Big J Fleet At Charleston Race Week

(Charleston, SC)- This sleepy regatta has grown leaps and bounds in the past few years, thanks to motivated local sailors and a reputation for putting together a FUN event with great beach parties and good racing in the currents off the infamous Fort Sumter- the site where America’s Civil War started.  J’s are flocking down to this event in ever larger numbers, from J/24s to J/29s up to a fleet of J/120s.  For the one-design J classes, at least twenty J/80s, fourteen J/24s, five J/105s will be sailing this coming weekend. And, for the handicap divisions, Robin Team’s J/122 TEAMWORK will be racing in IRC, four J/120s in PHRF A, a J/33, J/35 and J/105 in PHRF B, and three J/29s in PHRF D!! Quite a turn-out overall, 50 J’s are nearly a third of the 150+ boat fleet.  For more information on Charleston Race Week.

J/24 “BITBURGER” North Americans

(Seattle, WA)- Over two weekends in May, J/24 sailors will compete for up to four berths in the 2011 World Championships in Buenos Aires, Argentina, and slots for two countries in the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico. The World Championship and Pan Am berths will be awarded as follows:  (1) at NOOD, berths will go to the top boat from the “Western Region”—boats hailing from Washington, Idaho, Oregon, Montana, California, Arizona, Nevada or Utah (e.g. this event doubles as the Western Regional Champs); (2) at the North Americans, one berth will go to the top previously unqualified boat regardless of the country of origin. In addition, the top two U.S. sailors who have not previously qualified will get invitations; (3) the regatta has been named a Pan-Am Games country qualifier because J/24s will be used for the keelboat competition at the 2011 games.
For more information on the J/24 NA’s and NOOD Western Regionals.

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Apr 1-5- SPI OUEST- La Trinite, France-
Apr 8-11- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC-
Apr 9-11- J/Fest San Francisco- St. Francis YC- San Francisco, CA-
Apr 15-18- Strictly Sail Show- Alameda, CA-
Apr 30-May 2- Annapolis NOOD- Annapolis YC, Annapolis, MD-
May 5-8- J/80 UK Nationals- Cardiff Bay YC, England-
May 10-14- J/22 South African Nationals- False Bay YC, South Africa-
May 14-16- Seattle NOOD- Seattle YC- Seattle, WA-
May 18-23- J/24 North Americans- Seattle YC- Seattle, WA-
May 22-23- Race For the Case- Lloyd Harbor YC, Long Island, NY-
May 27-30- J/80 Copa Espana- Barcelona, Spain-
Jun 4-6- J/MedCup- Ill de Porquerolles (Hyeres), France-
Jun 5-6- Sprit Fest Regatta- Breakwater YC- Sag Harbor, NY-
Jun 10-13- J/80 Italian Championship- Lake Garda, Italy-
Jun 21-26- J/80 European Championship- Lake Garda, Italy-
Jun 20-26- Block Island Race Week- Block Is, RI-
Jun 25–27- Long Beach Race Week/ J/120 NAS- Long Beach YC- Long Beach, CA-
For additional J/Regatta and Event dates in your region, please refer to the on-line J/Sailing Calendar.

J’s Dominate BVI Spring Regatta

BAD GIRL is Bad, CAYENITTA is Grande!

