Latest News from J Boats Inc.

February 20th, 2019

J/Sailing News

The Sun Never Sets on J’s Sailing Worldwide

There was plenty of winter series action taking place in Europe last week, with one series hosting their finale and the other hosting their penultimate event. On the Atlantic Ocean, off the northwest coast of Vigo, Spain, the Bosch Systems J/70 Winter Series wrapped up their three-regatta series, hosted by Real Club Nautico Vigo.  On the opposite coast of Spain in the Mediterranean, the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona hosted their 4th of five events for both J/70s and J/80s in the Barcelona Winter Series; the last event is mid-March.

In the Americas, the first of the Helly Hansen NOOD Regattas took place in St Petersburg, Florida.  St Petersburg YC on Tampa Bay hosted the regatta for fleets of J/24s, J/70s, J/88s, and J/111s and a PHRF fleet. Then, out West on the Pacific Ocean, the Long Beach YC and San Diego YC hosted their 10th annual Islands Race for offshore racers. This year it was an abbreviated affair due to U.S. military exclusion zones for exercises west of San Clemente Island, the usual westernmost mark of the course.  Instead, the fleet rounded Catalina Island to port and headed south to the finish line off Point Loma, San Diego, CA; it was a successful outing for a J/124 and J/44.

Finally, down in the Caribbean, the first event was just completed in the season long Offshore Points Series for the Royal Ocean Racing Club in the United Kingdom.  The spectacular RORC Caribbean 600 Race started and finished off English Harbour, Antigua for dozens of sailing yachts that went around 11 islands between Guadeloupe (southeast) and St Maarten (northwest); a J/122 and J/145 enjoyed their adventures sailing around a spectacular group of islands in what many consider to be one of the pre-eminent “new” offshore bucket races.

J/99 offshore shorthanded speedsterMarket Disrupter- the NEW J/99 Offshore Doublehanded Speedster
(Lymington, England)- The new J/99 is featured in the latest issue of Seahorse Magazine, just hitting the news stands now. Here is an excerpt of their review…

“The new J/99, built by J/Composites in France, is J/Boats’ answer to extensive customer demand for a smaller ‘adventure racer.’ True to this globally successful brand’s fundamental philosophy, it has an all-round performance hull, rather than a boxy, hard-chined body with squat, open-style stern sections, like so many boats on the race course today.

The 32.6′ J/99 is equipped with a powerful, easily controlled keel-stepped rig, which optimizes the boat’s reaching and downwind sail configurations. As a result, the J/99 is designed to plane in 17+ knots of breeze, but won’t drag extra wetted surface in light airs. It is designed to be IRC/ORC rating friendly, not too far from the successful J/97, but longer on the waterline with less overhang. The trial certificate for boat number one, which we sailed at the turn of the year on the Solent in seven to 10 knots of chilly breeze, comes in at 1.015, comparing favorably in between the JPK 1010 (about 1.006) and the Jeanneau SunFast 3600 (around 1.040)….read more below.  Here is a link to the article posted online.

J/70s sailing off Miami, FloridaJ/70 Midwinters VII Preview
(Coconut Grove, FL)- Since the first J/70 Midwinters in 2013 down at Key West Race Week, the class has continued to attract sailors from across the spectrum of experience, club sailors with family aboard up to world-class programs with some of the world’s top sailing pros on board.  What continues to be a unique experience for the class is the extraordinary degree of “freely-exchanged” information regards what each team believes is working for them, from tuning numbers to tactics to general boat-handling.

The Davis Island YC Winter Series was, essentially, three weekends and nine days of “sail training” for anyone that wished to participate in the Q&A with the sailmakers (Doyle, North, Quantum, Ullman) and the leading sailors like Willem van Waay, Victor Diaz de Leon, Thomas Barrows, Jonathan McKee, Bill Hardesty, and so forth.

Continuing in that tradition of camaraderie and close competition, fifty-six boats are headed to the beautiful azure waters of Biscayne Bay to sail the 7th J/70 Midwinter Championship, hosted by Coral Reef Yacht Club in Coconut Grove, Florida. In addition to many top American teams, there will be crews from South America (Brazil, Argentina, Chile), Mexico, United Kingdom, and Germany.

