J/News for May 1, 2015

48° North Boat Test of the J/88
April 30, 2015
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May 4, 2015
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J/70s sailing Annapolis NOODAnnapolis NOOD Preview
(Annapolis, Maryland)- The upcoming Helly Hansen Annapolis NOOD regatta hosted by Annapolis YC in Annapolis, MD is seeing an excellent turnout, with strong growth over last year’s event.  Of the fleet of 206 boats registered, there are 159 J’s (77% of the fleet) sailing in nine one-design classes (J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80, J/30, J/35, J/105, J/109 and J/111.  In short, the Annapolis NOOD has become a de facto J/Fest for the Chesapeake Bay and very class has talented teams in their mix.

The fleet will have to deal with a less than thrilling forecast for the three days of sailing.  While Friday may have some sprinkles and 6-10 kt easterlies with the passing of a weak Low, Saturday morning at least looks promising with nice breezes out of the northeast starting in the 10-20 kts range and diminishing and veering as the day goes on- a fairly typical scenario.  Sunday looks like a roll of the dice, with winds starting northwest but shifting east, then back west in the 4-7 kts range.  Perhaps a few offerings to old man Neptune may be in store each day to improve those odds!

Starting off with the J/22s, the 21-boat class has teams from New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Rhode Island and New Jersey.  Leading teams include Mike Marshall’s BAD NEWS, Jeff Todd’s HOT TODDY, top woman sailor Sandy Adzick skippering HOT TICKET, Brad Julian on JULIAN ASSOCIATES, Terry Flynn (recent Midwinters Champion) on RUG BURN from Houston, and Chris Doyle’s THE JUG 4 1 from Youngstown.

The venerable J/24 class has seven boats sailing with Ron Medlin’s BASH, Pat Fitzgerald’s RUSH HOUR, Pete Kassal’s SPACEMAN SPIFF and Mark Rivera’s THE J-TEAM.

J/70s sailing AnnapolisContinuing to set attendance records is the extraordinarily popular J/70.  With 59 boats scheduled to be on the starting line, there will be little room for error amongst the fleet leaders as it appears that it will be just one starting line for this hyperkinetic group of sailors.  Many of the top teams from the Midwinters, Bacardi Miami Sailing Week and the recent Charleston Race Week will be in attendance.  The mighty AFRICA will have Will Stocke from Martha’s Vineyard racing her this time (she got 3rd in Charleston); Mauricio Santa Cruz’s BRUSCHETTA from Rio de Janeiro YC in Brazil (5x J/24 World Champion); Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT for Wayzata YC Minnesota; Allan Terhune’s DAZZLER from Annapolis YC; Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO from Valle de Bravo, Mexico (recent Charleston winner with Etchells 22 World Champion Bill Hardesty on tactics); current World Champion Tim Healy sailing HELLY HANSEN from Newport, RI; Jen & Ray Wulff sailing JOINT CUSTODY from Annapolis; Cole Allsopp skippering MOXIE from Annapolis; Dan & Gannon Troutman aboard PIED PIPER from Fishing Bay YC; Will Welles on RASCAL from Newport, RI; Peter Vessella skippering RUNNING WILD from St Francis YC in San Francisco; John Aras’ hot local team on SCHOOL’S OUT; Peter McChesney driving SUM TING WONG from Annapolis; Alex Meleny cruisin’ on TRUCKIN’ from Martha’s Vineyard, MA; Henry Filter on WILD CHILD from Eastport; and finally he who needs no introduction- Terry Hutchinson sailing USA 419 (recent ROLEX Yachtsman of the Year sailing with his daughter and Taylor Canfield- World Match Racing Champion).

Top Corinthians J/70 teams are likely to include MUSE led by Joe Bardenheier from Boston, MA; Bryan Cameron & Brian Elliott on B-SQUARED from Sayville YC; Holly Graf skippering SPICE from Eastport YC; and Brandon Flack & family electrifying the world on TORQEEDO from Stonington, CT.

With one of their strongest turnouts in recent months, the 25 boat J/80 fleet will have spirited racing with many class leaders showing up on the starting line, some of whom also sailed Charleston Race Week two weeks ago.  Some of those fun-loving sailors are Nizar Abuzeni’s ARROW from St Croix Sailing Club in the US Virgin Islands; Bill Blank’s BLIND SQUIRREL from Eastport; Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS from New York; Bert Carp’s ELEVEN from Annapolis; Ken Mangano’s MANGO and Mike Hobson’s MELTEMI from Eastport; Bill & Shannon Lockwood’s SHENANIGANS from Keyport YC in New Jersey; and David Andril’s VAYU from Annapolis.

Moving on to the “big boat” world, we see the classic J/30 cruiser-racer continues to enjoy a resurgence.  The ten-boat fleet has a number of passionate enthusiasts that sees some beautifully re-conditioned boats sporting new paint jobs, gloss varnished interiors and fast new sails.  Teams that have participated and sailed well in past NOODs include George Watson’s AVITA, Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello’s BEPOP, Pam Morris’ BUMP, Ron Anderson’s INSATIABLE and Rob Lundahl’s RAG DOLL.

Like their 30-foot colleagues, the popular 35-36 foot category has all four major J designs sailing- J/35, J/105, J/109 and J/111.  The eight-boat J/35 fleet continues to attract their loyal following as well.  Famous boats include AUNT JEAN with the duo of Jim Sagerholm and Jerry Christofel leading the charge.  Sure to give them fits will be Maury Neibur’s BUMP IN THE NIGHT, Peter Schiedt’s MAGGIE, Charles Kohlerman’s MEDICINE MAN and the MASCI & McGONIGLE duet on WINDEPENDENT.

