• WINGS Rises to New Heights at J/88 Midwinters

    WINGS Rises to New Heights at J/88 Midwinters  
    Five Bullets Guarantees The Title in St. Pete
    (St Petersburg, FL)- Taking on a new sailing challenge is nothing new for Mike Bruno. Throughnearly three decades of racing he and his team have raced, andsucceeded, in several different boats. So, when the J/88 launched ontothe scene, Mike jumped in and the Wings program had a new sailingchallenge to conquer.

    Fresh of their recent win at J/Fest in St.Petersburg, the North Sails Team wanted to know more about the Wings team and theirthoughts on their 3Di sails.

    NORTH: Mike, first of congratulations to you and your team on Wings foryour continued success in the J/88. Can you share with us a little bitabout your sailing background and how long have you been sailing in theJ/88 class?

    BRUNO: Thanks! We are having fun with Wings and continue to learn moreand more about sailing the J/88 fast. Insofar as how we got this far, Istarted out as casual cruising sailor and began racing about 25 yearsago. I would say that in the past 15 years or so we have gotten fairlyserious about racing and being competitive. We had a Jonmeri 40 namedKarjala that I raced for many years, then a series of “Wings”.

    First was a J/124 I raced for two years. It was a nice boat, but wefound it to have a tough rating to sail to, so we traded it for a J/122.

    The J/122 really was a great step and I successfully campaigned thatboat, with a few partners, for eight years as a one-design. The J/122program brought us some great results, including winning the NorthAmerican title twice and a Rolex award at a New York YC regatta. Thatbrought us to the current Wings, the J/88, which I bought the 3 yearsago. We have really enjoyed this program and had great wins includingthe inaugural J/88 North Americans as well as a big J/88 class win atKey West Race Week.


    NORTH: The pictures from the J/Fest Regatta in St. Petersburg made itappear that you had good breeze for the event. Did the conditions matchup with the pictures throughout the championship?

    BRUNO: St. Petersburg Yacht Club runs excellent events and Tampa Bay canbe a bit “challenging”, so you really never know what you will get onany given day, especially in the winter. That said, the sailingconditions at the J/Fest were certainly fair. Across the entire event,I’d say the breeze ranged from 8-20 knots. I think the cooler conditions(locals may call it “unseasonable”) played a role in how much pressurewe had throughout the weekend. Also, Tampa Bay is quite shallow so therewas a reasonable amount of sea state but the very steady breeze overalland significant shifts kept every team on their toes and working hardlooking for opportunities to be gained via tactics and gear changing.

    NORTH: Can you tell us a little bit about your team, who does what, and how long have you all been together?

    BRUNO: The team is really made up of a large group of great friends andawesome sailors and, like many others, we find we are rotating in andjumbling pieces for any particular event to make sure we, not only dowell, but have fun.

    For J/Fest Midwinters I helmed and had Chris Morgan, a local Floridian,trim main and work with me on our overall speed. Stu Johnstone was ourtactician and he really had a great feel for the bay the entire weekend.Tim Randall ran the pit for us while Mike Booker did all the headsailtrimming and Stephen Yip ran the bow.

    NORTH: Looking back through the weekend what were the keys to your success at the Midwinters?

    BRUNO: It’s a great question, as it forces me to look back and try to pinpoint a few things I think we did really well.

    1. The biggest thing was we were just able to sail a bit higher andfaster than the fleet much of the time. A lot goes into that for sure.The team really worked hard on proper rig tune and working the sails andtrim constantly to maximize the boats potential but our new sails wereprobably the most significant difference in our ability to make thathappen. 

    2. Our crew work was excellent! As a skipper knowing that your team canexecute any maneuver at a seconds notice and pull it off without a hitchis a huge confidence builder for the entire boat. It seems that atalmost every mark rounding we seemed to gain 1-3 boat lengths.

    3. I mentioned earlier that Stu Johnstone called tactics for theweekend; he was really on tactically this regatta, just incredible! Studidn’t miss anything, which also gave us terrific confidence. We didmake a few mistakes in the event, including being over early at thestart in two races. In the last race, we were over (again) and were-started, probably, 300 yards behind fleet. But, Stu got us back inthe game, and we kept using our boat speed and crew work to do all wecould to gain distance. Remarkably, we still nearly won the race- just a1/4 boat length off! I guess maybe the new saying is “When you have agreat team and fast sails it’s never over until it’s over!”

