J/News for March 4, 2015

Beneteau Horizons eNewsletter for February 2015
March 3, 2015
Gulfport-Pensacola Race Kickoff Party (March 7, 2015)
March 5, 2015
March 4th, 2015

J/70s sailing off FloridaBACARDI Miami Sailing Week Preview
(Miami, Florida)- Forty-eight J/70 teams are traveling to Coconut Grove to compete in the sixth BACARDI Miami Sailing Week (BMSW) presented by EFG Bank in Miami, Florida.  While there is no venue in the U.S. that is perfect year round, it is hard to beat Miami in March for its warm weather and great sailing conditions.  The fleet may be blessed with classic Biscayne Bay sailing conditions, with winds forecast to be mainly in the east/southeast quadrants all weekend from 8 to 15 kts and sunny!

The event begins on Thursday, March 5 and will continue until Saturday, March 7. On the water, Coral Reef Yacht Club coordinates activities in collaboration with the Biscayne Bay Yacht Club and with the help of the U.S. Sailing Center and Shake-A-Leg Miami.

This year’s record number of forty eight 70s come from seven nations, including Italy, Bermuda, Canada, Brazil, Mexico, and Norway.  The fleet continues to pick up steam in this year’s BMSW. The top 3 finishers from last year’s event, Will Welles’ RASCAL (Portsmouth, RI), Brian Keane’s SAVASANA (Weston, MA), and Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY (Rye, NY), will all be present at this year’s event to fight for the top position. However, they will also have to add to this year’s mix an even deeper and more talented fleet than last year’s edition, including the J/70 World’s runner up, Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT (Minneapolis, MN); Heather Gregg’s MUSE (J/70 World’s Corinthians winner and 5th overall); Mauricio Santa Cruz’s BRUSCHETTA (5x J/24 Worlds winner from Brazil); Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK (J/70 Midwinters 2015 winner and current J/70 European Champion from Pesaro, Italy); Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO (2nd J/70 Midwinters 2015 from Valle de Bravo, Mexico City, Mexico); and Jim Cunningham’s LIFTED (J/70 Midwinters Corinthians winner from San Francisco, CA)— just to name a few possible contenders!

Similar to past years, the BACARDI Village hospitality for BACARDI Miami Sailing Week will be set up in Kennedy Park, where sailors will enjoy BACARDI Rum, food and music. A special art exhibit, Sailing Dreams by Vicki DaSilva, will be set up in Coco Walk, Unit 115, and open every day. DaSilva will exhibit 10 light paintings (made by moving a hand-held light source while taking a long exposure photograph) that present to the community how she interprets the beautiful sport of sailing into art.   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes.com.  For more BACARDI Miami Sailing Week information


J/80 sailors in CanadaHans Fogh J/80 Regatta Announcement
(Sodus Bay, Ontario, Canada)- Sodus Bay Yacht Club, on behalf of J/80 Lake Ontario Fleet 20 and the J/80 USA Class Association, invites all J/80 sailors to beautiful Sodus Bay to compete in the “2015 Hans Fogh J/80 Open” regatta during their LYRA 2015 race week, July 31 through August 2, 2015!

Bob Carey, Commodore of SBYC, commented, “the second annual Hans Fogh Open is quickly becoming infamous for setting the J/80 bragging rights on the Great Lakes. I’m hearing rumbles of a north versus south shore rivalry that could go on for years between two close neighbor’s!”

“I’m looking forward to competing with all my friends from across Toronto, Eastern Ontario and the Rochester area!” says Lawrence Alexander, J/80 Lake Ontario Fleet 20 captain. “We’re tuning up in style to be ready for the 2016 North Americans.  The 2016 Championship will be held for the first time outside the USA, making it truly international.”

J/80s sailing off Toronto, CanadaFrom the opening to the closing ceremony, share in the camaraderie among racers from around the lake. Enjoy live entertainment, Happy Hours, renew friendships, make new ones, and create memorable moments all right on Great Sodus Bay.