With 18 boats, the J/105 fleet continues its long-term love affair with Chesapeake Bay sailors.  Familiar names that have led the Annapolis fleet over time include Andrew Kennedy’s BAT IV, Collin Jones’ CHESSIE, Jim Konigsberg’s INIGO, Don Santa’s SANTAS REIGN DEAR, Chuck Lawrence’s FROYA, and Carl & Scott Gitchell’s TENACIOUS.  Talented visiting teams include Jim Macdonald’s DISTANT PASSION from the Royal Bermuda YC in Bermuda and Josh Richline’s VELOCE from Corpus Christi YC in Texas.

The modest but highly talented J/109 fleet includes North American Champion Bill Sweetser sailing the famous RUSH with an Annapolis YC team.  Their chief battle will likely be with Bob Schwartz’s NORDLYS visiting from Manhasset Bay YC from Long Island, New York and Francis Albert’s RESOLUTE.

Continuing their migration north that will ultimately end up in Newport, Rhode Island for the J/111 World Championship are the migratory J/111 sailors.  Two of the top three teams from Charleston Race Week are participating- George Gamble’s MY SHARONA from Pensacola YC in Florida and local hotshots Marty Roesch on VELOCITY from Annapolis YC.  Several teams have undergone significant enhancements to their programs and could easily upset their duel, including Robert Stein’s KINETIC from Charleston, SC; Dave McCreight’s appropriately named DARK HORSE from Annapolis YC; Gary Weisberg’s HEAT WAVE from Marblehead, MA; and Tony Culotta’s CUORE DI LEONE from Baltimore, MD.   Follow your favorite teams at HELLY HANSEN Annapolis NOOD Regatta here


J/80 sailing off Palma Mallorca, SpainPalmavela Preview
(Palma Mallorca, Spain)- The Gaastra PalmaVela regatta will celebrate its twelfth edition with a multi-coloured fleet, consolidating its international status as the Mediterranean’s first big boat sailing event of the season.  117 boats from 16 different nationalities will be hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Palma, where flags will be flown from Germany, Antigua, Spain, France, Holland, Hong Kong, England, Ireland, British Virgin Islands, Italy, Monaco, Portugal, Russian, Switzerland, Sweden and the United States.

The Gaastra PalmaVela Regatta was first held in 2004 as an ambitious project to “convert Palma into the Mediterranean capital of sailing”, explains Manuel Fraga. Eleven years later, the regatta has established itself as the principal kick-off event of the offshore keelboat season in the Mediterranean.

“The key word is adaptation”, adds Fraga, “There are a lot of regattas on the calendar, but in the last decade Gaastra PalmaVela has managed to continue filling the spectacular Bay of Palma de Mallorca with boats and sails in springtime”.

The racing programme of Gaastra PalmaVela 2015 will alternate coastal racing with windward/leeward races throughout the four days. J sailors will be participating in J/80 one-designs as well as in the ORC handicap classes.

A number of top Spanish and German teams are sailing as part of their preparations for the upcoming J/80 World Championship in Kiel, Germany.  Champion sailors like Marc de Antonio from Barcelona will be skippering BRIBON-MOVISTAR and his team will be up against fierce competitors like Javier Chacartegui Cirerol on HM HOTELS, Sebastian Allebrodt on MNEMONIC and World Champion Jose Marie van der Ploeg on NAUTICA WATCHES.  One Swedish team will be on the line- Tom Bscher’s OPERA SEASON- TEAM RCNP.  And, two German teams should be in the hunt as well- Dirk Euler’s LIMMAT EXPRESS and Inken Braunschmidt’s JOY TOY.

The large ORC Offshore Division will have to contend with Juan Carlos Sanchis’ J/92S CAFE DEL MAR from CNS Antonio.  For more Gaastra Palmavela sailing information


J/80s sailing Yachting CupYachting Cup Preview
(San Diego, California)- For sailors, springtime in San Diego can only mean one thing. While the rest of the country enjoys warmer weather and blossoming wildlife, the sailing community is training and strategizing for Yachting Cup, the premiere spring regatta of the San Diego Yacht Club.  2015 marks the 43rd running of the Yachting Cup Regatta, SDYC’s signature event. Again, this year is the expanded two and a half day format that combines both random leg racing with windward leeward buoy courses that will truly test the competitors.

The regatta kicks off on Friday, May 1st with a single ‘Beer Can style’ race in San Diego Bay to be held at 4:00 in the afternoon. For those who missed the Friday race, a throwout is allowed for the regatta, keeping them in the running. Following the race are the first day of parties at SDYC with the exclusive ‘Skippers/Tacticians VIP Party’ held in the Frost Room while the open invite ‘Crew Party’ will be held on the front deck of the club. Free food and complimentary drinks will be featured at the parties so they are sure to be a big hit!

J/70s sailing Yachting CupSaturday and Sunday will once again feature windward/leeward courses held in multiple venues in the ocean off the coast of San Diego. With steady breeze and open water, good boat speed and steady crew work will be what wins the event. Eight races are scheduled for the weekend, combined with after race parties at SDYC each day, skippers and crew are guaranteed to get plenty of excitement. There will be a trophy ceremony following racing on Sunday with class awards and the overall winner of the regatta crowned.

