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J/70 sailing at AAM Cowes WeekJ/111 EuroCup/ Cowes Race Week Preview
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week is a key part of the British sporting calendar taking place from August 8th to 15th this year. These dates result from early traditions when the great and the good came to Cowes between “Goodwood” and the “Glorious Twelfth” – day one of the Grouse Shooting Season. The event is a great mix of competitive sailing and a vibrant social scene and has evolved enormously since the early days; it now attracts up to 1,000 competing boats, around 8,500 competitors and at least 100,000 visitors.

Royal Yacht Squadron- the Castle- Cowes, EnglandCowes Week now stages up to 40 daily races and is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world.  Although the regatta is over 180 years old, it is only in recent times that the Week has become an integrated series of races organized by a single body; today the Cowes Combined Clubs (CCC) of ten member clubs run the racing as a single organization- and the principal starting line is the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line pointed approximately due north of the “castle on the rocks”.

Amongst the madding crows will be several dozen J/Teams participating in this classic summertime event.  The J/111s will be sailing their 3rd edition of the EuroCup while the balance of J/Crews include a combination of one-design fleets like J/70s, J80s and J/109s.  In addition, there are IRC Handicap fleets that have J sailors in IRC 3, 4, 5, 6 and Cruiser A!  Some of the J/109s, J/111s and larger J’s will also be using Cowes Week as a “shakedown” practice for the upcoming Rolex Fastnet Race that starts on Sunday, August 16th.

J/111s sailing on Solent off Cowes, EnglandThe J/111s will be dual-scored in IRC 1 Class as well as for their EuroCup event that takes place from Saturday, August 8th to Tuesday, August 11th.  Many of the top UK teams are participating in the EuroCup, including Martin Dent’s JELVIS, Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II, Tony & Sally Mack’s McFLY, Andrew Christie & Chris Body’s ICARUS and Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG.  Joining them from the Netherlands will be Hans Zwinjburg’s SWEENY.

For the balance of the week, the rest of IRC 1 class also includes two J/122s, Clive Miles’ HANGLE and Chris Daniel’s JUNO.  Two other J/122 stablemates are sailing in IRC 2 class, the Russian team of Sergey Sechenko on JOLOU and Kursad Terzi’s GARANTI SAILING.

IRC 4 class has a quartet of J/105s racing, a number of which are also sailing the Fastnet Race.  In this gang of four are William Newton’s JELLY BABY, Pete & Pip Tyler’s NEILSON REDEYE, Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe’s KING LOUIE and Andy Roberts JIN TONIC.  Also, doing some buoys and offshore training will be the British Army’s sailing team- WHITE KNIGHT 7 led by Joe Cowie, Phil Harnett and The Royal Lancers brigade!

The battle of the J/97s and J/92s is shaping up quite nicely in IRC 5 class, one of the most competitive fleets in the entire regatta.  Leading the charge for the 92s will be David & Libby Greenhalgh’s J’RONIMO with others in hot pursuit like Brian Malone’s BLUE DIAMOND DODJER, John Greenaway’s WIZARD, and Martin Pound’s MOBY JAY. Andy Howe & Annie Kelly’s J/97 BLACKJACK II should be near the forefront of the fleet, too.  They will have the plate full fending off Ole Bettum’s ALAMRA B III, James & John Owen’s JET and Rob Orr’s JACKAROO.

J/88 sailing on Solent- off Cowes, EnglandTHE IRC Sportboat class is sporting 26 entries, surely to be one of the more crowded, spirited fleets jockeying for optimum positions on the Royal Yacht Squadron starting-line.  Five J/88s will be competing against a gaggle of CORK 1720s, Farr 280s, Hunter 707s and what not.  Look for these J/88 owners to all feature in the top ten in the class- Dirk & Dianne van Beek’s SABRIEL JR, Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, Stew Hawthorn’s JI FI, David & Kirsty Apthorp’s J-DREAM, and David Cule’s MAI TAI.  After one 6nm beat against the tide on the Solent, it is possible the J/88s will be the entire top 5 at the windward mark!

With 23 entries, the J/70s are now the largest J/class starting in this year’s Cowes Week; that’s double the number from last year’s event.  It’s bit hard handicapping this crowd since many of them have done well in other J classes while still others have the experience of the J/70 Worlds in La Rochelle behind them.  Nevertheless, one can expect these teams have a go at it more than once during the week; Freddie Liardet’s COSMIC, Charlie Esse’s DARWIN PROPERTY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT, Andrew Creighton & James Davies’ J-STAR, Nick & Adam Munday’s J7T, Mike & Jamie Holmes’ JIKA, Jack Davies JUGADOR, David McLeman’s OFFBEAT and Jeremy Bennett’s SCEPTRE.

J/80s sailing at Cowes WeekThe 18-boat J/80 fleet has a number of class veterans prepared to do battle for the entire week.  Familiar names like AQUA J (Terry O’Neill), BETTY (Jon Powell), BOYSTEROUS (Ali Hall), JACKAROO (Richard Farrington), JAT (Kevin Sproul) and WILD WALLY (the Walters duo) will be scattered across the lead packs.  They are also joined by good visiting teams like OMAN SAIL’s Ibtisam Al Salmi from the Gulf Emirate of Oman, and two French teams- J’IMPRESSIONE (Pierre-Louis Attwell) and J’INDYC (Maxime Bensa).

The J/109s have a strong 17-boat class that sees a nice combination of experienced teams participating as well as a number of newcomers to the fleet.  Amongst the veterans are the INSPARA (Tor McLaren & Andrew Horrocks), JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks and Jean Lockett), ME JULIE (Alex Ballantyne), DESIGNSTAR 2 (Roger Phillips), and SARDONYX IX (William Edwards). Some of the new faces in the crowd include ALICE OF HAMBLE (Anthony Ward) and PURE JOY (Chris Sharples, Richard Acland & Patrick Tolhurst).

Finally, in Cruiser A handicap world, the Julian James’ J/100 THUNDER SQUALL is the sole J crew taking on their 20-boat fleet!   Sailing Photo Credits- Tim Wright- Photoaction.com.    For more AAM Cowes Week sailing information


J/105s sailing at Verve Cup in ChicagoVerve Cup Offshore Preview
(Chicago, IL)- Chicago Yacht Club will be hosting the 23rd annual Verve Cup Offshore Regatta over the August 7th to 9th weekend. The event features a three-day offshore regatta, as well as a one-day Distance Race. This three-day event attracts over 175 yachts to the beautiful Chicago lakefront. During the regatta, Chicago YC will welcome over 2,500 racers, spouses and guests at their Monroe St harbor clubhouse. These participants are treated to three days of top quality racing, followed by food, entertainment and camaraderie that are second to none.