Fresh off the Davis Island J/70 Winter Series win will be Brian Keane’s SAVASANA and also fresh off last weekend’s Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Overall win will be Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER.  Both teams will have their hands full with a rogue’s gallery of European, U.K., Midwinter, North American and World Champions from recent years.

Watch out for these crews to be serious contenders on the leaderboard; Jack Franco’s 3 BALL JT from Kemah, TX; Mauricio Santa Cruz’s BRUSCHETTA from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Joel Ronning’s CATAPULT from Lake Minnetonka, MN; Glenn Darden’s HOSS from Fort Worth, TX; Martin Dent’s JELVIS from Cowes, England; Bruce Golison’s MIDLIFE CRISIS from Long Beach, CA; Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA; Harm Muller Speer’s PLATOON from Hamburg, Germany; Peter Duncan’s RELATIVE OBSCURITY from Rye, NY; and Bruno Pasquinelli’s STAMPEDE from Fort Worth, TX.  Anyone of these teams are capable of podium finishes throughout the regatta, the question will be, which ones put it together for consistent results! Sailing photo credits- Tim  For more J/70 Midwinters VII sailing information

Regatta & Show Schedules:

Feb 21-24- J/70 Midwinter Championship- Miami, FL
Mar 6-9- Bacardi Cup- J/70 Winter Series III- Miami, FL
Mar 7-10- J/105 Midwinter Championship- Fort Worth, TX
Mar 14-17- J/22 Midwinter Championship- Fort Walton Beach, FL
Mar 12-16- Miami to Havana Race- Havana, Cuba
Mar 14-17- J/70 Monaco Winter Series V- Monte Carlo, Monaco
Mar 15-17- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
Mar 22-24- St Thomas International Regatta- St Thomas, USVI
Mar 29-31- BVI Spring Regatta- Roadtown, Tortola, BVI
Mar 30- Apr 5- J/24 North American Championship- Valle de Bravo, Mexico
Apr 11-14- Charleston Race Week- Charleston, SC
Apr 28- May 1- Antigua Sailing Week- English Harbour, Antigua

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

J/70s sailing at St Pete NOOD regattaJ/Sailors Love St Petersburg NOOD Regatta!
(St Petersburg, FL)- The 2019 edition of the Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta took place from February 15th to 17th, hosted by St Petersburg Yacht Club. This year’s event may go down in history as one of the best three days of sailing ever on Tampa Bay!  Epic conditions every day, with sunny warm weather (70s F), and fresh southeast to southwest breezes ranging from 6 to 17 kts- in other words, true “Chamber of Commerce” conditions with shorts, t-shirts, and shades being the wardrobe of the weekend.

Thirty-seven of the 106 keelboats participating were J/Boats crews (34%). Those 250+ J sailor certainly had a rocking good time, making the most of the spring-like weather to enjoy the famous “Tiki Bar” on the second floor of St Petersburg YC’s terrace.  Participating teams included one-design fleets for J/24s, J/70s, J/88s, and J/111s and a few J/crews sailing PHRF handicap, too! Again, it was another “de facto” J/Fest for J enthusiasts across America.

J/111 Spaceman SpiffFabulous Friday
The first day of the regatta dawned with a sunny day and a harbor postponement. That was a good thing.  Since virtually all weather forecasts and GRIB files showed the seabreeze starting to roll in before noontime and increasing into the 8-12 kts range by late afternoon.  It turned out to be a good call, as the fleet left the docks at 11:30am to head out to the race course for three good races in SE to SW winds of 6 to 12 kts.  It was great sailing for all the one-design fleets on all four circles and the competition was tough!

The competition was not lost on Maddy Ploch sailing on the J/70 circle. The high school student jumped into the boat for the first time in over a year and a half. Despite shaking off rust today she and her crew- including her father (Mark Ploch) as tactician- finished the day in third overall.