Part of the success of Yachting Cup could be attributed to its ideal placement on the calendar the weekend after the Newport to Ensenada Race. SDYC capitalized on that opportunity by offering registered Yachting Cup competitors free mooring at SDYC starting the weekend prior and going all the way through the regatta. This means boats traveling back north from Mexico can take a pit stop in San Diego, enjoy the racing and hospitality, free slip space on the docks all week and then continue on north.

Seventy-two of the sport’s most enthusiastic sailors have already signed up to compete in the signature regatta.  The 2014 Yachting Cup Champion Rick Goebel is registered and ready to defend his championship title in the J/105 class. However, he is faced with a long list of past champions ready to take back the title, including 2013 champion Tim Fuller on the J/125 RESOLUTE and 2012 champion John Laun sailing in the J/120 class.

Not surprisingly, the J/70s have the largest fleet at the regatta with a million boats sailing.  For many teams, it’s a continuing quest to prepare for this summer’s J/70 North Americans being hosted by San Diego YC.  Some of those top sailing teams include Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS, Justin Kromelow’s LOOSE LUCY, Karl Pomeroy’s ZERO TO 60, Vince Brun’s BLISS, Tom Garrett’s SLOOP JOHN B,
Eric Kownacki / Tom Jenkins’ DFZ, Beverly Burr’s VIVACE, and Dave Vieregg’s SOGGY DOLLAR.

J/120 sailing off San Diego, CAEnjoying one of their best turnouts in a blue moon is the popular offshore cruiser-racer- the J/120s.  Most of the top Southern California teams will be pushing the starting line hard, such as Chuck Nichols’ CC RIDER, Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE, Gary Winton’s SHENANIGANS, Tom & Teri Manok’s POLE DANCER, Peter Bretschger’s ADIOS, Peter Zarcades’ MELTEMI, Ernie Pennell’s MADMEN, John Snook’s JIM, Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY, and Eric Axford’s CAPER.

Never to shy away from a good battle are the veterans in the J/105 class in SoCal.  Familiar leaders in the class will be at it again with familiar names like Tom Hurlburt’s BLOWBOAT, Dag Fish’s VIGGEN, Dennis Case’s WINGS, Rick Goebel’s SANITY, Steve & Lucy Howell’s BLINK!, and Jon Dekker’s AIRBOSS.

J/109 sailing off San Diego, CAFor one of their best collection of teams seen in recent events, the J/109s from across SoCal have gathered together for some fun in Sunny Diego.  With a number of them fielding updated crews and sails, it’s going to be hard to handicap this crowd.  So, it’s your pick from the following crews- Alice Leahey’s GRACE O’MALLEY, Tom Brott’s ELECTRA, Gene Pitkin’s GERONIMO, Daylen Teren’s GREAT BALLS OF FIRE, and John Schulz’s LINSTAR.

The longest-distance traveling crew from San Diego YC might be Curt Johnson’s team aboard the J/80 AVET.  They will be up against several J/World J/80s with a few skippers in the “yet to be revealed, but they are good” category.

Finally, in the world of offshore random leg PHRF handicap racing, the classic J/35 RIVAL skippered by David Boatner will have to contend with an on-going rivalry between two very fast, very well-prepared J/125s- TIMESHAVER skippered by Viggo Torbensen and RESOLUTE helmed by Tim Fuller.

In addition to top-notch competition, the Yachting Cup also prides itself in promoting environmental responsibility by registering with Sailors for the Sea as a Clean Regatta.

The Yachting Cup would like to thank its sponsors El Jimador, Spinlock, Harken, Downwind Marine and Sailing Supply, North Sails, Mount Gay, Anchor Glove Co., Jackson Design & Remodeling, First National Bullion, Ballast Point, SD Boatworks, Bronny Daniels/ Joysailing and Cynthia Sinclair Photography. Formore Yachting Cup sailing information


J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J’s Sailing Worldwide

The end of April is typically busy in the spring season worldwide.  The north is winding up while the south of the equatorial border types are in full swing in their long, long summer daze.  On the American side of things, the J/24s enjoyed their Cowtown Stampede and Southwestern Championship in Dallas, Texas instead of Fort Worth, Texas— something about water levels (or was that fracking levels?).  Out West, the famous Newport to Ensenada Race offshore race from Newport Beach, California to Ensenada, Mexico took place with a large fleet of J/120 one-designs as well as dueling J/125s and J/145.

Over in the Caribbean, the last of the famous winter/ spring regattas was taking place off English Harbour, Antigua in classic sailing conditions.

In the European theater, the Warsash Spring Series Finale was winding up for the one-design classes of J/70s, J/80s, J/88s, J/109s, and J/111s on a beautiful final weekend on the always-challenging Solent.  Then, east of them the second act of the Alcatel OneTouch Italian J/70 National Championship Series took place off YC San Remo in Italy.