The Midwest J/teams range from one-design classes (J/105, J/109, J/111) to offshore ORR handicap classes.  The six boat J/105 class features most all of the top Chicago area teams, including Gyt & Tom Petkus’s VYTIS, Clark Pellet’s SEALARK, Mike Sheppard’s FLYING PIG, Jon Weglarz’s THE ASYLUM and Sandy Curtiss’s ROCKING HORSE.

J/109 sailing Verve Cup offshore of ChicagoThe J/109s have a lean but tough fleet this year. Nevertheless, Kevin Saedi’s MOMENTUS, David Gustman’s NORTHSTAR, Peter Priede’s FULL TILT, and Doug & Betsy Evans’ TIME OUT will figure out quickly who’s at the top of that “pecking order”.

The J/111s are ponying up with seven boats on the starling, including principal Chicago players like WOOTON (Bill Smith), KASHMIR (Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer), IMPULSE (Miz/ Dreher/ Hatfield), and Brad Faber’s UTAH. Dan Kitchens’ SKULL CRACKER hopes to be a factor as does San Diego YC sailor Bennet Greenwald’s PERSEVERANCE (recent winner of PHRF 2 at Storm Trysail’s Block Island Race Week).

The offshore world has a range of J/Teams competing.  In the ORR Distance Race 1 group we find Frank Giampoli’s J/120 JAHAZI racing against everything from a 36 ft Beneteau cruiser to a Farr 39 footer and a turbo’d Mumm 36!  Should be an interesting outcome!

In the ORR Distance Race 1 group is perhaps an even more diverse group of boats.  This fleet includes the J/100 BARRACUDA sailed by David Hughes from Chicago YC and the J/133 RENEGADE skippered by Tom Papoutsis from Columbia YC.

The ORR Distance Race 2 group has the J/88 RAMBLER skippered by Benjamin Wilson (Chicago-Mackinac Race class winner) and two J/105s- GLOBAL NOMADS (Michael Hettel) and GANGBUSTERS (Mark Gannon); plus one J/120- Frank Giampoli’s JAHAZI.   For more Verve Cup Offshore sailing information


J/27s sailing North AmericansJ/27 North Americans Preview
(Oakville, ONT)- The upcoming J/27 North American Championship promises to be one of the best-attended regattas in the last decade or two.  The Oakville Yacht Squadron in Oakville, Ontario (just west of Toronto) is playing host to the fifteen boats that have registered to date.  Many class newbies and old veterans are in the mix in this popular 27 ft daysailer cruiser class.    J/27s have been enjoying a bit of a renaissance on Lake Ontario in recent years, a veritable “hotbed” of activity, specifically, in the western end of the lake.

Of the dozen Canadian teams in attendance, one can expect to see crews like Dirk Sell’s ALF, Andrew Riem’s CURVED AIR, and Andre Beese’s MESSING ABOUT to be somewhere near the top of the leaderboard.  They are joined by three American teams making their first trip across the Canadian border with their J/27s- Brant Binns’ WHITEFEATHER from Jubilee YC n Beverly, MA; Mike Seitz’s NORTHERN SEITZ from Wilson, NY; and Gary Patenude’s SEAMMA from Round Bay Sailing Association in Severna Park, MD.  For more J/27 North American Championship sailing information


J/80s sailing Buzzards Bay RegattaBuzzards Bay Regatta Preview
(Dartmouth, MA)- The 43rd Buzzards Bay Regatta, will be held August 7-9, 2015 at the New Bedford Yacht Club in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. As they have for decades, the New Bedford YC will once again roll out the red carpet for legions of sailors from across the New England coastline to sail in all manner of boats, big and small, dinghies to offshore keelboats and everything in between.

What’s the attraction of Buzzards Bay to sailors for all those years?  Plain and simple.  Wind and waves.  And, plenty of it.  Buzzards Bay is the East Coast’s version of San Francisco Bay.  While Newport and Narragansett Bay are no second cousins to Buzzards in terms of generating great sea-breezes, there’s no question if it’s blowing 10-15 kts further West, it’s at least 15-20 kts or more in Buzzards. Hoping for fair winds and plenty of breeze will be the regatta’s PRO- Blair Tracy of NBYC. In addition to the one-design classes, NBYC and BBR are also hosting the PHRF New England Championship.

The J/80 fleet of Buzzards Bay is showing up en’masse with a total of eight crew participating from the host NBYC as well as from Beverly YC just down the Bay.  Watch out for Mike Sudofsky’s FOUR SPACIOUS GUYS building on their season-long campaign of sailing both J/70s and J/80s in major events around the globe.  They will be chased hard by teams like Peter d’Anjou’s LE TIGRE, Scott Miller’s NEXT ADVENTURE and Jim Tomlinson’s AEGIR.

An extraordinary 16 of the 25 entrants for the PHRF New England Championship are J/Teams (64.0% of the fleet)!  At the top of the heap handicap-wise is Jim Shachoy’s J/122 AUGUST WEST, the recent winner of the New York YC IRC East Coast Championship.  A duet of J/111s will be hounding the AUGUST WEST team; Doug Curtiss’s WICKED 2.0 (a past BBR winner) and Sedgwick Ward’s BRAVO.  In turn, they will be chased by Mark Verville’s J/120 ISURUS and five J/109s, like local hotshot Ted Herlihy’s NA Champion GUT FEELING.  A classic J/41 will be in that mix, Davis Sanford’s BACCHAE from Beverly YC.  Another classic that loves Buzzards Bay conditions will be Diana & Tom Sutton’s J/35 LEADING EDGE from Houston YC.  The newest kid on the block challenging all comers will be Doug Newhouse’s J/88 YONDER from SAIL Newport.  Hot on their heels will be two J/105s- Richard Fontaine’s GOOD TRADE and Ed Lobo’s WATERWOLF.  Finally, twin J/30s round out the class; watch out, they’re the sleepers in this crowd- the two Ken’s, Deyett on JEROBOAM and van Colen on MOODY BLUE never shy away from a fair fight in good breeze on the Bay!

In PHRC Cruz mode all weekend will be Al Signorella’s J/100 SUNDANCE from New Bedford YC and Steve Dahill’s J/35C RIVA from Beverly YC.  For more Buzzards Bay Regatta sailing information


J/70s sailing start off Cowes, EnglandJ/70 UK Nationals Announcement
(Hamble, England)- The J/70 UK Class Association is delighted to announce that the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble will host the J/70 UK National Championships. The event will take place from Saturday 29th to Monday 31st of August; the last bank holiday weekend of the year.

The Championships now anticipate near 30 teams to enter, an incredible number for a fleet that unbelievably is still less than three years old. With the J/70 being enormously easy for owners to transport, crews are also expected from the West Country and East Coast.