    NORTH: What are your 2019 sailing plans for the J/88?

    BRUNO: Wings has a very full 2019 sailing calendar. We have already donethe Egmont Key Race and St. Pete J/Fest. Up next in February is the StPete NOODs, and then we head up to Charleston Race Week in April. Fromthere the team will go back north for the American Yacht Club Spring andFall Series, Cedar Point One Design Regatta, Block Island Race Week,possibly the New York Yacht Club 175th Regatta, as well as J/Fest inNewport, with a focus on the J/88 North Americans in mid-October atLarchmont YC.

    NORTH: Thanks Mike and congratulations, again. Sounds like you have afull schedule set with an awesome team. Good luck the rest of the year,have fun and sail fast!

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  • Casales Leads Sardinia J/24 Winter Series

    Casales Leads Sardinia J/24 Winter Series (Cagliari, Sardinia, Italy)- In the waters of the Golfo di Poetto, theWindsurfing Club Cagliari hosted the first event of their winter serieson the beautiful waters off Sardinia for a fleet of ten boats. Prior tothe start of the series, mistral-like conditions buffeted the islandwith steady 30 knots of winds, gusting to 45 knots.  However, by theweekend, the Race Committee of the WCC, chaired by Betty Lai, managed torun three races on Saturday.

    The starts were close, tightly packed, and the first windward legs were,in particular, very shifty, making it hard for boats to remainconsistent race to race. The one exception appeared to be Andrea Casale,an Italian J/24 Champion and also two-time J/24 World Champion. Histeam managed to round all marks in the lead and start out the series infirst place.

    BehindCasales’ team on ARIA DELLA LNI OLBIA in the first race was AurelioBini’s VIGNE SURRAU in second and Giuseppe Taras’ DOLPHINS in third. Inthe second race, DOLPHINS took second followed by Sergio Contu’s NEWMOLLICA in third place.  In the last and final race of the weekend, NEWMOLLICA took second in a close duel with Casales, with VIGNE SURRAUtaking third.

    At the end of the racing, the J/24 crews met to talk with the Genovesechampion- Casales- who, in addition to describing the sails herepresents, gave excellent advice on the boat's handling and on thetactical choices to be competitive in conditions like those on theweekend. The arrival of pasta and delicious Sardinian wine offered bythe WCC gave the right conclusion to a beautiful day at sea and sport.

    The overall standings (after the first 5 races) have ITA 443 ARIA DELLALNI OLBIA leading with a 6-2-1-1-1 record, followed by ITA 405 VIGNESURRAU from the Circolo Nautico Arzachena with a 3-1-2-9-3 tally insecond, then Giuseppe Taras’ ITA 401 DOLPHINS sitting in third with a2-6-3-2-5 scoreline.

    The next event for the Sardinian J/24 fleet is scheduled for February 16th and 17th.  For more Sardinia J/24 fleet sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • J/133 JACANA Wins off Cape Town

    J/133 JACANA Wins off Cape Town
    (Table Bay, Cape Town, South Africa)- In the southern hemisphere, mostsailors are familiar with the extensive one-design and offshore racingtaking place in South America (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Uruguay) andthe Antipodes (Australia and New Zealand). However, an active offshorefleet continues to enjoy the often-spectacular conditions sailorsexperience off the famous landmark known as the Cape of Good Hope. Infact, there are more than a dozen J/teams sailing those waters rangingfrom J/24s to J/27s, J/30s to J/105s, and even a J/133.

    Recently, the J/133 Team HOLLARD JACANA (owned by the trio of DavidMunro, Patrick Holloway, and Neil Gregory) was the overall winner of theClass 1 Division in the 2019 Fling Regatta, the first amateur team towin in five years.

    Patrick commented on their performance, “racing was incredibly close, aswas the overall result. Our crew had one 1st, three 2nds, a 3rd and a4th in the six-race regatta, for a total of 10 points, after a one-racediscard. The regatta was sailed in Table Bay over the weekend of the1st, 2nd and 3rd February 2019.