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:

Apr 24- May 2- EDHEC Sailing Cup- La Rochelle, France
Apr 26- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- Falmouth, Antigua
Apr 30- May 3- J/80 Palmavela- Palma Mallorca, Spain
May 1-3- Annapolis NOOD Regatta- Annapolis, MD
May 1-3- Mexican J/24 Nationals- Valle de Bravo, Mexico
May 1-2- San Diego Yachting Cup- San Diego, CA
May 12-25- Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta- Scheveningen, The Netherlands
May 14-17- Grand Prix de l’Ecole Navale Brest- Brest, France
May 16-17- Cedar Point One-Design Regatta- Cedar Point, CT
May 20-24- J/24 USA Nationals- Berkeley, CA
May 22-25- Grand Prix du Crouesty- Crouesty, France
May 22-24- J/80 Copa de Espana- Aguilas, Murcia, Spain

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


J/70s sailing Alcatel OneTouch regatta in ItalyL’ELAGAIN Leads J/70 ALCATEL OneTouch Series
(San Remo, Italy)- The kick-off stage for the J/70 Italian Open National Championship featured thirty high performance J/70s from 3 different countries. Despite some spring weather tantrums over the weekend, the Alcatel OneTouch J/70 Italian Nationals Series turned out to be a tremendous success, all made possible by the great organization of the local YC San Remo and partner Gill.  The fleet enjoyed all types of wind conditions, including the last three races with solid breeze where the J/70 offered a great show of power, easy handling, stability & fun.

It was Alessio Marinelli on UJI UJI along with tactician Sandro Iseri who won the second stage of the Italian circuit in San Remo.  Tied with equal points in second place was Franco Solerio’s L’ELEGAIN with Daniele Cassinari calling tactics. Monaco’s duo of Guido Miani and Massimo Benussi on ANGE TRANPARENT finished out the podium in third.

J/70s sailing off San Remo, ItalySaturday’s opening day brought very light wind that made races very tactical and produced some tough match-ups. There was a tightly fought duel between Solerio and Marinelli, the latter winning both races by a whisker. Similarly, on the first and second race, ANGE TRANPARENT and Luca Domenici’s NOTARO Team took third and fourth, respectively.

On the second day, more favorable winds opened the door for a highly-competitive final day of action.  Taking advantage of the great sailing conditions was the reigning Italian and European J/70 champion Carlo Alberini’s CALVI NETWORK, with Branko Brcin calling tactics.  They won two of the last three heats, while Solerio’s L’ELEGAIN took his first win in the penultimate race.

In the end, consistency paid off and team L’ELEGAIN has taken the lead in the overall series after the second stage of the J/70 Alcatel OneTouch Italian Trophy.  Nevertheless, the level of high performance racing embodied by top J/70 teams such as CALVI NETWORK and Swedish Ingemar Sunsted’s ROCAD RACING promises a very intense battle in the class with three more rather interesting stages to follow- – – everyone still has a chance to win!

J/70 sailing San Remo series- Alcatel OneTouchThe competition has been very tight in every race.  In fact, about 60% of the whole fleet are finishing races within 60 seconds of the lead boats!  Such compact, close racing makes for fun sailing and puts a premium on good boat-handling and steady, not-so-risky strategies.

Keeping it close for everyone with both class support and ensuring all boats conform to J/70 International Class rules has been Paolo Boido’s team at J/Boats Italy.  In particular, they’re making sure all boats are measured at minimum weights and people adhere strictly to the “hiking rules” (e.g. no, no touchy touchy those ankles!).  As a result, the J/70 is one of the few classes in Italy (as well as Europe) that have very strong Corinthian owner/drivers that are competing at the top of the class.

The next stage of the J/70 ALCATEL ONETOUCH ITALIAN TROPHY will be held once again in Sanremo on May 16-17 before moving towards Cervia (June 12-14) and Riva del Garda (September 12-19).

J/70 ALCATEL ONETOUCH ITALIAN TROPHY top five leaderboard is the following:

  • 1. L’ELEGAIN- Franco Solerio (ITA)- 24 points
  • 2. NOTARO Team- Luca Domenici (ITA)- 29 points
  • 3. ROCAD RACING- Ingemar Sunstedt (SWE)- 40 points
  • 4. ANGE TRANPARENT- Guido Miani (MON)- 40 points
  • 5. UJI UJI- Alessio Marinelli (ITA)- 45 points

For more Italian J/70 sailing information


J/88 sailing Newport Ensenada RaceCamaraderie + Perseverance Keys @ N2E Race
Anyone Seen The Amazing “Blue Flash”!?
(Ensenada, Mexico)- The 68th annual Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race saw over 200 boats hit the starting line on April 24 around noon in less than ideal conditions.

Hosted by the Newport Ocean Racing Association, the beloved N2E is an eclectic mix of serious sailors campaigning multi-million dollar yachts racing alongside recreational cruisers.  As a result, there’s no putting a damper on the attitude of competitors; camaraderie and the spirit of competition trumps lofty winds and rogue showers every time. Via the challenges of this race however, we learned it can be rewarding to get swept away with your family; it is OK to get off to a bad start, teenagers cure doldrums and look to the horizon for brighter days!

J/88 BlueFlash wins Ensenada RaceSpeaking of young sailors, Scott Grealish credits his 16-year-old son for their J/88 BLUEFLASH winning the Gil Knudson Trophy for Best Corrected Time in PHRF D Class. In their first N2E and second ocean race ever, Grealish said his son, a champion dinghy racer, was the one on deck who pulled the J/88 out of the doldrums. Although Grealish lives in Oregon, he keeps BLUEFLASH in San Diego. He decided to race N2E because it was appropriate for his 29-foot boat and because of N2E’s rich history.

