(Newport, RI)- Team VESTAS includes as its leader a J/24 World Champion Charlie Enright. Furthermore, he is joined by friend Mark Towill, both avid sailors andracers since they were little kids growing up on Narragansett Bay,sailing out of the Bristol YC on Sunfishes, J/24s, J/35s, J/105s andeven the new J/121 recently.Read more...
Young guns Charlie Enright and Mark Towill are back in the Volvo OceanRace, and they've teamed up with Danish wind energy company Vestas andmarine conservation program 11th Hour Racing hoping to make a lastingimpact on and off the water in 2017-18.
American duo Enright and Towill return to lead the blue boat, and wantto make an impact on and off the water. Enright and Towill got theirfirst taste of Volvo Ocean Race action in the 2014-15 edition as withTeam Alvimedica, and in doing so realized a long-awaited dream to testtheir mettles offshore in the ultimate round-the-world race.
Two In-Port Race wins and victory in the final ocean leg from Lorient toGothenburg left the talented Americans wanting more, and now they'reback with a star-studded crew, an even bigger hunger for success and animportant message about the health of our oceans to promote.
The team's partnership with 11th Hour Racing will see them engage withcommunities around the world to increase understanding of marineenvironments and how best to respect them.
Joining Towill and Enright in the team's high command is Simon 'SiFi'Fisher, who helped orchestrate Abu Dhabi Ocean Racing's win in 2014-15from the navigation station, and returns for a fourth consecutive VolvoOcean Race.
Around them are some of the most talented ocean racers on the planet.The likes of Damian Foxall, Tony Mutter, SCA's Stacey Jackson and PhilHarmer, all with Volvo Ocean Race victories on their CVs, will guaranteeVestas 11th Hour Racing are top contenders. Indeed, Harmer is hunting ahat-trick of consecutive wins after lifting the trophy with Groupamaand Abu Dhabi in 2011-12 and 2014-15, respectively.
Nick Dana (Newport, RI) returns for a second race as a full crew member,then there are the team's under-30 crew members, bursting withenthusiasm and talent. Brit Hannah Diamond and Denmark's Jena Mai Hansenjoin the team from Olympic dinghy racing backgrounds, Diamond from theNacra 17 multihull and Jensen from winning bronze in the 49er FX at Rio2016. Young Aussie Tom Johnson joins the crew after racing with Vestasin the 2014-15 edition, then with Oracle Team USA for the most recentAmerica's Cup.
Vestas 11th Hour Racing finished fifth in Leg Zero, the four-stagequalifying series before, then headed straight for Lisbon where they'vebeen working hard to get up to speed, two-boat testing alongside teamAkzoNobel as the countdown to the start of the Volvo Ocean Racecontinues.
Follow these guys as the go around the world on the Volvo Ocean Race website (great tracker, too!).
(Newport, RI)- Terry Hutchinson has accrued a track record of being a winner.He gets involved in big-time keelboat racing programs and makes thembetter. However, the basis for what he does today is deeply rooted inextremely tough one-design racing at a world-class level.Read more...
After sailingFJ’s and 420’s in college and became a College Sailor of the Year, Terry competed in J/24s for a long time, ultimately winning the J/24 World Championship. Like other J/24 World Champions, such as his colleague Ken Read atNorth Sails (now its President), Terry also capitalized on his know-howon what it takes to win and proceeded to help Quantum Sails Racingprogram, first in one-designs, then later in big boats.
It is now through his work as tactician for Hap Fauth’s Maxi72 BellaMente and Doug DeVos’s TP52 Quantum Racing that Terry has brought thesetwo successful owners together, alongside New York Yacht Club, tochallenge for the 36th America’s Cup. Here Terry discusses this newcampaign.
CL: Let’s start with some background.
TH: It’s an incredible opportunity in front of us. I’m incrediblymindful of the history and the tradition that the New York Yacht Clubhas for the event, and so from the team side, it’s an honor to be a partof New York’s effort in this 36th America’s Cup.
This campaign probably started five years ago with Doug, and three yearsago with Hap, as our sailing relationships have evolved over thatperiod of time. When it became obvious that Team New Zealand was goingto win, and after having discussions with them and their Challenger ofRecord where they indicated what they were going to do with the boat, itseemed like an opportunity to at least sit down and discuss if this wasa challenge we wanted to take on.
The more myself, and Doug, and Hap talked about it, the more it becameapparent how our goals were aligned in what we wanted to do, what wewanted the team to look like, and if we’re fortunate enough to besuccessful partnering with New York, to make the next match another steptowards what we feel is represented in the sport. To get to this pointhas been about six month’s worth of work and it’s just on the front sideof a lot more.
But I think when I look at our team and where we’re at, we have a lot ofgreat sailing infrastructure already in place, and that component ofthe program has been operating at a reasonably high level for just overthe better part of five years.
So under Hap’s and Doug’s leadership, they’re helping us get thebusiness infrastructure in place and I think Hap summed it up best whenhe said, “Being successful in the America’s Cup is as much of a sailingventure, as it is a business venture,” and so it’s going to take anabsolute team effort from all of us to be successful.
CL: Any particular vision for the team?
TH: For starters, we have two great principals. We have Doug and Hap.Then we have a third partner with the New York Yacht Club. But we aregoing to need to continue to find commercial and private funding to helpsupport this challenge. Additionally, an important point to make is howthis is going to be a US team. It’s a US flag team.
When you travel and you race the 52s or the 72s, you realize there is amassive gap in sailors from my generation, or slightly behind, to peoplein their early twenties. So as a team, we want to return the America’sCup back to the base of our sport and garner support in that manner. Inall of our minds, we want to represent the United States in the mannerwe feel is appropriate and do it through hard work and good results onthe race course.
Is the team going to be 100% American? Probably not, but again, it’sgoing to be born and bred here. The way the Protocol is written rightnow, the sailing team must be comprised of 20% nationals and 80% have tobe residents. I’m expecting the residency clause to be a prettydifficult to achieve by bringing in outsiders, so our goal is to have ateam that is US based and using and developing sailors in our country.
When you talk about winning and then defending in the grand scheme ofthings, if we’re successful enough on the water this is time around, thegoal would be to have developed a team of younger sailors that can thendefend it. If you think about it in the big picture world, if it’s anine-year cycle, I will have probably aged out of it by then. And that’swhy we have to do a good enough job developing the younger generation.
That’ll likely be a combination of American sailors and internationalsailors, but as the skipper of the team and as an American, my feelingsand thoughts are in this is going to be an American team. Is everysingle person going to be an American citizen? Probably not, but we’regoing to definitely wave the flag proudly.
CL: Any details at this time about team members?
TH: It’s a bit too soon for specifics but I will say that my role isteam skipper and not helm…. though in the America’s Cup you never saynever. If you break down the timeline, and start working backwards fromwhen the actual match, there’s not a lot of sailing time in the boatitself. But there’s some great young American sailors right now pursuingvarious avenues, so there’s a lot of talent that we have to go andcultivate and see who is going to be the right fit for this campaign.
It’s pretty simple when the underlying agenda is winning, which it is,and then doing it in a manner that’s going to make us all proud. Whenyou work backwards from there then the cream will rise to the top. Wejust have to make sure that we then have a structure in place thatallows us to pick the best sailors and execute on the day.
CL: What do we know about the boat?
TH: In all the discussions that we’ve had with the defender, we have asense of the direction but it’s premature to know the full scope asthere are a lot of variables that need to get addressed. The challengefor the organizers is how they want to make sure they have a great eventthat has participation and that brings people to New Zealand, and thatbrings the event back to where the base of the sport feels like itshould be. Within all that the America’s Cup needs to maintain itsposition as the pinnacle of the sport.
So this is a tricky challenge. They want participants, they need tocontrol the costs so it doesn’t become a ridiculous arm’s race, yet itneeds to be the pinnacle of our sport. Having been in the loop of theconversations and email exchanges with Grant Dalton, I see clearly howhe’s in a tough spot. While he’s in a great spot because he just won thething, but he has got a great responsibility as well. I know they’renot taking any of it lightly.