During the week, the Club has plenty of space for mooring and rafting of boats.  In addition, during race week, crews can pitch a tent and go camping on their beautiful property! Parking for cars will be available in the parking lot and an offsite location, within a 5-minute walk.  There are local places for RV parking too!  There is a hoist to put boats in the water. Boat trailers will be stored off site for the duration of the races, for free.

Said Commodore Carey, “We hope that racers from all around the lake participate in this exciting event here at Sodus Bay Yacht Club on the Great Sodus Bay.  So, join us for the 131st Annual LYRA Regatta and stay awhile! We look forward to seeing you in July!”

For more information, please contact “chef de mission” Lisa Smith- lisa@eagleswingsconsulting.com or Lawrence Alexander- lawrence_alexander@hotmail.com    For more Hans Fogh J/80 Open regatta sailing information.


J70s sailing off MonacoMonaco J/70 Winter Series- Act 5 Preview
(Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The fifth and final event of the Monaco J/70 Winter Series promises to be an exciting and challenging event for the twenty-nine teams entered.  The event has continued to gain tremendous momentum since it first started in early December 2014.  After an incredibly successful Primo Cup- Trophee Credit Suisse event less than a month ago, the Yacht Club de Monaco is looking forward to hosting the grand finale of their first J/70 winter series.

The Monagesque J/70 sailors should be proud of the extraordinary popularity and growth of their class in Monte Carlo.  Not since the J/24s has a class gained such a strong following in so short a period of time in the Principality.  Nine German teams, an Italian duet and one team from Great Britain will join seventeen local teams.  Will the YCM teams have gained valuable experience and training from their previous events to overcome the strong contingent from Germany??  Only time will tell and, indeed, a few surprises may be in store for the fleet with a number of new faces/ teams participating.

Certainly, the top contenders based on prior performance will be the German team from Bayerischer Segel-Club, Claus Lehmann’s BLANKER HANS (winner of the Primo Cup); YCM’s Pierrick Devic (4th in Primo Cup); Jacopo Carrain’s CARPE DIEM (YCM J/70 Fleet Captain, 5th in Primo Cup); Ian Isley’s ST ANDREWS from YCM; and Ian Wilson’s JOYRIDE from the UK.   For more YC Monaco J/70 Winter Series sailing information


J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J’s Sailing Worldwide

The first week of March sees the first major Royal Ocean Racing Club event take place down in the Caribbean.  The increasingly popular RORC Caribbean 600 race again saw epic, amazing sailing conditions take place around the thirteen-leg course that treats some of the prettiest islands in the Caribbean as marks of the course.

Out West in America, two other regions were also rocking and rolling with their inaugural 2015 sailing season events.  In San Francisco Bay, the Corinthian YC of Belvedere held their Midwinters Championship for handicap sailing teams, with a notable performance by the first J/88 to be sailing competitively against other top boats in the Sportsboat 30 class.  Then, further north in the Pacific Northwest we have a round-up report of three 2015 season opening races in Puget Sound off Seattle, Washington- also featuring a notable performance by the first J/88 in the region.

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:

Mar 4-7- Bacardi Miami Sailing Week- Miami, FL
Mar 5-8- Heineken St Maarten Regatta- St Maarten
Mar 13-15- J/30 Midwinters- New Orleans YC- New Orleans, LA
Mar 27-29- J/22 Midwinters- Jackson YC- Ridgeland, MS
Mar 27-29- St Thomas International Regatta- St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
Mar 30- Apr 5- BVI Spring Regatta- Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Apr 13-18- Les Voiles St Barth- Gustavia, St Barthelemy
Apr 16-19- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 24- May 2- EDHEC Sailing Cup- La Rochelle, France
Apr 26- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- Falmouth, Antigua

Boat Shows:
Apr 9-12- Apr 9-12- Strictly Sail Pacific- Oakland, CA- J/70, J/88, J/111

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


J/111 sailing San FranciscoJ/Love @ CYC Midwinters
(San Francisco, California)– “Midwinter racing is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are gonna get!”  So says Forrest Gump, so-called skipper of the “SS Jenny.”