The J/120 Class had seven boats with many of the top boats from the SoCal region racing.  After some close, spirited sailing in drifty conditions at the beginning, the choice was going out or staying in along the shore.  Some tried both.  After much gnashing of teeth, it was Mike Hatch’s J-ALMIGHTY crew that persevered in the end with an elapsed time of 24:47:37, just 6 minutes faster than Rudolph Hasl’s HASL FREE.  Taking 3rd was John Laun’s CAPER another 12 minutes back, followed by Peter Bretschger’s ADIOS in 4th and Tom & Terri Manok’s POLE DANCER in 5th.

The seventeen boat PHRF A class had the hottest California offshore boats in the 40-60 foot range.  Top dog amongst the J teams was Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER in third place.  Sailing one of their best offshore races in awhile was Carolyn Parks’ magnificent bright red J/145 RADIO FLYER, just 9 minutes back from TIMESHAVER.  Taking 8th in class was Mark Surber’s J/125 DERIVATIVE.  Winning bragging rights amongst the J/160 fast cruiser-racers was John Lyon’s INNOCENT MERRIMENT over Paul Margis’ INDIGO.

Having a duel for nearly the entire race in the fourteen-boat PHRF B class were two fast-reaching J’s.  Crossing the line first and also taking handicap was John Raymont’s J/122 T.K.O. over Seth Hall’s J/124 MARISOL, earning 6th and 7th in class, respectively.

The ten-boat PHRF D class got “flashed” by Grealish’s numbingly fast J/88 BLUEFLASH. Jack Mayer’s J/109 ZEPHYR was the only 109 to persevere for the entire endurance contest and took a well-deserved third in class.  The lone J in the 15-boat PHRF E class was Juan Lois’ J/105 ROCINANTE, taking a hard-fought third overall in class.

J/125 sailing fast in Ensenada RaceKeith Magnussen from Ullman Sails Newport Beach sailed aboard Viggo Torbensen’s J/125 TIMESHAVER.  Here is K-Mags’ report on his experience:

“Every year hundreds of boats leave Newport Beach on a Friday afternoon in full view of thousands of people along the shoreline who admire and question what is actually going on.  Contrary to what most sailors think, not a lot of people really pay attention to, or know what sailboat racing is all about, much less what going on an adventure like this entails.  At Just Go And Sail, we strive to bring you the real story without the boring technical stuff.

2015 was a highly anticipated year for the N2E.  Entries are increasing and sailing is gaining popularity amongst the general public so organizers were gearing up for the “best” Ensenada ever.  Only problem was no one told the wind God’s!

The chosen ride for this race is the J-125 Timeshaver.  Owner, Viggo Torbensen, stresses competitive racing but at the same time a good fun atmosphere.  Sailing programs vary from boat to boat so it is important to feel out each team and understand their respective vibe.  There is nothing worse than being on a boat for an extended period of time with people whom are not enjoyable to be around.  We are lucky to race on a boat that requires a sailor to be good yet remember the main goal is fun and adventure.

A week of build up makes everyone involved in the race excited about the prospect of sailing down the coast and into another country.  First timers and veterans alike are always thrilled upon crossing the San Diego border.  Most people admire the beauty of a sailboat going through the water and when the Pacific is littered with hundreds of boats, it can make for some spectacular scenery.   This year did not disappoint as you can tell by this picture snapped just after the first start.

People always want to know what we do on the boat, where we sleep, what we eat and do we stop at night (especially interesting question when asked about the Transpac).  Just Go And Sail tells the story of what the racing is like.  What we feel, what we do and how we handle certain situation.

First off all we do not stop racing at night and have a few beers and light up the B-B-Q.  We put that myth to bed once and for all.  We sleep in tiny little bunks and eat freeze-dried food.  Some of the larger boats have decent meals and larger sleeping quarters but the average race boat is like camping while you are moving.  It is a close encounter with your crewmates and can

Starting amongst a few hundred boats only gives you a few lanes of clear traffic as you try to maximize your speed in order to get away from the light southern California coastline.  2015 was a tough year to do that.  In fact, they were still only abeam of us when we passed Dana Point, which happened to be at four in the afternoon.  Yes, this was my slowest N2E at this point.

Dana Point for me is iconic.  Living here for so long and understanding the history of this little port made me really appreciate and respect my surroundings.  It was almost sad watching it slowly fade from the horizon as the wind gently filled in.  Discussions about quitting were constant until we came together and decided to push through.  Freddy was not too pleased and decided he needed a nap at that point.  Sounded like a good idea to me but I was in it now.

What is it like sailing in this type of breeze?  It is extremely excruciating and taxing.  You need to really focus and shift gears with the slightest wind shift or velocity change.  It takes commitment and I know the good boats are committed.

Sunset came and we had still not breached the Mexican border.  When we did the wind finally came up a bit.  At this stage, we were headsail reaching with the genoa staysail.  Good combination since it was too tight for the Code 0.  When the wind finally shifted, we were just past the southern Coronado Island.  We put up a reaching spinnaker and were now doing ten plus knots right at Ensenada.  Now it is a drag race.

What did we do for the last five hours?   Sailed hard, made sail changes and packed sails.  I had the guys taking bearings of the boats around us and we figured we were in good company.

Morning comes and now is the chance to see what is really going on.  The Santa Cruz 52 Relentless and Javelin (Farr 49) were right there with us.  Being around boats that owe you a lot of time is usually a good thing right?  We will take it as a good omen at this point.  The fun part about this is that my good friends are on Relentless and we get to cross just in front making some fun gestures.

