The second leg of the California Offshore Series took place last weekend. 27 boats sailed for the Coastal Cup 200nm race from Monterey to Santa Barbara. Blowing out their competition was the J/111 SYMMETRY, taking first in PHRF D Class and first overall. Congratulations to Howard Turner and his crew of Jay Crum, Joe Crum, Paul Stone, Michael Johnaon and Keith Stahnke from Santa Cruz YC. For more Coastal Cup sailing information, visit http://offshoreraceweek.com/results.
Vice Admiral’s Cup
The prestigious 2016 Vice Admiral's Cup produced some fantastic racing across all six classes but none more so than the J/111 Class (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England). Five J/111s made the podium during the eight race series with four teams winning races. In five races, the top three J/111s were less than 30 seconds apart, and the winner of the J/111 Class was decided on countback, with a tie for first place, and the battle for third was won by a single point. Stuart Sawyer's Black Dog was the winner of the Vice Admiral's Cup J/111 Class. The class only allows one professional sailor, but Black Dog is an all-Corinthian team of friends from Cornwall. "The last race was a good example of how close the racing was. Six boats arrived at the mark within 20 seconds of each other. You are fighting all the way around the track for just half a boat length to get an overlap," commented Black Dog's Stuart Sawyer. "I haven't had closer racing since we sailed Mirrors, 30 years ago. However at times, you are doing that at 15 knots! In one race, we hit 16.7 knots. So it is not only tight racing, it is also in a thoroughly rewarding boat. With an asymmetric set up, the J/111 is relatively easy to sail. You spend your time not fighting the boat, and you are just letting it go. The fleet is great. There are a number of very good sailors including one professional per team, which brings in a level of experience but we prefer to sail as Corinthians because we want to sail as a group of mates and keep it as fun as possible. When we sit down in the morning, we have a briefing, which finishes with the number one objective for the day and it is always to have fun. We were taking it all a bit too seriously last year, and we have found that if you have fun, the communication gets much better. We manage our expectations and enjoy the boat." Black Dog tied on points with Cornell Riklin's J/111 Jitterbug but won the class by virtue of their number of race wins. Jitterbug won two races and only missed the podium of two occasions. To come second with such a consistent set of results is indicative of how close the racing is in the J/111 Class is. "It was very close racing throughout, and probably the best race series so far in the J/111s," commented Jitterbug's Cornell Riklin. "Leads were changing all the time. To come second after eight races by such a narrow margin was how it is in one design racing. We could have easily won the first two races or come third or fourth, but we ended up with two seconds. In Race 6, we were third coming into the penultimate mark and we spotted a wind shift, set our spinnaker and went for it. We held it as long as we could and then just let it go and our momentum took us through the line into first place by one second. It was very exciting racing, and the UK Class is very friendly with some great competitors. It will be very interesting to see how the UK J/111s fair in the J/111 Worlds against boats from overseas, as I think the UK fleet has made some very good progress." There was a terrific battle for third place, with Tony Mack's proven J/111 winner McFly missing third place by a single point to Martin Dent's J/111 JElvis. Martin Dent joined the J/111 Class in July 2014 and often sails with his wife Gloria and their two children. For the Vice Admiral's Cup, there were a number of teenagers amongst the crew including Olly Maltby, who is just 13 years old, and Martin Dent's daughter Sammy who is 12 years old. Both of the youngsters were part of the crew for the 2015 J/111 Worlds in Newport, where JElvis was seventh and top British boat. "I try to make sure that JElvis is as family orientated as possible," commented Martin Dent. "I enjoy it when we come up against good crews in the J/111 Class and beat them. For the Vice Admiral's Cup, we had a number of young crew, including my 18-year-old daughter on the bow and we often sail with all the family, including my wife. The Class allows one professional so I can bring on one person who really knows what they are doing. For the Vice Admiral's Cup, we had Hannah Diamond, who is sailing the Nacra 17 for the RYA British Sailing Team, but she is only 25. The professional takes charge on board, so I don't need to say a word. If Dad goes sailing with his family and starts ordering them around, I don't think that is going to work! When you have a third party who is in charge, including myself, then there is no family issue. The J/111 is a great boat for a family to sail. It may be the hottest yacht in the J/Boat range, but when you have youngsters on board planing downwind at high speed, they get excited by it. Actually, the loads on are more manageable than other boats. I am not saying you can put a 12-year-old on a winch in big breeze, but there are jobs to do, from keeping an eye on the competition to setting the gear and packing the spinnaker for the next leg. For them planing downwind and really getting involved makes it more exciting. You can bring dinghy sailors onto a J/111, and they really enjoy it." Thanks for contribution from Louay Habib/ RORC.
