J Boats Newsletter

Written By:  key-yachting April 20, 2015 at 9:54 am

J Boats NewsJ/Boats News is a digest of worldwide events, regattas, and news for sailing enthusiasts and members of our J Community. Contributions regarding your racing, cruising or human interest stories on-board J’s are welcome- please send to “editor@jboats.com“.  For you globe-trotting J cruisers, please keep us up-to-date with your travels- for examples to chronicle your adventures please see our J/ Community Cruising section below.

 

April 15th, 2015

J/112E Performance Cruiser Update
(Les Sables d’Olonne, France)-  J/112E hull #1 is out of the mold and production is off and running at J Composites in Les Sables d’Olonne, France.   Hull #2 follows shortly as things gear up for a mid-summer product launch and busy fall boatshow schedule in Europe and North America. More progress photos and details to come!

J/112E is the newest addition to J/Boats’ “E” Series of versatile performance sailing yachts. The “E” is for elegance and evolution in performance cruising design.

This dual purpose design has a spacious two-cabin accommodation plan and a comfortable, ergonomic cockpit.  The all-new  J/112E is as well suited for the annual cruise as she is sprinting to Mackinac Island or short-handing through rough weather on long passages.

Her moderate displacement design with a high aspect, non-overlapping sailplan has proven to be a very efficient configuration.  It provides ample sail power in light winds (while most others are motoring), and offers easy to down-shift options when the wind builds. J’s are known for being able to sail well under mainsail alone, jib alone, and nearly any combination of mainsail and small jib. The J/112E is no exception. All one needs is a mainsail and 105% jib to enjoy easy, high performance sailing in winds from 5 to 25 knots.  For downwind fun or extensive offshore passages, one can deploy with minimal effort the asymmetric spinnaker from the retractable carbon sprit.  Learn more about this exciting new performance cruiser at the fall boat shows!   For more J/112E performance cruiser sailboat information

Charleston Race Week XX Preview
(Charleston, SC)- It seems unlikely that any of the competitors at the first edition of Charleston Race Week in 1996 would have expected that a small, local event started by a few friends would become one of the world’s most celebrated and influential regattas.  This year’s edition of Sperry Charleston Race Week caps off an incredible 20 years of change – change that has seen the regatta evolve from an old-school handicap yacht race to the most modern and vibrant regatta of its kind.

On April 17-19, Sperry Charleston Race Week takes the crown as the biggest keelboat regatta in the Americas with 286 boats registered. CRW is also the largest gathering of modern sportboats in the entire world, especially the gigantic eighty-four boat J/70 class.

To celebrate this 20th anniversary, the organizers have planned a few special offerings. Renowned America’s Cup veteran and TP52 Champion Ed Baird will be on hand as a guest expert to offer post race analysis each day on the Jumbotron at the Regatta Village. He’ll be assisted by the work of aerial videographer Keith Brash. Also on tap is Volvo Ocean Race veteran Brian Carlin of Team Vestas Wind, who will present his firsthand take on the grounding Vestas Wind suffered in the Indian Ocean earlier this year on Leg II of that race. In addition, America’s Cup commentator Tucker Thompson will be joined on stage by Andrew Campbell of Oracle Team USA to offer a presentation on the 35th America’s Cup.

Celebrating this milestone are 150 J’s sailing in this huge fleet (52% of the total).  In the one-design world, there will be 9 J/22s, 21 J/24s, 84 J/70s, 8 J/80s, 4 J/88s and 7 J/111s.  Amongst those fleets are a cross-section of every imaginable type of sailor, from weekend wizards to evening beer-can experts to world and Olympic champions.

As the largest one-design class ever assembled for CRW, the J/70s will be sailing in split fleets of 42 boats, with four flights rotating after every race to ensure fair and balanced competition.  Many of the top USA and international teams that sailed Key West Race Week, Quantum Winter Series and Bacardi Miami Sailing Week will be present, plus many new faces that are just getting their “mojo” going for the 2015 summer of sailing.  Some of the class veterans include Jud Smith (AFRICA), Mauricio Santa Cruz from Brazil (BRUSCHETTA), Joel Ronning (CATAPULT), John Heaton (EMPEIRIA), Julian Fernandez Neckelmann from Valle de Bravo, Mexico (FLOJITO Y COOPERANDO), Rob Britts (HOT MESS), Tim Molony (JOUST), Jim Cunningham (LIFTED), Kerry Klingler (MENACE), Cole Allsopp (MOXIE), Dan & Gannon Troutman (PIED PIPER), John Brim (RIMETTE), Tom Bowen (REACH AROUND), Andy Lovell (ROUGAROU), Brian Keane (SAVASANA), Will Welles (SEA BAGS SAILING TEAM), Dave Franzel (SPRING), Bruno Pasquinelli (STAMPEDE), Alex Meleny (TRUCKIN), Doug McLean/ David Ullman (ULLMAN SAILS), and Jack Franco on USA 3.