(Roadtown, Tortola, BVI)- Once again, it was a picture perfect day in the British Virgin Islands for the last day of racing of the BVI Spring Regatta, with sun and wind all day long. There were a number of battles out on the race course which were fought to the very end providing plenty of action on the SOL, Norman and LIME One Design Race areas.
BAD GIRL, St. Croix’s Rob Armstrong’s J/100, won Racing Class C.  BAD GIRL sparred with the BVI’s Dave West’s Melges 32, Jurakan, all weekend in Racing C. “In the first race today,” says BAD GIRL trimmer, Carlos Skov, we definitely let Jurakan back in the game. Just one point separated us. The second race, we put our heads down, sailed well and ended up beating the two Melges in the last five minutes. It was like that all weekend. The level of competition has really come up and we think its because we all push each other.”
In Racing D Class, the J/80 OTRA KOSA sailed by Kike Gonzalez and buddies from Puerto Rico took 3rd. The well-sailed classic J/27 MAGNIFICENT 7, kept in great shape by Paul Davis from USVI finished 4th.  The brand spanking new J/95 SHAMROCK VIII sailed all over the Caribbean this winter by Tom Mullen finished a respectable 5th for a shoal-draft, centerboard cruiser!
A steady presence on the Caribbean circuit has been Rick Wesslund’s crew sailing his J/120 EL OCASO.  Having put thousands of miles on their boat, they’re insistence on having fun is infectious.  They were rewarded for their efforts again by taking second overall in Racing E- Racer/Cruiser.
The competition in Racing F- Racer/Cruiser was tough! The J/105 UMAKUA sailed by Julio Reguero from Puerto Rico finished 3rd- Julio was winning class until they got DSQ’d in race 6.  The other J/105 ABRACADABRA, raced by another crew from Puerto Rico and Carlos Camachio finished 4th. The J/40 NEPENTHE sailed by Bob Read from Barrington, RI managed a 6th for a pure cruising boat.  And, the girls sailing the J/33 BOOMERANG- Pat Nolan- had a wonderful last day and managed to get a respectable 7th.
As noted above, it just seems that Tony Sanpere is on a roll– perhaps far longer than anyone can imagine!  Tony’s J/36 CAYENITTA GRANDE simply took all the marbles in BVI Performance Cruising Class– winning by a significant margin with three firsts!  And, it also looked like a J/Cruising class!  Third was the J/46 MISS MAJIC sailed Jim Baus and lying 5th in the J/160 AVATAR was Alan Fouger.
As usual, the most intense, nail-biting finish came from the IC-J/24 course. It came down to the final rounding of the leeward mark in the last of 21 races to determine the winner in the IC-J/24 class. “I saw the door open and I took it,” says Puerto Rico’s Fraito Lugo, about the maneuver that put the necessary three boats in-between his ORION and closest competitor, TEAM LIME, to win the class by one point.  TEAM LIME, sailed by the BVI’s Colin Rathbun, had a three-point advantage going into the last race. “We had a horrible rounding and then a big shift,” says Rathbun, who finished second by one point. “But, it was exciting and a lot of fun.” INTAC, raced by the BVI’s Mark Plaxton, finished third in the nine-boat class.
Seventeen-year-old BVI sailor, DonTae’ Hodge, is no stranger to sailing IC-J/24s. He’s crewed aboard the modified J/24-design since he was a pre-teen and last year took first as a skipper in the Premier’s Cup and third in the Nation’s Cup, two events raced out of Tortola. What was different about sailing this weekend is that Hodge met his crew for the first time this morning on the dock before the races started. “I started communicating more as the day went on and I got my confidence and we all worked in sync together,” says Hodge, who raced aboard Latitude 18.
This year, members of the press were invited to sail in the IC-J/24 fleet. Two journalists, San Francisco’s Paige Brooks from SAILING ANARCHY and Efrain Rivera from the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, were among Hodge’s crew. “This is the first time I’ve seen the boat,” says Brooks. “I don’t like the J/24, but I love the open cockpit in the IC-J/24.” Rivera added, “It’s my first time sailing an IC-J/24. DonTae’ is an excellent driver, so it was fun. It’s real hands on. You’re in the whirlwind of everything. It’s a great idea to put the press on these boats.” See Paige Brooks account below in J/Community.
Not at the top of the heap in Racer Cruiser Class but first at the weather mark in the second race on the last day, Pat Nolan’s J/33, BOOMERANG, and her all women crew, were leading by a full minute. “It was great,” says Nolan, who operates Sistership Sailing School in the BVI. Her crew are all former students. “The competition in our class is very keen and we’re largely inexperienced,” says Katie Sharp, from northern Virginia. “Don’t get me wrong; we like sailing with the fellas, but, it’s also nice to kick the boy’s butts too.”
Of note, the BVI Spring Regatta is the last race in the CORT (Caribbean Ocean Racing Triangle) Series. Winners of the series are as follows:  Spinnaker A- 1st- BAD GIRL- Robert Armstrong’s J/100; Spinnaker B- 2nd- MAGNIFICENT 7- Paul Davis’ J/27; Performance Cruising: 1st- CAYENNITA GRANDE- Tony Sanpere’s J/36; IC-J/24- 1ST- LIME- Colin Rathbun.    For more BVI Spring Regatta sailing info.    Photo credits: Yachtshots BVI

Stormy Vancouver Southern Straits Race Canceled

J/109 ASTRAL PLANE Surfs Home, J/30 RADIANT HEAT To The Rescue!