“You look over your shoulder for one second and you already lose two boat lengths looking at the guy next to you,” Ploch says. “It’s really good competition here and I am actually really excited to come back again tomorrow and use some of the information I got today and apply it for every race that comes after.”

Ploch’s forte is offshore long-distance racing – she has a few thousand miles under her belt from racing to Bermuda twice and doing boat deliveries – but she is no stranger to NOOD regattas having competed in her first one when she was 12 years old.

“It’s very different racing, you have to be in a different mindset,” she says. “The start is one third of the race on a short course. It’s always about boat speed, tactics and strategy – when to cut your losses and when to duck and bite the bullet. I was glad to have some light wind today to get my bearings straight and remember the feel of the boat. But, it would great to have more breeze in the coming days to keep things exciting and sail the regatta in all conditions.”

Leading the J/70s after the first day was Peter Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE, followed by Travis Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER in second.

Fast out of the blocks in the J/24 class was Carter White’s YouREGATTA, scoring a 1-2-3 to lead with 6 pts.  Following them were Mike Quaid’s ICE CUBE in second and Robby Brown’s ANGEL OF HARLEM in third.

The J/88s had very closely fought racing.  After three races, Bill Purdy’s WHIRLWIND was leading with 9 pts, followed by Mike Bruno’s WINGS and Andy & Sarah Graff’s EXILE tied at 10 pts each.

Similarly, the J/111s were all essentially tied up.  The leaders were tied at 6 pts each, Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF and Ian Hill’s SITELLA. Just one point back was Jeff Davis’ SHAMROCK.

J/111 Wicked 2.0Spectacular Saturday
The second day of racing started off with a good breeze out of the south that, ultimately, swung into the southwest and increased to 10-15 kts for most circles. All circles got in at least four races and the sailors were sent home at 2:30pm in the afternoon!

White’s YouREGATTA continued to lead the J/24s, but the rest of the podium saw changes. David Ogden’s BUCKAROO crew from Toronto, Canada leapt into the second spot with a 3-1-2-1 for 17 pts, while Quaid’s ICE CUBE dropped to third with a 4-3-3-2 for 21 pts.

Similar movement was seen in the J/88 class. Iris Vogel’s DEVIATION team managed a 2-1-1-3 to lead with 17 pts, followed by John & Jordan Leahey’s DUTCH team from Denver, Colorado that had 21 pts.  One point back was Bruno’s WINGS with 22 pts.

The J/70s saw their standings shuffle dramatically amongst the leaders. Odenbach’s HONEYBADGER crew knocked it out of the park on Saturday; they were now leading after blowing off their erstwhile competitors with straight bullets to lead with just 12 pts. Second was now occupied by Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE with a 6-2-6-4 tally on the day for a 22 pts total. Third was still the young Ms. Ploch on USA 88 with 23 pts.

Beginning to pull ahead in the J/111 class was the Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, posting a scorchingly hot tally of 1-3-1-1 for a total of 12 pts on the day! Ouch, that’s putting the big hurt on the fleet! Then, Hill’s SITELLA hung on to second with a 2-2-3-3 for 16 pts and Davis’ SHAMROCK remained in the third position with a 3-1-4-2 for 17 pts.

Meanwhile, in PHRF 2 Racing Spinnakers, sitting in second after five races was Ray Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI with George Cussins’ J/105 FIRE & ICE in third, just a scant point in arrears.

J/88 Deviation winnerSupercalifragilistic Sunday
It was another beautiful sunny day for the final day of racing. Once the sea breeze patiently filled in by noontime, it built quickly into the 8-12 kts range from the S to SW. Racing got underway and most classes completed two races for a regatta total of eight to nine races by the 1400 hrs time limit.

At each Helly Hansen NOOD regatta, organizers select one team from among its class winners to challenge the 2018 Caribbean NOOD Championship winner. This year’s winner in St. Petersburg was the J/70 class winner, Travis Odenbach, skipper of HONEYBADGER. He and his crew earned a berth in the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship regatta, hosted by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands in October 2019.

