(Edgartown, MA)— J/Boat teams are always a big part of the action atEdgartown Yacht Club Race Weekend, and this year organizers are puttingout an “A.P.B.” to all J/Fest participants and others who own J/Boats,inviting them to join the fun on Martha’s Vineyard over July 25th to27th, 2019.
The three-day competition starts on Thursday with two days of’Round-the-Buoys (’RTB) racing and finishes on Saturday with a choice ofdistance races: the traditional 56 nautical-mile ’Round-the-Island(’RTI) race and, introduced last year, the 20 nm ’Round-the-Sound (’RTS)race.
Sailors can choose to sail on all three days or just in one or the otherof the distance races. Either way, there’s something for everyone andsomething extra for J/Boat teams in the ‘RTI race. A three-boat team,representing any given yacht club and with PHRF-NE rated entries in morethan one division, qualifies for first-, second-, and third-placetrophies based on best-corrected times. As well, there are top-threeprizes for the best individual corrected time out of all J/Boats in the’RTI.
As one of the smallest boats in the fleet last year, Ira Perry’s(Padanaram, Mass.) J/29 SEEFEST won the best-corrected-time J/Boattrophy in the ’RTI and finished second in his class. Perry has won therace a handful of times since he first sailed it in 2001 and has onlymissed a few years of competing here.
“It’s just spectacular scenery, some of the most beautiful in the area,”said Perry, “and the race is always tactically challenging, especiallyin light air when you need to concentrate on keeping the boat moving,but last year there was plenty of wind, and we were in by 4 p.m.”
Perry added that, as always is the case, the weekend will double as agetaway with his wife and kids, and this year he’s considering joiningthe ’Round-the-Buoys racing if his crew can come in early.
“Edgartown Yacht Club runs a great regatta, and they work hard to makethe experience the best it can possibly be,” said Perry. “The organizersare very accommodating, and they ask for and listen to feedback, makingchanges according to it. You don’t see that happening too often withother regattas.”
Other J/Boat skippers signed up for the ’RTI are Edgartown Race Weekendveterans and past winners Ed Dailey and Richard Egan, entered,respectively, with the J/109 RAPTOR and the J/46 WINGS.
Brand new to the event will be Daniel Heun (Franklin, Mass.) skipperinghis J/122 MOXIEE in both the ’Round-the-Buoys races and the’Round-the-Sound race. Huen has had his boat since 2014, havingprogressed from owning and racing a J/24, to a J/29, and then a J/105.
“When you want a new boat it usually is bigger than the last one,” saidHeun, “and this one (hull #85 at 40 feet) is fit for cruising, withcherry joinery below, a refrigerator, etc., so the first couple ofnights we’ll stay on it on the mooring, and then I’ll move ashore whenmy wife and daughter come in on Friday.”
Heun, a veteran of the Chicago to Mackinac Race, Newport to BermudaRace, Block Island Race Week and other “racer’s races”, says he and hiscrew try to choose at least one weekend regatta each season where thefamilies can be part of the fun.
“Edgartown Race Weekend is perfect, because it’s a long weekend insteadof a week, and it’s in July, so it’s warm,” said Heun. “We’re planningon having good days of racing on Thursday, Friday and Saturday while ourfamilies enjoy the beaches and shopping, and then we’ll have gooddinners ashore with them each evening. We debated doing the ’RTI, butwith the ’RTS we’re assured of getting back by late afternoon, and we’llstill be able to enjoy Edgartown after racing.”
Edgartown Race Weekend divisions are for IRC, ORC, ORR, PHRF-NE(including Spinnaker and Non-Spinnaker), Classic, One-Design, Multihulland Doublehanded boats. ’RTI/’RTS and ‘RTB are scored separately, withtop-three prizes awarded in each class.
Registration deadline for the ’Round-the-Island and ’Round-the Soundraces is Wednesday, July 24, 2019. (Registration deadline for teamsign-up is Monday, July 22.) The entry fee for ’RTS is $125 ($150 afterJuly 6). The fee for the ’RTI is $250.00 ($325 after July 5, 2019).
Registration deadline for the ’Round-the-Buoy races is Tuesday, July 23, 2019. The entry fee for ’RTB is $50 each day.
A Mount Gay-sponsored “Jump-Up” party on Friday night (July 26), andawards on both Friday afternoon and Sunday morning (July 28), round outthe full social schedule.
(Portland, OR)- The 43rd Annual Oregon Offshore International YachtRace, sponsored by Schooner Creek Boatworks, is scheduled to start onMay 9th, 2019. This 193-mile race starts at Buoy 2 off the ColumbiaRiver entrance and finishes at the entrance to Victoria, BC harbor.
So far, there are twenty participants and Corinthian YC Portland isexpecting a few more sign-ups. The entrants so far are the usual who’swho of the Portland sailing community, with some very welcomeparticipants coming from out of the area. A top local boat includesScott Campbell’s beautiful new RIVA, a state of the art J/121, crewed bythe usual group of local rock stars.
In addition to other local regulars, there is Phillip Wampold’s J/92ZAFF RACING, the J/40 VELOCITY skippered by Thomas Keffer, and thePortland J/105 Fleet has a one-design start with three entrants(ABSTRACT, Dennis Sibilla’s ESCAPE ARTIST, and of course FREE BOWL OFSOUP (their 6th time!)!
This year, in conjunction with the Royal Victoria Yacht Club, the eventis featuring the First Annual Cascadia Cup, which will award a trophy tothe competitor with the lowest combined time in the Oregon Offshore andqualifying races of the Swiftsure event.
The Oregon Offshore skippers meeting and raffle will be held at theRogue Brew Pub in Astoria, Oregon on May 8th starting at 6 pm. The racewill start in the morning of May 9th just off Astoria at the opening ofthe Columbia River. This will be another great race in the long historyof the Oregon Offshore. For more Oregon Offshore Race sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(New York, NY)- The Manhattan Yacht Club is proud to host the 20thedition of the Lady Liberty Cup to be sailed June 8th and 9th in NewYork Harbor. Sponsored by the New York Harbor Sailing Foundation, thepurpose of the event is to support and promote amateur women’s sailingin the United States by bringing together top women sailors. The regattawill be raced on identical J/24 sailboats provided by Manhattan YachtClub with races taking place under the watchful gaze of the Statue ofLiberty herself!
All races start and finish from the Honorable William Wall, ManhattanYacht Club’s floating clubhouse anchored in the harbor. This means racescan start upwind or downwind, depending on weather and currentconditions.
Participating teams are encouraged to start sailing on Friday June 7th,the boats will be available for a practice day from 1000 to 1600 hoursand a practice race will be taking place at 1600 hrs.