Okay, maybe it didn’t really go down that way, but Forrest would have acknowledged midwinter sailing as a crapshoot on average and forecasting can be, well, less of a science and more of a Ouija Board guestimate as to what may transpire. That being said, the Corinthian Yacht Club of Belvedere Midwinter’s weekend of fun did not live down (or up) to the official weather prognosticators drab variable winds, and a roll around Angel Island was not in the cards.

Going on the hunch that the light northerlies would give way to more substantial westerlies, the RC raised the postponement flag before the 11:55 first gun and let it ride. And ride it did. The wind filled with a mid spring like blast from outside the Gate and filled in nicely across the course allowing the RC time to square things up to the freshening breeze with a Yellow Bluff weather mark and a Knox leeward rounding. While the start was delayed the flood in the start area began to transition to the early phases of ebb and the ever changing strategy of favorable current vs. wind strength played into the tacticians minds.  Many chose a more direct line and others swung wide seeking more favorable wind direction on the downhill runs.

Michael O’Callaghan of the J/120 PEREGRINE offered a nice report on their weekend and some insight into their decision-making and what worked for their team on the always-challenging San Francisco Bay!

J/120 sailing San Francisco Bay“The Saturday light wind predictions were off and a summer like wind line filled in from the Gate and across the race course with breeze showing 14-16 kts for our start. We opted for our class genny, which is about 130%. John Verdoia, our tactician for the weekend called for a committee boat start so we had the freedom to tack quickly to get out of the flood. We hit the line at the gun with good speed at the committee boat, in front and tacked after several boat lengths. Much of the fleet was further down the line and that cost them traveling the extra distance for relief. We sailed to the Marin shore, keeping a loose cover on ENCORE and the J/111 SWIFT NESS (skippered by Nesrin Basoz). When it seemed we had way over stood the weather mark, we tacked, and through the puffs, lulls and persistent starboard tack header, we approached the weather mark only over standing by a boat length or two and rounded it going about 9 kts. Kite went up and we reached out into the flood with good speed and watched the J/111 SWIFT NESS blow over us to the south by a couple boat lengths and Encore in our wake, dropping behind. We overstood our gybe angle a little as the crew stripped the 130% off the deck and gybed poorly, resulting in a wrapped kite that required it to be lowered a few feet to clear. The hard part is grinding the halyard back up while the kite is fully loaded. During this Encore creeped up as we lost seconds.

We rounded Knox half a boat length behind the Nesrin’s J/111 SWIFT NESS and did clearing tacks and covered the fleet to the Marin shore and did another lap.

Encore closed enough on us during our first down wind leg to finish close behind us boat for boat, which corrected on us by about half a minute. They sailed a great race as did the J/111, who crossed the line just behind us by feet as we shot the finish at the favored pin. As a result, we got second in class followed by the J/111.

J/88 sailing San Francisco BaySunday brought 20 plus of northerly. No questions, that it was the class #3 for our J/120!  We adjusted the rig tension for the breeze and braced ourselves for the unusual conditions and the possible surprises.  The RC provided us a reaching start off the Corinthian club house. We reached into the pin at the outside of the line on starboard and hit the line about 5 seconds after the gun with the J/111 in front of us and we both gybed to port and set, reaching to the southeast into better breeze to Blackaller Buoy, our first mark. The balance of the fleet stayed to the north to avoid the flood. We beat the fleet to the end of Belvedere after gybing with the J/111. Other than a brief attack on our breeze by Quiver, the N/M 35, we had clear wind and opened the distance on the fleet behind and to weather of us as we watched the J/111 accelerate ahead of us in the big breeze, clearly enjoying their favored conditions. The wind was very puffy and shifty throughout the leg making it a lot of fun and keeping the trimmer busy. We crabbed across the Bay in the flood but there was lots of building ebb as we approached Blackaller Buoy. We came in on starboard and did a perfect gybe take down.