We pushed to the finish line making a few more spinnaker changes.  Finishing this one was great.  Only thing that ruined it was getting in and finding our good friends on Horizon had beaten us and won overall.  Just kidding.  Erik Shampain is a close friend and it is always a rivalry that keeps us motivated.  Great job to the team!

Ensenada is a great place to visit.  From fantastic restaurants to the wine country tours, there is something for everyone.  I highly recommend the taco place next to the legendary Hussong’s Cantina.  Everything is good.  Take your time and adventure around, you will not regret it.

My time was spent winding down from not sleeping and enjoying a good meal.  Hearing the stories around town is an interesting experience.  Everyone comes away with a life changing moment or a harrowing tale.  Keep in mind I am talking to the bulk of racers who look forward to this race and spend time in the town.  There are the boats that turn and burn, the professionals who vacate immediately but the core of the racers stay to extend their experience.  The big boats might get the spotlight but the other guys make the race!”   Sailing photo credits- Rockskipper Photography   Formore Newport to Ensenada Race sailing information


J/70 sailing Warsash Spring seriesWarsash Spring Series Finale
(Warsash, England)- Last weekend saw the deciding races in the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series and the Brooks Macdonald Crewsaver Spring Championship.  The boats were sailing in a force 3-4 southwesterly on Saturday, which veered close to due west for a time but backed once again during race three so the course did become biased for a couple of the classes but was re-aligned to the new wind direction for the remaining two.

JITTERBUG in the J/111s (Cornel Riklin) never dropped a podium place throughout the Brooks Macdonald Crewsaver Spring Championship and deservedly won their class.  Staying in contention the entire series was Chris Body & Andrew Christie’s ICARUS just two points back after 12 races.  After missing a number of the initial races, Louise Makin and Chris Jones’ JOURNEYMAKER II closed fast to grab third for the series.

Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT just nipped their compatriots in the J/88 class by 1 pt with their steady scoreline throughout the series.  It was Stew Hawthorn & Paul Heys’ JI FI, the early class leaders after rattling off four 1sts and three 2nds in the first seven races that looked unassailable.  Nevertheless, persistence and consistency counts.  After learning the ropes on the J/88, Ivan Trotman’s JOJO closed with a 2-1-1 to secure third overall in class.

J/109 sailing Solent- Warsash Spring SeriesRelative class newcomer Ivan Burden sailed their J/109 JACOBI to victory in one of the Solent’s toughest classes by simply staying out of trouble and not having too many deep scores “down the mineshaft.”  Hanging close for most of the series and nearly pulling off a win was David Mcgough’s JUST SO, closing the series with a 3-3 for 47 pts.  The balance of the top five was in a near three-way tie for third.  As it turned out, Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB nearly lost their advantage with a closing 1-7-12 to Robert Stiles DIAMOND JEM that closed with a 4-2-9.  On the tiebreak, JAGERBOMB prevailed for the series.  Taking fifth just one point back was Francis Edwards SARDONYX IX.

Ian Atkins’ BOATS.COM swept to victory once again in the J/70 class winning the class overall with just 31.5 pts total.  Class newcomer and ultra-fast learner has to be Russell Peters, former Commodore of the West Kirby Sailing Club, uber I-14 competitor and expert team racer.  Peters managed to win, place or show in six of 14 races to snag second place with 59 pts.  Taking third was Jamie Arnell’s LITTLE LOUISE with 65 pts.  Fourth was Simon Ling’s TEAM RAF BENEVOLENT FUND SPITFIRE and fifth was Ian Wilson’s GILL RACE TEAM.

J/80 sailors having fun on SolentJ/80 BETTY (Jon Powell) also maintained her first place position to win with nine 1sts in their 14-race record for an aggregate score of 20.5 pts.  Winning races but not able to match BETTY’s blistering pace was Mike Lewis’s JESTER in second with 34.5 pts.  Third was top woman’s skipper, Ali Hall’s BOYSTEROUS only 5 pts back.

The Black Group racing series was based near Champagne Pol Roger buoy off Lee Point in order to fully utilize the southwest breeze.  Windward-leeward courses were laid using inflatable marks in the deep water to the north of the Ryde Middle bank.  The White Group was racing in its usual spot on the Meon shore.

Peter Bateson, Series Chairman “The racing has been cracking not only this weekend but through the whole Spring Series and Spring Championship. We have had more boats competing this year and it has been a pleasure to see so many regular competitors return and to welcome the numerous newcomers.”

Whilst the Sunday (26 April) was overcast, quite chilly and the wind was back to the north/north easterly direction that has prevailed through most of the series, the competitors remained undeterred. Black Group’s first race, Class 4 started from near Wight Vodka and went up to William buoy before running all the way down to Cowes, then a couple of windward-leeward legs before the finish at a laid mark between Flying Fish and Artemis.

The other four classes started near South Ryde Middle and beat up towards Lee-on-Solent to a laid mark between Hamble Yachts Services and Fastnet Insurance; then a series of windward-leeward legs back to Ryde Middle and the Island shore and finish in the same place as IRC4.

White Group moved onto the Bramble Bank in an effort to avoid the large shifts associated with offshore breeze close to the shore and to take advantage of the neap tide.

J/70 sailing under spinnaker- Solent Warsash Spring seriesThe conclusion of the Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series saw LITTLE LOUISE (Nigel Evans) storm home to a conclusive victory in the J/70 class.  20 pts in arrears was David Mitchell’s crew on JUMANJI and in third was Dave Mcleman’s OFFBEAT.  Rounding out the top five was Patrick Liardet’s COSMIC and Simon Cavey’s JUST4PLAY, taking 4th and 5th, respectively.

