Seven Countries Vie for J/111 World Title
The J/111 Garmin World Championship on August 1-5 will see 14 teams from seven different countries competing in Cowes, UK. Forming a truly international fleet, the teams come from Australia, Belgium, Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, Switzerland and the United States. Racing on tight Solent courses, the fleet will enjoy a five-day racing programme and a lively social schedule, organised at the Island Sailing Club in the heart of Cowes. "This is going to be a great championship with a strong international fleet," commented Jelvis’ Scottish skipper, Martin Dent. "Besides the top European teams such as Sweeny and Red Herring that came over earlier this year and have done well, we have an Aussie team, and then there are the two teams from the US. Last year we were amongst four UK teams (including the defending 2014 World Champion) that went to Newport for the 2015 Worlds. It was noticeable that the top US teams were a notch up on us all. This year, Kashmir and Skeleton Key are the clear two form J/111s in the US, which is awesome. Kashmir has just won the 2016 North American Championship, and it’s hard to find anything other than a bullet amongst Skeleton Key’s race results. As for JElvis, as usual, we have a young team, barely old enough to drink coffee, three teenagers on board and with everyone besides myself and the mainsheet trimmer being 21 or under. We were delayed getting our J/111 programme started this year, since six of the eight crew were still in school/university until July, but now it’s the summer holidays so we have been able to practise, and hopefully if we get some athletic conditions that favour youthful exuberance, we can be competitive." Rod Warren campaigns his J/111 Joust in Melbourne Australia, and has chartered Kestrel from Simon Bamford for the championship. "The crew is an eclectic bunch." explained Warren. "Aaron Cole is head of North Sails Melbourne and has experienced 13 Sydney Hobarts. Stephen Daniel is a tree surgeon, perfect for the foredeck. Aaron Linton is a sugar cane farmer from far North Queensland, who is our wind whisperer. Stuart Johnstone and his wife Julia are from the USA and part of the J/Boat family sailing legend. Simon Bamford and his son Oscar are the owners of Kestrel, based in Hamble and brave enough to let us loose on their boat, and I am a Cardiologist at the Royal Melbourne hospital. I began sailing keel boats a couple of years ago and quickly wanted to chase speed, hence the J/111. We love one design racing, and we did the Worlds in Newport last year and loved it. We are really looking forward to this year’s competition, especially to sail in such a great venue as The Solent. Coming from Australia our goal is obvious!" "We are very excited to come to the Worlds," commented Kashmir’s American skipper Mike Mayer from Chicago. "A big driver of our decision to come to Cowes was coming close at the Worlds in Newport last year. We had a blast at that regatta and have enjoyed travelling as a team, so here we come. Our team is the same as the Worlds in 2015, except that my partner Karl had to miss last year’s race because his wife had a baby during the event, and he will be back on board for this event (as he was for our recent North American Championship win). We are all from around Lake Michigan, except our bow man Fireball, who is a college kid from Florida. Most of us have never sailed in the Solent and are looking forward to absorbing the sights and sailing history there. Conditions in Chicago tend to be light, and there are no meaningful tides and currents. That will be a major difference and challenge for us. The logistics of racing across the pond are daunting, and we want to thank J/Boats and J/Composites for working with us to make our attendance possible. We look forward to seeing the UK friends we made at last year’s Worlds again, and making new ones at this Worlds." Follow the action from the Worlds at https://sites.google.com/site/j111worlds2016/.
The CanAm Challenge was hosted by Youngstown Yacht Club in Youngstown, NY from July 22-24. In the PHRF 1 Spinnaker division, Robert Hesse's J/111 Lake Effect came out on top, ahead of two J/109s, a J/35, J/124 and J/105. For complete event details, click here.
J/111 Crowned New England PHRF Champion
This year’s New England PHRF Championship was hosted by Portland YC in Portland, Maine and was sponsored by Handy Boat Service & Hallet Sails. Over the two-day weekend event, 30 boats participated in four divisions—cruising and three PHRF Racing divisions. Sitting on top after winning PHRF 1 Class was Mike Williamson’s J/111 BRIGADOON, handily winning their class and the overall regatta. For more New England PHRF Championship sailing information, visit http://www.portlandyc.org/.
JELVIS Clinches J/111 European Championship
With a stiff southwesterly breeze and sunshine, the J/111 European Championship went right to the wire with the champion decided on the very last race. The J/111’s enjoyed beautiful weather for their six-race series hosted by the Royal Southern YC on the River Hamble in the United Kingdom. Chris Jones' JOURNEYMAKER II scored two bullets to lead the class after the first day of racing, but three straight bullets from Martin Dent's JELVIS on the second day secured the European Championship for the Scottish skipper’s young team. Third was Paul Griffith’s JAGERBOMB. "This was yet another weekend of very close racing. All the boats were sailing well, every mark rounding we were in company, and if you made a mistake you would let somebody through. Yes it’s competitive, but there is a fantastic spirit in the fleet. There’s healthy rivalry and banter in equal proportion between the teams. We are now looking forward to the Pre-Worlds, Worlds and then straight into Cowes Week—14 days of continuous J/111 sailing! It just doesn’t get any better than that!" Royal Southern Commodore Chris Mansfield officiated at the prize-giving, which was well attended in the Upper Bar at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. The Commodore introduced Martin Gammon, Joseph Perrier Champagne UK Director, who presented winners with generous prizes of Joseph Perrier champagne. For more J/111 Europeans sailing information, visit http://www.royal-southern.co.uk/.
Round Island Race
The fleet of 1,000+ sailboats all knew they were going to have their hands full round the back (southern side) of the infamous Isle of Wight in England for the Round Island Race. The race track is simple—start around dawn, head west out past the Needles Lighthouse, turn left around St. Catherine’s Point, sail eastward to Bembridge Ledge, left around the Forts and back west up the Solent to the finish (a 60nm race). The morning came and the forecast was true holding steady at 27kts, still windy but it all seemed manageable for most crews. Getting out toward the Bramble Banks in the western approaches to the Solent, things were starting to heat up a bit, wind against tide made for square-walled 5-8 foot waves. After passing Needles Lighthouse, the fleet took off on a fast reach, most under jibs and reefed mains. However, the big tactical consideration was when to pop the kite approaching the first turning point downwind at St. Catherine’s Point. Some did, most did not. Those who did took off, with many crews experiencing some of the most amazing planing rides in their lifetimes. After rounding the Forts/Bembridge Ledge at the eastern end of the Solent, it was a beat against the tide up the beaches off the Ryde Sands in flat water to the finish line off the Royal Yacht Squadron. The IRC Division 1A saw J/111s sweeping the podium. Winning was JELVIS (Martin Dent), followed by JITTERBUG (Cornell Riklin) and JOURNEYMAKER II (Chris Jones & Louise Makin). JELVIS completed the course in 6:12:26, surely to be a record to stand for a long time for a 36 ft cruiser-racer. For the overall "J/Boats Trophy," one of the top three boats was the J/111 JELVIS. For more JP Morgan Round the Island Race, click here.
Queens Cup Race
The South Shore YC on the southern part of the Milwaukee Harbor breakwaters hosts their Queens Cup Race, a dash straight across Lake Michigan to St. Joseph, MI of exactly 78.4nm at a heading of approximately 131 degrees. The J/111s had a field day in PHRF 4 Division, with Richard Hobbs’ HOBGOBLIN taking first, followed by Tom Roop’s KASHMIR in fourth and Mark Caliban’s NO QUARTER in seventh. For more Queens Cup Race sailing information, visit http://ssyc.org/queens-cup-2016.