This was a particularly sweet win for the Pittsford, New York, native and his team that won their class by 15 points. Previously, Odenbach was the regatta’s overall winner, but was unable to attend the Caribbean Championship due to a conflict with the J/24 North Americans.

“I have been doing the NOOD since then trying to redeem myself and my crew won’t sail with me if I skip it again,” said Odenbach. “We tried pretty hard to win and this is a gift. We are really excited and we are not going to skip this year!!”

“With 75 degree temperatures and 10 to 12 knots of breeze, it’s been one of the best years that I have been in the NOOD here,” continued Odenbach. Odenbach, a successful J/24 racer, is relatively new to the J/70 and attributes his success to his crew who is enjoying the boat and also some lessons on the water over the weekend.

J/70 Overall winners- Honeybadger- Travis Odenbach“One of the things I learned was how to drive through waves and understand that the boat doesn’t go any faster or slower if you go really low through the waves.  So, we powered up, crashed on through, and it seemed to really work out going upwind,” he said. “Good starts, getting off the line clean, and letting the crew do the rest was our recipe to success.” Crew members on HONEYBADGER included Ian Coleman, Patrick Wilson and Brendan Feeney.

Rounding out the top three in the J/70s were Maddy Ploch’s USA 88 crew taking home the silver, while Bowe’s TEA DANCE SNAKE picked up the bronze.

Top marks in the J/88 fleet went to Iris Vogel and the crew of DEVIATION, who struggled with shifty conditions and battled through a four-way tie for second place on the first day of racing. The team found its groove over the next two days and focused on boatspeed.

“In this fleet, we just had to be fast,” says Vogel. “Everyone is so close and so good. One mistake and you go from first to fifth. Our goal was to get a good start, and go as fast as we can, and hold on to it.”

The balance of the podium went to the Leahey’s DUTCH in second place and Bill Purdy’s WHIRLWIND in third position.

White’s YouREGATTA split 1st and 2nd in the last two races with Ogden’s BUCKAROO to maintain their lead in the J/24 class.  Behind Ogden was Quaid’s ICE CUBE in third.

The J/111s saw the Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF hang on to their lead to take the class win.  Behind them, it was an anxiety-ridden last two races, culminating in a tie-breaker.  Such is the scenario for the incredibly tight racing in the class.  Winning the tie-break on 21 pts each was Davis’ SHAMROCK over Hill’s SITELLA.

Finally, PHRF 2 Racing Spinnaker class saw Mannix’s J/29 SEMPER FI get on the podium, again, for what seemed like the dozenth time in the St Pete NOOD Regatta!  His crew from Largo, Florida took home the silver. They were followed by Cussins’ J/105 FIRE & ICE in third position.  Watch the interview of the Overall Winner- Travis Odenbach and HONEYBADGER team

Sailing video highlights
For more Helly Hansen St Petersburg NOOD Regatta sailing information

J/122 Liquid- sailing CaribbeanJ/122 Bronze @ RORC Caribbean 600 Race
(English Harbour, Antigua)- Seventy-eight yachts entered the eleventh edition of the RORC Caribbean 600, where in excess of 700 sailors from six continents and yachts from over 20 nations competed in what became a record-setting race around 11 Caribbean islands.

Pamala Baldwin’s Antiguan crew on the J/122 LIQUID, with Julian White from the United Kingdom as skipper, sailed for their third time in this “bucket list” race.

Yet again, her team proved they can race against the world’s best sailors in their Caribbean “backyard” and her “homies” can get the job and get on the podium!

On the final leg home from Redonda Island to the finish line off English Harbour, Antigua, a distance of 35.0nm, her team sailed a brilliant last upwind leg, powering their way back into contention to take the bronze on the IRC 2 Class podium! Congrats to Pamala, Julian, and their crew as they crossed the finish line at 19:31 hours Antigua time on Thursday, February 21st, for a total time of 3d 11h 31m 11s and a total distance of 627.0nm! YB Tracking link to replay the race  For more RORC Caribbean 600 sailing information and tracking.