If you have any questions, please contact the Manhattan Yacht Club at 212-786-3323. For more information and to request entry go to myc.org/racing-home/lady-liberty-regatta. For more Manhattan YC Lady Liberty Cup sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Warsash, England)- Ian Wilson & Marshall King's SOAK RACING startedthe J/70 UK Grand Slam Series in style, winning the opening round ofthe nine-regatta Grand Slam Series. SOAK RACING scored five bullets outof eight races over the two days, including a hat trick on the last day.Second was Doug Struth's DSP, who scored two races wins, as well as twosecond places. Paul Ward's Eat, Sleep. J, Repeat was third, just onepoint ahead of Phil Rees racing Bryn. Ten teams made the top five overthe course of the weekend.
Conditions varied dramatically over the two days, with medium wind onthe first day, followed by a full-on foam-up of 20 knots plus on thesecond day. Air and sea temperature was also a factor, as mid-April isabout as cold as the water gets in the Solent, added to a bittereasterly breeze, it was a weekend for wrapping up and keeping warm.
“The first day was all about keeping your head out of the boat with lotsof gear changing, and the last race the following day, we had 25 knotsof brutally cold easterly wind, I think we pulled 19.8 knots out of theboat downwind,” commented Ian Wilson. “The first day was really hardwork, trying to spot what was coming next, and getting the right side ofthe shifts. Downwind, we were switching from planing to low mode, maybechanging mode up to five times. The last day was tough sailing, freshto frightening, the day started in 16 knots and it built from there, to20 knots in the second race, and the last race was filled withaggression. To be honest there were a few boats on the ears, beginningto struggle with the conditions, and the freezing conditions were likebeing slapped in the face with a plate glass – it was sharp, brutaleven, when ever a wave came over the boat. It was great for us to havedone all that training in Monaco during the winter, but with the bestJ/70 sailors coming to Torbay for the worlds later this year, we knowthat on current performance, we would struggle to make the top 20. Agreat start to the season but we have a lot to do.”
Black Championship Report
In the IRC 1 Class, Tony Mack’s J/111 McFLY is sitting in third place inthe two weekend series. The J/109s are doing well in IRC 2 Class, withSimon Perry’s JIRAFFE in 2nd and Mike & Susie Yates’ JAGO in 4th. Inthe J/109 Class, Perry’s JIRAFFE leads, followed by the Yates’ JAGO in2nd and David Richards’ JUMPING JELLYFISH in third position.
Black Group Report
In IRC 2 Class, Simon Perry’s J/109 JIRAFFE continues to hold on to 2ndplace. But, with toss races getting factored in, it is Charles Ivill’sJ/112E DAVANTI TYRES that has raced up the ladder to now sit in thebronze position.
Despite not having sailed races 3 & 4, David Greenhalgh’s J/92 J’RONIMO is now sitting in fourth place in IRC 3 class.
With six races, the J/88 Class continues to see Gavin Howe’s TIGRIStopping the class with all bullets for 5 pts. Now that “toss races” arefactored in, Dirk & Dianne Van Beek’s SABRIEL JR still hold on to2nd place, while Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR hangs on to third position.
The J/109s have six races counting. Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE continues tolead with 7 pts, winning their fourth race last weekend. ChrisBurleigh’s JYBE TALKIN stays in second with 18 pts, third is RobCotterill’s MOJO RISIN with 20 pts. The balance of the top five is JohnSmart’s JUKE BOX in 4th and the Royal Air Force Sailing Association’sRED ARROW in 5th position.
The J-Sprit class still sees Gavin Howe’s J/88 TIGRIS leading. In fact,J/88s occupy the entire top five! SABRIEL JR is 2nd, Kirsty &David Apthorp’s J/88 J-DREAM is 3rd, Tim Tolcher’s RAGING BULL is 4th,and Richard Cooper’s JONGLEUR is 5th. Sailing photo credits- Andrew Adams/ CloseHauled Photograph Follow the Warsash Spring Series on Facebook here For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(San Francisco, CA)- The 2019 edition of the World Sailing Nations Cupwas sailed on a fleet of matched J/22s on San Francisco Bay, hosted bythe St Francis Yacht Club. The event is emblematic of the world sailingchampionship for Open and Women’s match racing teams. In the end, theFrench dominated nearly from beginning to end, despite the best effortsof truly world-class American teams like StFYC’s own Nicole Breault! Here is what took place day-to-day in this remarkable event.
Day 1- All Bullets for American Breault and the French (Courtois and Mesnil)
It was picket fences for both French teams– top-ranked Women’s skipperPauline Courtois and Open Division skipper Maxime Mesnil, as well asdefending Nations Cup Women’s Champion Nicole Breault (USA) after thefirst day of racing.
Competition commenced with 10 women’s division teams from around theworld facing off in round robin format on two east-west race courses.Ripples of current snaking across the courses made for challengingconditions for first-timers to San Francisco Bay sailing. “It was reallydifficult with the current, but my team did a really good job,” saidCourtois, of her Match in Pink Normandy Elite Team of Maelenn Lemaitre,Loise Acker and Sophie Faguet. “We had really good, close matches indifficult conditions. There were no surprises, but it is important tokeep focused and watch the water and the current.”
Anna Östling (SWE) currently in third place with three wins echoed thesentiment to stay focused: “Our first race with [Juliana] Senfft (BRA)we had a penalty at the start and were able to wipe it and give her oneright at the finish line. It was one of those races where you think,think, think and finally get the win.”
“It was a really fun start to the event,” she added. “This is the kind of sailing we love.”
Defending Women’s Champion, and Bay local, Nicole Breault, raved aboutthe caliber and tightness of competition. “You have to capitalize ontheir mistakes, because they’re capitalizing on yours.”
Asked if she had any unforgettable moments on the racecourse today, sherecalled her match against fellow USA skipper, Allie Blecher.
“We were trailing around the leeward mark, but really close. We rolledinto a tack, got our bow forward and I realized we’d rolled over ourspinnaker sheets.” With the drag of the sheets slowing them down duringthe short second beat, Breault’s bow Hannah Burroughs was all over thedeck recovering and retying them. “We rounded, tucked to the inside, gotcontrol of them, and had the most perfect spinnaker set. We ended uppassing them and winning the race.”
The morning’s light northerly winds eventually clocked to the west andbuilt to the high teens delivering more robust afternoon conditions forthe nine Open Division teams. The tail end of a strong flood tide pushedcompetitors close to shore seeking relief and moments of lift inreversing ebb. This made for fantastic viewing from StFYC’s clubhouse ofa series of dial-downs between David Rae (RSA) and Henrique Haddad(BRA) in a match ultimately won by Haddad. By day’s end, the ebb hadshortened the average match times from 16 minutes to 11, noted WorldSailing’s Technical Director and PRO David Campbell-James.