(Vancouver, BC, Canada)- This annual event has enjoyed a Jekyll and Hyde reputation over the years.  Rarely is it the picture-perfect, postcard event enjoying the spectacular vistas of snow-capped, pine tree carpeted 9,000 foot mountain peaks serving as a luscious backdrop for photos of beautiful sailboats gracefully gliding across the Straits.  This year it was, instead a matter of survival.  It was a lesson in how not to explore the deepest, darkest side of a Low pressure system racing across the Northern Pacific from Alaska and crashing into the Pacific Northwest’s infamously turbulent western coastal ridges of the Rocky Mountains. Normally, the race starts off downtown Vancouver in English Bay, then heads west six miles off the point, then you sail a few triangles/ sausages out in the Straits of Georgia, then return home to Nanaimo Harbour for your pickle dish (at least that’s the plan).  According to one participant in this year’s race, “you started, and with the wind blowing from the southeast at 25 knots, it was a siren song meant to suck you out into the Straits. Yes, it is blowing but the seas are flat in English Bay and it doesn’t seem to be such a big deal. The big boats go off and pop their kites and start heading west the 6 miles to Georgia Strait. Everybody is thinking, “cool, we get to make a fast passage”.  But, the real race starts 6 miles west where there appeared to be little blue box cars (e.g. huge waves) running to the northwest out in the Strait.”  
The forecast given at the skipper’s briefing was for a Low pressure system to arrive at 985 millibars packing sustained 35-45 knot winds with 6-12 foot breaking seas.  According to sailors on the course, the actual numbers were worse – the barometer sank below 980 millibars, the highest gusts recorded at the weather buoys were 64 knots and the seas got mountainous- over six meters (nearly 20 feet) in height. Sustained winds on the course were 45+ knots with 50 knot gust being the norm and some even higher.  Do memories of Fastnet Force 10 off England or The Perfect Storm off New England (NE America) spring to mind?
Just a few hours into the race, over 50 boats turned back and never made it to Nanaimo Harbor across the Straits.  One boat sank and all six people, thankfully, got rescued by the J/30 RADIANT HEAT, sailed by Tony Brogan.  Apparently, Tony and crew demonstrated extraordinary seamanship and are true heroes to those whom they pulled out of the water (all completely hypothermic and one person unconscious).  See Tony’s story below  and link to the full story.
In addition to RADIANT HEAT’s noble efforts, the crew aboard the J/109 ASTRAL PLANE monitored everyone they sailed by and managed to get to Nanaimo Harbour, one of only ten boats to get there in the entire fleet.  Take a ride with the RVYC J/109 crew onboard ASTRAL PLANE as they surfed across the Straits, planing most of the way.  ASTRAL suffered minor damage including a blown traveller and ripped main.


The Account And Epilogue From Tony Brogan

(Vancouver, BC)- As one sailor recalled after getting into Nanaimo Harbour, “an ambulance pulled onto the Government Dock to pick up some of the crew of Clint Curries’ 30 footer INCISOR, which had sunk. Tony Brogan’s J-30 RADIANT HEAT had retired and was motoring to Nanaimo and saw what looked like a rig standing up in the water with no boat attached. They went to investigate and found Clint and his 5 crew mates hanging onto the overturned hull. All were hypothermic by then and Clint was unresponsive when they got him aboard and one other guy aboard. The other four were pulled from the water by the Coast Guard after they arrived on location. Life is sometimes just a thread and if RADIANT HEAT hadn’t been damaged when and where it was and been lucky enough to have seen an anomaly and smart enough to go to investigate this could very easily have been a different story. The water is stinking cold, the seas were rough and breaking and the crew of INCISOR didn’t have a radio or flares available. Fortunately, all recovered in hospital and went home.”  See this third party account of the Southern Straits Race at SA.
However, for the real “insider’s view” of what took place, please read Tony’s own account that was first posted on the J/30 Class Association website/ blog.