Thirty-three of the 84 teams are sailing in the Corinthians class, a healthy sign of strong amateur teams that compete at the highest levels.  Also, there will be a number of top women skippers competing for honors, including Catherine Evans on MOJITO from Annapolis, Amy Neill sailing NITEMARE from Chicago, Stephanie Sipos on USELESS from Edgewater YC in Ohio and Kristen Robinson on ZOMBIE from Annapolis YC.

The J/24s have a cross-section of veterans and new teams participating.  Tops amongst this group should be last year’s winner, Mike Marshall skippering PIPE DREAM from Jamestown, RI; Tony & Peter Parker sailing the famously-named series of boats called BANGOR PACKET from Annapolis YC; Aidan Glackin leading MENTAL FLOSS; and Chris Stone sailing VELOCIDAD from Atlantic Highlands YC.   Top locals include Mile Palazzo’s JO MAMMA, Scott McCormack’s GIGGITY and Tommy Smith’s PUFF DADDY.

The J/22s have a nice turnout with strong support from the local Charleston fleet as well as visitors from the Ohio and Pennsylvania fleets.  The College of Charleston is fielding three teams led by skippers Allyson Plessner on CATCH 22, Jacob Raymond on LETS GET KNOTTY, and Chase Shaw on LOS TRES BIGOTES.

A high-quality group of J/80s are participating, including class leaders like Chris & Liz Chadwick’s CHURCH KEY, Gary Panariello’s COURAGEOUS, Ken Mangano’s MANGO and Ramzi Bannura’s STACKED.

In the J/111 class, the seven-boat fleet has a number of teams that are preparing for the upcoming J/111 World Championship in mid-June at Newport, RI.  Those teams include the top boats at the J/111 Midwinters in Key West, George Gamble’s MY SHARONA from Pensacola, FL; Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF team from Cleveland OH; and Bill Smith’s WOOTON from Chicago, IL.  Other champion teams from the Midwest and the East Coast include Gary Weisberg’s HEAT WAVE from Gloucester, MA; Robert Stein’s KINETIC from Charleston, SC; Marty Roesch’s VELOCITY from Annapolis YC; and Doug Curtiss’ WICKED 2.0 from New Bedford YC.

Sailing as a one-design class for the first time at CRW are the J/88s.  Teams are having fun trailering their boats to events and taking advantage of the simple, single-point lift system to launch anywhere they wish using a “cherry picker” machine.  Like their J/111 colleagues, a number of the top teams from the first J/88 Midwinters at Key West Race Week are in attendance, including Rob and Sandy Butler’s TOUCH2PLAY RACING from Hamilton Harbor YC in Canada; Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION from Huguenot YC; Terry Mckenna’s DOG PARTY from Prince Edward Island in far east Canada; and Joe & Jeff Pawlowski’s EASY EIGHTS from Youngstown YC in New York.

In the world of handicap racing, there are two versions for sailors- the traditional around-the-buoys racing and the fun-loving pursuit racing format favored by so many daysailing and cruising sailors.

In the around the cans scenario, three PHRF classes are sailing offshore in the Atlantic Ocean on either side of the Charleston channel.  In the PHRF A class, there are six J teams sailing.  Two perennial contenders include the two J/122s, Robin Team’s TEAMWORK from North Carolina and Paul Milo’s frequent flyers on ORION from Leesburg, VA.  They are joined by two J/120s- John Keenan’s IILYRIA from Mt Pleasant, SC and Rick Moore’s MOOSE DOWN.

Sailing in PHRF B is the offshore classic, the J/35 ARROW sailed by Willy Schwenzfeier from Charleston, SC. In PHRF C class are three very well-sailed boats, including Dave Pritchard’s J/92 AMIGOS from Atlanta, GA; Robert Key’s J/27 AUDACIOUS from Columbia, SC; and Steve Thurston’s J/29 MIGHTY PUFFIN from Bristol, RI.