“We had a very nice day,” said Maxime Mesnil (FRA), sailing with MatchIn Black Normandy Elite Team members Hugo Feydit, Yann Chateau andYves-Marie Pilon. “Last week we were at Congressional Cup and today wehad more wins than all of last week. It was a very good start to theevent.” A neck-and-neck match against Pearson Potts (USA) had spectatorsout of their seats as the two boats rounded the windward mark, raisedtheir chutes for the downwind with Mesnil quickly luffing Potts to thenorth, their hulls careening wildly in the building seas. “I thought Ihad a penalty,” Mesnil explained, “So I was trying to penalize him, butmy team said no, we are fine.” Eventually bearing off, Mesnil sent itfor the finish line and squeaked out the win.
Tomorrow, he’ll be up against Haddad, who also had a strong day, andEttore Botticini (ITA) who’s hoping for more wins than he scored duringhis first day sailing in San Francisco. “Today was hard. We lost, notthe most important matches, but the ones we wanted to win,” he said. “Weimproved a lot through the day, but tomorrow we need to do better.”
Day 2- Mesnil Leads Open Division, Breault Undefeated in Women’s
Maxime Mesnil (FRA) dominated the Open Division during the second day ofracing. In the Women’s Division Nicole Breault (USA) and PaulineCourtois (FRA) continued to rack up wins through the afternoon, sailinginto a late afternoon face-off with seven wins each; the eighth wasBreault’s.
Mesnil opened the day winning a tight race against Henrique Haddad(BRA), who’s standing at second place after completing Stage 1 of theround robin. In a morning plagued by a delayed start, fluky wind andunpredictable current on the Cityfront course at St. Francis Yacht Club,Mesnil went on to display smooth, economic boat handling skills as hebattled with Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZ) and Ettore Botticini (ITA). Mesnilwon against the Kiwis, but stalled out in a twist of luck againstBotticini, who managed to hang onto the edge of a wind line and finishfirst, keeping him in the running as they head into day three of racing.
“We had a very good day and we sailed fast,” said Mesnil. “We lost that match, but we won the stage.”
Haddad, who hasn’t match raced since the 2013 Nations Cup and is sailingwith a tactician, Leonardo Lombardi, who’s never match raced in hislife, said the opportunity to sail on San Francisco Bay outweighed theuncertainty of how they might do. “We’re very pleased with ourperformance,” he said, adding, “It’s not done yet.”
James Hodgson (AUS), now sitting at third place, opened the day with aloss to David Rae (RSA) followed by two wins, one against his Kiwineighbors. “They beat us at our last event, the Hardy Cup in Sydney, soit was definitely good to get one up on them,” said Hodgson, who notedthat the racing has been consistently close, “which you expect at anevent like this. No race is easy. Usually we have a couple where we cankeep it simple and win on speed. No one here is taking it easy.”
Breault went into the day knowing she’d be up against the top-rankedskippers at the competition and was hoping to lock in at least two wins.“We raced Anna Östling in the second match and I knew it was going tobe huge. It was getting windy. We were able to luff her in the pre-startand timed it perfectly, holding it just long enough so she had to peeloff to port and we were able to start ahead. On that upwind, we feltready for the breeze. We were hiking really hard, trimming in sync andwe felt really fast,” recounted Breault, who’s defending her Nations Cuptitle against women she emphasizes are just plain good. “The boathandling and pre-start action has been phenomenal.”
Up against Courtois, Breault said, “Pauline had control of us in thebeginning,” but, “we had an awesome set, shot downwind, no engagementand it turned into a drag race.”
Courtois went on to win her remaining matches and sits at second place.Östling, poised at third place and one win up on Allie Blecher (USA) andJuliana Senfft (BRA), said, “We need to stay on our toes.”
Day 3- Courtois Leads Women, Anyone’s Game in the Open Division
Pauline Courtois (FRA) ran a picket fence during Day 3 of racing. NicoleBreault (USA), went into the day’s racing undefeated, but suffered aloss to Anna Östling (SWE) in the first match, going on to win againstAllie Blecher (USA), Juliana Senfft (BRA) and Clare Costanzo (AUS). Thetwo leaders then faced off in the day’s final flight, with Courtoisbesting Breault.
In the Open Division, Maxime Mesnil (FRA) and James Hodgson (AUS) eachhave a 3-1 score line, but it remains anyone’s game as racing continuesin the double round robin tomorrow.
Day 3 dawned with a repechage for four Open Division teams and fiveWomen’s teams, all competing for the chance to continue racing in Stage3. Those two coveted spots were taken by Costanzo in the Women’sDivision and Nick Egnot-Johnson (NZ) in the Open Division.
As a testament to just how close the sailing has been, the Women’sDivision teams from Australia, Sweden, Finland, South Africa and GreatBritain swapped wins and losses, resulting in an unbreakable three-waytie. Stage 1 standings came into play, allowing Costanzo to advance andleaving Johanna Bergqvist and Marinella Laaksonen on the sidelines forthe remainder of racing at St. Francis Yacht Club.
“It finally feels like we got things under control and now it’s notenough,” said Bergqvist, who lost her first race of the day then had afantastic comeback in a match against Laaksonen in which they battledtack for tack to the windward mark, rounding and setting in sync.Bergqvist, slightly behind and to port, was able to push Laaksonen offto the north enough to come ahead in the gybe and lay the finish in abeautiful bit of boat handling.
Bergqvist, Costanzo and Laaksonen with three wins each, all went on towin one against each other, creating an unbreakable tie settled in favorof Costanzo due to her higher ranking from Stage 1.
Excited to have the opportunity to continue competing, Costanzo calledthe next stage a “redemption round,” saying that she’d had close raceswith all the top women she would now face again.
“This morning, it was everything to lose and now it’s everything to win,” said her sister, Juliet Costanzo, who sails with her.
The Open Division raced a knock-out round, with Ettore Botticini (ITA)beating Kohei Ichikawa (JPN) 2-1 and Egnot-Johnson beating David Rae(RSA) 2-0, then going on to nab two more bullets against Botticini toadvance to Stage 3.
Egnot-Johnson echoed the sentiment that the racing has been incrediblyeven and close. “Anyone could win this regatta,” he said. With minimalexperience racing J/22s in the breeze-on conditions of San FranciscoBay, during Stage 3 he managed to score wins against front-runner Mesniland Pearson Potts (USA). Potts had a string of losses but scored oneagainst Open Division defending champion Vladimir Lipavsky (RUS), whohad a sluggish day on the water with just one win against HenriqueHaddad (BRA).
Day 4- French Sweep Nations Cup Grand Final
Pauline Courtois (FRA) and Maxime Mesnil (FRA) took top honorsrespectively in the Women’s and Open Divisions at World Sailing’sNations Cup Grand Final, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in SanFrancisco, CA.
Courtois and her Match in Pink by Normandy Elite Team of MaelennLemaitre, Loise Acker and Sophie Faguet opened the day with a 2-0 leadover Anna Östling (SWE). Östling scored a crucial point in their firstmatch and kept the pressure on Courtois, but in their fourth and finalrace, Courtois was able to pour on enough speed to clear a penalty justbefore crossing the finish line a few boat lengths ahead of Östling.