What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide

* Dr. Laura- Owner of J/125 WARRIORWinner of Balboa-Cabo Race!  No one can accuse Dr. laura of not marching to her own beat. Here she gives a brief description of her recent Cabo race, and nary a mention of being second to finish, first in class and first overall.  “I wanted an adventure…and I got the ride of my life! The first twelve hours were a misery: I was cold and tired and concerned with whether or not the scopolamine patch would work – wondering why I did this to myself on purpose. After that…it was a dream and a rigorous schedule: four hours on duty/four hours trying to sleep in a pipe berth under the spinn winch screeching continuously. I can now officially sleep under any conditions! Four more days of giant sea turtles, shark fins, a whale fluke, dolphin, and adorable flying fish. I had the greatest time.
By the last third of the trip I was trying to get my crew to agree to continue to Hawaii…I just wanted to stay out there. The last ten miles of driving in a great breeze in the moonlight had me at the helm with tears rolling down my face. It was one of the most moving experiences of my life. I am so glad I did this…and with the guys on my crew who were a blast. We all worked hard and laughed hard. It is amazing that six people can function that well in so small a space…but we did. (Pictured above from l to r: Sam Solhaug, Paul Wolthausen, Eric Bohman, me, Kevin Miller, and Kit Will.)
We will all never forget Kit Will cantilevered with a kelp stick trying to stab the critter we caught on our keel (we had to do backdown to get it off) or Kevin squeezing the contents of mayonnaise packets to reduce the weight on the boat, the Norway/Sweden competitive jabs between Sam Solhaug and Eric Bohman, Paul Wolthausen sharing the string cheese and salami he snuck onto the boat or me hitting the water to attract the shark so Kevin would believe me that it was there and not jump in for a swim when we were becalmed on Tuesday.  It was the ride of a lifetime…and I’m glad I did it.” As reported on SA’s front page.
* Paige Brooks- “A Bag of Ice”– That’s what I needed for my hands after sailing 21 races this weekend in the IC24 class at the BVI Spring Regatta. We had 8 races our first day, 7 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday.  If the idea of sailing 16 sausages in one day sounds exhausting, it is, but that’s what the racers ask for and at the BVI Spring Regatta in Tortola the PRO didn’t mind making it happen.  The builder and the local fleets have worked hard to build the class almost entirely from grass roots work. At this event, the class buys a few cases of beer, throws it in a cooler and invites all of the racers, new and old, to hang out before joining the fray of ‘the tent.’
The other element they added to the race course was umpires.  There’s no room to wonder if you hit the mark, or fouled someone, because more than likely the umpires were there to see it and rule immediately.  Rather than feeling like there were cops on a course that never before required them, the umpires reeled in the people who notoriously push the envelope, and penalized the guys who went in too close at roundings after they were told not to, etc. After racing, the umpires joined us at the beer cooler and fielded questions about their rulings, making it a learning situation for all involved.
These teams follow the same fleet building party / fun idea…..  Colin Rathbun who skippered the 2nd place boat LIME says the sailors “love the class because they are low maintenance one design boats with great competition.  Every year more new people get into this boat and quickly learn to race.”  LIME by the way, is a local mobile telephone company who sponsored this team’s racing for the second year in a row.  There was also a boat sponsored by a rum company who contributed to the end of day beer cooler…
And like some classes (or to hear Clean tell it) there was the nuttiness that makes it all worthwhile…one boat had to pull their very overhung skipper out of bed so they could leave the dock, there was a team who wore blue striped wigs to race, and another who sang Spanish shanties while waiting for breeze.
Conditions this weekend followed the regular regatta host mantra of: “This wind is not what we usually have here.” The light and shifty wind came off the land for the first two days of the regatta on our race course.  Saturday a windless blanket covered all of the racing circles until late in the day.  But on Easter Sunday the Sir Francis Drake Channel finally provided what the organizers wanted and we had great breeze coming straight down the channel in sunny 80 degree weather. Unfortunately for me, great breeze wasn’t what these blistered hands needed, but it’s hard to whine when you’re racing in Tortola.  As reported on SA’s front page
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