In the world of pursuit racing, we find the College of Charleston’s J/36 SOLE up against Bill Hanckel’s J/120 EMOCEAN in PHRF Spinnaker.  In PHRF Non-Spin is Mark Swatta’s J/30 LAS BRISAS from Mt Pleasant, SC.

In addition to the standard trophies, TORQEEDO is sponsoring the newly created Dynasty Division.  Torqeedo initiated this division for the inaugural J/70 World Championship in Rhode Island last year. The Dynasty Division is designed to further encourage families to compete in the J70 Fleet.  The division is open to all boats that have a family member on-board for the regatta.   For more Charleston Race Week sailing information

J/Fest San Francisco Preview
(San Francisco, CA)- The 2015 J/Fest regatta hosted by St Francis YC has an excellent turnout of fifty boats for their upcoming regatta that will be sailed from April 18 to 19th on San Francisco Bay.  Five one-design J classes are sailing, including J/24s, J/70s, J/105s, J/111s and J/120s.

The enormously popular J/105 class continues to gain new adherents to their fleet after nearly 20 years of sailing on San Francisco Bay. With the 2015 J/105 North American Championships being hosted by StFYC later in September, it is not a coincidence that the top-flight competition has attracted the best teams from across California (north and south).  Multiple fleet champions include Scooter & son Ryan Simmons on BLACKHAWK; Bruce Stone & Nicole Breault-Stone on ARBITRAGE; Jeff Litfin’s MOJO; the trio of Shannon Ryan/ Rolf Kaiser/ Ken Turnbull on DONKEY JACK; and Adam Spiegel on JAM SESSION.

The half-dozen J/111s will include all the top local teams that have enjoyed close one-design racing over the past year.  Depending on conditions, the outcome is less than deterministic amongst this closely-matched fleet.  Needless to say, the betting parlor over/under on the six teams would easily be the hardest group to lay odds on— Dorian McKelvy’s MADMEN, Rich Swanson’s BAD DOG, Nesrin Basoz/ Reuben Rocci’s SWIFT NESS, Roland Vandermeer’s BIG BLAST, Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUGLE DIGIT, and Rob Thies’ AEOLUS.

The J/120 fleet has their usual cast of characters participating and, as has been the case in the past, the entire top three is all dependent on “karma”.  OK, this may be a California thing, but it has to be true since seemingly any one team can win at any time.  Look to any one of these teams to be in the hunt- Tom Grennan/ Shane Palmer’s KOOKABURRA; Barry Lewis’ CHANCE; David Halliwill/ Mike O’Callaghan’s PEREGRINE; Steve Madeira’s MR MAGOO and Timo Bruck’s TWIST.

As one might expect, the J/24s continue to have fun on San Francisco Bay after 30+ years of thrashing around in the craziest conditions anyone can imagine.  Perhaps the most famous locals are Val Lulevich’s SHUT UP & DRIVE as well as Jasper Van Vliet’s EVIL OCTOPUS, Darren Cumming’s DOWNTOWN UPROAR and Mike Whitfield’s TMC RACING.

While the event is still over a year away, there is no question a number of local J/70s are looking at this event as part of their long-term practice for the 2015 J/70 World Championship on San Francisco Bay.  Top local boats include John Brigden’s COOL STORY BRO, Justin Kromelow’s LOOSE LUCY, Chris Andersen’s PERFECT WIFE, Peter Cameron’s PRIME NUMBER and Chris Kostanecki’s JENNIFER.  For more J/Fest San Francisco sailing information

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J’s Sailing Worldwide

The winter regattas in the Caribbean are still in full swing.  This week, the famous Les Voiles de St Barth is sailing with a J/111, J/122s, and J/125 all participating.  Another French event took place off Nantes, France with the French J/22 Open Championships.  Just south of them, the Spanish completed their La Coruna J/80 Winter Series off La Coruna, Spain.  North of them, the J/80s in the Netherlands also completed their Winter series at Scheveningen.

In the southern parts of the USA, the J/30 Midwinters were recently held in New Orleans, Louisiana on Lake Ponchartrain.  Not too far south, the J/105s had also hosted the Texas Invitational in Houston, Texas using a format first pioneered by the J/105 Bermuda class.