The weather leg in cross current is not our typical conditions so we had to rethink our lay lines. We tacked on the first shift and sailed on starboard for a while to get out of any lee of Angel Island and then tacked back to port. Much of the fleet behind did not do this. Our weather mark was Harding Rock and we tacked early, anticipating the lee bow of the flood but not early enough and we rounded the mark after beam reaching for a painful 30 seconds.  We had closed most of the J/111’s lead at this point but with the kites up again, the 111 sprinted ahead again (christ that thing’s fast off the wind when it steps onto a plane!).  One more lap then the final beat to Elephant Rock in shifty, puffy conditions, requiring changing gears quickly with great crew work. We set at Elephant Rock and beam reached to the finish, with the J/111 seconds in front of us and the balance of the fleet several minutes behind; good enough for the handicap win!

Our tactician was John Verdoia, mainsheet- Alex Kent, jib trim- Kurt Hemmingsen, Pit man- EJ Rowland, Sewer boss- Kristen McCulloch, Spin trim- Casey Grey, Mast Mongoose- Michael Thorton, Mid Bow God- Victor Pitch, Bow Superman- Wilson Willkom. All excellent sailors and an pleasure to drive for!”  As a result of their 1-2 results, they won PHRF 2 followed by the J/111 SWIFTNESS record of 2-3.  Both boats managed to beat several famous, and very well-sailed San Francisco Bay boats in the varied conditions, including the Sydney 36 Encore, the 1D35 Alpha Puppy, and the Beneteau 40.7 Argo.

J/88 sailing upwindThe burgeoning sportboat divisions on the West Coast continue to grow and prosper. With more designers seeking the high performance, low operation equation, the fleets continue to expand. For this weekend three of the most recent inductees to the SF Bay sportboat fleet, the J/88, the Soto 30 and the C&C 30 engaged with more established 30 foot sportboats like the Melges 30, J/90, and a Synergy 1000 for some hooting and hollering in conditions one would expect to see much later in the season.

The eight boat Sportboat 30 fleet is “a good barometer of a positive move in the industry,” says Patrick Whitmarsh from Quantum Sails. “We are seeing a nice influx of new owners and sailors, many coming from the tech industry that are inspired by the ease of operation and intense performance one finds with these boats. When surround by a few well seasoned sailors, they can jump in and have a great time, and even be very competitive.”

Which boat managed to overcome that group of hotly contested racers??  None other than the J/88 family speedster!  Paul Recktenwald’s crew on LAZY DAWG pulled off a 1-3 to take class honors against this group of rabid dogs.  Taking third in class, notably, was a 15-year-old J/Design, the J/90 RAGTIME sailed by Trig Liljestrand!

In the J/105 class, the clear winner was Charles James’ ROXANNE with two bullets followed by Neil Gibbs’ NIMBUS with two seconds. Third was Dick Maclay’s YELLOWFIN.

Tim Russell’s J/80 PAIN KILLER took second in PHRF 3 followed by Bob George’s classic J/35 KIRI in third.  Finally, Chris Boome’s J/32 RHAPSODY took third in PHRF 4 Class against an extraordinary range of boats from an Open 5.7 to an Olson 911 ULDB!  Sailing photo credits- Pressure-drop.us.   For more Corinthian YC Midwinters sailing information


J/145 sailing RORC Caribbean 600RORC Caribbean 600 Report
(English Harbour, Antigua)- The “newest” race in the Royal Ocean Racing Club’s quiver of offshore events has simply gone from strength to strength and its popularity is gaining numerous new enthusiasts.  The attraction for most any offshore sailor is quite simple- stage an event in the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean, sail thirteen legs around 12 unbelievably beautiful “turning marks” (e.g. mostly spectacular islands), spend most of the time fetching upwind or reaching under spinnaker in 10-25 kts tradewinds underneath bright, sunny skies or moonlit, starry nights and you have an instantaneous recipe for success.  The race has numerous, challenging legs, perhaps the most difficult one being the rounding of Guadeloupe.

Bella Mente’s winning British navigator, Ian Moore, spoke about this crucial part of the course. Nicknamed the “Guadeloupe Casino”, the wind shadow of Guadeloupe can make or break a performance, as the largest and tallest island on the course can be an unforgiving trap.

