success spread in developing sailing areas around the world.  If anyone wants more information or advice about these types of sailing development programs worldwide, please contact J/Boats- or ph. +1-401-846-8410.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

J/Fest @ Cal Race Week

(Marina del Rey, CA)- Cal Race Week continues to be a highlight for many sailing teams as more and more racers discover the pleasure of late spring sailing in Marina del Rey, with afternoon breezes in the low to mid-teens, sun and perfect temperatures for racing around the buoys.  That's what the Marina del Rey Chamber of Commerce proclaimed before everyone headed for the race course-- one where the boats are sailing in the shadows of the monstrous LAX Airport and having to sometimes suffer from  their noise abatement take-off procedures for such lilliputian jumbo jets like the Airbus 380!

Despite the noise to the south, the standard "sea breeze" blows most of the noise away as it fills in from the WNW and builds all day long, thanks to the mountain ranges to the east and massive amounts of concrete throughout the smog-ridden Los Angeles basin sucking in all the breeze.  The enormous benefit of this phenomenon is that sailors enjoy beautiful, crystal-clear, smog-free days along a somewhat picturesque coastline.

Furthermore, what many SoCal sailors have come to know, is that California Yacht Club has won US SAILING’s prestigious St. Petersburg trophy for excellence in race management three times in recent years! Multiple courses with separate start/finish lines minimize interference between boats in different classes and insure that most of your time on the water will be spent racing. No kidding, the Cal YC RC team does a fantastic job of keeping the pace rolling with fleets starting and finishing at the same time!

The weekend’s hospitality was a fitting complement to the on-the-water competition. There was entertainment both days, with hosted beverages on the docks after racing (yes, ice-cold, refreshing local micro-brewery beer served from a kegger on the dock!). Plus, it's hard to beat their no-host BBQ on Saturday and complimentary beverages with hors d’oeuvres at the trophy presentation on Sunday.

Enjoying every minute of the weekend were a small armada of J Teams enjoying the fine weather and fabulous hospitality.  While the regatta attracted 77 boats from around SoCal, ranging from Santa Barbara to the north and San Diego to the south, fully 38% of the fleet (29 boats) were J sailors racing one-design in J/70s, J/80s, J/109s, J/105s and J/24s.

For Saturday's racing, the wind started out in the NW quadrant and slowly backed to the WNW.  As a result, the old axiom of "left early, right late" never worked.  In fact, the strategy of the day was highly atypical for the area with "go West young man" being the order of the day.  Sunday's racing was quite radically different, too.  Despite filling in from the SW due to an enormous High pressure ridge, the wind never clocked (or did so rarely), so the breeze funneling down the coast had greater pressure and lifts coming from the left upwind (and, conversely, downwind).  As a result, the "south of the border" strategy appeared to be the order of the day.  Strange, that it was!

Course 2, north of the Marina del Rey jetties and halfway to the Santa Monica Pier, were the fleets of J/70s, J/80s and J/24s.  The J/80s produced one of the perfect scorelines, with Curt Johnson's AVET again taking the crown for their "three-peat" win in Cal Race Week by taking straight firsts for 5 pts. The battle was really for the balance of the podium with the outcome determined by the last two races on Sunday.  Taking second was Steve Wyman's NUHUNU with 3-2-2-2-3 scores for 12 pts, nipping by one point that team of BLUE JAY sailed by Bob Hayward with a 2-3-3-3-2 tally for 13 pts.   Sailing photo credits- Bronny Daniels/   For more Cal Race Week sailing information

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

J/80's Love Round Island Race!

J/80 one-design sailboats going past Isle of Wight in Round Island Race
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Saturday 1st of June was certainly a day to remember, a day of highs, and more highs and, it was a day for Round the Island Race records to tumble.  It was the day when Great Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, Sir Ben Ainslie (past J/24, J/80 and J/109 sailor/tactician) and his all-British crew aboard JP Morgan BAR, trounced the existing Round the Island Race multihull record, held for 12 years, by an impressive 16 minutes.  Equalling this awesome, impressive feat was Simon Ling's team aboard the J/70 SPITFIRE, just blowing away their 15 boat Sportboat Class by 15 minutes on corrected time and were declared winner of the prestigious Sir Edward Heath Trophy (named after a former British Prime Minister who dearly loved sailing).

J/70 PHEEBS view of the Solent at dawn on JP Morgan Asset Management Round Island RaceAs dawn broke over the Solent, a weak weather front was clearing away to the east, leaving clear skies and a northerly airflow in its wake. The wind strength peaked at 17-22 knots as the front passed over, reducing to 13-17 knots for the first starters. It was clear it was going to be a day to break records for all kinds of boats, especially with flat water and a good wind angle on every leg of the course.  A critical turning point in the race, St Catherine's Point, had a comfortable 15 kts with occasional gusts to 20-25 kts to make for fast surfing or planing for the lighter boats. It was nearly idyllic sailing conditions for the massive 1,500 boat fleet. However, by the time the leading sportsboats were approaching Bembridge Ledge at 1030 hrs there were holes appearing in the breeze, with just 5-6 knots reported in places. Otherwise, conditions remain glorious on the water, with almost unbroken sun now warming the 15,000 sailors after a cold start to the day.

The fourteen boat IRC Sportsboat class saw very, very fast sailing.  A string of Royal Yacht Squadron/ Royal Thames YC J/80 one-designs sailed with ROYAL 1 taking 4th, ROYAL 5 in 6th, ROYAL 2 in 7th and ROYAL 3 in 9th.