CL: What have been some of the lessons you’ve learned in the past that are now directing you out of the blocks?
TH: With regard to the game itself, you can make extremely complicated,so lesson number one is to seek simplicity and focus on the prioritieswhich is to design a fast boat and race it well with good people. If youkeep those principles you can make it an easier game.
Significant to keeping it simple is getting the right people for thejob. As I’ve evolved in my sailing, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to betactician for some really great teams, and what you learn in thoseexperiences in how vital it is to have the right people for the jobsashore and on the water. So we will be focused on bringing togetherthose people.
One of the strengths for Bella Mente and Quantum Racing programs is tohave great teams from bow to stern, where everybody works hard andrespects the process that’s in place. We have a great system sailingwhere we evaluate our performance each day and we critique it and we goback out and we do the same thing the next day. We look forward tocontinuing this approach with this new campaign.
When the club announced this challenge, Hap made mention to how theevent would now embody “a more traditional style of yacht and thewindward-leeward courses with which the vast majority of racing sailorsare intimately familiar…” Does this infer the America’s Cup got offtrack with the previous few additions?
I wouldn’t say it went off track. In fact, I’d say there was some greatthings as a show. The last America’s Cup, as a visual spectator, waspretty darn impressive. The organization did a really good job ofproducing a broadcast product that was pretty exciting to watch.
However, I’m not sure it’s the vision I would’ve followed but that’s notreally my position to say because we weren’t in their situation. Theyfollowed what they thought was a correct vision to take sailing to adifferent part of the sport. And that’s what they did. Team New Zealandhas won it now and as competitors we follow their vision.
Four years from now, if we’re fortunate enough to be the defender, ourvision will likely be a variation of several of the recent America’sCup. But without question, the vision going forward is to do what we canto broaden our sport.” Thanks to Scuttlebutt Sailing Newsletter for this contribution.
LORD OF THE SAIL- ASIA Crowned Russian National League Champions!
(Sochi, Russia)- After sailing six events all season, it can be said thetwenty-four teams in the Russian J/70 Sailing League were easily themost-traveled J/70 crews in the world; having to crisscross the vastexpanse of Russia, from as far east as Sochi, the resort on the BlackSea that hosted the Winter Olympics, to the far west to St. Petersburg,on the eastern end of the Baltic Sea! The logistics sound intimidating,but the Russian Sailing Federation worked hard to include sailing teamsfrom every part of Russia to participate in the summer-long series overa period of nearly six months.
Theseason started and ended in Sochi. So, at the start of the decisiveregatta season these were the twenty-four teams: LORD OF THE SAIL- ASIA(skipper Sergei Musikhin); LORD OF THE SAIL- EUROPE (VyacheslavErmolenko); KONAKOVO RIVER CLUB (Mark Kagansky); NAVIGATOR Sailing Team(Igor Rytov), ROCK’N’ROLLA Sailing Team (Alisa Kirilyuk); PIROGOVO TEAM(Yuri Morozov); ARTTUBE RUS7-2 (Valeria Kovalenko); ST. PETERSBURG YCSAILING ACADEMY (Anna Basalkina); LEVIATHAN TEAM (Vadim Yakhinson); DCTEAM (Denis Cherevatenko); X-FIT SPORTS (Vladimir Silk); NAVIGATOR NEXT(Irina Sorokina); REGION 23 TEAM (Evgeny Nikiforov), USC TEAM (DmitrySharubin); M1-CLOUD TEAM (Alexey Danilyants); PARMA LUKOMORYE (VitalyTarakanov); VOS TEAM (Yevgeny Anishev); FPS SOCHI-YUG SPORT (OlegKuzmin); KOMATEK (Yuri Kryuchenkov); SPORTTECH TEAM (Andrei Nikolaev);RUS7 TEAM (Anatoly Arnautov); CSKA TEAM (Darya Ivanova); SKOLKOVOSAILING TEAM (Andrey Davidyuk); and the ROYAL YC TEAM (Sergey Peshkov).
In the Grand Finale, it was great racing all three days right on theSochi waterfront. Every team had a chance to sail in a wide variety ofwind and sea conditions. Showing that her experience in winning the YCMonaco Winter Series in the J/70 class was no fluke, Valerya Kovalenko’sARTTUBE with crew of Alexander Bozhko, Igor Lisovenko and EgorIgnatenko, simply showed their tail-feathers to the fleet for most ofthe regatta, winning most races and never finishing out of the top threeto win by a commanding margin.
As a result of the Sochi regatta, Sergei Musikhin’s LORD OF THE SAIL-ASIA team managed to sail a solid regatta to claim the ultimate sailingprize in Russia- to be crowned Russia’s Best Sailing Team- winning theRussian J/70 National Sailing League for 2017! Here is how it all tookplace off Sochi.
Day One- Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE Leads
On Friday, twelve races took place, each team had 4 starts.
It was an excellent beginning for ARTTUBE RUS7-2 and their skipperValeriya Kovalenko- one of Russia’s top women sailors and skippers. Herteam produced two 1sts and two 2nds for a total of 6 pts to easily leadthe regatta. Next came PIROGOVO’s Morozov and NAVIGATOR SAILING TEAM’sRytov tied on 8 point each. Rounding out the top five were LORD OFSAIL- ASIA’s Musikhin sitting on 10 pts in fourth. Then, 5th place had athree-way tie at 12 pts each between KONAKOVO RIVER CLUB’s Kagansky, STPETERSBURG YC ACADEMY SAILING TEAM’s Basalkina, and LORD OF THE SAIL-EUROPE’s Ermolenko.
Day Two- ARTTUBE Maintains Furious Pace!
The penultimate day of racing had some seriously crazy, unpredictableweather patterns. The weather on Saturday was a struggle for all teams:in the morning, Sochi was covered by a torrential rainstorm; then thesun came out and a stable wind of 12-14 knots appeared for awhile; andthen at the end of the day, arrived a big frontal system with winds of25+ kts and sheets of rain again! Yes, the weather Godz must be crazy!
Despite the difficult weather, the Race Committee and the race judgesmanaged to ensure a good pace of the competition; fourteen races wereheld, for a total of twenty-six races run by the close of Saturday.
Continuing to demonstrate their outstanding performance was Kovalenko’sARTTUBE RUS7-2, adding three 1sts and a 5th to their dominant scorecardfor a total of 14 pts in eight races! Seven points back was Musikhin’sLORD OF THE SAIL- ASIA, having clawed there way back onto theleaderboard after a disappointing start on the first day. Lying in thirdnew was Morozov's PIROGOVO.
OnSaturday evening, the Russian J/70 sailing teams celebrated a traditionfor Sochi, launching 350 balloons into the sky in honor of the 350thanniversary of Russian shipbuilding and the 10th anniversary of theUnited Shipbuilding Corporation. The volunteers of the “World Festivalof Youth” and “Students 2017” launched the balloons. As part of thecelebration, a race was held for guests and partners of the League, aswell as volunteers of the World Festival of Youth and Students-2017.
Day Three- ARTTUBE wins finale!
On the final day for the Grand Finale of the summer-long series, sixmore races were completed to determine the winner of the Sochi Regatta,but also the overall champion for the Russian J/70 National SailingLeague. After thirty-two races, the winner of the "big finale" of theseason was Kovalenko’s ARTTUBE team, sporting a scorecard that had onlyone race outside the top three, including six 1sts in ten races!
Secondplace went to yet another woman skipper- Anna Basalkina from the STPETERSBURG ACADEMY SAILING TEAM! There is no question that would a“first ever” scenario in the history of Russian sailing that two womenskippers swept the top two spots in a major national sailingchampionship!
Finally, taking the bronze on the podium was Igor Rytov’s NAVIGATOR Sailing Team.
The Grand Finale in Sochi also produced the Russian J/70 National Sailing League Champions- that crowned was award to LORD OF THE SAIL- ASIA, with skipper Sergei Musikhin and crew of Pavel Trofimchuk, Denis Tyurikov and Mikhail Korznikov. Their fourth place in the Grand Finale earned them their hard-won championship title.