    The event was the third and penultimate round of the Western ProvinceInshore Championships, which the team continues to lead. Previously, wewon the False Bay Spring Regatta (September 2018) and finished 2nd inTable Bay Race Week (December 2018) by the narrowest of margins on a tiebreak.” Add to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • Grenada Sailing Week Report

    Grenada Sailing Week Report J/24 Fun, J/122 Offshore Success
    (St Georges, Grenada)- Long-time J/sailor, Hilary Noble, has been on thepointy end of many top teams over the years in J/24s, J/70s, J/105s,and J/88s.  This past week, she was down in the Caribbean sailing in thefirst major event of the winter season “down island”- Grenada SailingWeek.  Here is her report on the proceedings.

    “The Caribbean racing season is now underway with the 6th edition ofGrenada Sailing Week that was held from January 28th to February 1st.

    A record fleet of 40 boats gathered at Port Louis Marina, and it beingmy first year racing in this event, I was really excited to see whatthis so-called “friendly island” was all about. Just as I expected, thecompetitors brought their A-game and race officials and volunteers hadone goal in mind: great racing, hospitality, and tons of fun!

    Racing began on Monday, on the south end of the island just west of theairport, off the pristine Grand Anse beach. Local knowledge played a keyrole in staying in pressure and setting up for what new pressure was tocome. Most of the local teams played the shoreline often, giving themthe famous “elevator lifts” to easily one-tack the top end of the racecourse.

    If you could break away from the pack and get into the pressure first,you had a great chance of leading around the windward mark. The wind waspretty shoddy on the south end, with the land breeze mixing with seabreeze funneling over the huge mountainous terrain.

    This created huge puffs and huge holes, something to really keep an eyeout for! We dug into a lot of puffs, but we may have found a hole whereit seemed like our world stopped, while the rest of the world keptspinning. Thankfully, we weren’t the only ones to find it.

    Day two was very similar, presenting puffy conditions that made theracing fun and unpredictable. It reminded me of college sailing, withthe auto-tacks and huge lifts that would give you 30-degrees more pointthan the boat just to leeward of you.

    The last race on day two was a 12-mile race and a downwind start. Wechecked our angles to assure that our starting line plan would besuccessful – and boy was it ever! Instead of leading our fleet in, wetailed the competition and right as we started we executed a perfectjibe-set, hoisting our code zero.

    Being one of the last boats to enter the starting area by the RC endallowed us to fulfill our higher angle with ease after our set, whilesome boats chose to use their A2, making it impossible to get to us. Atthat point, it was full-steam ahead.

    As we approached the tip of the runway, a massive JetBlue airliner camein hot, landing right over us.  That was exhilarating and got myadrenaline pumping for the next leg. At that point, you could see theland clearing ahead where our next mark was for us to honor and headupwind.

    There was a 10-knot increase around the end out in the open on the eastend of the island that made for the freshest upwind leg we had yet. Wehad a last minute call to change our headsail, we had 30 seconds to plugand hoist before we could get our code down.

    We had one hell of an epic takedown with the wind howling and wavescrashing on our port side, we got her in and we were headed uphill,keeping an eye out for the next mark. We hadn’t seen the other end ofthe island yet and WOW, she was beautiful. Finishing off the point ofPrickly Bay, I thought to myself, after the salt water shot under mysunglasses, this just doesn’t get any better!

    On our lay day, we left our Port Louis and stopped just outside tosnorkel the underwater sculptures. We headed over to the beach afterthat and went ashore to the spice market and had lunch. After loading upon some local fare, we casted off and motored around the point torelocate our mother ship, a 50-foot catamaran to the east end of theisland in Secret Harbour where racing would commence the remainder theweek.

    The last two days were just fantastic. Excellent racing, fun courses,and stiff competition. The courses were interesting and kept it fun andexciting for the pointy end. Our team vibe was great all week long andwe all had a blast racing together.

    The Caribbean circuit is unlike any other racing circuit in the world.Sailors from all over the world come to experience new cultures, tastethe amazing food, and make new connections. For most, it’s a vacation initself. Living in Rhode Island these days, I appreciate the aspects ofwarm-weather sailing more than I ever have before.