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 13-18- Les Voiles St Barth- Gustavia, St Barthelemy
Apr 16-19- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 18-19- J/Fest San Francisco- San Francisco, CA
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

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

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

Les Voiles de St. Barth- Starting off Just Right
(Gustavia, St Barthelemy)- With winds whipping briskly at 15-20 knots, it was a lively show on the water for opening day of Les Voiles de St. Barth. After an equally lively opening party held on the Quay General de Gaulle the night before, 70 teams in 10 classes were raring to begin what they really came here for: hard core racing. The regatta organizers, knowing their audience, took no prisoners, sending the classes on a 23-mile course that started off Gustavia Harbor and led counter-clockwise and three quarters of the way around the eight-square-mile island of St. Barth before rounding a buoy off St. Jean and heading back in a clockwise direction.

“Today was typical St. Barth conditions–20 knots of wind, big waves and a lot of reaching legs, so it was a lot of fun being on a boat that could surf downwind in big waves,” said Gavin Brady, a tactician sailing in the regatta.

On the second day of sailing, it was another great day for setting records. Another serving of clear skies and classic trade winds made it a very good day for promoting racing in the Caribbean, and Les Voiles de St. Barth organizers capitalized on the stellar conditions with a decision to “go big” on the regatta’s second day of racing.

Making good on an earlier promise to give the largest, fastest boats a new marquee race designed for flat-out speed, the race committee sent the Maxi 1, Maxi 2 and Multihull classes on a 42 nm course that started off Gustavia and looped around St. Barth before continuing across the Canal de Saint Barthelemy to round the island of Tintamarre (off the eastern end of St Martin) to port and return its players to a finish near where they had started.

During Lay Day at Les Voiles de St. Barth, the teams racing were invited to compete in a caviar treasure hunt in the waters off Eden Rock along St Jean Beach. The goal was for participants to find the most tins of Roman Kaviroff caviar. Taking the win in the competition was Greg Slyngstad’s J/125 HAMACHI team, finding three tins!

Talking about their performance on the second day of sailing, Slyngstad said, “We had a great day. It was just enough wind for us to plane downwind and once we could get up on the step on our boat, a J/125 goes downwind really well. We went well upwind, mixing it up between several boats but then downwind we were able to separate and get some distance from those guys.

We rounded the last mark in second and then we got by one of the big swans going downwind and then it was right before the finish line that Phaedo (the 70 ft trimaran) came whipping by.  We raced against two Melges 32 in St Martin (Dingo and Lazy Dog) and won.  However, if it gets lighter we are going to struggle, but if it gets windier we should do well.

We had a great start and we got out in front on the leeward side and had a clear lane and many of the boats in our class were mixing it up in bad air while we were able to get some distance, which was the biggest gain. We were able to turn the corner eventually and put up the spinnaker and we gained a lot of distance there.”

At the middle stage of the regatta, HAMACHI is holding onto 2nd overall with a 3-2 scoreline in CSA Spinnaker 1 class.  In CSA Spinnaker 2 class, Rick Wesslund’s J/122 EL OCASO also has a 3-2 scoreline and is just 2 pts out of first place overall.  Finally, in CSA Spinnaker 3 class, the J/109 POCKET ROCKET from Ireland skippered by David Cullen is holding onto 5th place with a 6-5 tally.  For more Voiles de St Barth sailing information
INFINITY Tops Texas J/105 Invitational
(Houston, Texas)- In spite of losing PRO Dwight Bengston at the last minute, J/105 Fleet 17’s first annual Texas Invitational went off without a hitch under absolutely beautiful blue Texas skies in perfect winds and temperatures. A big thanks goes to John Barnett (Vici) and a host of Lakewood Yacht Club volunteers for quickly stepping up to the plate to make sure the 10-race schedule was executed to perfection.

Seven boats competed with both Fleet 17 and non-Fleet 17 owners on the helm. The 10 races were split into evens and odds. Fleet 17 owners helmed odd numbered races, and non-Fleet 17 owners helmed even number races. Big thanks to the Bermuda fleet for allowing Fleet 17 to copy their format. This is a super format that produces a fabulous opportunity for owners and crew to travel without having to drag their boats along.

Five races were sailed on Friday in light winds under clear skies with temperatures in the 70s. Three races went off under similar conditions on Saturday, and then the big Texas sea breezes filled in for some spectacular kite flying in 18-25 knots on Sunday. There was a bit of carnage but no actual protests.