Many new additions to the fleet this year alone, racing against owners who have had their boats since the first hulls arrived in 2012 will make for a thrilling three days of racing. The current champion who will no doubt be back to defend his title is Ian Atkins’ Boats.com. The closest two teams to challenge him in 2014 will surely be ones to watch too; Simon Ling’s Team RAFBF Spitfire and Ian Wilson’s Gill Race Team both have some excellent regatta wins behind them.  For more J/70 UK Nationals sailing information


J/80s sailing off Palma Mallorca, Spain in Copa del ReyJ/80 Copa del Rey Preview
(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- Twenty J/80 teams will compete for the fifth consecutive year in the Copa del Rey Regatta in Palma Mallorca.   The J/80’s debuted at the regatta in Palma in 2011 and since then, the class has been a fixture on the pontoons of the Real Club Nautico de Palma during each edition.

The list of teams includes many that sailed in the recent J/80 World Championships in Kiel, Germany.  Top amongst those teams will be several podium finishers at past World Championships.  Any one of these teams have the potential to win the regatta, including Marc de Antonio’s BRIBON MOVISTAR; José Maria Van der Ploeg’s NAUTICA WATCHES (winner in 2011, second in 2012 and third in 2014); Carlos Martinez’s AKEWUELE (winner in 2012, second in 2014 and third in 2013); and Javier Aguado’s OXITAL/ PEUGEOT (second in 2011).

After demonstrating excellent performance in the cold waters off Kiel, where he led the provisional standings during the first four days of racing, there is no question that de Antonio’s BRIBON MOVISTAR do not want to become the bridesmaid again and are hoping to improve on their fourth place in the 2014 Copa del Rey regatta.  He knows his rivals will not make that achievement easy, “the conditions in the Bay of Palma will be totally different from the Worlds in Kiel and the level of competition is extremely high,” says de Antonio.

In addition to the strong Spanish teams in attendance, four teams have traveled from Italy to participate in the awesome, sun-soaked sailing offered by the Bay of Palma.  Leading the way for the Italians is Massimo Rama’s JENIALE and he is joined by Giacomo Loro’s MARY J, Nicola Savoini’s NITE and Lorenzo Cerretelli’s NOVITAHOME.COM.  The two candidates for “longest distance” traveled would have to be Sweden’s Thomas Rudewald sailing PALOMA BLANCA as well as Argentina’s Luis Rosad skipperingWUAKI.TV.

The regatta program provides for a maximum of 12 windward/leeward races between Monday, August 3, and Saturday, August 8th.   For more Copa del Rey sailing information


J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J’s Sailing Worldwide

The coming week will be offering to offshore sailing enthusiasts plenty to talk about and debate as hundreds of sailors prepare for the upcoming Rolex Fastnet Race that starts off the famous Royal Yacht Squadron starting line.  Just last week, the RORC’s on-going offshore series featured the Channel Race; it was good practice for J/105s, J/109s, J/122s, and a J/133, most of whom are planning to compete in the Fastnet.  Meanwhile, a number of them will also be using next week’s AAM Cowes Race Week as part of their crew training prior to the Sunday start.

Also taking place in Solent waters last week was the Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta that featured IRC racing, Level-racing, and J/70s 2-on-2 team racing off Cowes, Isle of Wight, England.  At the western end of the Solent, the Taittinger Regatta enjoyed a champagne celebration at the Yarmouth YC after the awards on Sunday; the J/24 crews drank it all up!

Meanwhile, down in South America, Argentinean sailors have been enjoying their winter J/24 circuit in Cordoba. While perhaps more famous for its ski resorts in the Andes Mountains, the spectacular lake, known as Lago San Roque, simply cannot be beat for a picturesque sailing regatta.  Plus, their J/24 friends sailed to a Gold Medal in the Pan Am Games J/24 fleet in Toronto, Canada!

West of them Down Under, the Australians have also enjoyed their winter sailing in light to moderate winds and cool temperatures.  Recently, the J/24 class had one of their largest turnouts in years for the J/24 Cronulla Short-course Regatta in Sydney.

Read on! The J/Community and Cruising section below has many entertaining stories and news about J/Sailors as well as cruising blogs about those who continue to enjoy the Caribbean and the South Pacific, staying warm while others are trying to stay warm up north.  Check them out!  More importantly, if you have more J/Regatta News, please email it or upload onto our J/Boats Facebook page!  Below are the summaries.


Regatta & Show Schedules:

Aug 7-9- J/27 North American Championship- Oakville, ONT
Aug 7-9- Verve Cup Offshore Regatta- Chicago, IL
Aug 7-9- Buzzards Bay Race Week- Dartmouth, MA
Aug 8-11- J/111 EuroCup Regatta- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Aug 8-15- AAM Cowes Race Week- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Aug 8-16- Nantucket Race Week- Nantucket, MA
Aug 14- Ida Lewis Distance Race- Newport, RI
Aug 16- RORC Fastnet Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Aug 21-23- Irish J/24 Nationals- Lough Derg, Ireland
Aug 28- Sep 4- J/24 World Championship- Boltenhagen, Germany
Sep 4- RORC Cherbourg Race- Cowes, Isle of Wight, England
Sep 10-13- J/24 North Americans- Portland, Maine
Sep 10-13- J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Italian Nationals- Riva del Garda, Italy
Sep 11-13- J/24 Italian Nationals- Genoa, Italy
Sep 12-13- J/80 German Open Nationals- Glucksburg, Germany
Sep 12-13- J/24 Regata de la Independencia- Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Sep 17-20- J/105 North Americans- San Francisco, CA
Sep 17-20- Rolex Big Boat Series- San Francisco, CA
Sep 18-20- J/22 Dutch Open Nationals- Medemblik, The Netherlands
Sep 18-20- J/70 SAILING Champions League- Porto Cervo, Italy
Sep 21-27- J/70 North Americans- San Diego, CA
Sep 24-27- J/30 North Americans- Marion, MA
Sep 25-27- J/105 Canadian Championships- Toronto, ONT, Canada
Sep 25-27- J/80 Atlantique Telegrame- Lorient, France
Sep 25-27- J/FEST San Diego- San Diego, CA
Sep 30- Oct 4- J/22 North Americans- Houston, TX
Oct 9-11- J/80 North Americans- Seabrook, TX
Oct 12-17- J/70 European Championships- Monte Carlo, Monaco

For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.


J/133 sailing RORC raceRORC Channel Race Report
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The Royal Ocean Racing Club Season’s Points Championship continued this weekend with the Channel Race, the tenth race of the series, and the last RORC race before the Rolex Fastnet Race. Eighty-seven yachts started from the Royal Yacht Squadron Line, around marks in the English Channel, with a Solent finish on a 130nm course.