    For this event, I had the pleasure of making new friends and teammates. Afew of the crew I’ve known for years and have spent a lot of time onthe water racing and some were new crew to the program that meshedreally well with the team and were fun to sail with. This regatta was agreat experience and I highly recommended it to those who want to escapethe winter and get a taste of some really fantastic sailing. I can’twait to sail in Grenada again!”

    Living it up and enjoying their entire week was a well-known crew fromAntigua, Pamala Baldwin’s J/122 LIQUID.  Sailing in the largest class ofthe event, the thirteen-boat CSA Racing Division, Pamala and her crewsailed by far the most consistent series of any boat on the water. LIQUID’s worst race was a 4th (their toss race) and all the rest were1st, 2nd, and 3rds, finishing on the podium to take the silver in theirfirst outing in the Caribbean winter circuit!

    Meanwhile, one wonders if it was a case of sheer joy or pure exhaustionfor the half-dozen J/24s that sailed off St Georges for the entireregatta.  After eighteen races (!) it was quite apparent that the top ofthe leaderboard was going to be determined by a “war of attrition”.  Inthe end, Fred Sweeney’s ATTITUDE from St Lucia never broke down, neverlost focus, and never finished worse than 4th place! Amazing!Consequently, ATTITUDE maintained the pressure on the fleet afterwinning the first three races to take the J/24 crown. Second was RobbieYearwood’s DIE HARD from Grenada; posting nearly as many 1sts, 2nds,3rds as Sweeney’s crew, but not nearly enough, settling for the silver. Rounding out the podium was Stephen Bushe’s HAWKEYE from Trinidad,taking the bronze- a truly international podium.  Thanks for contributions from Hilary Noble and Scuttlebutt Sailing Newsletter.  Follow Grenada Sailing Week on Facebook here   For more Grenada Sailing Week sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • US J/24 ClassAwards Third Annual Boat Grant

    US J/24 ClassAwards Third Annual Boat Grant (Apollo Beach, FL)- The US J/24 Class Association has awarded the third annual KellyHolmes-Moon J/24 Boat Grant to Matt Miranda from Ronkonkoma, New York.The Program is named in honor of Kelly Holmes-Moon, a long-timesupporter of the J/24 Class Association who served as US Class Presidentand as the Copyright Holder’s Representative.

    For the 2019 season, the boat will see weekly action at Sayville YachtClub with J/24 Fleet 182. The Boat Grant team plans to participate in anumber of events including the US Nationals in Rochester, NY, Changingof the Colors Regatta in Lake George, NY, Charleston Race Week inCharleston, SC, and they are applying to be the Under-25 team at theWorld Championship in Miami, FL. Class members will mentor the youngteam, as well as the other individuals who applied for the Program.

    Matt has more than a decade of J/24 experience, having crewed onmultiple World Championship campaigns, numerous District and nationalevents, and has skippered at US Nationals and local Fleet 182 seriesracing. His team will consist of a mix of younger J/24 sailors andseasoned veterans, who will surely help them grow over the next year. “Iam incredibly honored to receive the grant boat this year! Excited tosee some new faces, and some old, as we travel around to our nine ormore scheduled events. Come say hi if you see us! I would like to thankthe US J/24 Class and the Boat Grant Committee for making this possibleand for helping me achieve a lifelong dream.”

    The Kelly Holmes-Moon J/24 Boat Grant Program encourages talented youngsailors to gain first-hand experience racing within the J/24 Class ofone-design sailboats at virtually no cost. Dave Eggleton donated theboat, USA 423, to the program, providing the Scholarship Boat recipientswith the experience to escalate their level of competitiveness andinspire them to accomplish great things in the sailing world. The teamis in need of contributions to help fund their campaign. To find out howyou can help, e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    The application process for the 2020/2021 Kelly Holmes-Moon J/24 Boat Grant Program will begin in the fall of 2019. Add to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • Davis Island J/70 Winter Series III Preview

    Davis Island J/70 Winter Series III Preview (Tampa, FL)- In the third and final regatta of the J/70 Davis IslandWinter Series, fifty-five J/70 teams are hoping to sail in theforecasted winds of 10-20 kts from the northeast this coming weekend.Should that happen, that would more than make up for the fact that inthe two previous events there was only one good day of racing bothtimes; ironically both on Saturday, with Sunday being washouts foreither no wind or storms.