Theoverall series silver was awarded to NAVIGATOR Sailing Team androunding out the podium with the bronze was LORD OF THE SAIL- EUROPE’sVyacheslav Ermolenko and crew.
The success of the 2017 Russian J/70 National Sailing League could havehappened without the generous support of its partners and sponsors. “Thank You” to the following:
- General partner- JSC "United Shipbuilding"
- Official partners- GAZPROM and NORD STREAM AG
- Financial partner- ALFA Private
- Fitness partner- X-FIT fitness clubs across the federation
- Sochi Regatta partner- SOCHI GRAND MARINA by Burevestnik group
- Technological Partner- INTERPROCOM provided tracking
- Radio communication partner- COMPASS-R.
- Sport media partner- TV channel “MATCH!”
- Radio partner- radio station MAXIMUM.
- General media partners- the newspaper SOVETSKY SPORT, MAXIM magazine, FORBES.LIFE, Sport FM, YACHTING magazine.
Day 3 Highlights Day 2 Highlights Day 1 Highlights
Grand Finale on Russian Sports TV News- MATCH:
Day 3 Day 2 Day 1
For more Russian J/70 Sailing League informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Annapolis to Newport)- The debut of the new J/121 Offshore Speedster inthe Newport and Annapolis Sailboat Shows was welcomed by enthusiasticJ/sailors from across the spectrum of experience. Long-distanceoffshore cruisers, one-design offshore racers, and a number ofperformance-oriented couples that enjoy coastal cruising without havingto turn on the “iron genny”, were all quite passionate about what theJ/121 had to offer to them.
Whilethe overall response to the 1-2-1 at the shows was fantasticallypositive, what we had yet to learn about the boat in all sea-trials todate was how would she perform offshore in the conditions she wasdesigned for. On the first delivery from Newport to Annapolis, theremnants of a hurricane delayed the departure date, and createddifficult conditions for delivering a brand new boat. As a result, itwas mostly motoring under the J4 jib or motoring period. However, aftera fantastic reception at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, it wasclear that after the three days of media reviews, testing, and demos,the weather window might permit an excellent chance to determine how the1-2-1 behaved in reaching conditions offshore. Here is ClayBurkhalter’s report delivering the J/121 from Annapolis to Newport:
“On Saturday October 14th, Andy Williams, Arturo Pilar and I moved thenew J/121, INCOGNITO, from Annapolis to Newport. I have been deliveringboats for 38 years, and despite being a partner in two restaurants, Istill manage to do 5 or 6 offshore trips each year. To the extent that Istill do any racing, it is almost exclusively offshore… the MiniTransat 10 years ago, numerous Newport to Bermuda races and theoccasional Bermuda 1-2, including the 2017 race in which I competed on aJ/133. So it was with great anticipation that we’d be testing out theJ/121 in the 20-25 knot southwest breeze predicted offshore between CapeMay and Montauk, starting on Sunday morning.
Aftermotoring north up the Chesapeake in no wind, we passed through theC&D canal that connects the Chesapeake Bay with Delaware Bay, acrossthe top of the state of Delaware. We continued to motor south inDelaware Bay and rounded Cape May about 0600 on Sunday, headingnortheast, still motoring in no wind. At 1100, the breeze started tofill in and within 30 minutes, it was blowing 15 knots. By sunset, thewinds would build to 25 knots with seas of four to six feet.
Typically, on deliveries, I am cautious about sail choice, often reefingearly and rarely using spinnakers. The risk of damage to sails,rigging, and steering increases dramatically when pushing a boat withtoo much sail up. It’s one thing to have a problem on your own boat, butentirely different when you have to explain to an owner that the sailsare now ready to donate to the folks who make fashion bags from sailmaterial.
However, I knew the J/121 had yet to be sailed in the offshoreconditions it was designed for, and since Al and Jeff Johnstone are mycousins, I figured they might be more understanding if we dialed theboat up a bit and see what she could do… so after a lame attempt atsailing deep with the main and the jib (Montauk was almost deaddownwind, 200 miles away), we hoisted the A4 heavy weather spinnaker,and bang, we were off and running. It was an exciting moment for us asthe boat instantly accelerated to double-digit speeds.
Therewas a leftover east-southeast swell combining with a new southwest windwave; which made for challenging steering at the outset. We thenfilled the starboard water-ballast tank to about 65%; and instantly themotion on-board smoothed out and INCOGNITO began to slide through thewaves like she was on rails. Speeds became more consistent and steeringwas effortless. We also soon realized, that despite the occasional rollat the bottom of a wave, combined with a puff, and perhaps a momentarylapse in steering concentration, if the boat got to 100 degrees APA(apparent wind angle) and wanted to keep going, it was easy to steer herback to our course average of 120 degrees AWA . . . no blowing thevang, easing the main sheet or releasing the spinnaker sheet. After thefirst hour, we sailed with those controls cleated and simply steered tothe kite, it was that easy to steer. With three crew, one could restbelow, while the other two maintained watch.
The ease at which the boat accelerated and sustained its speed wasincredible. In 18 kts TWS (true wind speed) we were averaging 10.5 andsurfing at 13 to 14 kts. In 22 kts TWS, we were doing a steady 12-13 ktsand surfing for sustained periods at 14-16 kts, running up and overwaves ahead. And in 24-25 kts TWS, we were doing 13.5 to 14 ktsconsistently and surfing at 16 to 18.5 kts quite easily. Needless tosay, for all those who steered her in these conditions, it left everyonewith a big grin on their face!
I often reach a point on a boat where I say to myself, I don’t want togo this fast. . it could be the keel and rudder vibrating excessively,the bow submarining in waves, steering on the edge of control, and soforth. Not once did we have a panicked feeling on board the 1-2-1, andnot once in seven hours did someone have to lunge for a sail control toput the brakes on an incredible ride!! Ease-of-handling is great nomatter how many crew are on-board, but it’s especially critical whenyou’re out there way offshore, short-handed, tired, and steering forhours-on-end, or when the autopilot is running the show. The easier theboat steers in demanding conditions, the less fatigue and also the lessdrain on your batteries when you’re on autopilot!!
Atsunset, the delivery side of my persona kicked in. knowing that thechances for problems ramp up significantly after dark, so we snuffed thespinnaker and put it below decks.
We then sailed with mainsail-only Sunday evening and Monday morning at160 degrees AWA, heading for Block Island, averaging 9.5 knots in 25knots of wind.
As we slid by Block Island, we considered continuing on, over thehorizon. . thinking maybe we could send a note to Jeff to let him knowthat the son of a deceased Nigerian King would be wiring money to theJ/Boats account. . he would just need to send along his bank accountdetails.” For more J/121 Offshore Speedster sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Annapolis, MD)- Join us for the 39th J/24 East Coast ChampionshipOctober 27th to 29th and the J/22 Mid-Atlantic Championship October 28th& 29th at Severn Sailing Association! Late October in Annapolisboasts great fall sailing conditions and a regatta you don't want tomiss!!
Best Fall Sailing Around!
- Twenty-three J/24s & thirteen J/22s already registered- Tip-Top Competition!
- 2018 Qualifier for J/24 World Championship!
- Free Housing & Boat Storage Available
- The Rigging Co. will put up your rig - first come, first served!
- Dock Talks & Weather Briefs with your favorite pros
On-Shore Fun - All Included With Entry!
- Beers & Snacks After Racing Friday
- Saturday Night Regatta Party with Live Band- “The Shatners”. Dinner for 5 & Dancing Under the Tent!
- Post-Race Burgers 'n' Brats Sunday afternoon
(Gzira, Malta)- Starting and finishing in Malta, an island oftenreferred to as the ‘Crossroads of the Mediterranean’, the Rolex MiddleSea Race is an international competition of distinction and an offshorerace par excellence. The proof lies in the numbers. Registrations forthis year’s 38th edition come from yachts representing 30 differentcountries. The expected number of race starters from Valletta’s GrandHarbour on Saturday 21 October is on course to challenge the record of122 yachts set in 2014.