Meanwhile, Nicole Breault (USA) sailed two strong races with commandingleads against Juliana Senfft (BRA) earning her spot in the final.
Close racing ruled the Open Division from the end of the semifinals allthe way through the last match of the day. Mesnil’s Match in Black byNormandy Elite Team of Hugo Feydit, Yann Chateau, Yves-Marie Pilonscored two against Pearson Potts (USA), getting back in the game aftertwo early losses in the semifinals. James Hodgson (AUS) locked in anearly win versus Henrique Haddad (BRA) and the two went into theirsecond race of the day neck and neck around the course, sailing cleanerthan the previous day. On the second downwind leg, Hodgson had asmoother set to the chute and galloped into the lead, but Haddad managedto close the gap. Both gybed solidly to lay a photo finish, with thepoint going to Haddad. The four Open Division teams sailed a fifthflight, tucking tightly to shore along the south end of the course toseek relief from the strong flood current. Mesnil and Haddad bothmanaged to gain control and hold it steady during the downwind legs tocross first ahead of Potts and Hodgson, respectively.
In the Final Round Mesnil bested Haddad 3-1. Courtois kept up the speedin her battles with Breault, who tore a spinnaker in a very close firstmatch giving Courtois the opportunity to attack from leeward, luff herand offset a penalty she’d picked up earlier. Breault was never able toscratch ahead enough to score a point and Courtois won it 3-0.
“It was a good fight. We didn’t make it easy, but they owned us,” saidBreault, who was racing with the same Team Vela members Molly Carapiet,Karen Loutzenheiser and Hannah Burroughs from 2015 Nations Cup,defending their Women’s Championship title. “The losses live with you,but we can’t wait to do battle again,” she said.
Courtois had only praise for her rival, Breault, recalling that “fouryears ago we were in the Nations Cup Final in Vladivostok, Russiaagainst them, and we lost 3-1; so to win these three races today wasincredible,” she said. “It’s an amazing place to sail.”
Mesnil said the matches against Haddad were tricky, but the elevatedwind conditions helped put his team on the podium, which he’s delightedto be sharing with “the women’s team, who are our training partners.”
“A nation wins the Nations Cup,” said Michael O’Connor, Nations CupWorking Party Chair in World Sailing. “Many of the countries who cameare emerging nations in match racing- we want to build a platform forit.”
Haddad concurred that the event helps the sport in general. “We startedin match racing 12 years ago because we had the Nations Cup in Brazil,”he said, thanking his team for coming together to compete once again.
Östling and Senfft finished third and fourth respectively, with Östlingscoring two points in quick succession during the petit-finals. Hodgsonand Potts battled for a medal in the Open Division, with Hodgson beatinghim 2-0 to finish third overall.
“Brazil sailed better than us and deserved the spot,” said Hodgson.“We’re super happy with how we sailed today. These were the most funmatches of the regatta for us, my crew was really on and we’re gratefulto the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia for supporting us and St.Francis Yacht Club for hosting us.”
“We’re pleased with how racing played out and entertained viewers in andaround the club. What was unique about the venue was the public hadcommanding view of the racing – all the tactics and execution werevisible to everybody, whether you were a junior or a match racechampion, you could learn from watching,” said Regatta Chair BruceStone. “One of the challenges of the final day of racing was the currentand who could get in to the rocks first. The tide charts were notaccurate due to snowmelt from the Sierra Mountains and outflow fromOroville Dam. While we short-tack the shore often here, I’ve never seenit done so tightly in all my years here."
Photos by Chris Ray – team photos, videos from drone, and all days up to Saturday:
Photos by Leslie Richter from Sunday, the final day of racing:
Photos by Gerard Sheridan of awards ceremony:
Photos and video by Gerard Sheridan of each day of racing:
For more J/22 World Sailing Nations Cup sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Greenwich, CT)- The J/121 EAGLE recently went tuning and testing on Long Island Sound. Here is what owner Steven Levy from New York said about their day,
"It was a remarkable afternoon. What the picture does not tell you, isthat there was 12-13 knots of breeze just above the surface. With the 3headsails triple-slotting, we were sailing at 8.8 to 9.5 knots onglass-like water, ideal for water skiing! Spectacular sailing!" Add to Flipboard Magazine.
(Charleston, SC)- No question, there is no more picturesque sight thanCharleston Harbor during the SPERRY Charleston Race Week regatta thatbrings international recognition to the historic city. A fleet of almost260 sailboats in 18 different classes took over almost every inch ofthe Cooper River and was truly a sight to behold all weekend-long. Withseven different race courses set in various pockets of CharlestonHarbor, a spectator viewing from land could see colorful billowing sailseverywhere they looked! And, what a spectacle it was for threestraight days of sailing.
It is not hard to see why over 115 J/Teams enjoyed their annual springpilgrimage down to this jewel in the deep South. No one could complain,three straight days of good weather, good breezes, plenty of sun, andrandom squalls on Sunday to spice things up a bit!
The regatta featured six one-design J/Classes, including J/22s, J/24s,J/70s, J/80s, J/88s, and J/105s. In addition, there were two“Pursuit-style” sailing divisions for both PHRF and ORC handicap ratedboats that includes a J/30, J/35, J/109s, J/111s, J/120s and a J/122.
Day 1- Beautiful Southeasters!
The weekend got off to a rip-roaring start with south-southeasterlywinds ranging from 10 to 20 knots, allowing organizers to complete fourraces for most of the classes doing windward-leeward courses.
There was some great action on the inside courses with the wind shiftingwildly at times and a short squall wreaking some havoc then causingconditions to change significantly.
Class newcomer Buddy Cribb sailed VICTORY into the early lead in theJ/70 class, largest of the regatta with 56 boats. Barr Batzer was aboardas tactician while Scott Ewing (headsail trimmer) and Chris Manson-Hing(bow) completed the crew as VICTORY posted a solid score line of 1-3-4.
“We got good starts, we went the right way and we went fast. We alsodidn’t do anything too risky,” said Cribb, a resident of Jupiter,Florida.
Cribb had been sailing in the Etchells class for 15 years and suddenlydecided to “give something different a try.” The Coral Reef Yacht Clubmember has about nine regattas under his belt and has clearly climbedthe learning curve quite quickly.
J/70 class leaders have requested just three races per day and VICTORYholds a two-point lead over Joel Ronning and the CATAPULT team goinginto Saturday’s action.
“This is a really tough fleet, so we’ll see if we can keep it going,”said Cribb, whose last appearance at Sperry Charleston Race Week cameabout eight years ago with the Etchells.
Mike Bruno has been bringing his J/88 WINGS to Sperry Charleston RaceWeek for several years and has never come away victorious– not even arunner-up finish or, for that matter, anywhere near the podium! TheArmonk, New York native is hoping his team’s success on Friday is a goodomen as WINGS began the regatta with results of 2-2-1 before ablown-out spinnaker led to a fifth in Race 4.