Despite a light and shifty forecast, the Royal Ocean Racing Club provided a cracking race for the magnificent fleet that had assembled Saturday morning, August 1st. Effectively, the course featured two windward leeward sections. The course took the fleet from the Squadron Line upwind into the Western Solent and up to the DZB Buoy off Anvil Point. The second leg was downwind, south of St Catherine’s Point, past Owers and onto the Rampion Met Mast. The fleet then raced upwind, back to Owers, before a tight reach past Horse Sand Fort and a finish in the Eastern Solent at Darling Associates Buoy. During the race, the wind speed varied from zephyrs up to 20 knots, producing a tactical race, where sail choice, maneuvers, trimming and driving skills, were the keys to optimum performance. Class leaders and the overall lead changed hands on many occasions during the race with yachts enjoying skirmishes right through the fleet.

IRC 1 Class, David Ballantyne’s J/133 JINGS took an 8th in class and is hanging on to 3rd overall in the series, just a few points out of first overall!

IRC 2 Class, Elin Haf Davies’ J/120 NUNATAK was sailing only two-handed against fully-crewed boats and managed to place 2nd overall, just 18 minutes off the top of the podium on corrected time!  More importantly NUNATAK is currently lying in 2nd overall in the season long series with the Fastnet Race looming as the big points getter for the entire top five in this class.

IRC 3 Class has a raft of J/105s and J/109s participating.  Top dog again happened to be Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J, sailing two-handed against fully-crewed boats and succeeding admirably, first J team home and 4th in class.  Next was Chris Palmer’s J/109 J-T’AIME, leading the J/109 class home again and taking 5th in IRC3. As a result, DIABLO-J and J-T’AIME currently sit 4th and 5th in the overall series standings, only 20 pts out of 3rd place (that’s a swing that can happen in one race!).

Eight J/109s were racing, including Palmer’s J-T’AIME, the leading J/109 for the season.  “The J\109s have really turned out this year and it has been a great competition; the boats are incredibly well-matched and it has also been lot of fun,” commented Chris Palmer. “More often than not, we meet up at the finish and share a few drinks and stories from the race, so it has been really friendly but serious at the same time.  The J/109s are capable of getting on the podium and we are pushing each other very hard all the time, which is upping our game. We are sailing out of our socks this year and loving it. It is easier to get crew for RORC offshore races because they are so well organized and enjoyable and that is a big part of the battle when you are a crew of amateur sailors – we are having a blast.”

Finally, in the separately scored IRC Two-handed class, the fleet saw Nick Martin’s J/105 DIABLO-J continue to excel during the season, taking a 5th in class and Elin Haf Davies’ J/120 NUNATAK took 7th in class.  In the overall Two-handed Series, DIABLO-J is ranked 3rd and NUNATAK is ranked 6th.  Formore RORC Channel Race sailing information


J/70s sailing team racing off Royal Yacht SquadronSt Francis YC RYS Bicentenary J/70 Team Race Champs!
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- This year the Royal Yacht Squadron, founded in 1815, achieved its bicentenary. To mark the occasion, the Squadron hosted an invitational regatta to bring together as many clubs and friends as possible from around the globe, who share their common interests and love of sailing.  The event took place from the 25th to 31st July, hosted at the famous “Castle”, sitting prominently along the Cowes waterfront, facing that wild & woolly body of water known simply as “the Solent.”

Twenty-five yacht clubs participated in the event for five days of spectacular racing in a 200-strong fleet, including modern and classic boats racing under IRC, J/70s team-racing 2×2, and three spectacular J-Class yachts.  Here are the daily summaries of the weeklong festivities.

J/70s sailing Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary team raceRace Day 1
The first day was canceled due to a mini-gale.  With gusts up to 40 kts, the fact that morning coffee, tea & crumpets could not be served on the “Castle’s” lawn for breakfast was a bit upsetting, even un-nerving for some.  Nevertheless, the opportunity to catch up with friends and commiserate on “what might have been”, especially amongst the J/70 sailors, made for animated and amusing conversations.  Ribald tales of sailing 21 kts offshore were remarkably well-lubricated by copious buckets of Pimms (or were those “dark’n’stormies”) as the more fashionable, posh crowd demurred, and retired back to their grande boudoirs anticipating with great, unbridled passion the next day’s yachting on the Solent.

Race Day 2
The second day it was on.  On like Lewis Hamilton’s McClaren-Mercedes F-1 car blasting off the starting at Silverstone in a high-pitched howl of 1,000 ear-splitting decibels!! Yep, it was on! And, it was happening. There was no way the sailors weren’t going sailing Tuesday.  Yes, there was good breeze (a lightish gale, perhaps), but nothing that proper yachtsmen couldn’t handle.

Would they or wouldn’t they go racing this morning? That was the question at breakfast that crossed thin, pursed lips sucking the edges of fine bone china for the last drop of Jamaican Blue coffee.  There was tremendous anxiety as well as fire-breathing anticipation amongst the sailing cognoscenti as winds and sea state were still looking strong in the morning (a.k.a.- “fresh to frightening”). But, thankfully, the call was made and racing was on, and it turned out to be a fantastic decision- even “Jeeves” would have approved!

J/70s sailing Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary off Cowes, England“I applaud the race committee for their decision yesterday and I applaud them for the decision again today.” Those were the words of tactician Terry Hutchinson, multiple world champion, J/70 owner, and winning America’s Cup tactician, who was on board BELLA MENTE. On a breezy start line where early gusts of 30 knots were still being recorded, the starters pushed the Royal Yacht Squadron line on a downwind start with startling acceleration. “We crossed the start line doing 24 kts boat speed,” observed Hutchinson. “We had a great race, and it was all down to how the guys handled the boat. Just like I sail my J/70 with my kids on the Chesapeake! The Solent is a challenging place to sail, but try sailing with your kids some day— they’re telling me what to do in this stuff!”

There was plenty of action elsewhere on the race course. The J/70 team racing fleet enjoyed some lively racing in the shelter of Osborne Bay, with Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, captained by Jacopo Pasini, Kieran Chung’s St Francis Yacht Club and Erik Storck’s New York Yacht Club all scoring straight wins, no losses.

Race Day 3- Round Island clockwise!
It was a sunny start on the Solent on the third morning of the Bicentenary and the Royal Yacht Squadron Race Committee announced that the Race Around the Island would go ahead as per the schedule.  The course was clockwise off the RYS start line, pass between No Man’s Land and Horse Sand Forts, Bembridge Ledge Buoy to Starboard, St Catherine’s Point to Starboard, Bridge Buoy to Starboard, Gurnard Buoy to Starboard, to finish on the Royal Yacht Squadron Line.  While the big boats enjoyed wind speeds of around 17-20 knots to help them on their way, the J/70s were having a scream sailing on Osborne Bay in front of the castle.  The J/70 team racing fleet got some good racing in today. Jacopo Pasini’s YC Costa Smeralda team heads the leader board after two Round Robin series.