The Rolex Middle Sea Race, organized by the Royal Malta Yacht Club(RMYC), bears all of the hallmarks and qualities of a Rolex-partneredoffshore race. Its 608nm course, principally a counter-clockwisecircumnavigation of Sicily, is tactically and navigationallychallenging. Frequent corners lead into different geographical segmentsand expose the fleet to changing weather patterns. With most crewsexpected to spend at least five nights at sea, it is an exacting test ofresources, requiring mental fortitude, excellent preparation and shrewdanticipation, as well as an ability to make precise decisions in apressured environment. Teamwork and seamanship are vital to succeed.
TheRolex Middle Sea Race course is 608 nautical miles long and is sailedcounter-clockwise. Starting from the Grand Harbour, Valletta, beneathFort St Angelo and the Saluting Battery in Valletta, the fleet headnorth along the eastern coasts of Sicily up towards the Straits ofMessina. Mt Etna is usually visible on the fleets’ port side, billowingashes and lava throughout the night. Once through the Straits, thecourse leads north to the Aeolian Islands and the active volcano ofStromboli where the yachts turn west to the Egadi Islands.
Passing between Marettimo and Favignana, the crews head south towards the island of Lampedusa leaving Pantelleria to port.
Once past Lampedusa the fleet turns northeast on the final leg towardsthe South Comino Channel and the finish at Marsamxett Harbour. En routethe crews take in an amazing diversity of landscape and sea conditions,all of which combine to create the attraction and challenge of the race.
There is no doubt that Maltese skippers are competitive and have a longand proud participation in the Rolex Middle Sea Race. Malta has producedoverall race winners on seven occasions, most recently in 2014. Crewsregularly feature on the Class podiums.
This year the Maltese flag will be flown by several boats, including theJ/122 OTRA VEZ, a boat with a strong association with the race. Thisyear there is a twist, with the J/122 entrusted to Sean Arrigo and BrianFlahive who will be flying the Maltese flag in the IRC DoublehandedClass.
SeanArrigo is looking forward to another adventure, “having decided to godoublehanded for this year’s race brought some anxiety, but most of all,excitement, and the urge to do well. Preparations are well-advanced,with some final touches and tweaks to lines and hardware. We also feelthat we’re well-prepared mentally and physically, thanks to dedicatedtraining, something quite new to us, but very effective! Finally andabove all, we want to enjoy ourselves.”
In addition to OTRA VEZ, a Russian team on yet another J/122 will bejoining them in the IRC Double-handed Class. Calling themselves STELLARRACING TEAM, the Russian crew of Dmitry Kondratyev & AlexanderGrudnin have become students of the race, are fast learners, very tough,and don’t be surprised if they are contending at the end for classhonors.
Then, in the fully-crewed IRC handicap divisions there are also a numberof very-well sailed J/crews; totaling three J/133s and, remarkably,FOUR more J/122s! That’s a total of SIX J/122s vying for the overallprize.
In the IRC 4 Division are the two J/133s. The Canadian team on BLUE JAYIII consists of Matthew Stokes and crew of Todd Rutter, Andrew Childs,Allan MacDonald, Peter Sargeant, Hugh Goodday, Crosby Johnson, and JohnSimpkin- the boat is from Edmonton, Alberta and calls Bras d’Or YChome. They will have a tough fight on their hand with a British crew onboard JINGS!, one of the top U.K. J/133s, having won a number of RORCoffshores in the past. Owner David Ballantyne has a full crew thatincludes Nicola Ballantyne, Nicky Vella, Lydia Coffey, Bernard Hilli,Jonathan & Chris Mckay, Albrecht Seer, James Alviles, Kelly Alviles,Charlotte Vella, and Marianna Kozlova.
Arguably,one of the toughest, and largest, fleet in the race is IRC 5 Division;the class has routinely produced the overall race winner and oftenseveral boats in the top ten. The lone J/133 in the class from Franceis famous in French offshore circles. JIVARO will be sailed by YvesGROSJEAN and crew of Goulven Royer, Jean-Paul Mallet, Séverin Richter,Jean-Michel Diemer, Patrick Paris, Julien Orus, Marie Chabanel, JulienHerve, and Zasika Musdi. Arrayed against them are a formidable group ofJ/122s. From Chile is the brand new J/122E ANITA- with owner/ skipperNicolás Ibáñez Scott and crew of Juan Pablo Dominguez, Jordi Rabasa,Jorge Mendez, Didac Costa, and Rueben Castells. A Russian team issailing the J/122 JOLOU- Sergey Senchenko is sailing with a crewconsisting of Serguei Chevtsov, Alexander Agafonov, Dmitry Piskovatskov,Natalia Agafonova, Elena Strelina, Nikolay Sbitnev, Pavel Popov, RomanMedvedev, and Igor Skalin. Then, there are two Italian teams bothsailing J/122s- DAMACLE RC BROKER (Roy Caramagno and crew of DomenicoCampo, Moreno Boldini, Giuseppe Fazio, Francesco Merluzzo, GiuseppeBoscarello, Remon Sant Hill, Daniel Bartolo, Enrico Civello) and JOY(giuseppe Cascino and crew of Carlo Brenco, Duccio Colombi, CarloBellanca, Vittorio Ruffolo, Giuseppe Sferruzza, Tom Alessi, ConradMuscat, and Fabio Galea. For more Rolex Middle Sea Race sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Annapolis, MD)- This coming weekend, there is no question the EastportYC will have their hands full hosting two of the more aggressiveone-design classes in the world- the J/70s and J/80s. For the J/80s,they are hosting their 2017 North American Championship, while the J/70sare sailing their annual Fall Brawl.
J/80 North American Championship
The J/80 class on the Chesapeake Bay, New Hampshire, Toronto, andBuzzards Bay continue to have excellent one-design class racing. Forthis year’s North Americans, a talented fleet of twenty-one crews havecome from nearly all four corners of the continental USA to participate,with twenty-one teams representing five states. In the mix are severalleading contenders, including past N.A. Champions like Kerry Klinger onLIFTED from Cedar Point YC and Will and Marie Crump on R80 from NewYork YC. They will be challenged hard by teams that have also won KeyWest Race Week in the past, like Bill & Shannon Lockwood onSHENANIGANS from the local club as well as Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUSfrom Sausalito, California. Plus, there are top crews like MikeHobson’s MELTEMI and Ken Mangano’s MANGO that have proven they can dishout top five results. Most interestingly, the entire top three from theprevious weekend’s AYC Fall Series will be raring to go to battleagainst these top crews that had not shown up for that event; thosecrews include John White’s ANOTHER ON THE TAB, Alex Kraus’ COOL J, andDavid Andril’s VAYU.
J/70 Fall Brawl
The 2017 edition of the Fall Brawl should be an interesting mix of teamsthat have just come off sailing the highly competitive and challengingJ/70 North American Championship sailed at American YC in Rye, NewYork. A top five finisher overall was Marty Mckenna, though sailing adifferent boat called RARITY this weekend. Then, you have theCorinthians Division winner, Jenn & Ray Wulff sailing JOINTCUSTODY. Joining them in the hunt to be Chief Brawler are fast teamslike Mark Hillman’s SIX, Tim Finkle’s JUNIOR from Youngstown YC in NewYork, Todd Hiller’s LEADING EDGE, Peter Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE, andHenry Filter’s WILD CHILD. Should be fun racing for this group! Sailing photo credits- Tim Wilkes Media. For more J/80 North Americans & J/70 Fall Brawl sailing information & resultsAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
Perspectives on sailing the J/70 Worlds- by Willem van Waay andVictor Diaz De Leon- team members that sailed on Peter Duncan’s winningboat- RELATIVE OBSCURITY. Thanks to Jud Smith and Doyle Sailmakers for the stories.Read more...
“I recently had breakfast with my good friend, Fabian. He owns a J70 atCoronado Yacht Club and is very excited about his boat, racing onedesign, and improving his skills on the race course. The weekend beforewe had a local San Diego J70 Regatta called J Fest. Fabian was alittle frustrated with his results in the 13-boat fleet. He only sailedSaturday and the conditions were quite challenging- shifty, light, and alittle sea swell- plus he was sailing one man short. As a big,beautiful plate of Huevos Rancheros landed in front of me Fabian asked,"How do you do it? How have you been top 2 at all 4 J70 Worlds? How doI get better? What does it take? How do I get a steady team? Whatshould I do? Help me please."