Islands Race course mapJ/Crews Prevail in Fast, Shortened Islands Race X
J/44 and J/124 Garner Silver!
(San Diego, CA)- The 10th annual Islands Race attracted 26 teams on February 15 for a Southern California offshore course from Long Beach Harbor, around Santa Catalina and finishing in San Diego, CA. The standard 134.0nm course, which generally includes rounding San Clemente Island to port, was shortened to 80.0nm when the island mark was removed due to a military exclusion zone!

As anticipated by the sailors, the teams took awhile to head offshore to pick up the west to northwest trade-winds that flow southward down the coast. With the shortened course, the crews went around Catalina Island, turned left, set spinnakers, sailed down inside San Clemente Island to the Point Loma finish line off San Diego. It was a quick race in the 10-17 kts WNW winds offshore, with most boats finishing in less than 13 hours of sailing!

Taking up the challenge were two J/crews with lots of blue-water pedigree. In ORR 3 Division, it was Seth Hall’s famous navy blue J/124 MARISOL from Newport Beach, CA that captured the bronze in a class littered with custom carbon offshore speedsters.  Hall’s crew were elated to beat some of Southern California’s more notorious offshore racers, just missing the silver by a mere 47 seconds!!

Similarly, in ORR 4 Division, it was Paul Stemler’s pretty J/44 PATRIOT from Newport Harbor YC that took on all comers with speed, grace, comfort, and elegance, winning their division by 12 minutes corrected time!  For more Islands Race sailing information

J/70 sailing off Vigo, SpainNOTICIA V Wins Vigo J/70 Winter Series IV
LAGUARDIA & MOREIRA Crowned Winter Series Champions
(Vigo, Spain)- The Trofeo Bosch Service Solutions J/70 Winter Series, hosted by the Real Club Náutico de Vigo, brought together the best sailors from across Spain to race in the spectacular waters of the Vigo estuary.

This past weekend, the fourth and final event of the winter long series 2018/2019, saw the two-time J/80 World Champion and runner-up in the 2018 J/70 Europeans- Jose Maria “Pichu” Torcida- take the win against some of the toughest competition he has faced in years. Torcida’s Real Club Maritimo Santander team on NOTICIA V was as formidable as it gets, his crew consisted of Pablo Santurde del Arco, Luis Martin Cabiedes, and none other than Rayco Tabares (himself a J/80 World Champion from the Canary Islands).

On Saturday, with a spectacular sun and temperature, the “virazón” (an onshore thermal wind from the West) arrived punctually after finishing a duel with the early morning “bocana-terral” (Northeast winds) that lasted longer than normal. As a result, the RCN Vigo PRO managed to run three good races in the classic and stable virazón.

J/70 Sogacsa team sailing off Vigo, SpainLeading after the first day was the SOGACSA team (Pablo Iglesias, Sancho Paramo, Javier Porto, and Iago Carrera); they posted a consistent 3-5-2 for 10 pts. Two teams were tied for second; the series leader LAGUARDIA & MOREIRA (Alfredo Gonzalez and Gonzalo Araujo) posting a 11-1-1 and Torcida’s NOTICIA team with a 1-6-6, for 13 pts each.

On Sunday, it took a long time for the south wind to gain sufficient strength for racing; it finally filled in around 1200 hrs.  However, due to the 1400 hrs time limit, only two more races were completed.  Splitting the two races, each with a 1-2, were Torcida’s NOTICIA and Enrique Freire and Manuel Cunha’s MARNATURA (with crew of Gerardo Prego Menor, Luis Bugallo Arriola, Alberto Basadre López, Jorge Lorenzo Roman).  As a result, NOTICA won the fourth event with just 16 pts after five races, followed by SOGACSA in 2nd with 19 pts and MARNATURA in 3rd with 21 pts.

The balance of the top five was determined on a tie-breaker between LAGUARDIA & MOREIRA and PAZO DE CEA (Pablo Martinez Abad, Ramón Ojea, Guago Mosquera, Rodrigo Ojea, Pancho Tourón, & Ángel Tourón).  Winning that countback was L&M.