    Who will ultimately triumph in the 2018-2019 edition of the DIYC J/70series?  It is all up for grabs, that is for certain.  Teams only haveto count all races in their two best regattas.  Given the somewhat“yo-yo” scorelines for most teams in the first two events, virtuallyanything can happen for the overall standings.  Current leaders includeTravis Odenbach’s B-SQUARED team; Doug Strebel’s BLACK RIVER RACING fromHouston, TX; Kevin Downey’s MR PITIFUL from Seattle, WA; and localTampa rock stars on Greiner Hobbs’ DARK HORSE.

    In the Corinthians Division, Andrew & Melissa Fisher’s BUTTON FLYand Bob Willis’ RIP RULLAH appear to be significant players to remain atthe top of the leaderboard after the battlefields clear over theweekend.  For more J/70 Davis Island Winter Series sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • J/70 Primo Cup- Trophy Credit Suisse Preview

    J/70 Primo Cup- Trophy Credit Suisse Preview (Monte Carlo, Monaco)- The premiere offshore one-design keelboat eventof the spring, the very popular Primo Cup- Trophy Credit Suisse, will betaking place this weekend for a huge fleet of fifty-four highlycompetitive J/70s from across Europe and other parts of the world. Thoseteams hail from Monaco (14), Switzerland (11), France (6), Germany (7),Italy (6), Russia (5), Ireland (2), Brazil (1), Great Britain (1),Finland (1), Ukraine (1), and Sweden (1).

    As they have for years, the Yacht Club Monaco is welcoming the enormousfleet with their extraordinary red carpet treatment, welcoming allsailors to their gorgeous setting on Hercules Bay.  The tempo and thecompetitiveness level of the J/70 fleet continues to increase as manyteams are increasingly focused on the fact that YC Monaco will behosting the 2022 J/70 World Championship.

    Based on what happened in Act III of the Monaco Sportsboat Winter Seriesfor J/70s two weekends ago, most competitors will be wondering if thetheme of “the Russians are coming, the Russians are coming” will repeatitself in the face of heightened competition.  Surely, the winner ofboth the Open and Corinthian Divisions, the Russian Andreï Malyginskippering MARIA, will be doubling down their efforts to stay atop theleaderboard.

    And, the balance of the top five that included two YC Monaco crews (LoïcPompée’s ALLO III and Ludovico Fassitelli’s JUNDA- BANCA DEL SEMPIONE),two Swiss crews (Florian Geissbuehler’s ATTAQUE and Laurane Mettraux’sCER APROTEC VILLE DE GENEVE), and the top Irish team (Marshall King’sSOAK RACING) will all battle hard to remain in the top five.  For more J/70 Primo Cup Trophee Credit-Suisse sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • LA SUPERBA Leads Italian J/24 Winter Series

    LA SUPERBA Leads Italian J/24 Winter Series AMERICAN PASSAGE Leading the Lozzi Trophy
    (Anzio & Nettuno, Rome, Italy)- With two beautiful days of sailingwith moderate breezes, the Roman J/24 fleet enjoyed great racing on theGulf of Anzio southwest of Rome.  The fleet was sailing for the LozziTrophy on Saturday and the Anzio & Nettuno Winter Series on Sunday.

    Shifty Saturday @ Lozzi Trophy
    Saturday’s sailing was marked by partly cloudy skies, plenty of sun, andvery shifty offshore winds for the ten-boat fleet.  Three races werecompleted by the end of the day. Victories went to ITA 458 ENJOY 2sailed by Luca Silvestri, ITA 487 AMERICAN PASSAGE skippered by PaoloRinaldi and to ITA 36 FLETCHER LYN sailed by Stefano Renoglio.