“We had really good starts and really good boat speed,” Bruno said. “Ourboat tends to be quicker in a breeze so we were glad to see thevelocity increase as the day went along.”
Bruno said Wings was overlapped with EXILE and SPACEMAN SPIFF at thefinish of the two races it placed second. “For some reasons I’ve beenjinxed in this regatta. Hopefully, things will finally come togetherthis year,” he said.
Warrior Sailing 1, skippered by Sammy Hodges, grabbed the early lead inthe J/22 class after winning two races and placing second in two others.Navy veteran Ruben Munoz (jib) and Army veteran Troy Rasmussen (main)are the warriors aboard the boat.
“This is my first time competing here at Charleston and it was reallycool out there,” Munoz said. “We worked really well together as a team,which was great to see.”
College of Charleston sailor Carson Shields worked the bow aboardWarrior Sailing 1, which benefitted from doing two practice sessions onThursday. “I’m so impressed with the improvement Ruben and Troy made inthe span of just one day on the boat,” Hodges said.
On the offshore Hybrid Pursuit classes, the ORC Class A, B and C entrieshad a light start to the day– taking more than three hours to completethe 7.4-mile out-bound course due to the flood current and light airunder eight knots.
Despite the light air and challenging conditions, the Pursuit Raceconcept seemed to work across the wide variety of boat types in thisdivision– ranging from Victor Wild’s speedy TP52 Fox to MilesMartschink’s J/105– because the racing in corrected time was also closewith the top eight places in Race 1 within one minute.
Robin Team, a multi-time Palmetto Trophy winner, led the J/122 TEAMWORKto victory in both races on Friday. Team said the return race intoCharleston Harbor, which began with a fleet start, was approximately 9 ½miles due to a windward jaunt to a drop mark.
“We’re primarily accustomed to doing windward-leeward courses around thebuoys so this point-to-point racing was a little different for us, but afun challenge for our crew,” Team said.
Team credited tactician Jonathan Bartlett with making some“extraordinary calls” during the Pursuit Race into the Atlantic Ocean.“That, coupled with Kevin Ryman’s great navigation, gave us a leg up onthe race out,” said Team, who praised his brother Adam for doing an“incredible job” of trimming the spinnaker during the race back into theharbor, which was primarily a downwind affair.
Day 2- Sunny, Breezy Southerly, Again?!
Charleston Harbor was pretty much becalmed as sailors made their way tothe docks on Saturday morning. Some of the professional tacticiansencouraged event director Randy Draftz to post an onshore postponementin order to give the sea breeze time to fill in.
However, Draftz has been running Sperry Charleston Race Week for a longtime and knows the conditions here better than anyone. He decided tosend the 257-boat fleet out on time, but instructed principal raceofficers on all seven circles to error on the side of caution. “We’drather have one good race than three bad ones,” Draftz said.
It turns out concerns about the wind velocity were unfounded. In typicalCharleston fashion, the breeze built throughout the day and organizersgot in four races again on Saturday- two light air starts in the morningfollowed by two medium breeze starts in the afternoon. Mostimportantly, all the racing was fair and gave the sailors quality racingin the challenging venue.
“It was a very challenging day on the water,” said Pamela Rose, skipperof the J/70 ROSEBUD. “I give my crew a lot of credit for having theability to tune the boat accurately for the changing conditions.”
Joel Ronning and his CATAPULT crew had a dominant day within the J/70fleet. Ronning steered CATAPULT to victory in all four races, anextremely difficult accomplishment considering the caliber ofcompetition.
“It was a really fun day to say the least,” said Ronning, who went rightback on the water for an evening sail with his daughter and girlfriend.
Class veteran Victor Diaz De Leon was calling tactics on CATAPULT withCharleston local Patrick Wilson trimming the headsails and ChristopherStocke working the bow. Factor in a win to close out Friday’s action andCatapult has posted five straight bullets en route to a low score of 14points.
“One thing about this team is that we have a tremendous amount of funtogether. It’s a very harmonious group,” said Ronning, who captured J/70class and earned the Charleston Race Week Cup in 2017. “Victor Diaz is abrilliant tactician and the communication on the boat is tremendous.Patrick and Christopher are fantastic about feeding information toVictor.”
ROSEBUD held second place in J/70 class, 19 points behind CATAPULT andsix ahead of VICTORY (Buddy Cribb). This was Rose’s third time at SperryCharleston Race Week and this is the highest she has been in J/70class.
“I love coming to Charleston because it’s such a dynamite venue. This isby far the best results I’ve had in this regatta and it’s because Ihave such a great crew,” Rose said.
Lucas Calabrese, part of the 2018 J/70 World Championship crew, iscalling tactics for the Chicago & Florida owner along with Jud Smith(the 2018 J/70 World Champion skipper). “It’s really tough out there,so you have to keep your head out of the boat and work hard to stay inphase,” Calabrese said.
SHENANIGANS, sailed by the husband and wife tandem of Bill and ShannonLockwood, had set a strong pace in J/80 class- getting the gun in fiveof eight starts. The Annapolis boat has a couple seconds and a third fora low score of nine points, but was still just three clear of thesecond place boat. ELEVEN, another Annapolis entry skippered by BertCarp, had also posted a steady string of top three finishes highlightedby three bullets.
Carter White and his crew on YouREGATTA had put forth a masterfulperformance in J/24 class, winning six straight races after beginningthe regatta with a second. White, who hails from Portland, Maine, hadbuilt an eight-point lead on LEVEL PELICAN (Crisp McDonald).
Day 3- Spectacular, Blustery Finale
The regatta concluded in spectacular fashion with strong winds producingexciting action and several classes being decided during the last race.
The J/88 class saw the battle go right down to the wire in the finalrace. Mike Bruno said following Friday’s racing that he’d been jinxed atSperry Charleston Race Week, suffering problems that prevented podiumfinishes in 2018 and 2017. He thought his bad luck would be extendedwhen WINGS was ruled on-course-side in Race 9 and had to restart.
“We came into the day saying we were going to be conservative and notmake any mistakes. Then, we got tangled up with another boat at thestart and right out of the gate we were over early,” said Bruno, who didmanage to battle back to finish sixth in the 10-boat fleet. “We werepretty glum going into the last race. I thought we’d blown it again.” At that point, Bruno’s WINGS team had dropped into 2nd place, two pointsback from the lead.
However, there was a happy ending as WINGS redeemed itself big-time inRace 10, which was held in 20-25 knot south-southwesterly winds withgusts approaching 30 kts. WINGS basically had to win the race and hopefor the best, letting the chips fall where they may. After rough goingon the first weather leg, WINGS rounded the first weather mark in sixth,then moved up a couple places by the downwind rounding. Bruno and crewturned it on from there, passing the remaining three boats to get thegun in a cloud of spray on the final, full-on, planing-mode run into thedownwind finish line.