For the local Fleet 17 owners, Bill Lakenmacher’s RADIANCE took first with 12 points, Uzi Ozeri’s INFINITY came in second with 15 and Brad Robbins’ RUMPUS finished in third. The non-Fleet17-ers had Glen Darden (Dallas) on INFINITY in first, James Macdonald (Bermuda) on RADIANCE in second, and Mark Smith (Fort Worth) in third. The same boats took the top three places overall with Ozeri/Darden in first, Lakenmacher/MacDonald in second, and Robbins/Smith in third.

Watch two nice YouTube sailing videos here:

ZEPHYR Crowned J/30 Midwinter Champ
(New Orleans, Louisiana)- Team Zephyr v2.0, led by experienced J/30 sailor and co-owner Scott Tonguis, won the Midwinter Regatta held March 13-15 at the New Orleans Yacht Club. The five-race event, held in light and tricky conditions, was won by Tonguis, a New Orleans native, and crew on a tiebreaker with three bullets and a second and third place finish.

“It was very close between us and the second place boat and we often go back and forth with local teams which keeps it exciting and fun,” Tonguis said. “I’ve moved away from New Orleans and now live in Kentucky but I try to get down here as often as I can to race with friends that I don’t get to see all the time. After 25 years of racing sailboats, it’s more about the people. The regattas are just an excuse to get everyone together and have fun,” Tonguis explained.

Tonguis started sailing in high school in New Orleans and tagged along with his older sister when she went sailing on her friends’ boats. It was during these years that Scott met North Sails representative and local sailing legend Benz Faget. “I met Benz on the J/24 Texas circuit and also sailed with Chris Weintjes (another well-known local) on the Ranger 37 circuit,” explained Tonguis. “If you go sailing with really good sailors who know what they’re doing, you wind up learning a ton and gaining knowledge and experience you can’t get on your own.”

Tonguis’s first J/30, a family-owned boat named ZEPHYR, was lost in Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. “I hadn’t planned on replacing the boat but David Erwin, co-president of the J/30 class, put together a small consortium of people, including me, to own and race Zephyr v2.0. I agreed to be part of the team and come down as often as I can to race. Dave is more of a behind-the-scenes guy who does some racing and all of the organization,” Tonguis explained. “We usually race with 7 or 8 people and even though Dave can’t always race with us, he’s a huge fan of sailing and does whatever he can to support the class. He always tries to keep sailing relevant while we face challenges with other commitments and opportunities.”

“I’m very proud of Scott and the team on Zephyr v2.0 for their performance at the Midwinters with an all-amateur crew,” said Benz Faget. “It was a tight battle but Scott and crew pulled it out. They have been very good North Sails customers for many years and their teamwork and sail handling paid off earning them a well-deserved win,” Faget said.

Next up for Zephyr v2.0 is a PHRF handicapped regatta in Biloxi, MS, called the Challenge Cup, where the team will be one of four boats representing the New Orleans Yacht Club. The North team wishes the Zephyr v2.0 crew much luck at this event and throughout the rest of the season.  For more J/30 Midwinters sailing information
MARINA CORUNA Wins J/80 La Coruna Winter Series
(La Coruna, Spain)- The third and final act of the J/80 Winter Series hosted by the Royal Yacht Club of La Coruna was blessed with nice stable winds from the west at 10-12 kts. In this third act – the seventh day of racing in the series- it was a final battle between BIBA (skippered by Miguel Fernández Vasco) and MARINA CORUNA (led by Pablo Martinez) that determined the final outcome of the midwinter series.

The Race Officer, Alberto Bolívar, and his team of volunteers were able to set good courses all weekend long and provide the sailors some excellent racing.

In the first race, Carlos Pampín and his crew had a spectacular race, but suffered a controversial disqualification for a premature start.  The MARINA CORUNA team rounded the weather mark in second with BIBA hot on their heels.  However, MARINA CORUNA blew their spinnaker hoist, “shrimping” it into the water and ended up finishing 4th in the race.  Meanwhile, BIBA took off and won the race comfortably followed by MELTEMI (Guillermo Blanco) and MOURA (Jacobo Penide), to complete the podium.

In the second race, BIBA won again with a huge lead thanks to effective maneuvers at mark roundings and excellent tactics.  MARINA CORUNA crossed the line in second place, enough to preserve their lead for the series, followed by MELTEMI and MOURA.