J/70s sailing off Vigo, SpainThe results of the final weekend showed that LAGUARDIA & MOREIRA was the great dominator, winning the 21 race Trofeo Bosch Services Solutions Winter Series Regatta by an enormous margin of 42 points! The series consisted of four weekends, one per month, from November to February.  Completing the podium in 2nd was ABRIL VERDE (Luis Perez Canal, Carlos San Martin, Juan De Cominges Carvallo, Rafael Martínez-Almeida, & Edu Reguera) and in 3rd was SOGACSA. It was an impressive showing for the local hosts, as the top three teams were all from RCN Vigo, a proud moment for their club members!

Rounding out the top five was Torcida’s NOTICIA in 4th place (having missed the first regatta in November) and Luis Albert Solano’s PATAKIN in 5th place from Club Maritimo Mallorca.  For more Trofeo Bosch Service Solutions J/70 Winter Series sailing information

J/80 Bribon Movistar- winning regatta off SpainCompetitive Barcelona Winter J/70 and J/80 Series
(Barcelona, Spain)- While there was good racing on the Atlantic Ocean off Vigo for their winter J/70 series on Spain’s western coastline, the Real Club Nautico de Barcelona was hosting its Barcelona Winters Series for J/70s and J/80s on the sunny, warm Mediterranean.

Eighteen J/70s from Spain, Germany, Cyprus, Russia, Poland, Norway, Italy, and the United Kingdom have been thrashing around the Barcelona waterfront for five events so far.  Just one final weekend is left on March 16th and 17th.  After a total of fifteen races, the leading team is a bunch of Russians sailing out of Cyprus YC; their fearless leader on AMAIZ SAILING TEAM- Sergei Dobrovolski- has guided them to six race wins and look tough to beat with just 35 pts. Only a colossal miscalculation will prevent them from winning the overall series.

J/70s sailing off Barcelona, SpainHowever, with one regatta to go, it is a battle royale for the balance of the podium and the top five spots.  Currently sitting in second is the duo of Tony Hayward and Mark Lees from Great Britain, sailing with their Royal Thames YC team on SERIOUS FUN. They haven’t done themselves any favors by having to count a DSQ/19 in race 8 and a 15th in race 15; consequently, their 57 pts is just two shy from the third place team.  That crew is the Spaniard Luis Martinez Doreste; he’s skippering FORTY FIVE and his Real Club Nautico de Grand Canaria team is capable of winning races (three so far).  Then, sitting three points behind FORTY FIVE is Pablo Garriba’s RCN Barcelona crew on TENAZ with a total of 62 pts  And, only one point in arrears of them is Gerard Marin’s CLUB NAUTIC L’ESCALA with 63 pts.  The grand finale is going to be thriller and a nightmare for the tacticians as all four boats easily have a mathematical chance of getting onto the podium.

Spoiler alert! Of note, the top five crews are likely happy that the duo of Spanish Olympic Gold Medallist Hugo Rocha and Russian Alexey Semenov on NEW TERRITORIES missed the first three events, as they are averaging a 3rd in their last seven races, including two bullets and two deuces!

J/70's sailing off Barcelona, SpainMeanwhile, the nine-boat J/80 fleet had their hands full dealing with past J/80 World Champion Marc de Antonio on his familiar boat named BRIBON-MOVISTAR.

Marc’s RCN Barcelona team have sailed all fifteen races, won six of them and placed in the top three twelve times; their points total is just 26! Comfortable in their second position is Agusti Altadil on NACEX with 32 pts overall.

However, the balance of the podium is sure to be a full-on battle in the March event between MIKAKU (Rosa Artigas and Luis Corbella) and AKEWUELE (Silvia Ravetllat and Joan Salame). Both women skippers are quite talented and have sharpened their skills over the course of the winter series. In particular, Silvia Ravetllat has seven top three scores and, other than her OCS/10 in Race 14, she would have had a chance at the silver.  Instead, Silvia’s AKEWUELE team sits in 4th place with 44 pts, three points in arrears of Rosa’s MIKAKU crew that have 41 pts.  Follow the Spanish J/70 teams here on Facebook  For more Barcelona J/70 & J/80 Winter Series sailing information

What friends, alumni, and crew of J/Boats are doing worldwide
J/22 women's regatta- San Diego, California “Mimosas, Massages, & Memories.  Women go sailing J/22s in San Diego!”  
When Kim Couranz first suggested we represent Severn Sailing Association at San Diego Yacht Club’s Women’s Winter Invite on February 16-17, I was excited to get “the band” back together again. It had been almost a decade since Kim and Margaret Podlich and I had sailed together, but we still remembered how much fun we had.