That victory in the final start of the three-day regatta gave WINGS atwo-point victory over ALBONDINGAS (Justin Scagnelli, West Nyack, NY),leading Bruno to breathe a huge sigh of relief. Third was Rob Ruhlman’sfamily crew on SPACEMAN SPIFF from Cleveland, OH.
“What an exciting way to win a regatta. To come from behind like thatwas thrilling and I feel fantastic,” Bruno said. “We like heavy air, sowe were really happy when the breeze really came on for that last race.It was really exhilarating blasting downwind in planing mode and passingboat after boat.”
Bruno noted the average age of his crew is 60, with bow man JonathanAsch checking in at 66. Stuart Johnstone called tactics, Chris Morgantrimmed the main, while Steve Lopez and Tim Randall teamed to trim theheadsails aboard Wings.
TEAMWORK, a J/122 owned by Robin Team of Lexington, North Carolina,earned the Palmetto Trophy for the fifth time at Sperry Charleston RaceWeek! Jonathan Bartlett called tactics on TEAMWORK, which won all sixraces in ORC B class on the Hybrid Pursuit course.
“We’ve been coming to Charleston for a long time and we absolutely lovethis regatta,” said Team, whose previous Palmetto Trophy wins were astop PHRF entry. Now TEAMWORK has another one for their trophy shelf forbest performance among ORC entries after duking it out with the J/111SITELLA (Ian Hill, Chesapeake, VA).
“We had a great time mixing it up with Sitella, which is alwayswell-sailed,” Team said. “We had the boat well-prepped and dialed infrom the beginning, while our crew work was incredible once again.”
Joel Ronning and his CATAPULT crew secured a surprisingly convincingvictory in J/70 class. Victor Diaz De Leon served as tactician onCATAPULT, which won six of nine races in posting a low score of 20points– 20 better than runner-up ROSEBUD (Pamela Rose, Aventura, FL). Third went to Cribb’s VICTORY, fourth to Henry Brauer’s RASCAL and fifthto John & Molly Baxter’s TEAM VINEYARD VINES.
“We had some really fortunate breaks this week. There is nothing likehaving luck on your side. Sometimes the karma is with you and this isone of those instances,” said Ronning, a resident of Excelsior,Minnesota. “I’ve always loved sailing in Charleston and this year’sregatta was an awful lot of fun.”
Diaz De Leon joined the team about six months ago and Ronning has beenimpressed by the way he’s blended in with holdovers Christopher Stocke(bow) and Patrick Wilson (headsail trimmer).
“Our team communication is the strongest I’ve ever seen on a boat. We’vebeen clicking really well together and the chemistry is the best it’sever been on the boat,” Ronning said. “Victor was getting greatinformation from Chris and Patrick and was really on fire this week interms of making the calls.”
CarterWhite skippered YouREGATTA to the most dominant victory of 2019 SperryCharleston Race Week, winning seven straight races in J/24 class afterplacing second in Friday’s opener. YouREGATTA did not start Race 9 andstill finished 12 points clear of Level Pelican (Crisp McDonald(Charleston, S.C.). Third was Cameron Rylance’s THAT’LL DO PIG.
Molly White worked the bow for her husband, who has been racing a J/24for more than two decades. Michael McAllister called tactics, TedWiedeke trimmed the spinnaker while Chris Lombardo trimmed the genoa.
“It’s really about our team. We’ve been sailing together for four yearsand do five to six major regattas a year,” said White, who hails fromPortland, Maine. “We have a routine that really works and puts us in adifferent league. Our consistency and ability to adapt to changingconditions is crucial. We had to shift gears constantly and our crew iscapable of doing that.”
SHENANIGANS came away as winner of J/80 class following a tightthree-way battle with fellow Annapolis entry ELEVEN (Bert Carp). ShannonLockwood steered while her father Bill trimmed the main. Jeff Toddhandled headsails while his daughter Cassie worked the bow.
“We had a great battle with Bert, who we race against on Thursday nightsin Annapolis,” said Shannon Lockwood, who was a member of the keelboatteam at St. Mary’s College. “I thought our team handled the boat welland paid attention to the puffy and shifty conditions. We were alsoconservative and smart with our maneuvers. It’s always cool to win,especially at such a major regatta like Charleston so we’re superpsyched.”
Warrior Sailing 1, skippered by Sammy Hodges, led from start to finishin J/22 class – winning five races and having the luxury of skipping thelast. Navy veteran Ruben Munoz (jib) and Army veteran Troy Rasmussen(main) were the warriors aboard the boat. “Tiger Woods won the Masterstoday, but that doesn’t even compare to what we did,” Munoz saidproudly. “We came here to have fun and learn so winning is icing on thecake.”
This was the first sailing experience for Rasmussen, who gave credit toHodges for helming and coaching at the same time. “Sammy was awesomeabout keeping us on point and teaching all the little nuances,” he said.
Finally on the last day of competition the wind gods permitted the ORCHybrid Pursuit entries to enjoy the intended three-race daily format: amorning pursuit distance race from the harbor to the offshore coursearea, followed by a windward-leeward buoy race, and ending with anotherdistance race to the harbor.
“This Hybrid Pursuit style was well received by all the boats and we enjoyed it,” Team said.
Principal race officer added a second windward-leeward race to make upfor the fact Saturday’s Hybrid Pursuit was abandoned. ORC D was won bySKIMMER, a locally-based J/105 team led by Miles Martschink and BenHagood.
“This was our first experience with ORC racing,” said Tucker, “and withsome more measurements we probably could have optimized our rating alittle better. Yet on the whole we thought the ratings were fair.”
A pair of Charleston entries came out on top on the regular Pursuit Racecourses with Wadmalaw Island resident Bill Hanckel skippering his J/120EMOCEAN to a two-point victory in Spinnaker PHRF A. Third were “thekids”, the College of Charleston Sailing Team racing the beautifullyrestored J/36 SOUL. Sailing photo credits- Nancy Bloom / Priscilla Parker / TimWilkes.com / Photoboat.com-Alan Clark. For more Charleston Race Week sailing informationAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Cleveland, OH)- Speaking of kids, the J/34 IOR KNEE DEEP, sailed by a family inCleveland, OH, is up to their usual fun and games sailing on Lake Erie. And, the kids areimportant participants on their family sailing team! Enjoy their latest “pre-season” video from owner Brett LangolfAdd to Flipboard Magazine.
(Charleston, SC)- A "Public Service Announcement" from a kid- by Lily Flack and friends on a J/70 that sailed in Charleston Race Week.Watch sailing video above for fun and games from the kids in Charleston
Sailing is the most varied and diverse sport, offering something foreveryone to enjoy. But for youth sailors, their involvement is oftenlimited to age-based boats and competitions. While these providetremendous experiences, if that is all they know, it isn’t enough tofully grasp the sport. Or worse, it doesn’t connect with them and theymove on.