J/145 sailing Caribbean 600“We knew that the wind direction would flick to the south east just as we were arriving at Guadeloupe and, although we were looking at the current situation, we had pretty much made the decision to take our chances by going inshore. In the past, we have had some bad experiences going offshore, if you run out of wind you can be trapped for a very long time. I would give Bella Mente’s performance in the wind shadow a solid nine out of ten, we did really well but we had to fight for it and use all our skill to keep the boat going. Moose (Mike Sanderson) was driving, Terry (Hutchinson) and Ado (Adrian Stead) had their eyes out of the boat and I was just giving them the numbers and I believe that combined tactical sailing knowledge got us through.”

Jonathan Bamberger’s J/145c SPITFIRE took part in IRC One Class. Two-thirds of the way into the race, the SPITFIRE crew were sailing smart and fast against a cross section of custom one-off 45 to 72 footers; they were hanging in at 5th boat-for-boat and about the same in class under IRC handicap.  After passing Montserrat to starboard, SPITFIRE was still in hunt for class honors. However, the massive wind-shadow of Guadeloupe’s tall mountains (the “green monsters” that top 4,600 ft!) proved to be their undoing.  As soon as they entered the “invisible tracking zone” early Wednesday morning (coincidentally, about the same size as Guadeloupe’s wind shadow), the SPITFIRE gang made slow progress, losing considerable distance to their classmates.  By going offshore to the southwest of the island, they lost dozens of miles on their competitors, most of whom elected, instead, to take the inshore (rhumbline) route closer the shore and squeak through! By the time SPITFIRE rounded the turning mark of Iles des Saintes off the southern tip of Guadeloupe, the damage had been done.  In the end, they sailed well, enjoyed their first RORC Caribbean 600 Challenge race, and managed to post a 10th in class!  Being a team from Canada, it was a stark and most enjoyable contrast to their friends and family at home up north suffering yet another “polar vortex” of sub-zero weather!  For more RORC Caribbean 600 Challenge sailing information


J/88 sailing Pacific NorthwestThe Pacific NW Round-Up
(Seattle, Washington)- Since the start of the new year, sailors in the Pacific Northwest have been gearing up for their 2015 sailing season in their various midwinter series.  To say that PNW sailors have a diversity of options would be a bit of a mild understatement.  Here’s the latest round-up on sailing activity in the wild & woolly northwest.

The Jim Depue Memorial Race
Breeze On!  The first race in the West Sound Sailing Association 2015 series charged off the line with 20 knot winds, sunny skies, 50+ degree temps and even the snow line was down in the Olympic Mountains creating a stellar backdrop. Just fourteen boats made it out to race on this heavenly day.  Maybe it was the small craft warning that kept them at the dock, maybe it was too warm or sunny to be racing in February, or maybe they just had to mow their lawn.  Whatever the excuse was for not racing Saturday wasn’t good enough as they missed what could possibly be the best mid-distance race of the year!

The Jim Depue Memorial race, hosted by one of the West Sound Sailing Association clubs, Port Madison Yacht Club, gets going off Point Monroe, the Northeast tip of Bainbridge Island.  With the Northerly breeze the first mark in the course, after an upwind drag race, is set inside Jefferson’s Head, rounding to starboard.  Then the fleet runs off across the sound to West point, again to Starboard before turning back south and crossing the sound again to the red nun off Eagle harbor and finally returning to Point Monroe for the finish, a distance of just over 16nm.

By the 10am start time the winds were Northwesterly, coming over the bluff and gusting into the 20 knot range.  The race committee had a set a full port tack line, no chance of crossing her on Starboard and to make things even more interesting the RC boat (amazing PMYC even has an RC with its 150 person membership) anchored just off the shallowest part of Point Monroe!  Leaving only about 90 ft below them before you were in 8 ft of water on a lee shore – true Island fashion.  Not a big deal for the first two classes, as only 5 boats arrived to race in class 2 and 3, but for the 9 boats in class 1 things became a bit tight.