I said, "Fabian: you tell me what your budget is, what your goals are,and what kind of time you can dedicate to this. I'll do my very best toget you where you want to be." Fabian is by no means alone in his questto improve his results, take down some of his friends in the class,have a team with great chemistry, enjoy himself, etc. One thing I likeabout Fabian is that he’s never shy about asking questions about how hecan improve. It’s ok to ask questions, and when you want the bestanswer go the person you think is the most qualified to answer it. It'soften like in middle school where the prettiest, most popular girlsdon't have a date to the dance. It's not because they don't want one,but more because all the boys were afraid to ask. The worst thing thatcan happen is they could say no. One of the biggest lessons in lifethat I've learned is that it never hurts to ask.
I hope that what I share here will help Fabian and others like him have abetter idea of what it really takes to be at the top. Unfortunately,there is no quick answer, no magic pill, no trick rig set up. Yachtracing is a very unique sport in that the list of variables islimitless. We don't just strap on some shoes and run the 100 yarddash. I used to race road bikes competitively and that's a sport with alot of important elements for success: fitness, endurance, diet,weight, body type, lung capacity, managing lactic acid and pain, lack offear, bike handling, tactics, terrain covered, length of race,drafting, and of course the bicycle. Yacht Racing has ten times thefactors involved (fortunately, all the physical fitness aspects arerelatively less important in our sport!) In order to be the very best,we need to think less about the big picture and focus almost obsessivelyon all the little things, understanding that each of them is importantfor success. If we focus on the top 10 most important things, we canmaybe win our Club Championships, top 20 things we might be able to winBacardi, top 30 variables we might be able to take down Charleston,North Americans, or the Europeans. If we check everything off of thelist and have a little luck on our side we might have a chance goinginto the final race to win the World Championships with 160 + boats,8,000 miles from home. It’s all the little things that add up to asuccessful campaign.
When I won the Worlds in 2015 with Flojito, it was because we put in themost time, did the most regattas, and simply worked really hard. In2016 the pure determination and dedication of Joel Ronning and teamCatapult crowned them champions. Better coaching, more time in the boatat the venue, and more extensive sail testing gave them the edge. Thisyear our team, on Relative Obscurity, followed suit and did the hardwork to put all the little pieces in place.
Victor and I showed up a couple extra days prior to practice to make theboat and rig as close to perfect as possible. The boat was markedbeautifully throughout, all settings perfectly symmetrical, we’d goneover the rigging meticulously, any possible breakdown or malfunction hadbeen considered, windage was scrutinized and discussed while any pieceof hardware or line was rigged, no extra gear was allowed on board (Vicwas so obsessed with weight he was getting a little on my nerves. "Victor- when you were like 5 I was trying to win a Farr 40 Worlds hereand we were loading every tool in the trailer onto the boat for extraweight.. get to the top mark first in chop and 20 kts and we wouldfigure it out from there.") Anyhow, my point is, from the bottom of thekeel to the top of the mast, drag, weight, windage, strength, andreliability was discussed. We changed out some of the hardware at thebase of the mast that we had seen break in the past- through-bolted on aheavier spin cleat and block…”We are in Italy and we don't have any ofthe right tools, this a massive pain and probably wouldn’t break but weare going to spend an extra 5 hrs to know we can trust it to hold up.” We figured out how to best clean the bottom of the boat during theregatta (it wasn't legal to dive the boat or tip it over using halyardsor hanging on shrouds once it was splashed but Victor and I had a 45 mintechnique that was pretty exhausting and ridiculous, but we didn'tcare, we just wanted to go faster). We had a velocitek for each side ofthe starting line, installed Erik Shampain's wider hatch cover withstronger Velcro to keep the boat super dry down below, put together abreak down kit, etc. The boat would only have the parts and tools weabsolutely needed. This boat was ready for anything. In 2014, Ithought we had Catapult perfect, in 2015-2016 I thought Flojito wastricked out even better, Relative Obscurity was top level/no excuses. What's next?
Fortunately, Jud had the exact same attitude with his sails. Hisattention to the details is impressive. He has done his homework overthe last few decades; he's worked with some of the best guys in thebusiness, and undoubtedly taught them some tricks of his own. Any class(Etchells, Star, J70, etc) that he has ever become passionate about hassome beautiful Doyle sails that can only improve her results. Vic andJud sailed together in the San Fran Worlds and they made some pretty bigpositive changes to the main for the breeze. Jud is a fantastic teamplayer and always willing to share his ideas. A couple times, we sharedcoaches with other good teams in regattas leading up to the Worlds (2ndplace Savasana with Stu McNay and no slouch Bruce Golison with SteveHunt). Jud would just happily discuss with Steve and Stu how to bettertune the rig, inhaul more efficiently, or best balance twist between thejib and main. Sometimes the rest of his team, sitting on the otherside of the table, would just stare at each other thinking ‘WTF:)’. I'msure I was just as guilty when explaining the wing on wing, or weightmovement downwind when the coach asked me a question.
Boat speed makes everything easier out there; as the conditions becomemore challenging so does the possibility of an increased speed edge. Fortunately for us, Porto Cervo was very choppy with plenty of breeze. It was tough stuff. That being said we were also very prepared for theflat water and light breezes that we experience in Porto Cervo the otherhalf of the time. Boat preparation, efficient sail testing, and timetogether as a team are the main keys to superior boat speed. Time,money, and the team's dedication to the cause are the limiting factorsthat simply determine how extensively we can work on getting that speededge.
The best way to measure speed is with a very good paddle wheel and agood eye on the rail. We went with the B&G system- it has anexcellent compass and it updates the speed more frequently. As thetrimmer, I'm sitting in the very best spot to see the machine and thecompetition to weather. You need to be brutally honest about speed andheight with those boats that the driver and trimmer can't see. Aftersailing with Bill Hardesty for three years, we developed a system thatworked very well. We had a target number on each tack that was theresponsibility of the driver and main trimmer to stay near. That beingsaid, I could personally adjust that target to improve our tacticalsituation. Fortunately, if we were ever slower than another boat oreven lacked height the solution was usually pretty simple. I wouldraise the target number- example 6.3 was our target but in thisparticular piece of water I would raise the number to 6.5. Victor andPeter would focus on going faster (usually putting the bow down andfreeing up the main a touch). This new speed would turn into more liftand our almost dangerous situation would quickly improve. The more wecan forecast shifts, puffs, and lulls from the rail the better thedriver/main trimmer can anticipate their next move. Sometimes you’regoing to be wrong with your call but you'll probably be right 80+% ofthe time. Never give up and force yourself to perform the sameregardless of your position in the race.
Coach, training partners, and team dynamics are probably the most critical parts of the whole puzzle.
Our coach at the worlds was Tony Rey and he did a fantastic job. He wasattentive, focused, great with the weather, took photos of other topboats, etc. He didn't try to change our set up or boat handlingtechniques but if he thought someone did something better we had a videoof it. Our training partners were Peter Cunningham with teammatesLucas, John, and Ben- a team that Tony Rey and I had assembled. Young,hungry, strong guys determined to bring Peter to a new level and help uswith our project. They trained with us 5 days prior to the event, alsohad Doyle sails, and seemed to be the closest to our equal in upwindstraight line boat speed. Sometimes even faster- when we had aquestion- Lucas and team shared immediately. They even won a race ingold but unfortunately snapped their rudder prior to the first race onthe final day. Our other training partner Glen Darden with JonathonMcKee did the same- add check pintles and gudgeons to that quicklygrowing list.
Our team- Relative Obscurity: Peter Duncan, Victor Diaz de Leon, Jud Smith, and myself.