 The eleven boat J/80 one-design class was a closely fought affair with the top five finishing within four minutes of each other on elapsed time after 50nm of sailing!  The winner by 30 seconds was J.A.T, followed by SURF & TURF in 2nd, WILD WALLY in 3rd, ROCK & ROLL in 4th and JASMINE in 5th.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth @  For more Round The Island Race sailing information

Monday, June 10, 2013

St Francis YC Dominates Cornerstone Cup

J/80 Cornerstone Cup winners- St Francis YC (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The Cornerstone Cup is a new, prestigious team-race challenge sailed in matched, one-design J/80 class sailboats on the famous waters known as "the Solent". It's a four-way international team racing event, two-on-two style, between the New York Yacht Club, St Francis Yacht, the Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Thames Yacht Club.

Starting out strong the first day with a 3-0 record, the St Francis YC team never looked back, nearly sweeping the entire event from beginning to end. Here is the report from one of the St Francis YC team members, Nicole Breault:

Sailing classic English wet weather at Cowes, on Solent, England"I am loving the tradition and plucky English sailing culture of the Isle of Wight. Our team came off today with three wins and no losses, after a long delay and a single flight of light air, rainy races. Shawn Bennett is driving our boat with me, Rolf Kaiser, and Ralph Silverman as crew and our other boat is skippered by Craig Healy, with Harrison Turner, Tom Ducharme, and John Collins as crew. Mark Ivey is coaching us, and just in time for racing today, our commodore Jim Cascino and his lady Lilly arrived to cheer us on. Standing in second is New York YC followed by the Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Thames YC.

We are sailing in the Bay of Oscar, just east of the harbor. There has been strong current making for tricky lay-lines and pass-backs, especially in the light air. Tomorrow slightly stronger winds are forecasted and the RC is planning to sail us an extra hour into the evening. Racing is tough and with point values increasing each flight, there is still much regatta competition to come."

St Francis YC team racing sailing team enjoying sunny day at Cowes in front of Royal Yacht SquadronNicole continues here report for the second day of racing, "Today we were greeted by a 'brilliant' English morning. Brisk, blue sky with fluffy white clouds and birds chirping happily. We sailed out in a light easterly and then sat for several hours basking in the sun. Luckily, the westerly filled just as the ebb was establishing and we managed one flight of racing. StFYC finished 2-1 on the day, a long debrief afterwards on the call that cost us the race. The Royal Thames came on strong today with 2-1 and handed StFYC our first loss to win the day! Tomorrow wins are 1.5 points and the regatta is still up in the air. Forecast is for better wind, however, we fear the English rains will return with it. We are off to an evening of drinks on the Royal Yacht Squadron platform, then a carving station dinner in the pavilion out back. Having a great time, for sure!"

In the end, despite best efforts by the local sailors on the Yacht Squadron and Royal Thames teams to engage the American's in "extended evening entertainment" at local pubs, the St Francis YC team went on to win in "classic Solent spring conditions", rain, wind and cool weather.  For more Cornerstone Cup sailing information

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

JENIALE Three-Peats J/80 Italian's!

J/80 Italian Champions 2013- JENIALE!- Massimo Rama (Sestri Levante, Italy)- This year's J/80 Italian National Championships hosted in Sestri Levante saw a good fleet of eleven teams participating from Italy, Poland and Germany.  The three day regatta saw an enormous variety of weather conditions challenge the fleet, from 15 to 30 kt winds on the first day to freezing cold on the second day to epic, beautiful weather for the finale on Sunday.

Friday's racing saw southerly breezes gusting over 20 kts with tough conditions sailing upwind in the puffy winds, but fantastic planing conditions downwind for the fleet!  After three races the fleet was exhausted.  After the first day's racing, it was RAPISARDI skippered by Taito Sanchez that was leading, following by the Polish team on MOONRAKER and in third was BLUE 8 (their first regatta in J/80s).  After all the heavy duty sailing, the crews retired to the nearby Yacht Club Chiavari for the evening for excellent local Italian food, delicious wines and evening entertainment.

J/80 international one-design sailboat- sailing Italian National ChampionshipsThe second day of racing was very special for many sailors.  It was overcast, cold, with snow on the mountains in the hinterlands.  And, the big waves/swell came from the southwest with 15-18 kt winds at approximately 300 degrees. In the end, it became a perfect day for sailing! Three races more beautiful and more competitive than the one before. The first race was won by JENIALE skippered by Massimo Rama, followed by RAPISARDI and the Polish team of Pawel Boksa.  After three races, the team of Taito Sanchez was still leading, chased by a group of teams that included MOONRAKER, JENIALE!, J-BLUE 8 and MONTPRES PAUL MONTEDONICO.  After the second day of sailing, the evening dinner on the promenade of Sestri for all crews was lots of fun.

For the final day of sailing on Sunday, the Tigullio Bay was amazing- sun, waves, gentle southerly breezes of 10-12 kts.  Perfect.  The Race Committee started on time and managed to produce three races!  In the end, JENIALE! managed to get three firsts to secure their third J/80 Italian Championship.  Congratulations to Rama's crew with Anne-Soizic Bertin, Eva Gonzalez, Pier Giorgio and Cristina Matteini.  Next step for the top Italians teams is the J/80 Worlds in July sailing in Marseille, France!  For more J/80 Italian Nationals sailing information