The J/80s had a repeat winner in the form of Powell’s BETTY.  But, in this case it was Ali Hall’s BOYSTEROUS that snagged the 2nd spot while Mike Lewis’ JESTER crew secured 3rd.

Elsewhere the final battle was more closely fought with the J/109 JAGERBOMB (Paul Griffiths) slipping in with a series win just two points ahead of JUST SO (David Mcgough). That result was not without its anxieties as the JAGERBOMB crew nearly “bombed” their spring series with a closing set of “non-podium” finishes- a 4-7-13 that ultimately became their throwouts.  Third was Joe Henry’s JOLLY JACK TAR with 16 pts.

Of significance in the Black Group IRC results was that the J/88 JI-FI took fourth overall for the series in IRC 2 and in IRC 3 Andy Howe’s J/97 BLACKJACK II sailed consistently to secure 4th overall.

The Sunday afternoon saw a packed Warsash Sailing Club with the last of the weekly champagne prizes presented, with a total of 22 bottles on offer.  The prizes were presented by top racing coach Jim Saltonstall.  For more Brooks Macdonald Warsash Spring Series sailing information


J/24 women sailing & winning!Natalie’s GIGGLES Stampedes Cowtown!
(Dallas, Texas)- The 2015 Cowtown Stampede & J/24 Southwest Championship started out with excitement even before the racing began. Normally hosted at the Fort Worth Boat Club, due to low water at Eagle Mountain Lake, the venue was moved to Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club on Lake Lewisville. The weekend though had a little bit of something for everyone – light air, medium air and gustier breeze up to 21 mph, delicious food and a few extracurricular activities.  Staying flexible seemed to be a good strategy!

After a postponement due to no wind, the wind filled in enough to get a start going. In the first (and only) race on Saturday, Mark Smith must have listened to his jet plane rockstar Joshua Bone as After Midnight took off and one tacked the weather leg for a commanding lead they never relinquished. It was probably the longest two-leg race in history as the wind died to very light air, with John Parker and Team Chupacabra steadily moving up to finish third behind Kelly Holmes-Moon and Team BadMoon. The rest of the day was abandoned and the shore festivities began. The fleet was blessed with a great dinner served up by Tonja Holmes-Moon.

On Sunday, much better winds awaited the fleet. In Race 2, James Freedman and the boys aboard Miss Conduct rode the left side to round the first mark in the lead with David Broadway and Team Superman, Natalie Penner and Team GIGGLES, and Kelly Holmes-Moon and Team BadMoon in close pursuit.  On the last weather leg, Team Superman found the big right shift and surged for the victory.

The trend for the rest of the day were large and persistent right shifts and the RC, from the Fort Worth Boat Club, had its hands full adjusting the course and even abandoned one race because of a large shift. In Race 3, Natalie Penner and Team GIGGLES took first place, while James Freedman and Team Miss Conduct, Tonja Holmes-Moon and Team Siren and Kelly Holmes-Moon and Team BadMoon followed in second to fourth place finishes. On Race 4, Natale and Team GIGGLES continued with their strong sailing and took another bullet with Kelly Holmes-Moon and Team BadMoon, Mark Smith and Team After Midnight, and James Freedman and Team Miss Conduct followed in second to fourth place finishes.

Some of the fleet had a challenge dealing with the large shifts at the starts, but when the dust all settled, Natalie Penner and Team GIGGLES, consisting of Bobby Harden, Chris Rousseau, Rachel Loziuk and Reed Cleckler, played the wind well to score two bullets in Race 3 and Race 4 for the overall victory of both the Cowtown Stampede and the District 14 Southwest Championship.  But, that wasn’t the last of GIGGLES accomplishments.

Seems a few fleet elements conspired to assist Natalie Penner into a full dunking in the DCYC pool to help cap off the celebration of winning the Southwest Championship! Natalie, ever been to Japan?  Congratulations to Natalie Penner and Team GIGGLES for their chance to represent Texas at the 2016 J/24 World Championship!!  For more J/24 Southwest sailing information


J/39 sailing Antigua Sailing WeekAntigua Sailing Week Update
(English Harbour, Antigua)- The grand dame of all Caribbean sailing regattas is taking place this week off the gorgeous English Harbour on Antigua.  So far, the diminutive, but fun-loving fleet of 50 boats is enjoying fabulous sailing conditions, with steady tradewinds in the 10-20 kts from the easterly quadrants.

At this stage, in CSA 3 Racing we find that lying 2nd is Nigel Passmore’s J/133 APOLLO VII with a 1-3 and is tied for first with three boats.  5th is Jonathan Bamberger’s J/145c SPITFIRE from Canada.  CSA 5 Racing shows that Martin Kennedy’s J/120 SUNSET CHILD is currently in 9th and hoping for more wind!

Over on CSA 6 Racing is Robbie Ferron’s J/39 OSSENFEFFER from Roadtown, Tortola, British Virgin Islands in 3rd and in 6th is David Cullen’s J/109 POCKET ROCKET with his Irish team.  Then, in CSA 8 Racing is the perennial Antiguan contender for class honors, Tanner Jones’ J/30 BLUE PETER sitting on 5th place.  In the same class, the St Thomas, US Virgin Island crew aboard the J/95 SHAMROCK VII, skippered by Matt Dana, are lying 10th.