We worked hard on our team dynamics; it's never super easy. Sometimestoo much talent is a bad thing. It's a shame when that happens, but it'spretty common in all team sports. We were all very committed andfocused, but every once in awhile we would have a little hiccup/blow upthat would be distracting and detrimental to our results. We all wantedto win and constantly make gains on the race course; being all veryexperienced we often had our own ideas about how to best do that. Victor would often display his Latin passion and young confidence. Hiseffort was never lacking, he wanted this as much or more than any of us,but there were times when the young stud just needed to listen to usold and older farts. In my often-shaking head during these situations,"Flojito y Cooperando"(relaxxxxx and cooperate in Spanish) was mymantra. Becoming a cohesive unit takes time, it doesn’t just fall intoplace on day 1. Just like a Navy Seal Team on a night mission we neededto stay focused, trust each other, have each other’s back, and onlytalk about what’s most important. Countless hours training togetherenable the Seals to perform this way: we needed our time together andtraining too. Instead of ever pushing a teammate down we needed to makethe mission to pull him up. Now that’s the goal of course buttypically after most regattas I’m apologizing to teammates for beingsuch a hard ass; we can only do our best.
I would say that there were four regattas that were major steps to oursuccess at worlds… this was our rehab institute, we all needed work. Ateach event we had breakthroughs that heavily influenced us and helpedus grow into our final product at Porto Cervo. Bacardi, New EnglandChamps, the Italian Nationals, and the Ted Hood Regatta in Marblehead.
Moose joined us here instead of Jud and it was my very first event everwith Peter Duncan. Moose had been the trimmer for Peter in the past buthere he would move to bow and let me slide into his old spot. With moreJ24 worlds championship wins than Tom Brady has Super Bowl rings, Mooseacted as an absolute true professional. Winning was our goal and noegos between us ever caused any friction. His wind calls were spot ongreat to have an awesome trimmer in the bow spot giving me the exactinput I needed to make the boat go faster downwind. We came back on thefinal day to win the event. In the last race we got unlucky off theline, but after rounding the weather mark deep in the high 20s, we justpowered through the fleet with good speed and great tactics in thebuilding breeze to finish 7th or so and win Peter his biggest event everin the J70. Peter gained confidence in his campaign and I gained a tonof confidence in Jud's sail package and Peter’s driving. To be at thetop in Italy we needed to start winning- great to check that off mylist.
New England Champs in Newport:
Victor had previous commitments so he couldn’t race with us this time. In a big fleet with a fair amount of talent, I would do the main sheet,tactics with Jud's help, and trim the kite downwind. Dirk Johnson, ayoung sailor from The College of Charleston and a Newport local, wouldbe tossed into our hot fire. He tacked the jib, helped Jud where hecould, and hung on tight. He listened, left any FJ and laser ego at thedoor and just did his very best to be a team player and improve himselfon the boat. A great 5 day crash course on how to race a J70 with 3pretty seasoned teachers. We trained a few days before the event withGlen Darden, Jonathon McKee, and team Hoss. We focused a great deal onthe wing on wing- I knew the wind strength would be mostly 8-14 and Iwanted to have that part of my play book with the boys pretty dialedin. I've worked hard over the years on this part of the J70 game andwanted to share it with Peter and Jud without Victor jumping around withdifferent ideas. I knew that better mastering this element would notonly greatly improve our chances here but also at the Worlds. Not justusing it to gain right away, round a leeward mark easier, cut off somedistance at the finish line or stay in a leeward puff longer. I wantedto experiment more with it- actually feel the shift and jibe theappropriate sail to take advantage of that shift. Nice to have a teamwith me that can handle the boat handling tasks I wanted to execute. Welead the event from race 2 and never looked back. On day two we saileda couple entire runs in wing from top to bottom, making insane gains. On one run I remember the pressure being entirely 6-8 knots. Ourposition was pretty established in that race so I opted to race theentire leg in Wing. Not easy for 100 feet to a finish line in thatbreeze; we went for 1+ miles and never lost an inch. We won both raceson the final breezy day and learned some upwind techniques in 20+ knotsand chop. Lessons learned- better understanding of the wing on wing andVictor gained more confidence in his team. We were not a one-manband. We're not going to be Weird Al Yankovick... let's be TalkingHeads or The Cure. Let's continue to improve as a team and have sometime near the top cranking out hits.
The Italian Nationals:
With a stacked fleet of 50+ boats we sat in 6th or so after day 1. Thiswasn't working. These guys were better than us, we were all heads downand frustrated during the sail in. 5 hrs or so after racing that daywe all took a couple big deep breaths and regrouped ourselves. Wechatted with one another about how to better distribute roles andresponsibilities because our current style wasn't going to cut it. Thisstyle would not win here and probably not get top 10 at worlds. Peterwould have to trust Victor on the starting line and tight situations. Vic's instincts in those tight situations are excellent, and hiscommunication of those instincts is pretty damn spot on. Victor has hadsome great results with relatively inexperienced drivers - here we hadan awesome driver but the mojo wasn’t quite right yet. Peter’s mainfocus now would be to keep the boat at target speeds and simply do whathe does best: drive the boat. Victor would trust Jud and me more withbig picture tactics/strategy (Jud and I would agree on a game plan andtry to speak always as one voice tactically. We shared wind and wavecalls from the rail while doing our best- within the rules- to hike theboat flat). Victor could then spend more energy on trimming the mainright and keeping the boat fast with Peter. Now we were finding a newgear. This new trust, and next level appreciation for one another onthe boat, enabled us to finish off the regatta with a 1,1,4,1,1 and anunexpected win. A few of those firsts came by passing Claudia andPetite on the final runs usually in some type of wing battle. “We cando this. We will be a contender at the Worlds in 2 months! If we putour heads down, be willing to grind for every point, work togetherthrough thick and thin, and push each other to our limits we are goingto be hard to beat.”
Ted Hood Regatta:
A small but stacked fleet, the perfect wake up call. We decided totrain with Savasana and Midlife Crisis for two days. Both of theseteams are excellent, very polished with changing gears, boat handling,and tactics. We were the heaviest team and it was mostly 4-7 kts butstill we managed to lead by a point or two after two days of racing. Saturday night there was the big fight between Mayweather and McGregor. Peter's good friend had ordered the fight and wanted us all to join. Being on the east coast that meant being up well past 2am and drinking afew more cocktails than needed. Hung over, we lost the regatta in thefinal day, argued half the time, felt like s$&@ and ended up third,losing to both our training partners. Probably just what we needed- agood slap in the face. We can only win when we are at our very best. “Winning isn't easy, let's not get cocky! Let's not screw this up!”
The stage had been set and we were as ready as possible. Boat, sails,and team were all prepped and looking forward to being tested. Lookedlike it was going to be nasty- big wind with unrelenting chop. Afterdays of training in that stuff our confidence rose. We needed to useour speed to our advantage, properly control the risk, enjoy ourselves,and try to stay loose. Most importantly, we needed to avoid drama, stayout of trouble on the start line, and just do what we do best. BillHardesty had a comment years ago that has always stuck with me: "Let'sjust keep it boring boys.” Another boring 4- that'll do... Oh a 5that's ok… low risk 2nd- we'll keep it.
We ate in at the house a lot, quick and easy. We avoided alcohol andClaudia's Bday party at the YC, we got lots of sleep. We stuck to thesame program and did the same boring thing day in and day out. Racingin one of the most epic places on the planet and I'm home with my teamby 6 and just chilling- pretty lame but winning isn't. I wore the sameclothes every day and washed them every night. I'm a superstitious guyand I wasn't going to race with some unlucky or untested undies. Westayed pretty loose, enjoyed our view of the water, dined on home cookedpasta with the freshest anchovies and Parmesan cheese we could find. We kept as much of our lives during those 5 days simple and clean, thebasics done very well. We facetimed with our families, and when peoplegot excited about our results we simply said, "It's far from over, 3more races, anything can happen", etc. This was our job for the week,nothing else mattered. "Let's just get through another day."