    As a result of Saturday’s racing, leading after six races in the overallLozzi Trophy standings is AMERICAN PASSAGE with a 4-3-1-2-1-2 scorelinefor 9 pts.  The balance of the top three overall includes ENJOY 2 insecond with scores of 3-2-2-1-2-4 for 10 pts and, in third place, isFLETCHER LYNN with a tally of 2-5-3-5-5-1 for 16 pts.

    Pretty Sunday for Winter Series
    The second day of sailing produced three more races for the twenty-oneJ/24s on the Gulf of Anzio.  The day started off spectacularly, butmenacing black clouds loomed on the horizon as the fleet, again, sailedin easterly winds of 10-13 kts.

    Winners on Sunday were determined by who completed the podium behind thedomination of ITA 416 LA SUPERBA; their performance was unstoppable,posting three straight bullets! Skipper Ignazio Bonanno from the ItalianNavy and his crew of Vincenzo Vano, Francesco Picaro, AlfredoBranciforte and Francesco Linares were delighted with the outcome,further lengthening their already insurmountable lead in the overallWinter Series- now counting 9 bullets!

    In the first race, behind LA SUPERBA was ITA 428 PELLE ROSSA sailed byGianni Riccobono and ITA 447 PELLE NERA helmed by Paolo Cecamore, secondand third, respectively.  In the following race, it was AMERICANPASSAGE and ENJOY 2 in 2nd and 3rd.

    After ten races in the overall Winter Series, LA SUPERBA continues tolead by a substantial margin. However, the balance of the podium iscurrently tied between two boats at 43 pts each; ITA 385 J ARMED JUDGE(Riccardo Aleandri, Antimo Bruno, Fulvio Marchionni, Fabio DiBartolomeo, Vito Esposito and Fabiana Onori) and Luca Silvestri’s ENJOY2.

    Sunday ended with the traditional pasta and wine party on the terrace ofthe Circolo Della Vela, a celebration greatly appreciated by alltwenty-one teams!  For more Italian J/24 Class sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

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  • M*SAILING TEAM Leads Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League

    M*SAILING TEAM Leads Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League (Sochi, Russia)- The 2019 Russian J/70 Winter Sailing League has beenracing off Sochi, Russia (site of the 2014 Winter Olympics) with sailingtaking place in the eastern parts of the Black Sea.  A huge summerresort, Sochi has continued to grow as a base for lots of winteractivities in the mountains north of the city. A fleet of a dozen J/70sare based at the Sochi Sailing Center, managed by FGBU “Yug Sport”, sothat the thirteen teams from across the far reaches of Russia cancompete on the water and sail a lot of waters in a short amount oftime. 

    NSL Winter Series III
    Ten teams took part in the third event from January 12th to 13th. Thefleet was not blessed with good weather conditions. In fact, it wasdownright miserable.  The yachtsmen were met with cold, torrential rainand just moderate winds.  On the first day of racing, all sailing wascanceled after just two races due to a lack of breeze.  However, despitemore rain on Sunday, there was more than enough breeze to hold up tosix more races for each of the crews.

    “The New Year threw us a monkey wrench,” joked the Chief Judge of thecompetition, Nikolai Yushkov. “But, in principle, everyone was happy.True, on the first day we barely managed to hold two races. Although itwas pouring rain, the wind was only good for two races. But, it allworked out on the second day, when a very good wind was blowing- up to30 knots in the bigger gusts! Well done to all the participants, theyall coped with the challenges on Sunday. The only damages we could seemay have been a few egos! There were no crashes, no protests, either. Amazing! The teams sailed well, it was wet and wild for them!”

    The third stage of the NSL series was the most difficult so far of thethree events. A number of boats suffered some severe broaches, butsurvived to tell the tale; most importantly, with no ripped spinnakers.Others managed to “submarine” up to the mast in the steep, choppy wavesoff the Sochi waterfront!

    The crew of the M*SAILNG Team XO saw a new crew member for the regatta-Mikhail Poslamovsky.  He took third place in the first stage of theseries as part of the M*SAILING Team, but took on a new role forhimself, this time as skipper. Despite the difficult weather conditionsin which the regatta took place, he considered the experience a success;the results speak for themselves. In the last three races, his team hadtwo 2nds a 3rd.