Race Day 4
Today was a day where local knowledge was the winning advantage for the races ‘around the cans’ for many teams.  However, there were some fierce competitions going on in parts of the Solent, with intense and close racing between very skilled sailors, and it’s the foreign visitors that were leading the fray.

The two classes are the Level Rating Class and the Team Racing Class, and they are being dominated by overseas clubs who have been invited specially to the event to mark the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 200th anniversary.

The 10 yacht clubs taking part in the J/70 Team Racing Event from around the world and the UK continued racing on a small course in the sheltered waters of Osborne Bay, to the east of Cowes.

“There is terrific sportsmanship amongst the crews and a good team spirit,” reports their Race Officer Tony Singer. “We’ve already done 48 hours of racing and fitted in 90 races so far.”

J/70s sailing off Cowes- Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary regattaAfter three Round Robins, St Francis Yacht Club from San Francisco has won each one and are firmly in the lead, looking all but unbeatable. Their helmsman Kevin Laube revealed their secret, “three of us raced together at Stamford and we’ve all been training together for three years.” He adds, “We’ve really enjoyed the event. Today’s conditions were pristine.”

Hot on their heels with a second in both round robins is the YC Costa Smeralda, captained by Jacopo Pasini.  And, with everything to play for with a second and third, the Royal Thames YC, whose crew includes Volvo Youth Sailing ISAF World Champion Ben Gratton. The Team Racing crews are all under the age of 30 and more than one third of the crews are female.

With the three Round Robin Series completed, the semi finals will be run tomorrow followed by the finals and petit finals.

Race day 5
The Royal Yacht Squadron’s Bicentenary International regatta is complete. “Four seasons in one week,” was the apt summary from crew member Richard Mason of Monday’s gales, and a gradual wind reduction to the windless afternoon that ended the regatta Friday.

Mike Broughton, navigator on a Mini-Maxi, explained the conditions in the Western Solent: “We started in a completely different breeze to the J-Class who had started upwind to the east in a south easterly,” he said. “Then, the westerly came and went a bit as it fought with the conditions to the east. Eventually, a light sea breeze prevailed but there were some big holes making the race a bit of a lottery. Added to that there is a spring tide, up to 3 or 4 knots, so the racing was extremely tricky.  The Race Committee could have cancelled the race today given the conditions, but it was a good afternoon with lots of challenges and, ultimately, a good race.”

J/122 Jacobs Ladder sailing Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary off Cowes, EnglandThe great untold story of the RYS Bicentenary event might easily be the Royal Hong Kong YC team sailing the J/122 JACOBS LADDER.  They were led by J/109 WHISKEY JACK owner Nick Southward, a boat with a reputation as a strong competitor racing in the waters off Hong Kong and the South China Sea.  After having some difficulties learning the boat on the first heavy weather day, their learning curve went stratospheric.  Southward’s crew kept sailing faster and smarter and by the end of the regatta had the top 3 record for the last three days.  “If only there were a next time,” is the oft-heard refrain.  Even then, Southward’s RHKYC team placed 6th, losing a tie-breaker to Adam Gosling’s YES (a former J/39 owner) and just 3 pts out of third overall in IRC Class 2!!

New York YC winning level-racing at Royal Yacht Squadron BicentenaryThere was total American domination of the Team Racing and Level-rating events (not surprisingly, virtually all the sailors had extensive J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80 and J/105 one-design experience on their racing C.V.’s at a National and World-class level). “Anything could happen today,” the New York YC’s Vice-Commodore Phil Lotz had commented as he and his team went into the final day of racing in the Level Rating Division. And, indeed, it did. With Real Club Nautico de Gran Canaria leading through the week (loaded with champion J/80 sailors), it took a 1st and a 5th by NYYC to nudge into the lead in today’s two races and take the overall win in the Level-rating class.

Over their three days of racing the Team Racing sailors on J/70s managed to fit in a total of 126 races. With the light winds of Friday, the fleet didn’t complete their intended third Round Robin, instead moving straight to the semi-finals, in which the St Francis Yacht Club faced the New York Yacht Club, and Royal Thames Yacht Club against Costa Smeralda Yacht Club. As the wind died away the two victors that faced each other in the finals were St Francis YC versus Royal Thames YC. Conditions meant that only one race could be run – and celebrating at the end of the event was St Francis YC from San Francisco. “We had an awesome time,” said St Francis team tactician Taylor Baeder. “Our team have sailed with each other for a while. We made mistakes, but not too many, we stuck to the basics.”

The competitors were treated to a spectacular parachute display by the Royal Air Force “Red Devils.” who landed in the water just next to the assembled guests on the Royal Yacht Squadron’s iconic lawn. In wrapping up the event, RYS Commodore Chris Sharples thanked the crews from all over the world for sharing the club’s 200th birthday, saying, “this is not just for the club, but for the town of Cowes as well. The next two hundred years begins now!”   Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth/ PWPictures.com   For more Royal Yacht Squadron Bicentenary Regatta sailing information


J/24s sailing Lago San Roque- ArgentinaChill J/24 Argentina Winter Regatta
HOT Pan Am Games Team!
(Lago San Roque, Cordoba, Argentina)- While the sailors in the northern hemisphere are contending with the dog days of summer, our sailing friends in South America are in the middle of winter.  Nevertheless, the hardy crews of J/24s up in the Andean Mountains near the famous ski resort of Cordoba were sailing their boats in Lago San Roque’s J/24 Winter Championship.  So far, three events have been held on the spectacular mountain lake.

With a temperature of 4°C (39 F) at 10am in the morning with a crystal clear sky, the crews began to arrive at the Club Nautico de Cordoba.  In total, a fleet 16 boats participated in the regatta. As usual, the two crews from Mendoza were always enthusiastic; especially the brave female crew aboard the INDIGO!

J/24s sailing past mark- Lago San Roque, ArgentinaAs the teams headed out to the race course on the first day, the wind began blowing from the northern part of the lake from 20 knots steady with gusts up to 25 kts.  The wind stayed that way most of the day, puffy, shifty from the NNE as the wind blew down the mountain sides onto the lake!  Positions changed radically both upwind and downwind depending on where you were when the stronger gusts hit the fleet.

The CNC PRO managed to run three races, with each race taking about 45 minutes.  The racing was very close amongst the fleet, with finishes often having three boats crossing the line together!  It is great to see the tightness of the fleet, once again showing the enthusiasm and constant improvement of the crews.

The provisional results as they stand after three regattas shows that sitting in 1st place is ON LINE sailed by Adrian Gustavo Saul with a 4-1-1 scoreline for 6 pts.  Holding onto 2nd place for the series is SEA WOLF skippered by Paul Martin with a 6-2-2 series for 10 pts.  Behind them in 3rd overall is MORRUCHO sailed by Sebastian Halpern of Mendoza.  The next regatta to complete the Winter Championship takes place on the weekend of August 1st.