North Sea Regatta
The Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta (Scheveningen, Netherlands) is the largest sailing event hosted in The Netherlands each year. With dozens of classes and over 400 boats, there is something for everyone racing out of the port of Scheveningen. The newest innovation for this year’s North Sea Regatta was the ongoing series for the Dutch National Doublehanded Championship. After the two offshore races the previous weekends, the fleet assembled for their most difficult challenges yet, around-the-buoys racing double-handed on a close course. Windy, wavy conditions prevailed for most of the weekend. There was one-design J/111 racing along with offshore handicap racing courses for IRC/ORC rated boats. Today, in The Netherlands, it is the biggest boat that is sailing one-design as a class. Paul Gladdines is proud that they have succeeded, "It is truly a unique class in The Netherlands, and everyone is super excited! In the run-up to the J/111 World Championship in England this summer, the North Sea Regatta has been a major training session for our teams. They were sailing with similar conditions as in Cowes (UK), where the World Championship is being held." The racing was very tight amongst the five boats racing in the J/111 fleet. Wouter Kollmann’s crew on LALLEKONIG had a 1-DNS-1-1-3 record going into the last race. Meanwhile, Egbert Vroom’s RED HERRING was sailing a strong, consistent series, posting a 2-1-3-3-2 record to be leading the series going into the last race. A very windy, wavy, tough last race for everyone. In that final battle, LALLEKONIG got the better of their friends on RED HERRING, winning the final race, dropping their DNS as a result, and winning with 7.5 points net. Vroom’s RED HERRING scored a fourth in the last race that became their drop race thus scoring 12.5 points net to take the silver. Third overall was Paul van Driel’s SWEENY. For more Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta sailing information, visit http://nsr.nl/.
The St. Francis YC hosted the inaugural J/Stop Regatta for one-design fleets including the J/111s. The format was short courses between either the club start line or off the western face of Alcatraz Island with weather marks up near the Golden Gate Bridge. Peter Wagner’s crew has been on a bit of a tear lately in the J/111 Class. Having won Key West Race Week and Charleston Race Week, they now add to their collection of silverware the J/Stop J/111 fleet win. Wagner’s TOPSY TURVY crew triple bulleted their first three races on Saturday. They followed up with a 3-1-4 on Sunday to win with 11 points. Richard Swanson’s BAD DOG won two races and took two seconds on their way to securing second overall for the weekend. Third was Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT with 17 points overall. Results can be found at https://www.regattatoolbox.com/results.html?eventID=lNNcOLWe4y.
Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series
The final Sunday (April 24) of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring proved to be a tricky day's racing when the wind ignored the forecast and dished up between 5-20 knots plus massive, cold microbursts that switched direction up to 30 degrees. The start for race one for the Black Group was near S Ryde Middle, courses with a two-mile first beat to a laid mark just inshore of the North Channel and then triangles and windward/leeward legs between there and the Ryde Middle Bank before a finish between the East Bramble and Hill Head buoys. The first windward mark was carried away by a boat in the first class to race and was then left drifting. The next two classes managed somehow to round it as it blew rapidly downwind before it was spotted by the Race Committee and replaced in position with new ground tackle (the final two classes were delayed while this was done). The second Black Group race start was near Deloitte Sailing Club mark; 6-7 mile courses with a first windward leg up to hamblewinterseries.com mark, then one or two windward/leeward legs before a spinnaker reach to a laid mark near Kilchoman and a short beat back to the same finish. As a result of their incredibly strong leadoff to their series, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG walked off with the Black Group IRC 1 Class Championship. Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB managed a sixth in class despite missing the first two races. For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series sailing information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2016/index.htm.
J/111s at Van Uden Reco Regatta in The Netherlands
Last weekend saw the start of J/111 one-design racing in the Benelux region at the Van Uden Reco Regatta in Stellendam in The Netherlands. The conditions on Saturday were very tricky, to say at the least. The conditions saw very tight, close racing, demanding everything from everybody on the boats; resulting in some very exhausted crews at the end of the day. But what great racing with three races and three different winners, with the top three boats (Zwijnenburg’s SWEENY, Sigg’s LALLEKONIG and Vroom’s RED HERRING) all in a three-way tie on equal points. As a result, that meant the racing on Sunday was going to be anyone’s game. The wind kicked in, beating the boats with brutal force all day long. This ended up with TOP JOB (broken jib#3.5) and LALLEKONIG (injured person on board) needing to retire before the racing actually began. Thankfully, they are both in good shape and will be ready to resume racing at the next J/111 event in two weeks. The two races sailed that day had two different winners: Zwijnenburg’s SWEENY and Vroom’s RED HERRING. The outcome again left both boats on equal points, tied for the lead. However, as ISAF-rules apply (best result in the last race is decisive), this made Vroom’s RED HERRING the winner of the first event. De Liedekerke’s DJINN showed great progress that day by catching up on the two leaders to take third overall. All owners and crews were very enthusiastic and looking forward to the next J/111 Benelux One Design event: the North Sea Regatta in Scheveningen from May 13-16. Then, all participating boats in the races in the Benelux countries will also participate in the J/111 World Championship in Cowes (UK) in early August. (Thanks for the report from Paul Gladdines). For more J/111 Benelux Van Uden Reco sailing information, visit http://vanudenreco.nl/.