    "I felt great, even comfortable! I would like to sail another couple ofraces in order to improve my result," said Poslamovsky. “Our team hasalready improved, we feel that we are ready to go further. Compared toother big boats, the J/70 seems much better, much more comfortable. Itis more maneuverable, it accelerates faster. It is much more interestingto race the J/70 than other racing yachts! In general, there is nocomparison! We plan to continue to race in the Winter Series, thenhopefully go to the Premier Division and win!”

    The winner of the stage was again the “leading” crew from Rostov-on-Don,the M*SAILING Team. This was not surprising, considering their recordof three 1st, three 2nds, and one 3rd for a total of only 12 pts in 7races! According to the team members, their performance was a result ofconstant training.

    “Beforethis stage, Andrei Malygin and I worked out here on the Laser,” saidAlexey Borisov, the Captain/ Coach of the M*SAILNG Team. “We had atraining program, we worked hard. And, we wanted to learn more about thewinds in Sochi.  Andrei has a good understanding of the wind, anunderstanding of how the boat goes and everything else. At the presentstage, I have him focusing only on tactics, not just boat speed. Thetraining we did gave us a lot experience. And, of course, for thisregatta, we do not exclude an element of luck; it is always present insailing. We are lucky again. We plan to continue to increase the pace;it is good to complete the NSL Winter Series and the J/70 Winter Seriesin Monaco. In general, we have ambitious plans. We want to work harder,we strive to win, and I think everything will work out.”

    Second place in the January regatta went to the crew of WILD DIVISION,skippered by Alexander Bozhko, representing the Chechen Republic. Theteam, which debuted in the series at the last stage and took secondplace, again lost only to the winners of the regatta. This time, thecrew was strengthened by the President of the Chechen SailingFederation- Hasan Khadzhiev.

    “This was not our first time on the J/70.  Both myself and crew havetrained on them.  However, this was our first time in such crazy, cold,rainy, windy conditions,” said Khadzhiev. Laughing, he said, “I promisedmy crew sun and fun in Sochi and a nice warm beach with beautifulwomen! But, it turned out the opposite- cold, rain and no sand, no womenanywhere! Hahaha. In general, it was a test of myself and the crew. Wedid a good job on the coordination of our team for our upcoming regattasin the National Sailing League.”

    Khadzhiev continued to explain, “the Federation of Sailing Sports of theChechen Republic has only existed since December 2016.  Since thattime, we have not just entered sailing, we have burst onto it! We havewon prizes in both Russian and international competitions.  When theyannounced our team for this Russian J/70 National Sailing League as "theteam of the Chechen Republic", people no longer have a panic in theireyes! Instead, they say, it’s amazing they came here to sail, and theylook at us as genuine rivals on the race course! Of course, none of thiswould happen without the support of the President of our ChechenRepublic- Ramzan Kadyrov. He has drawn attention to our sport, ispromoting it in our republic, and helped us develop the sailing program.Now, our main task is to pay attention to sailing within the republicitself. Until we have children on the water, until we have our ownsailing school, it’s difficult to talk about the future of the sailingfederation. Nevertheless, we will grow sailing for everyone!”

    The bronze medals were won by the crew of THREE 2 Sailing Team,skippered by Alexandra Peterson. Their team won the first stage of theNSL Winter Series, but unfortunately, missed the second. However,another successful performance in Sochi gives them a good chance tofight for the overall victory in the series.

    NSL Winter Series IV
    The fourth stage of the Russian J/70 Winter Series was, again, sailed inSochi and hosted by FGBU “Yug Sport”.  Thirteen teams attended theevent.

    For the first time in four stages, the crews did not have to freeze andsoak in the rain. Optimism abounded across the fleet as a great breezefilled in for the first day of racing on Saturday. The sailing was sogood, the organizers managed to hold eight races. The participants ofthe Winter Series also pinned great hopes on Sunday, but the weatheragain brought a surprise.

    “On the second day, we decided to start the race earlier,” said NikolaiYushkov, the main judge of the competition. “However, the start had tobe postponed from 1030 hrs to almost 1200 hrs.  The morning wind died. Then it went into a 360 and it was very, very difficult to catch atleast some stretch of wind so that you could carry out a race. As aresult, we miraculously managed to hold four races, and the fifth had tobe canceled because it shifted and died again.”