J/24 Argentina- Pereira Pan Am Games goldArgentina J/24 PAN AM Team Winners- Matias Pereira!
While the fleet was celebrating their good fortune with weather in the cool Andean mountain lakes of Cordoba, they were also cheering on their good friends Matias Pereira and crew that were sailing the J/24 Pan Am Games- they were ultimately declared the Gold Medalists!  Here’s a breakdown from their blog following developments in Toronto, Ontario, Canada:

Sunday 12: the home team began racing for points. First race won by our crew, began with just 7 knots of wind. Second race postponed until Sunday morning 13!

Monday 13: A lot of calm. 2 and 3 race won by CAN. ARG relegated to second place in the overall standings. But, computing to race 3 with a discard already applied we’re still losing.

Tuesday 14:  Finally, despite the postponement to await improved weather conditions, they will be able to sail the races 4 and 5. In both, the winner is our ARG crew.  So, with a discard applied, we’re tied with CAN in a hard and tough match race with them.

Wednesday 15: They completed more than 50% of the races scheduled and after the excellent results achieved by our crew yesterday and today Wednesday, ARG is now in first place overall and with a clear advantage over second place CAN. Today, they could only sail two races.  Tomorrow and Thursday are planned three races if the weather permits.

Argentina wins Gold Medal at Pan Am GamesThursday 16: Today we were able to meet the three scheduled races. Of the three races sailed, two were won by ARG and one by Chile.  So, ARG can beat CAN by stretching the advantage of our crew.

Friday 17:  In the morning two races (11 and 12) and on Sunday the 19th they run the Medal Race!  Shhh … do not make noise and cross your fingers!!  In the first race of today, they finished: 1st CHI, 2nd CAN and 3rd ARG.  In the second race: 1st PER, 2nd ARG, 3rd CHI. With these results, ARG increased its distance from the CAN team in second in the overall results!! Bravíssimo boys !!

Sunday 19: They won!  In the Medal Race it was BRA, followed by PER, then ARG, CAN and CHI in that order!  Team ARG increased the difference in the standings to 12 points over CAN!!  Incredible!!  Finally, ARG “GOLD” for the J/24 ELVIS, silver and finally bronze for CAN and  CHI, respectively.  CONGRATULATIONS Matias Pereira, Juan Pereyra, Federico Guillermo Bellinotto Ambrus!! A resounding victory that confirms the high level of J/24 sailing in Argentina.   For more Argentina J/24 sailing information


J/24s sailing off Sydney, AustraliaLight & Streaky Cronulla Short Course Regatta
(Cronulla, Australia)- At this time of year (winter Down Under), Cronulla’s regatta is either windy or light.  Last year was windy, this year was light, sunny and warm – great sailing!

The Macquart Marine Cronulla J/24 Short Course Regatta was conducted in the clean clear waters of Bate Bay, Cronulla over the Queens Birthday long weekend 6-7 June.  It was a huge success again and enjoyed by 17 crews including three from interstate; in particular, Simon Grain and Hugo Ottaway from Victoria and with smiles and the odd ‘discussion’, Robin and Jim Townsend from Adelaide– well done guys!

This year there was a definite buzz about the club from a few days before, with excitement growing as the interstaters rolled in. With lots of help from the enthusiastic locals, boats were rigged, dropped in the water, and berthed on the club pontoon 3 shakes of a skippers tiller from the club bar. What a magic setting– drinks in the sunset and the promise of a great weekend to come.

Bucko, the nation’s most relaxed RO gave us the briefing on Saturday morning, how refreshing to hear some sensible race management outlined – there will be no protests! Sort it out on the water.

With breezes between 0-5 kts the race committee did a fantastic job in achieving 3 races on the first day. With temps at 22 deg C, a glorious day of sailing was had and a following swell upwind, made interesting sailing for those not used to ocean sailing.

The first race was won by Local Legend, Dave McKay by 30 sec to Victorian Hugo Ottaway and Stephen Quigley a further 30 seconds behind. The short course format, with legs no more than 800 meters in length ensured close competition for all.

Second Race was won by Stephen Quigley in a dying breeze, who picked the shifts and extended to win by some 3 minutes to Simon Grain of Victoria and local Cronulla Sailor Barry Ryan.

The third and last race for Day One was conducted after waiting for a 5 knot breeze to re-establish from the east and in a dying breeze Barry Ryan again showed his local knowledge to lead out by 30 seconds to Robin Townsend from South Australia and Hugo Ottaway in Bruschetta IV from Sandringham Yacht Club.

Racing was completed for the first day with Barry Ryan in Pinot leading from Stephen Quigley and Dave McKay equal in second. The Day One BBQ was huge, these guys know how to be hospitable with a vengeance, great conversation between all competitors and lots of new friends being made with the visitors going into the night in preparation for day two. In fact, many competitors further increased their preparation at local nightclubs just to make sure they were ready for the off in the morning.

Again, the balmy winter conditions continued with a slight increase in wind strength experiencing 5-10 knots for the 4th race of the series. The ‘Mexicans’ (Victorians took both 1st and 2nd) with Simon Grain and Hugo Ottaway followed by the ever consistent Stephen Quigley coming in third.

A quick turn around by the race committee saw race 5 commence and the pattern of finishes becoming clearer, Barry Ryan followed by Stephen Quigley and Hugo. This was undoubtedly the closest race of the series with the first 5 boats finishing within 40 seconds, the next 4 within 40 seconds and the next 6 within 30 seconds. Fantastic close racing 2 laps, over in 27 minutes and all boats finishing with 4 minutes!!

Race 6 commenced under the black flag after 2 consecutive general recalls. Julie McKay on McKay Marine, Jared Macquart on Macquart Marine, Matthew Short on ShortFaced and Lia Darby on Starpac all broke the start and where disqualified from that race. Final result in a dying breeze was Simon Grain, the consistent Stephen Quigley and Barry Ryan in Third.

Race 7 proved to be the final race of the series in testing conditions and a breeze continuing to decrease. Simon Grain rose to the occasion with a 3rd bullet for the day followed again by Team Cini O’Bryan and StockCar.

Results were tallied back at the Cronulla Sailing Club as the sausages cooked and the drinks where poured. Another huge BBQ and drinks and drinks.

Stephen Quigley’s TEAM CINI’O’BRYAN consistency throughout the series proved solid with a series score of 3-1-7-3-2-2-2 for a total of 13 pts. Simon Grain, sailing Arthur Crother’s KAOTIC (with the boss on board) went home with the wheelchair prize.  Third was David McKay’s STOCK CAR.

Once again the level of female participation is very encouraging, with three female skippers and many women amongst most of the crews.