The third race was a duel between the two series leaders. After a closely contested first beat with stable wind direction, but very gusty, MARINA CORUNA rounded the first windward mark in first place and this time did not fail in their maneuvers. From there, BIBA challenged them hard throughout the whole race but MARINA CORUNA managed to hang on to their lead, followed by BIBA and MOURA.

At the conclusion of racing, MARINA CORUNA sailed the 18 races and collected just 26 pts, to safely win the Winter Series.  For its part, BIBA had a spectacular 1-1-2 in the final act, taking the victory of Act III and taking 2nd overall for the series with 30 pts.  Carlos Pampín and crew on MIUDO from the local sailing school sailed to a very creditable third place overall with 55 points.  For more Spanish J/80 sailing information
VROON Wins J/80 Netherlands Winter Series
(Scheveningen, The Netherlands)- The J/80 fleet in The Netherlands continue their annual program of hosting a Winter Series as part of their fleet building initiatives.  This year it was unusually good weather most of the time and over the course of several weekends the fleet managed to get in eighteen races.

For the second year in a row, after winning 13 races, the champion was yet again Laura Vroon.  Taking a solid second place for the series was the NJOY team.  Also, sitting on third place was another familiar face, the JUUL team, always dangerous but not as consistent as the other boats.

Now, the Netherlands J/80 fleet is preparing for their famous Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta and the J/80 World Championships in Germany will follow that soon after.  For more Dutch J/80 sailing information
JAZZY Jazzed Over French J/22 Open
(Nantes, France)- For the second year in a row over the Easter weekend, the German-French team led by Reiner Brockerhoff sailed the mighty yacht JAZZY to first place in the French J/22 Open in Nantes.

With only 16 points after 12 races, an amazing DSQ-2-1-1-1-1-3-1-3-1—2-3 record permitted this fast team on JAZZY to win by 13 points ahead of the second place EUROPEAN HOMES.  For more French J/22 sailing information

J/Community
What friends, alumni and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
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* If some of you recall, Virginia and Jerry from Bellingham, Washington did an extensive refit on their J/40, called HERON REACH, set sail from San Diego to the Marquesas Islands to join the “Blue Planet Odyssey”. They recently made it to the Marquesas, here’s a recent excerpt from their blog:

“On Sunday, March 29th at 6:15pm, we morphed from Pollywogs into Shellbacks! In other words, we crossed the equator into the South Pacific!  We celebrated with a toast of gratitude to Neptune.  Not  surprisingly, it doesn’t look any different out there, but we have a powerful sense of the accomplishment for crossing this imaginary line!  Tonight we saw the  Southern Cross  for the first time, the smallest of the 88 named constellations. It points to the south celestial pole and feels like a different world. But the next day, it was back to squalls coming on the horizon.

We  have traveled 4,223 nautical miles since we left Bellingham, all on the largest body of water in the world.  The Pacific Ocean (North and South) cover more area than all of Earth’s continents put together.  It is surrounded by the Ring of Fire, hundreds, if not thousands of both active and dormant volcanoes.  There are over 20,000 islands in the Pacific Ocean, most of which are concentrated in the south or west where we are headed.  Some of the islands are associated with their neighboring continent, like Japan, in the east, the Aleutians in the north, or Vancouver Island and the Gulf and San Juan Islands in our own backyard.  Another type is the high volcanic island such as the Hawaiian Islands or the Marquesas.  Finally, there are the sandy coral  atolls like the majority of the islands of the South Pacific.  It is this type most in danger by the rising seas of climate change.  It is astounding to us, as we cross this vast ocean, to realize that we have raised the temperature of such a gargantuan mass and changed its acidity level with our high carbon uses!”   Read more about their adventures here.

* A J/88 recently landed in Cartagena, Columbia, that beautiful harbor and city on the northern coast along the Caribbean Sea.  Her new owners, Fuad and Sam Navarros, apparently love the boat and their family is having a wonderful time sailing her in local events!

The J/88 is the second J “speedster” to join the ranks of fast offshore boats in Columbia’s offshore racing community.  The first one was Cesar Rojas’ J/111 that sailed in Key West in 2011.
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/
* 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!

* 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 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 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

The 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 at http://www.sailblogs.com/member/shazam/.

* 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 at http://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.