A “girls’ weekend” that included racing (and an escape from real winter, back east to San Diego, CA) was definitely worth traveling cross-country.

I can’t speak for why so many others traveled similar distances—there was even a team from Mexico—but I’m pretty sure everyone went home happy. What’s not to like about yoga, mimosas, massages, sunshine, great breeze, and fast-paced competition from several generations of sailors?

Here’s how the racing worked: Twenty teams sailed ten J/22s, rotating after every race on a dock only a few minutes from the race course. La Playa is a small basin that (on this particular weekend) was filled with anchored boats, all taking shelter behind the high ridge of Point Loma from a series of winter low pressure systems.

J/22 women sailors off San Diego, CARegardless of whether the left or right breeze won at any given moment, there were plenty of obstructions on the three-minute legs—and no lead was safe.

Between races, we socialized. The dockside SDYC RC boat ‘Corinthian’ hosted self-serve food and drink, while two masseuses were kept busy working on tight muscles. While cheering on lead changes and overlapped finishes, we made some new friends and caught up with old ones.

With the likely exception of massages, all of what I’ve described so far could’ve happened at any regatta. Three major differences made this event particularly special:

1. Starting off the day with a yogi-led group stretch. Loosening up joints and muscles surrounded by a roomful of competitors put the whole regatta thing into perspective. When else do we prepare for a day’s racing by channeling gratitude rather than grit and determination?

2. A competitor age range of close to forty years. There were teams who could’ve been my kids, others that I’d raced against “back in the day,” and several sailors I knew only by reputation. It was definitely not the “same old crowd,” for anybody.

3. “Sail with the Commodore.” Each rotation, SDYC Commodore Jerelyn Biehl took out women who’d never raced before— and her teams won two of the 46 races. Her real win was exposing more yacht club members to small boat sailing and its unique camaraderie.

J/22 women's sailing team at San Diego, CaliforniaAfter racing each day, we retreated to hot tub or bar (or both) for more socializing over more food and drink. SDYC was as welcoming as always, and even the fork and knife crowd didn’t seem to mind a handful of lifejacketed ladies wandering through.

And yes, my team achieved our original mission; get the band back together, and laugh a lot. After observing the three of us finishing each others’ sentences the first morning, one of the younger skippers observed, “You guys must’ve spent a lot of time together.”

Guilty as charged, and long may it continue.  Thanks to all the organizers for making this happen, and please sign us up for next year!”

In the end, it was top Olympian sailor Allie Blecher from California Yacht Club that won the regatta with a 1.20 race average.  Jenny Swett, a native of Newport and Jamestown J/24 Fleet 50 days, appeared like she had not lost her touch, taking 2nd with a 1.40 avg.  Third was author Carol Cronin’s crew from Annapolis, MD with a 1.71 avg. Fourth was Liz Baylis from San Francisco with a 1.83 avg.  Then, fifth place was determined on a tie-breaker with a 2.00 avg between Emily Maxwell from New York YC and Nicole Breault from St Francis YC, with Maxwell getting the nod on countback.  Sailing Photo Credits- San Diego YC/ Bob Betancourt  Thanks for the contribution from Scuttlebutt Sailing and Carol Cronin  For more Women’s J/22 Winter Invitational Regatta sailing information

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 J/42 Heron Reachin their blogs. Read some! You’ll love it.

* The J/40 HERON REACH sailed by Virginia and Jerry participated in the Blue Planet Odyssey project from 2014 to 2015 over a seventeen month period.