The event was like a dream. We averaged less than 2 points per raceincluding our drop. In all my years of racing, I've never been able toput a score line like that together; I’ve never even seen it. Not in afleet of that caliber and size. This was our time-we peaked at theperfect moment- nothing was going to stop us. We had a few challengingmoments but it seemed as though, just before we got into serious trouble(sitting in the mid 20s and approaching a lay line), the world wouldadjust for us. The winds would head us, force us to tack, and then liftus so that we could cross the fleet and lay the mark. Our team wassilent on the rail thinking, ‘Holy crap!! What is going on outhere?!?!’ A few days earlier my daughter Vela (“sail” in Italian) waslearning to meditate with her amazing mother Stephanie. At 2 1/2 yearsold, in a lotus position on a little round cushion she said somethinglike, "winds will push daddy right." Did this have something to do withour good fortune?
It was awesome sailing with this team. We came a long way and it was afantastic voyage. Thanks Peter and team for involving me. It was greatto make new friends and to accomplish a lofty goal that the four of ushad set together just 6 months earlier. We believed in ourselves andnever gave up. No one can ever take this away from us. Biggest onedesign, keelboat world championship attendance in history. This was ouryear! Our time! Champions!!
Winning the Worlds is one thing. But, the main point is that if you askthe right questions, if you enjoy what you’re doing, involve people youtrust, and invest the time and energy, any team can quickly move uptowards the top of the fleet. My objective here is not to overwhelmpeople with all that is involved to win a World Championship, butinstead to encourage others that with desire anything is possible. Since the Worlds, I was asked by J/Boats and Jeff Brown to coach theentire fleet at the event Fabian was asking me about (J Fest in SanDiego). Through the course of the weekend I watched teams quicklyimprove simply by having their questions answered and by making littlechanges to gain speed; sometimes that gain was 40+ boat lengths a race. It was fun to be involved and to watch the light bulbs flicking on! It’s not always just about having the most expensive program, it’s aboutbeing efficient with your time and your money. Sometimes a quickquestion, a little change, or a few hours working with the right coachcan make all the difference. Spending money on something does notnecessarily mean your project will be done right; find the best personfor the task at hand and wait for him if he’s busy. He’s probably busyfor a reason. Good luck friends, hope this helps.”
“The first time I sailed a J70 was at the 2013 Key West Race Week. I hadrecently met Willem Van Waay and he had asked me to join his team. Hethought I was the right weight to complete his crew trimming main legsin. Once there, I quickly volunteered to dive the boat, bail betweenraces, and do other chores. It seemed to me that those had my name allover it, since I was the youngest and most inexperienced by a longstretch! Going forward from that regatta, Willem took me under his wingand took me along with most of the programs he was involved with. Iguess he saw my passion and enthusiasm for the sport. He introduced meto pro-sailing, always having my back and looking after me. He stilldoes.
Willem and I sailed with Catapult for two years. We had so many greattacticians sail with us including: Jeremy Wilmot, Vasco Vascotto, ChrisRast, and Bill Hardesty for the longest stretch. I picked up tricks fromall of them and observed what aspects of racing each guy valued. Ilearned the importance of boat speed from Billy. We spent most of ourtime speed testing with various set ups and techniques. Sailing with allthese guys was like getting a college degree in sailing.
I decided to find my own team to try calling the shots and being incharge. I started sailing with Gannon Troutman and his dad on Piper.Gannon was very young and therefore a great listener and fast learner.Some of our highlights were placing second at Charleston Race Week withover eighty boats competing for two years in a row. The first we lost ona tie breaker to Catapult, which Willem and Hardesty were sailing on. Iwas hoping to kick their ass, but it was still rewarding to battle withthe old mentors!
This was the first time I had sailed with a high clew jib in the J70with the possibility of unlimited in-hauling. It was also the first highclew jib on the market. Jud and I sailed together in the J70 for thefirst time in the San Diego NA's. We decided to team up in order to havea chance at winning the event. We showed up about four days before thestart of the regatta with the rest of our team: Will Felder and MarcGauthier. We had plenty of work to do as we had never sailed together,the boat needed work, and we had different sail combinations to try.
I knew this was a great opportunity. I was sailing with Jud Smith as histactician. This was my chance to learn from one of the best sailmakers in the industry. We tried different sail set-ups before theregatta started. All built by him. To me, it was fascinating. We finallydecided to sail with the M1 and the new, at the time, J6 jib. This wasthe first time I had sailed with a high clew jib in the J70 with thepossibility of unlimited in-hauling. It was also the first high clew jibon the market. Boy did it work well! We thought we had a speed edgewith this combo and we eventually proved to be right. It was a very goodlight air set up.
Double Bracket: Peter is one of those owners that are hard to come by.He is a very talented driver, comparable to a 'pro-driver,” and has thetime and desire to put the hard hours in. During the event, Jud and Iclicked and developed an enjoyable friendship, as well as a deep trustof each other's sailing. Well, I already trusted and admired the guy:but I was surprised that despite my young age, he fully trusted mytactics. He asked for my opinion in sail combos and rig tune. I guessfor Jud, it was an opportunity he didn't yet have since he startedsailing the J70s. To sail with a younger guy who pushed him to thinkoutside the box and was deeply invested in getting the program to thetop. We went on to win the event. It was my first big win as atactician and what a great feeling it was!
After Winning the NA's, Jud and I decided to sail the San FranciscoWorlds together, holding the same key positions of him driving and me ontactics. In the meantime, Jud hooked me up with his long-time client,Peter Duncan, to be his tactician. Peter is one of those owners that arehard to come by. He is a very talented driver, comparable to a "prodriver,” and has the time and desire to put the hard hours in. We did afew events and had Jud's team as tuning partners. We did a week plus oftwo boat testing in Key West 2016. We kept refining shroud tuningratios, jib lead positions, in-hauler amounts throughout the wind range,etc. We finished in second place behind Calvi Network and beat some ofthe top guys like Tim Healy, and the reigning world champion at thetime, Julian Hernandez.
Jud and I made our way to San Francisco to get ready for the Worlds. Weshowed up a few days before big boat series, which was the tune upevent. We again had a new team and hadn't done a lot of practice. AlecAnderson trimmed and Fin legend, Ed Wright, did the bow. We were off thepace compared to the top teams. It took a week of long days to get theheavy air set up dialed in. We added rake, tweaked main luff curve,completely changed shroud ratios, etc. We finally found another gear andled the first and second day of Worlds. Having Jud trim the main sheetupwind gave me the freedom to keep the jib in-hauler in my hands and offthe cleat. I experimented with it and discovered how powerful this toolis. I played it constantly, depending on sea state and wind changes.Off: during puffs or in chop. On: in flat water and lighter air.Unfortunately, it wasn't in the cards for us to take that Worlds home. Icalled a gybe set in a race and lost a lot of boats. I still rememberthe moment: it was too high risk and cost us the chance of winning theevent. It was a bitter sweet regatta for having a chance and losing it.But, it was very rewarding to sail amongst the best and be a contender.It gave me confidence in our approach and philosophy. I felt that if weput more time and a greater effort, we could take Porto Cervo home.
After Worlds, Peter Duncan and I teamed up again and did many regattastogether. We even did Melges 24 Worlds and Nationals. Willem Van Waayjoined our team in Bacardi cup. We passed boats every downwind. Willem’sdownwind expertise helped us improve our technique and we became one ofthe fastest boats downwind. We won the event.
Jud joined our J70 team for The Europeans in Cowes. He was so cool tocome in and do the bow. It was trial by fire, since it blew 25 plus inevery race. It was the windiest event I have yet sailed. Jud'sexperience in sail design and sail making was so helpful in ourcampaign. We kept refining the heavy air technique in Cowes. We sailedmost of the regatta using the winch to allow us to play the jib upwind.It proved to be very effective in terms of speed, but made tacking andsailing in close quarters very difficult.
Next up on the events were the Scarlino Italian Nationals and the NewEngland's in Newport. We won both using the same set up used in PortoCervo: The M2 mainsail and J6 jib.