Sixteen year old Lily Flack has a message for her age group, but first she has a story to share…
"It was the final J/70 race on the last day of Charleston Race Week, andour youth team was on the last downwind leg. We all knew we weretowards the front of the fleet, thinking we were maybe top 10 at best.
We gybed out early around the windward mark to clear our breeze from theboats behind us, and while we were still in displacement mode, we sawsome big pressure coming up from behind us. I took a look over myshoulder to see the puff was coming fast, prompting the call for LucasMasciello, our floater, to get the jib out.
I started to count down in my head. Once it got closer, I yelled 3… 2…1… and had timed the puff perfectly. We were immediately up on a planeand our skipper Gannon Troutman called for weight back to keep the bowout of the water. Jack Solway, our bowman, ran to the back of the boat(while recording the whole thing) to keep us cruising along. PeterCronin, our spinnaker trimmer, needed an extra hand on the sheet so Ijumped on and helped him out.
All of our eyes were locked on the speedometer to watch the numbersclimb… 10 knots, 12 knots, 14 knots. At this point, we were allscreaming and having such a blast that only one of us realized we hadtopped out at 16.5 knots in boat speed.
None of us knew a J/70 could go that fast, until then. We later declaredafter watching the video below that explicit language is allowed over15 knots of boat speed. Overall, we steadily improved our boat handlingand tactical calls throughout the regatta to secure a 5th place finishin the last race of the event. We hope to see more kids join us on therace course for the next J/70 regatta!” Thanks for story from Scuttlebutt Sailing.com.Add to Flipboard Magazine.
Three decades and many owners later, these utilitarian 35-Footers remain true to their calling. Sailing World’s David Powlison provides us a unique insight into the popular offshore class.
“It’s been more than three decades since I last set foot on a J/35, butwalking down the docks at the County Marina in Cheboygan, Michigan, I’mfeeling, as Yogi Berra once famously said, “déjà vu all over again.”Among the marina’s slips are 13 survivors of the one-design sportboatinvasion: battle-worn J/35s and their owners gathered 15 miles southeastof Mackinac Island for the class’s 2018 North American Championship.
There’s no mistaking the J/35 with its big overlapping genoa and aweather rail stacked with crew, just as designer Rod Johnstone intendedit to be. Yes, a number of the boats have bits of modern gear; carbontillers and spinnaker poles, new instrumentation, laminate sails andmodern lines. It all seems cosmetic. With boats, especially, age isimpossible to mask. The copious hardware mounted about the deck, thebeefy rod rigging, the unmistakable profile— the J/35 is, without adoubt, a product of the 1980s.
As I study which halyards lead to where, it’s obvious this championship will require me to tap a skill set from years past.
With the symmetric spinnaker, there are sheets and guys and their lazycounterparts— a far cry from the simplicity of the modern asymmetric.Gigantic overlapping headsails take a lot longer to grind home after atack than the non-overlapping jibs used on newer boats. Then, there’sthe task of choreographing 10 people every time something happens. Aconsistent crew is prized among owners, especially when racing on thechampionship’s short, labor-intensive, windward-leeward courses.
I’ve been invited to join Greg Whipple, from Grand Blanc, Michigan, andhis crew aboard Whiplash. Whipple races in the Detroit area, and thecrew delivered the boat north as part of the Port Huron to Mackinac Racetwo weeks earlier, which is the case for other teams from Detroit. TheChicago-area fleet used the Chicago to Mackinac Race as its feeder toCheboygan.
Whipple has been in the class for a long time; but for this event, mostof his crew are new to the boat. He walks us through maneuvers as wemotor out of the harbor for the first race of the series. Once sails areup, with the wind spiking into the upper teens, much of our pre-racetime is consumed by a sail change from the No. 2 jib down to the No. 3.It’s a reminder of how long a sail change takes, even with a rail fullof helping hands.
Thirteen J/35s on the starting line of the 2018 North AmericanChampionship at North Star Sail Club is a testament to the strength ofthe class, its devotees and the timeless nature of the design.
Once racing, we get a good start and hold our own, upwind, before the fun begins.
Across the fleet, foredeck crews are assimilating to an old-world orderat the pointy end. Most newer crews survive the heavy-air spinnakersets, but there’s plenty of chaotic jibing, shrimping and spinnakersflagging aloft.
“Having the same crew is a big deal,” says Bill Wildner, whose boat, Mr.Bill’s Wild Ride, is always the one to beat. If there were a reward forhaving the most seasoned crew, he would’ve won that too. His youngest,newest crewmember joined the squad 14 years ago. The crew’s age rangegoes from Mike Zanella, 67, to Eric Weston, who joined the team 26 yearsago, when he was 16.
“I’m very fortunate I’ve had the same guys stick with me— and it’s notjust for sailing,” Wildner says. “ We have a blast the rest of the timeas well.”
The wind moderates the second day and eventually fades to a whimper onthe third and final day. The Whiplash crew, and most of those on otherboats that struggled the first day, hit their stride, and crew workdramatically improves. The race committee delivers nine races over threedays, which amounts to 18 spinnaker sets and drops. That’s enough tomake veterans of any crew in one weekend.
As with any grassroots regatta, the overarching social experiencetranscends the racing itself. The Whiplash crew meets regularly forbreakfast at Alice’s Restaurant, a great dive with a menu a mile long.Coincidentally, Cheboygan, a city with fewer than 5,000 full-timeresidents, is hosting a music festival the same weekend as the regatta.Bands play from early afternoon and well into the evening, and for thethirsty sailors, there’s the Cheboygan Brewing Co., which has beenserving suds since 1882.
The biggest draw to this year’s championship, however, is theomnipresence of designer Rod Johnstone. At 81, Johnstone still sails hisown J/35 in Maine. He might not be as quick on his feet as he once was,but his stories and enthusiastic wit make him the star of the show.
Dean Fitzpatrick, the mastermind behind the North American Championship,remembers calling Johnstone’s house one Thanksgiving morning. “His wifeanswered and said she was making dinner for him and their kids,”Fitzpatrick says. “But, she put him on the phone anyway, and when I toldhim about the event and that we hoped he’d attend, he said, withouthesitation, ‘I’ll do it!’”
He didn’t just show up to shake hands though. For the final day ofracing, he jumped aboard Sheri Dufresne’s Firefly. “It was amazing,” shesays. “He was so giving of his time. We even had him sign the boom.”
Afterward, Johnstone stopped by every boat to chat with owners and signhis name on the interior. The entire Blackhawk crew signed a hat forJohnstone that he wore for the rest of the event. He spent a lot of timewith us aboard Whiplash.
“That was so cool having Rod stop by to talk with us,” Whipple says.“For most of us, it’s likely his visit will be remembered long after theevent itself fades.”