J/30 sailing Pacific NorthwestSkippers in the final start had a choice of dipping the start from starboard tack, but run the risk of getting closed out above the line.  They could barge the pin end on starboard and run across the line before tacking to port after the gun or they could risk the shallow waters below the committee boat and come in for the port start.  Not an easy choice for anyone out there and dictated more by how much the draft on your boat was than which start was more favored.  As you can guess, the big boats lined up for the tight starboard approach and the little boats came at it from port.  The new J/88, out for her demo race, came in to the port approach a bit early and couldn’t run down and burn time because of the lee shore, so they pointed their bow right down the line with another boat frothing up the line directly at them – a nervous few seconds.  Thankfully for everyone the starboard approach was too hard and the port boats were able to harden up and cross the line cleanly while the big boats on starboard tacked over behind them before settling in towards Jefferson’s Head.

The Northwesterly breeze let boats trim for a one tack drag race towards where the first mark, a large yellow inflatable, is supposed to be – 0.5nm west of the pier on Jefferson’s Head.  I say supposed to be because, well, it wasn’t there.  Boats searched all over the area it was supposed to be in and found nothing.  The classes that started earliest and went to the right spot finally gave up and turned east along the beach while the larger group in division 1 barreled up their transoms and found the same no mark shoreline.

At the first turning mark, the J/88 set their chute and slipped right past the two large cruising boat leaders in a solid puff as the fleet headed off into the sound trying to find some consistent breeze again.  Wind that was tough to find with the NW’erly wind direction and it wasn’t until the boats were a mile or so from West point that the wind finally settled in at a solid 20+ with puffs pushing over 25.

Seattle sailing on Puget SoundThree boats held their chutes from West Point to Eagle Harbor.  The J/88 got some sustained rides at 16 kts (pushing over 18 kts in the puffs) and the J/80 Jolly Green reporting sustained 12 to 13 kts with some good rides over 14 knots.  At one point, on the J/88, as they were absolutely lit up (I can’t emphasize lit up enough) the chute trimmer looked back at is wife and yelled out “Why wouldn’t you want to buy this boat!”  Showing his ear to ear teeth-baring smile.  It was that windy of a day and that perfect of a wind direction for these 3 retractable sprit asym boats to excel and extend on the rest of the fleet that chose to drop their spins and do the run from West Point to Eagle harbor under main and jib.

Safely around the red nun at Eagle Harbor the fleet began the long beat up Bainbridge Island with winds still in the 20’s and just the beginning of the ebbing current.  Leading everyone and extending out in the front was the big Farr 395, charging to weather with the little J/88 nipping at their heels while behind them the J/35 Great White was finally at their perfect point of sail and were powering up the leaders transoms.  Big waves, great breeze, wet crew, sunny skies and snow covered mountains out on both sides while the fleet sailed by downtown Seattle before turning west for the finish off Point Monroe – it couldn’t have been a more spectacular day.

Class 1 saw Sail Northwest’s J/88, sailed by Ben Braden and crew take a well-deserved second in class!  Third place went to the only other boat to fly their chute all the way downwind, the J/80 JOLLY GREEN, owned by Mike Poole.  Sailing photo credits- Jan Anderson.   For more Jim Depue Memorial Race sailing information

J/35 sailing Puget SoundThe Toliva Shoals Race
It was another beautiful day with J’s finishing 2nd and 3rd in various classes!  And what an amazing day it was.  The Olympia Chamber of Commerce employees were scrambling all over town Monday morning, February 23rd – scrambling to collect and put together all the amazing images and reports from Saturday’s Olympia Yacht Club Toliva Shoal race. “It was truly a Chamber of Commerce day,” laughs Garry Greth.

The weather was exactly as predicted by Northwest Yachting’s Bruce Hedrick in his pre-race weather blog (http://www.nwyachting.com) – “This should be an absolutely banner weekend for boaters and that will be especially true for the sailors doing the Toliva Shoal Race out of Olympia.  It looks like this could be one of those great Toliva Shoal Races where the tide, wind and weather will all come together to produce what should be a great race.” With sun, 50+ degree temps, current going the right way and winds out of the north at 12 to 16 knots, sixty-three boats arrived for Saturday morning’s start.