The organizers and competitors would like to thank the sponsors of the event, Macquart Marine, Wet Tech Rigging, Ian Short Sails, Cronulla Marina, The Lapstone Hotel, Loaf Cafe Cronulla, OZ Jet Boating Sydney, PriceLine Cronulla and Secret Scent Aromatherapy. And a big thank you to the volunteers and members of Cronulla SC for making this great regatta possible. Thanks also to Fiona Campbell, Rob Croucher, Clinton Hood and Dave Mackay for hosting the visitors – it makes the trip all the more affordable and strengthens new and old bonds in the class.

So it seems ‘Mexico’ is to be invaded by the ‘Cronullans’ or is that the ‘Shire’. Whatever you like to call the friendly natives of Bate Bay, you should know that they are good, they’re getting better and they are coming to ‘Mexico’ in the deep south, for the Nationals are being held there on the 4th – 8th January. Quite possibly the classes first 30 boat regatta in many a long year. And quite a few are planning their assault on the NSW States in early November this year.   Thanks for the story by Mick Reynolds and Simon Grain.   For more J/24 Cronulla Short Course Regatta sailing information


J/24 champagne celebration- Taittinger Regatta- Yarmouth, EnglandJOLLY ROGER Champagne Shower @ J/24 Taittinger Regatta
(Yarmouth, United Kingdom)- The Taittinger Regatta last year was a sunny weekend in July and we enjoyed the champagne reception in the warmth of a perfect summer evening. As we left Yarmouth in 2014, I’d already penciled in the 2015 dates.

In contrast, Taittinger 2015 bathed us in a cool summer sea mist, perhaps sea drizzle is a fairer description, but it did nothing to dampen the spirits of the regatta’s champagne reception!

Charles Stanley, our fantastic hosts, made us most welcome and our thanks to the Race Office and Angela, especially, for their efforts in getting the J/24’s our own start. We had a diary clash with another regatta which made it difficult to get more J/24’s on the line, but hope that next year we’ll be able to make more of an impression on the start line.

Yarmouth welcomed us again and it has a quaint charm all of its own that’s a treat to walk through.  A special mention should be made of the Towers Party and fireworks, which is a great event alongside the sailing.

It’s great to race alongside the other fleets, a well organized course made the western end of the Solent feel spacious, although they had many fleets to fit in. We found the challenge of Solent tides a shock – ‘Winning Tides’, a new coffee table essential in preparation for next year!!!

The Saturday saw us race in challenging tide and a gusty breeze and Sunday’s forecast gave even the most seasoned sailor a cause for concern.  The consistent crew work of JOLLY ROGER meant a well-deserved 1st place.  Congratulations!

Despite the windy weekend, the dates for next year’s regatta are in the diary. It really is one not to miss!  Thanks to the George Hotel for a lovely evening with JOLLY ROGER, PYC Girls Sailing TEAM and with a guest appearance from our European Champions- MADELEINE.  For more J/24 Taittinger Regatta sailing information


J/Community
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
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J/122 sailing off Italy* A J/122 sailing on the Adriatic Sea in Italy has enjoyed a very successful 2015 summer season so far.  Piero Santi, the owner of AOI ME, from the YC Porto San Rocco, described their recent good fortunes:

“We had a good start to the season for AOI ME, we have made it to the podium in all races that we have participated in so far!

Sailing in the Adriatic Sea, we participated in the “39th Muggia-Portorose-Muggia”, with more than 120 boats on the starting line; this race was hosted by Circolo della Vela Muggia.  We won both legs going from Muggia, Italy over to Portorose, Slovenia and back!  As a result, we won overall with two first places!  Even more impressive was the fact we came in 5th and 7th on elapsed time on both legs against much, much larger boats!

On the 20th to 21st of June, the Trofeo Internazionale dell’Adriatico IRC was sailed in the Golfo de Trieste, the easternmost part of Italy on the Adriatic Sea.  AOI ME was not in her best form, but despite an OCS in the 2nd race, we still managed to finish 3rd in IRC Racing Class!

Then, over two weekends in July, the 11th-12th and 18th-19th, we sailed in the Mittel Europe IRC Criterium.  In IRC A class, we won the class with six straight 1sts!  Even more importantly, we sailed well enough to finish 2nd in IRC Class Overall!  We love our J/122 AOI ME, such a wonderful, beautiful, easy boat to sail!  Ciao! Piero”

J/24 Poole Girls Sailing team* The Poole YC Girls Sailing Team report from their UK J/24 Nationals in Plymouth is both entertaining and a lesson learned for aspiring women’s sailing teams.  Sophie (24) & Georgie (26) are both Poole-based sailors who have grown up together in the world of competitive sailing. Through childhood, they always had great opportunities thrown their way as National and International sailors were travelling to events around Europe. Here’s their report on the recent UK J/24 Nationals experience:

“The J/24 Nationals this year were part of the annual regatta held down in Plymouth. The turn out for the event was promising with 18 J/24’s entered, far better than previous years. The weather forecast looked on the blustery side over Friday calming down Saturday and Sunday.

The girls; Sophie, Georgie, Nina & Beth, made our way down after work on Thursday evening meeting their 5th crew member Izzy from Bristol at the club. A swift registration and weigh in saw us 52kgs light for the weekend, not ideal for a windy Friday.

Friday kicked off with some fabulous and somewhat tricky sailing conditions, 16-17 knots with big swells and chop, but champagne conditions with the sun shining! The first day saw some collisions, mark hitting, protests and no surprise- some black flag starts! We ended the day with a 12th, 8th & 11th, much room for improvement, but no real crew issues or muck ups!!

J/24 Poole Girls sailing team upwindDay two saw us going in as the 1st place Westerly, Jiffy was hot on our heals with just a couple of points in it. Much lighter airs and tidal conditions saw the Plymouth boats with an upper hand on local knowledge. Improvements were made for us through the day with our results improving. 16th, 13th and finishing with a very nice 7th place– super pleased!!

Day three we were still managing to hold onto our 1st place westerly, pretty good going considering it was our first event together, and we have one that had never been on a J/24 before – although you wouldn’t be able to tell that from her excellent skills! With more wind than forecast the first race kicked off – again no surprise a general recall, we’re all keen in the J fleet!! 15 kts of breeze, slightly more chill in the air but flatter water & the first race kicked off. It was all to play for at the front of the fleet. Duncan McCarthy, David Cooper & Roger Morris with just a few points between them all saw them battling for first place going into the final day. The Westerly’s were still battling it out with just one point!!

J/24 Poole girls sailing team- setting spinnakerThe racing was tense, lots of protests, shouting, mark roundings and raft ups.  Luckily, we stayed clear of all of this but it’s always good to see such competition. Duncan and his crew proved their Europeans title by finishing the day with two 1sts to claim the National Championships title of 2015. David Cooper and his crew managed to take second place, and Roger Morris in third.

We weren’t very happy with our final day performance, finishing the day with an 11th & 15th, claiming our 2nd place Westerly, 12th overall & first females!!