Watch this space next week to see how these J/Teams survived Antigua Sailing week and all those amazing reggae bands!  For more Antigua Race Week sailing information & results


J/Community
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
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J/70 Muse- Heather Gregg-Earl sailing Key West Race Week* Corinthian Sailing- It’s Critical to the growth of the sport, according to Heather Gregg-Earl.  “No victory is sweeter than one you win with friends!”  In the world of one design sailing today, those words have special meaning. With so many professional teams racing across so many one-design classes in the US these days, the Corinthian team (all Group 1’s per ISAF classification, no professionally paid sailors on board) is becoming a rare bird.

Many one-design fleets are finding themselves now with about 3/4 of the fleet categorized as professional teams with a small contingent, a fourth, being sailing by Corinthian teams. However, it’s critical to the growth of the sport that we encourage Corinthian teams within our classes.

Maintaining Corinthian type competition brings more sailors into the class, period, as it is a great outlet for those that place a high value on the experience yet still want to compete at a high level to do so.

I’ve been asked several times why I sail Corinthian, and the answer is simple: sailing and winning with friends is priceless. Twenty years from now I will be remembering the fun and laughs we had on and off the water, not whether we placed top ten in any given regatta. Life is about experiences with friends, not just podium finishes (well, maybe the big ones!)

But it is wrong to think that sailing as a Corinthian team doesn’t mean you can’t do well – you just have to work harder! The Corinthian teams that have worked hard are delivering the results across many classes.

Corinthian team of Ben Kinney, Senet Bischoff and Clay Bischoff recently had an impressive win in the Etchells class, a fully pro’d up class, winning a Jaguar Regatta beating 48 boats fleet. Last summer, their team placed 4th in a fleet of 95 in the Etchells Worlds. In the J/70 class, we have a number of fiercely competitive Corinthian teams that are giving the pro’s a run for their money too!

We think we have the best of both worlds. We get a lot better competing against the Pro’s and learning from them, yet we still have a chance at the Overall and Corinthian trophies as well.

The key to a strong Corinthian team is chemistry. There is no rock star aboard to bail you out. All members of the team tend to be a lot more equal in experience level relative to each other. It’s a complete team effort. How you work together on the boat, how you laugh together on land, how you support each other, and how you communicate all drive chemistry on the boat.

Chemistry is one of those intangibles – often underestimated but can be very powerful in driving results. We, as Corinthians, are underdogs, and must use everything we’ve got!”

Editor’s note: Heather Gregg Earl, Skipper of J/70 Team MUSE, trophied at the 2013 North American Championship (1st Overall, 1st Corinthian) and 2014 World Championship (5th Overall, 1st Corinthian, 1st Female Driver)

J/22 College of Charleston winning Charleston Race Week

* Nick Johnstone (son of Peter J) sailed aboard the winning J/22 College of Charleton team that recently participated in Charleston Race Week.  Here is Nick’s report:

“It was a great turnout this year at Charleston Race Week for all of the J/boat classes. The inner circle in particular saw a highly competitive field of J/80’s, J/24’s, and J/22’s all racing on the same course.

Day one saw tricky conditions with a very light northerly breeze with the windward mark placed a stones throw away from the battery. The infamous Charleston ebb current made the strategy throughout the day to see how close you could tack up alongside the downtown shoreline without running aground.  This involved numerous tacks along the shoreline, which was a joy with the dinghy like handling of the J/22. This strategy continued until the last race when Tom Hubbell on Air Force One noticed the current had switched on the right side of the course and decided to separate completely from the fleet on the right side. He ended up winning the last race of the day by several minutes.

Day two saw better breeze out of the southwest and the course being moved further out towards James Island Yacht Club. Air Force One won the day (scoring a 3, 1) with superior speed to the competition and closed in on Los Tres Bigotes lead.

The final day was raced tucked up against Castle Pickney again in a strong southerly seeing around 15+ knots in the puffs. Air Force One started the day off strong with a bullet, but Los Tres Bigotes would go on to win the final two races of the day. The final race was very invigorating in particular with a match race showdown pre-start between Los Tres Bigotes and Air Force One. Los Tres Bigotes were able to get the better of the two boats off the line and ended up finishing the race with a sizeable lead by the finish. Los Tres Bigotes skippered by Chase Shaw and crewed by Bobby Boger, Morgan Buckley, and Nick Johnstone finished atop the podium. Air Force One skippered by Tom Hubbell (president of US Sailing) finished in second and Wild Goose skippered by David Buckley finished third.

The J/22 sailors were composed of a great variety of competitors sailing College of Charleston’s new fleet. The regatta was sailed exclusively in the college’s fleet, which made the boats themselves a very even fleet, almost similar to college sailing. It was great to see the warrior sailing team fielding a boat with all disabled sailors minus the bowman, even including a completely blind competitor aboard. They had a modified J/22 with a bar for the skipper to cross the boat, which only goes to show how great a boat the J/22 can be for disabled sailing. Also sailing was College of Charleston’s dock master Jacob Raymond who is also an active warrior sailing volunteer and Iraq veteran military policeman. It truly a great experience and hope to compete in the class again whether it is at Charleston Race Week or other events in the future.”


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.

Murray Yacht Sales is your authorized Gulf Coast J/Dealer for Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Pan Handle of Florida.  Murray Yacht Sales has been serving the Gulf Coast Boating Community since 1974.  Go to www.MurrayYachtSales.com for performance cruisers, racers, daysailors and cruising sailboats for sale.

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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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