Confusion can abound at the beginning of the south sound races with their compressed 2 class starting sequence and boats can be rushed up to the line a bit unprepared after noticing their flag flying. Yet the conditions couldn’t have been better with the standard starboard lifting tack out of Budd Inlet and then getting sucked through Dana Passage with the ebbing current. Short tacking is much easy with the current pulling you along and the fleet quickly rounded Johnson Point, quicker than many have experienced in the past.

Once around Johnson Point the Nisqually reach was just that, a tight reach with the northeasterly breeze. Some tried their spinnakers but they didn’t last long on the way to the Nisqually mark before it was time to tack their way up to the Toliva shoal buoy and the turn past Prison Island, through the Balch passage, and down past devils head towards Budd inlet.

“We rounded the [Toliva Shoal] buoy and set the spinnaker for the run toward Balch Pass where the current would be starting to flood.” Says Dan Wierman, returning to racing on his J/35 GREAT WHITE. “Often with a northerly, this would be a reach, but with so much easterly, it was a run and the wind stayed fairly steady through the pass.  We had a great run down Drayton Pass.  At Devils Head, we could see a lot of boats go wide, but with the easterly bent to the wind, we chose a tighter course around Devils Head and reached toward Johnson Point.” Unlike previous years the NE bend to the breeze allowed boats to hold their chutes from Devils Head to Johnson Point and the entrance to Dana Passage before the long port pole run to the finish through Budd Inlet.

Alas, the winds did begin to die down as the sun set over the Olympic mountains and as the vibrant colors developed along the horizon the few boats left on the course dropped their canvas and motored in towards the clubhouse to join in on their stellar after race party and warm stew their volunteers had been preparing all day. People from around the country often wonder why Pacific Northwest sailor give them a blank stare followed by a sly smile when they are asked “when does your racing season start out there?” Start they say? Well it never ends!!

In PHRF-2, Ron Holbrook’s big J/133 CONSTELLATION took third in class.  In the hotly contested PHRF-3 class, Brian White’s J/35 GRACE E took third place.  The PHRF-5 class saw the always-fast J/29 SLICK owned by Bob Mayfield take second place.  For PHRF-6, Dennis Clark’s J/27 LXII took second in class.
For more Toliva Shoals Race sailing information

Sailing on Puget SoundThe AYC Foulweather Race
It was as beautiful of a day as it was for the Toliva Shoal Race, but with more wind up in the San Juan Islands.

On Saturday, February 21st, the oldest yacht club in the state of Washington kicked off the 2015 racing season. Not quite living up to its “Foul Weather” part of its name, but blustery nonetheless, the Girts Rekevics Memorial Foulweather Race/Cruise to Friday Harbor got underway at 0930 sharp on the GPS, just off the tanker docks near Anacortes (where no one was watching because they are all currently on strike!).  Eighteen intrepid sailboats tucked in a reef, shortened their headsails and hauled on the sheets for the beat into Guemes Channel.

The current was on flush mode so it was not long before the fleet were on their way into “Hell’s Half Acre”  where Guemes, Rosario and Bellingham Channel all meet to stir up quite a chop. The waterline fetch to Thatcher Pass was both enjoyable and beautiful. The ferry riders in the group enjoyed the balmy weather above the waves as competitors sought shelter in the lee of the retired stalwart vessels formerly of the Seattle Bainbridge and Bremerton runs.

The great Rosario escalator caught many in the fleet unaware and they had to tack upwind to regain Thatcher Pass. The epic battle to get through the gateway of Thatcher pass had more than a few crews wondering what if they would have chosen Peavine Pass at the North end of Blakely instead?

The Conway kids ably assisted by our Northern brethren from land of ice and hockey were next to blaze West aboard the J/30 CELEBRATION. As J-Bob (Bob Ross of Sail Northwest) would tell you, if you can find a better value in a 30 ft boat with a heater and a head door – “Buy It!”

The rest of the herd soon found a weak spot in the fence, poured through en-masse, and were again in the race. Back to reefs and shortened headsails for the group and by now fingers were getting cold! On towards Upright Head for the slide to the finish, the full size kites were the proper call but some crews were just about ready for a cup of courage from the thermos before any more serious sailing nonsense.