Overall, we take a huge amount of positives from the weekend, with a fresh crew and a not so race-ready boat we were actually happy with our performance. Lots to work on for next time!! Well done to the girlies!!

A HUGE THANK YOU to David Cooper for lending us his Westerly ‘Red Alert’ & to Roger Morris for lending us a set of his sails!!! It couldn’t have happened without you!  For more Plymouth Girls Sailing stories, please visit their blog here


J/Cruisers
J Cruisers continue their adventures around the world, below are a selection of most excellent “blogs” written by their prolific publishers.  Some terribly amusing anecdotes and pearls of wisdom are contained in their blogs. Read some! You’ll love it.

* The J/40 HERON REACH sailed by Virginia and Jerry is participating in the Blue Planet Odyssey project and have recently joined them in the Marquesas Islands in the Eastern Pacific.  Learn more about their adventures and experiences here- http://heronreachodyssey.blogspot.com/
Giant whale breaching in front of J/160 SALACIA off  Australia's Whitsunday Islands* J/160 SALACIA has been sailing in Australia in the Whitsunday Islands.  Guess who decided to throw themselves across their bow as they cruised comfortably to their next destination?  A giant whale!  Look at this amazing photo!

J/42 cruiser- sailing across Atlantic Ocean* Jim & Heather Wilson just completed a circumnavigation of our “blue planet Earth” in June 2013 on their J/42 CEOL MOR.  Said Jim, “The odyssey of CEOL MOR is over, for now.  We completed our circumnavigation on our J/42 when we crossed our outbound track in Britannia Bay, Mustique. We were, however, still 2,000 nautical miles from home. So we continued on through the Windwards, the Leewards, and then through the British Virgin Islands. After a farewell ‘Painkiller’ at the Soggy Dollar, and a last meal at Foxy’s, we made the 1,275 nautical mile passage to the Chesapeake and completed our port-to-port circumnavigation when we arrived in Annapolis on June 28, 2013. We had been away 1,334 days, completed 259 days of ocean passages, and sailed 30,349 nautical miles (34,925 statute miles). Read more about their adventures in their  well-documented blog here:  http://www.svceolmor.com/SVCeolMor/Welcome.html

J/160 sailing offshore to US Virgin Islands- rainbow over ocean* J/160 AVATAR headed for the Caribbean, again!  We LOVE these updates from our cruising J sailors that continue to criss-cross the Seven Seas. This one comes from Alan Fougere, sailing his beloved J/160 AVATAR.   Alan sent us an email update commenting on their passage south this winter, “In mid-December AVATAR completed her sixth transit to her winter Caribbean home, Grand Cruz Bay, St. John, USVI (seen above)  from her home port in Quissett (Falmouth), MA.  A crew of three, Captain Alan (e.g. me), Crew Pablo Brissett and Mark Conroy, covered the 1,500 nm trip in in her best time to date- 7 Days 5 Hours, averaging 8.7 kts, that’s about 208 nm per day!  Amazing passage it was!  Rainbow at right far offshore was some of the amazing phenomenon we experienced on this fast offshore passage.

AVATAR will participate in the BVI Sailing Festival/Regatta again in 2013, where last year she won the Nanny Key Cup Cruising Class race around the Island of Virgin Gorda.  Here are some photos for you to share with the J/Community at-large.  Enjoy!”
Best, Alan Fougere/ AVATAR

Bill & Judy Stellin- sailing J/42 Jaywalker* Bill & Judy Stellin recently had an interview about cruising on their J/42 in the Wall St Journal called “Retiring on the Open Sea”.  The Wall St Journal asked Bill to reply to dozens of questions that flooded into the WSJ’s Editor desks. Here’s the update:

Retiring on the Sea: Answering Readers’ Questions
Advice about selecting a boat, ocean crossings, itineraries and safety

Wall St Journal interview- Stellin's Offshore cruising/ sailing retirementThe article in our WSJ Online December retirement report about eight years spent sailing the Mediterranean— “Retiring to the Open Sea”— prompted many questions and comments from readers.  We asked William Stellin, who wrote the story, to answer some of the most common queries.

WSJ- “What kind and make of boat did you use? Looking back, would you have picked a different boat?”

Bill- “In 1995-96, J/Boats of Newport, RI, came out with a new cruiser/racer model, the J/42. We bought hull No. 6 of this popular 42-foot sailboat and named it JAYWALKER. This was our fourth boat since beginning sailing in 1975.

Although long-distance cruising wasn’t what we had in mind when we purchased JAYWALKER, it soon became apparent it had the ability to carry us easily and safely anywhere we wanted to go. Because the boat is light, it sails well in light winds, which means very little motoring is necessary.

People often ask (and argue) about what boat is best for cruising. Any boat that is strong, safe, fast, comfortable and easily handled by two people should fit the bill. One thing for sure, fast is fun—and important when trying to avoid bad weather.”

READ MORE ABOUT BILL’S INSIGHTFUL COMMENTARY AND THOUGHTS ON WSJ ONLINE HERE

* The J/42 JARANA continues their epic voyage around the Pacific. Continue to read about Bill and Kathy Cuffel’s big adventure cruising the South Pacific headed for New Zealand.  Their blog is here:http://www.svjarana.blogspot.com/

* John and Mary Driver are sailing their J/130 SHAZAM for extended cruising in the Atlantic basin. At this time, John and Mary finished their double-handed crossing of the Atlantic, landing in Portugal on their J/130 Shazam after completion of their ARC Rally. Read the latest news athttp://www.sailblogs.com/member/shazam/.

J/130 sailing ARC Rally arrives Portugal- leave a message on the sea wall!* Several J/160 owners are island hopping across the world’s oceans, fulfilling life long dreams to cruise the Pacific islands, the Caribbean islands, the Indian Ocean and all points in between.  Anyone for Cape Horn and penguins??  Read more about their adventures and escapades (like our J/109 GAIA, J/42s PAX and JAYWALKER and J/130 SHAZAM friends above).

–  Bill and Susan Grun on the J/160 AVANTE are also sailing in the Pacific archipelago, read more about their great adventures on their blog (http://web.me.com/susangrun).  Read about their latest adventures as they’ve gotten to New Zealand- “Avante Cruises the Pacific”.

Eric and Jenn on the J/160 MANDALAY also sailed the Pacific archipelago, read more on their blog athttp://www.sailmandalay.com.  Eric and Jenn are J/World alumni took MANDALAY up and down the West Coast (Mexico, CA), then to the South Pacific and New Zealand.  MANDALAY is back in San Francisco now, and in the J/World fleet–she is available for skippered charters, private instruction, and corporate/executive groups.

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Michael James
Michael James
Michael James has been with Murray Yacht Sales since 1995 and is in the the New Orleans office.

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