Pulling off an event of this caliber, let alone drawing a fleet of thissize, is a feat. Even with 13 boats, the J/35 class championship is theenvy of many 30‑plus‑year-old one-designs.
The venue had its challenges too: There’s no yacht club, and it’s beingheld in early August, earlier than the traditional September date. And,with the Mackinac races serving as feeders, it’s part of a two-for-oneevent. North Star Sail Club, located down lake in the Detroit area,hosts the event “off-campus,” so to speak, and shuttles race-committeegear, boats and personnel north to make the event successful.
Fitzpatrick no longer sails competitively, but still maintains anunparalleled passion for the J/35, its people and its class association.He regularly corresponds by email with 172 people, which includes 45J/35 owners from: Chicago; Milwaukee; Duluth, Minnesota; Ohio; New York;Annapolis, Maryland; and Toronto. Despite the mountain of work he putsinto this event, he deflects all praise with humility. “I just make thecalls,” he says. But he does acknowledge, “Nothing ever just happens.”
When the J/35 was conceived in the early 1980s, there was no realconsideration of the measurement rules of the time. Johnstone hadanother idea in mind. “As with all of our boats, we worked to create aone-design racer, but it just happened to rate well under IMS,”Johnstone says. Yet, one of the first J/35s ever built won its divisionin the 1984 Bermuda Race.
The J/35 is an offshoot of the J/36, which debuted in 1980. The J/36came fully loaded, with a complete interior, wheel steering, etc., andthe $84,000 price reflected that. “Then the recession hit in 1982,”Johnstone says. “We couldn’t sell any more 36s. And the big thing wasthe number of hours we were spending on the J/36 to fit all the options.The J/35 was easy. We made everything optional except for the dieselengine and four bunks below.”
J/Boats sold the base boat for $49,500 back then, and when the firstboats were delivered in 1983, it was clear they had a winner. The boatrolled up a string of victories beyond the ’84 Bermuda Race, includingMackinac Races, the Monhegan Race and Miami to Montego Bay. AmericanTony Lush raced one in the 1984 OSTAR, a singlehanded transatlanticrace. It carries a PHRF rating of around 72 in most PHRF fleets.
By 1988, J/35s were getting more expensive to build, Johnstone says:“With the 35, we ended up competing with ourselves in the used-boatbusiness. This happened with the J/24 and J/30 as well. When you get to acertain point where a new boat costs twice as much as a used one, it’shard to sell new boats.”
Once production ceased in 1992, 330 J/35s had been built.
Yes, there are challenges to owning a 1980’s-vintage fiberglass craft.The hull is balsa-cored, so buyers beware: a moisture meter is a soundinvestment.
“If you can find one that’s not all wet, you’ve done well,” saysWildner, who recently stripped the skin off his rudder, dried it out andrebuilt it. “I was tired of fighting the blisters,” he admits.
Blackhawk had its stern replaced as a condition of purchase before Amieand Tim Ross bought it. It had fallen victim to a bungled DIY repairinvolving particleboard that attempted to deal with high moisturecontent. The boats can be refurbished without too much time and money,however, and parts are readily available, either with a directreplacement or its modern equivalent.
While many sailing thoroughbreds of a similar vintage have been put outto pasture, converted to cruising boats or left to decay in their slips,the class has persevered, with centers of activity in Chicago, Detroitand Annapolis. Any time I ask a J/35 owner, “Why this boat?” I hear thesame answer as I would for any other older design with a devotedfollowing. The appeal is the level of competition, the presence of likeboats in their area and the lower cost of getting into one.
Yet, there are intangible reasons that link those who sail it withJohnstone’s creation. Amie and Tim’s relationship is founded in theirlove of the 35.
They met on match.com, Amie says. She had posted a picture of herself on a boat she was racing, and he had posted one of himself with a car.
“He saw my picture and wrote, ‘Nice boat.’ I responded with, ‘Nice car!’”
Tim had never sailed before. Amie talked him into trying it out, and inshort order, they were sailing together in a Mackinac race. During therace, the owner’s son got sick, and they had to retire. “While we wereashore, Tim told me that this race was going to cost us a lot of money,”Amie recalls
“He said, ‘We’re going to have to buy our own boat so we can finish therace.’” That boat ended up being a J/35. Besides a few local races,they’ve since completed a pair of Port Huron to Mackinac races.
There’s also Ron Rabine, a barrel-chested man with rosy cheeks and a bigsmile buried in a thick gray beard. “He would often sail with us,” Amiesays. “He even let us braid his beard. One time, he was flying thekite, and one of the other crewmembers suggested he move to get hisweight in a better place, and he said, ‘When I’m flying the kite, Idon’t weigh anything.’ So we started calling him our deck fairy.”
Rabine’s connection to the J/35 came while running some races at a J/35 championship out of Cheboygan back in 2002.
“I had heard a bunch of love songs on the radio on the way up and boughta ring at the local Kmart that used to be just down the road fromhere,” he says. The race committee boat he was assigned to had a Gaelicname that translates to “love of my life.” The coincidence was too greatto ignore, so he proposed to his wife, Terry, just as the fleet roundedthe weather mark.
She said "yes", of course.
The appeal is the level of competition, the presence of like boats in their area and the lower cost of getting into one.
Distracted, he pooched the starting sequence for the next race. “I wasoff by a minute,” he says. “But I stopped the sequence, admitted themistake over the radio and also said, ‘I just proposed to Terry.’”
The entire fleet broke out in applause. The following year, he picked upa permanent spot with Mr. Bill’s Wild Ride. He’s been a fixture eversince.
Ken Schwandt operates Kent Sail Co., a three-person sailmaking business.His father, Kent, got him involved in the family business when he was11, sweeping floors and keeping the loft tidy. They built mostlycruising sails, but got involved in the now-defunct MORC class with aLindenberg 26. In 1988, the elder Schwandt bought a J/35. Son Ken nowmakes class-legal sails, including wardrobes for three teams at theNorth Americans — including Wildner’s.
The Schwandt family tradition continues with his son. “When he was youngI tried to put him in junior sailing,” Schwandt says. “But he said he’drather skateboard. He’s 30 now, and he came back and said, ‘Hey, can Igo sailing with you?’”
He’s now a regular with Mr. Bill’s Wild Ride, and so long as Wildnerkeeps winning, he’ll have no problem keeping the consistent crewrequired to win. It’s a code of competitive sailing: Good teams keepgood crew.
When Wildner bought the boat 26 years ago, he thought he’d have the boatfor five years at most. “I’ve sailed a lot of different boats when theyfirst came out — J/105s, J/120s — thinking I’d make a move, but I likethe way the J/35 sails,” he says. “It’s a better sailing boat and agreat platform to race.”
Sailing photo credits- Sailing World/ Santo Fabio and article credits- Sailing World/ David PowlisonAdd to Flipboard Magazine.