Festivities started on the dock in the warm sunshine, bets were paid off, and the stories grew taller as the shadows grew longer. Later it was off to the warm welcome of the San Juan Island Yacht Club and a large helping of lasagna, just like mama used to make. Perhaps enjoying that celebration as much as anyone was the J/30 CELEBRATION, taking 2nd in Class 1!

In the end, the AYC would especially like to thank the boats that made the deliveries from Orcas, Oak Harbor, and Bellingham and of course those favorite cousins from the SNSYC that meet us each year.  Thanks for contributions from Andy Schwenk (owner Northwest Rigging) and Ben Braden (Sailboats Northwest).  For more AYC Foul Weather Race sailing information


J/Community
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
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US Sailing Rolex Winners- Steph Roble & Terry Hutchinson* Hutchinson and Roble Honored as US Sailing Rolex Yachtsman & Yachtswoman of the Year – this year’s awards ceremony took place in the iconic Model Room at the New York Yacht Club in Manhattan to celebrate the sailing accomplishments of Terry Hutchinson (Annapolis, MD) and Stephanie Roble (East Troy, WI).  Both Terry and Steph have been active J/sailors as they’ve grown and evolved as champions; Terry having been a J/24 World Champion and a current J/70 owner in Annapolis, Maryland, and Steph having sailed J/22s, J/24s, J/80s in the match-race world as well as sailing on J/70s for the past three years.

Family, friends, sailing dignitaries, fellow sailors and members of the media joined the honorees.  In an emotional speech, Roble, age 25 and a first-time winner, stressed how important teamwork has been in getting to this point in her life and particularly this past year in securing the 2014 Etchells World Championship (as crew) and the U.S. Women’s Match Racing Championship (as skipper) while working her way to the top of the latter discipline’s U.S. rankings. (In the world, she is currently ranked third.)

Stephanie Roble- US Sailing Rolex winner“I feel so lucky to be a part of a lot of teams; teamwork is what I’m in love with right now,” said Roble, whose current goal is to win the Women’s Match Racing World Championship in July with crew Janel Zarkowsky and Maggie Shea. “You need your team to be successful; this award is for all of them. I’m beyond the moon excited right now. This is such a special award, and to see all the sailors who’ve won this before and to join this list means so much to me. It’s extremely motivating.”

Roble added that it makes her laugh thinking that her first connection to sailing was when she was born. “When my parents first brought me home from the hospital, my dad sailed his MC Scow on our tiny home lake in Lake Beulah with ‘It’s a Girl!’ written on the sail. Little did he know this gesture was indicative of what was to come.”

Hutchinson, who is 46 and won this honor in 2008 as well, pointed out several sailing mentors in the luncheon audience (among them his father, Gary Jobson, Doug DeVos, coach James Lyne, Alex Roepers, and Jim Richardson) who have helped him develop the instinct for doing the right things at the right time.  As the current Rolex Farr 40 and TP52 World Champion, Hutchinson said winning the Rolex Yachtsman of the Year Award this second time around was “different because of how it all happened.”

Terry Hutchinson- US Sailing Rolex winner“It was quite a hard thing emotionally not going all the way through with the last America’s Cup,” said Hutchinson, who ‘bounced back’ to have an exceptional 2014 racing season on the water. “In some ways, it’s not how you get knocked down but how you get back up that’s going to be the measure. It is a testament to the owners and their faith and trust in the process that we apply to win races. What they have placed in my hands and what they have provided me as an opportunity to do on their behalf is not taken lightly.”

Established in 1961 by US Sailing and sponsored by Rolex Watch, U.S.A. since 1980, US Sailing’s Rolex Yachtsman and Yachtswoman of the Year awards are considered the sport’s ultimate recognition of an individual’s outstanding on-the-water achievements for the calendar year. The process of determining the recipients starts each September when US Sailing invites its membership to make online nominations. A shortlist of nominees is then reviewed by a panel of noted sailing journalists who discuss the merits of each nominee, and vote to determine the winners.  Watch on YouTube the sailing rockstars interview


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.
*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.

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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