Read their very well-done blog documenting their experience.  In the Pacific basin, they traveled almost 15,000 miles from Bellingham to Tahiti and all points between. Check out what the cannibals great grandchildren thought of their ancestors, what it was like to trade for black pearls,  the problem with the Great Garbage Patch, and how many days did it take to get through it, and much more!   Learn more about their adventures and experiences on HERON REACH here.
J/42 sailing off France* The J/42 JARANA has sailed an epic voyage around the Pacific, the Atlantic, and now the Mediterranean.  The crew consists of Bill and Kathy Cuffel, of Seattle, Washington. So far, their travels go way beyond Homer’s Odyssey!  Their itinerary has included:

  • 2009 – departed Seattle on a 3 year cruise of the South Pacific, sailing back from Hobart, Tasmania (Australia) in September 2012.
  • The summer of 2014 they traveled north to Prince Rupert Island, crossed Hecate Strait to Haida Gwaii and had a glorious cruise down the west coast of Vancouver Island.
  • 2015, after trucking the boat to Lake Ontario they traveled out the St Lawrence Seaway to the Canadian Maritime provinces and down the east coast of the USA, then out to the Bahamas.
  • 2016 Winter they spent in the Bahamas, then crossing the Atlantic via Bermuda and the Azores to England and Europe.
  • 2017 Winter they are in Lagos, Portugal,  and in spring 2018 will be working their  way into the western Med.   Follow the Cuffel’s and JARANA’s adventures on their very well-documented blog here

Bill & Judy Stellin- sailing J/42 Jaywalker* Bill and Judy Stellin, who sailed their J/42 JAYWALKER around the Mediterranean and Europe and back across the Atlantic for nearly three years produced a series of entertaining reading in their blogs/journals- they can be found here.

The earlier journals have been compiled into two self-published books that can be found at:  Search for “SEATREK: A Passion for Sailing” by Bill Stellin or William Stellin.”  And, they were featured in Wall St Journal about how to “retire and enjoy life with adventure”. Fun reading for those predisposed to the “ultimate escape– sailing”!
J/130 Shazam sailing Mediterranean* John and Mary Driver sailed their J/130 SHAZAM for extended cruising from June 2010 to July 2013.  John and Mary finished their double-handed crossing of the Atlantic, landing in Portugal. Since then, they sailed from Portugal across the Mediterranean to Cyprus and explored the Turkish Coast.  Read the latest news about SHAZAM’s cruising adventures here.
* Alan Fougere and family are back sailing their J/160 AVATAR.  She will be in the Caribbean for winter 2018/ 2019, based at Proper Yachts in St John, US Virgin Islands.

J/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 ““.  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.

About J/Boats
Started in 1977, J/Boats continues to lead the world in designing fun-to-sail, easy-to-handle, performance sailboats that can be enjoyed by a broad spectrum of sailors.  The International J/24 has become the most popular recreational offshore keelboat in the world with over 5,500 J/24s cruising the waves. The J/70 one-design speedster has become the world’s fastest growing sportsboat ever!

Today, there are 14,500+ J/Boats, ranging from the International J/22 to the J/65 and ranging in style from one-designs to racers, cruisers to daysailers and, of course, the ubiquitous J sprit boats- J/Boats’ innovation in 1992 for easy-to-use asymmetric spinnakers and retractable carbon bowsprits (J/70, J/80, J/88, J/92, J/95, J/97E, J/99, J/105, J/109, J/110, J/111, J/112E, J/120, J/122E, J/130, J/133, J/125, J/145, J/160).

J/Boats has the best track record in sailing for innovation and designs as evidenced by:  20 Boat-of-the-Year Awards; the SAIL Award for Industry Leadership; two American Sailboat Hall of Fame Designs; and five ISAF International One-Design keelboat classes (J/22, J/24, J/70, J/80 and J/111).

Counting crew, every year there are over 100,000 friends to meet sailing J’s, populating the most beautiful sailing harbors and sailing the waters of 35+ countries around the world.  Sailing is all about friends.  Come join us and expand your social network everywhere!   For more information on J/Boats.
Read Kimball Livingston’s SAIL update on the J/Boats story- A Band of Brothers

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