    In the fourth stage, the struggle for victory in the series reached anew level. Many teams decided to strengthen their line-ups and trainedwith special diligence- everyone wanted to beat the crew fromRostov-on-Don, the M*SAILING Team that was in the lead after threestages. And, the efforts actually bore fruit for some team. For example,the East-West team, which was eighth in the last regatta, dramaticallyimproved its position this time, taking fifth place.

    “For us, this was actually a great result,” commented Andrei Zuev of theEAST-WEST team. “To bypass such pre-eminent and famous teams- it'sgreat! It was possible to achieve success through training with anexperienced and famous yachtsman- Konstantin Besputin. Before, we did alot of things a little bit wrong. Kostya made fine-tuning a focus of ourteam. And, the results were fantastic. We got two 1sts in eight races-for us it's just super! We will definitely improve further, trainfurther. We hope that in the final we will not look bad.”

    Changes occurred in the crew of MATRYOSHKA. For the first time, LeonidTarasov acted as a helmsman. And, the team immediately took seventhplace- beating many experienced teams.

    “Wonderfultraining programs helped us,” said Leonid Tarasov. “But, of course, westill have to learn a lot more. The first time we race, we tanked and itsucked for us. Now, we were absolutely delighted with our improvements.The steering is cool. Of course, I want to continue skippering andlearning how to go faster. It is good if we manage to keep the lineupthat we had here, along with our coaches- Musikhin and Yuri Popov. Ifeel comfortable with them, they seem to be happy with me, too. Theresult is, of course, from a lot of hard work. And, I understand that Iwill try to improve our performance, somehow. Everything was very calm.Once there was a false start, but that race was canceled!  Thankgoodness. And so, for us, a wonderful stage! We loved Sochi- coolweather, much better than all three previous stages. We will participatein the following regattas and develop!”

    To develop and train is what both Rostov crews are set up for. And theplans and ambitions of Rostovites are very serious; already they plan totake part in the Premier Division of the National Sailing League andwin. The fact that these are not just words, but a specific task isindicated by the serious progress of the teams in the NSL Winter Series.The debutante of the last stage- the crew of the M*SAILING XO Team- hasalready managed to bypass ten strong teams in their second event totake the third place.

    “We trained a lot and prepared for this stage. And, most importantly, wewere mentally/ psychologically tuned,” said Mikhail Poslamovsky, thehelmsman of M*SAILING XO.  “It was mentally difficult, it is very hardto sail calmly and focused when rivals are near you, for me at least. Iwant to do more driving, to learn how to go fast, stay calm, and getahead. But, in general, everything was very positive. I treat this as aworkout, adjusting myself so as not to get upset. Well, it turns out tobe happy sometimes. My team is on fire. We will further develop, trainand achieve results. To more victories!"

    Thesilver medals of the stage were won by the crew of BATTLESHIP I withVladimir Lyubomirov on the steering wheel. Their tally of five 2nds andthree 3rds was by far the most consistent of any team in the regatta. Only a disastrous Race 7 where they posted a 7th ruined their chancesfor the overall regatta win.

    Winning only two races, but keeping very steady top three race results,were the ultimate winners for the third regatta in row- the M*SAILINGTeam from Rostov-on-Don.

    “Probably, it is lady luck or dumb luck, that we manage to wineverything,” commented skipper Andrei Malygin, laughing at himself. “Wetry to stay out of trouble and, hopefully, we try to win further. Thenext stage of the Winter Series will be missed because we are going tothe J/70 races in Monaco- to participate in the famous Primo Cup-Trophee Credit Suisse. In Sochi, there will be only one of our crew -M*SAILING Team XO.”

    The absence of a three-time winner of the NSL Winter Series stages atthe next regatta will give opponents a chance to close the gap on theleaders.  Sailing photo credits- Elena Razin  Russian J/70 Sailing League information   Follow Russian J/70 Class here on Facebook   Follow Russian Yachting Federation here on Facebook   Follow the Russian J/70 Sailing League on Facebook hereAdd to Flipboard Magazine.

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