Jud built the J7: a jib of the same radial design as the J6, butslightly fuller in certain areas of the sail. We tested it in PortoCervo and it proved to be very fast throughout the range. For our finaltune up event before Worlds, we did the Ted Hood regatta. Weexperimented with an older Main design version that I thought might bebetter in light air. But I was wrong. We were reminded that the M2 is sofar the best main in all conditions that we have used. We took a thirdplace. It was a good wake-up call that there are other strong teams andthat we needed to keep working towards Worlds. What we did take away wasthat maybe a fuller jib would be better for light air. Jud built theJ7: a jib of the same radial design as the J6, but slightly fuller incertain areas of the sail. We tested it in Porto Cervo and it proved tobe very fast throughout the range. We decided to go with the J6 becauseof a windy forecast, and a flatter sail would probably be better.
In Porto Cervo, we had a great tuning session with our training partnerPeter Cunningham, which was the fastest boat we lined up with in PortoCervo. They won a day in gold fleet, but unfortunately had a break downthe last day, which kept them out of two races. We were able to testsome ideas I had of rake combinations with different tack shackleheights. We also developed a jib trim that was as fast as using thewinch for heavy air. It is nice to have Jud around to monitor my ideasand experiments. He is very open-minded, but also has so much knowledgeand experience. I have many ideas but little experience so it’s a goodbalance! He says one out of every ten ideas I have work out.
By the end of the tuning session, we never lost a line up against anyteam, including the former World Champs on Catapult. I knew then we hadsuperior gear. By the end of the tuning session, we never lost a lineup against any team, including the former World Champs on Catapult. Iknew then we had superior gear. All the hard work we put into tweakingthe sails, the set up, and technique paid off. This gave me confidencethat if we had good low-density starts, we would probably win the event.So we focused on low risk starts and races, so our speed could takecare of business. We sailed away from the fleet. What a great feeling,we won the Worlds!
I loved sailing with Peter, Willem, and Jud. They are all badass sailorsand I learned from all of them. It is so special when you win somethingso big with your friends. After all, we are all buddies and enjoyhanging out with each other. Four buddies conquered the world for aweek.
I am thankful that Willem, Jud, and Peter have taken me under theirwing. Willem showed me work ethic and taught me how to sail keelboats.Jud taught me about sail trim and sail design. Peter showed me that Ican do it. He trusted me to lead the best team one could ask for.”
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of J/Boats!
(Seabrook, TX)- This coming weekend, the waters of Clear Lake andGalveston Bay will come alive again with dozens of J/sailors competingfor honors in the 8th annual J/Fest Southwest Regatta, hosted by thealways gracious Lakewood YC members. The event features one-designracing for J/22s, J/24s, J/70s, J/105s (who are also using it as atune-up/ training regatta for the upcoming J/105 North Americans),J/109s, and two classes of J/PHRF boats ranging from J/27s up to aJ/122!
As part of celebrating J/Boats’ 40th Anniversary, the kick-off event forthe regatta will be the “spectator-friendly” LEGENDS RACE sailed onFriday afternoon on Clear Lake, literally right in front of LakewoodYC! The event can be viewed from Barge 295 (formerly, The TurtleClub). The participating “Legends” are: Scott Young, Farley Fontenot,Jay Lutz, and Jeff Johnstone (President of J/Boats). The sailors willbe racing borrowed J/24s from the Houston J/24 Fleet. And, spectatorscan follow the “live” video broadcast on Barge 295’s Facebook page for alive feed of the event.
Seventy boats have signed up which will make the event truly EPIC! Noone will believe a hurricane had just ravaged the Houston/ Galveston Baycoastline; such is the amazing turnout of volunteers and support fromfriends across the nation. The 330+ sailors will be looking forward tothe amazing LYC shoreside entertainment, it starts with pool-side talentwhen the racers return from the course on Saturday, followed by a greatdinner and then more live music in the evening! Pretend like you’re 35again, stick around, and have fun!
The biggest class at the regatta is the J/105s, most of whom are alsoparticipating in the J/105 North Americans the following week, alsohosted by Lakewood YC. Many strong local crews have upped the ante andhave great crews; such as Mark Masur’s TWO FEATHERS from Fort Worth BoatClub, Bill Zartler’s DEJA VOODOO from LYC, Uzi Ozeri’s INFINITY fromLYC, JB Bednar’s STINGER from LYC, Bill Lackenmacher’s RADIANCE fromLYC. Visiting crews include some of the top crews in the J/105 class,such as J/105 NA Champion Bruce Stone’s GOOD TRADE from St. Francis YCand Rick Goebel’s SANITY crew from San Diego YC- a winner of the SanDiego NOOD Regatta.
The J/70s are bringing their best local heroes to the event, and atfifteen boats the next largest fleet in the regatta. Perhaps top seedgoes to past J/80 World Champion Glenn Darden and crew on HOSS from FortWorth Boat Club, on-board as tactician is Olympic Gold MedallistJonathan McKee as tactician. Giving them a serious run-for-the-roseswill be other top traveling teams like Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE,also from Ft Worth BC, Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT, and Jay Lutz’s ZOUNDSHEARING.
At a round dozen boats and fielding the third largest fleet of sailorsin the event are the J/24 teams! Featured are top local crews likeNatalie Harden’s GIGGLES from Austin YC, one of the top women skippersin the class; Chris Holmes’ BADMOON from Dallas Corinthian YC; StuJuengst’s VANG GO from Austin YC; and Tonja Holmes-Moon’s SIREN 2.0 fromDallas Corinthian YC.
Fielding a fleet of fifteen boats and fourth largest fleet (in terms ofnumber of sailors) are the J/22s. Hard to handicap this group,nevertheless several teams have done well in regional events in thepast, like Chris Moran’s TILT, Danny Pletsch’s SKETCHY, Stu Lindow’sSOUTHERN BELLE, Dov Kivlovitz’s USA 951, and Anne Lee’s HELMS A LEE.
Sailing as a four-boat class will be the largest big-boat one-design-the J/109s. The frightful thing about this class is they are all aboutdead even. In short, it’s whom they bring to the table in their crewsthat may make the difference between “lights-out” over the horizon, orshrimping the spinnaker at the leeward mark. While no one ever expectsthe latter, most are banking on the horizon job scenario; teams likeAlbrecht Goethe’s HAMBUG (a past winner), David Christensen’s AIRBORNE(another winner); Andy Wescoat’s HARM’S WAY (another winner) and TomSutton’s LEADING EDGE (yet, another winner). So, will be interesting tosee how the cards are played in this quartet!
Finally, in the J/PHRF world, the big boat class in PHRF A (Asymchutes), led by JD & Susan Hill’s gorgeous J/122 SECOND STAR. Theywill be chased hard on handicap by Scott Spurlin’s J/88 FIORNA-J, DanSullivan’s J/92S LITTLE JOE, and Dan Kelsey’s J/80 HARMATTAN (who hailsfrom Dillon YC in Colorado and Puerto Vallarta YC in Mexico). PHRF Bclass (Sym chutes), will be led by Beverly Caldwell’s J/40 SHAKEN NOTSTIRRED, with two J/29s in hot pursuit (John McCuthen’s SUPERGIRL andGlenn Stromme’s PRESS TO MECO), and Gary Trinklein’s J/27 TOCCATA hopingto be in the same zip code when the bigger boats finish (as a result,he’s win!). For more J/Fest Southwest Regatta sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Gilford, NH)- The annual J-Jamboree celebrated its 30th Anniversarythis fall, the event also served as the J/80 East Coast Championship. The Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association, the Winnipesaukee YachtClub, J/80 Fleet 1, and Fay's Boat Yard held the on Lake Winnipesaukee,with sailing taking place out of Sanders Bay.
A highly talented fleet of fourteen teams participated in this year’sregatta. In the end, it was the Annapolis crew on MANGO, led by theirfearless leader Ken Mangano, that won the regatta and earned the titleof J/80 East Coast Champion!
Taking second was Guy Nickerson’s PRESSURE, just one point back. Rounding out the podium was Peter D’Anjou’s LE TIGRE. The balance ofthe top five included the Hayes/ Kirchhoff duo on MORE GOSTOSA and LesBeckwith’s FKA, fourth and fifth, respectively. For more J-Jamboree and J/80 East Coasts sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.