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.
J/111 UK National Championship
Stuart Sawyer's BLACK DOG sealed victory for the J/111 UK National Championship at the Royal Southern Yacht Club in The Hamble with a race to spare, but it was far from easy for the team from Falmouth Cornwall. Marco van Driel's Dutch J/111 SWEENY finished the regatta in second place, with fellow Dutch team RED HERRING, skippered by Sjaak Haakman, finishing third. Last year's UK National Champion, Tony Mack's McFLY, finished in fourth place. During the three-day regatta, six out of the eight teams made the podium, including Cornel Riklin's JITTERBUG and Chris Jones' JOURNEYMAKER II, who both won races. For complete event information, visit http://www.j-cup.co.uk/.
Kashmir Wins J/111 North American Championship
Patience. Plenty of it was required over the four-day Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago as wind conditions varied from fresh to frustrating, and wind shifts swung unpredictably from the lakeshore to offshore. But those who kept their composure during long morning postponements were rewarded with challenging races in the end. Irrespective of the outcome for each of the 163 teams sailing in the regatta, it was a beautiful weekend to be on the cooler Lake Michigan waters, looking westward to the heat factory of downtown Chicago. For the family teams who populated the fleets, it was also an ideal way to spend their Father’s Day doing what they love. J/111 co-owners Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson& Mike Mayer,on Kashmir put a hard fought performance to win the Class’ North American Championship. They won both races on Sunday — the first one easily, and the second one after recovering from a bad start— to secure the title by 7 points over Bennett Greenwald’s Perseverance. After a slow start in the four-day series, in which they posted a 4-6, they kept their finishes to top three, and as is usually the key to such regattas, consistency was what mattered most. For complete results, click here.
J/111 North American Championship in Chicago: Fabulous Friday
Sailboat racing is indeed a game of inches. Ask Wooton’s skipper Bill Smith, who continues to lead the J/111 North American Championship at the Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in Chicago, but now by only 2 points over Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer’s Kashmir. It was inches that made the difference in two of Wooton’s races today, and as Smith analyzed what went wrong after racing, he placed the blame squarely upon himself, not that of his hard-working crew. "It was my inexperience in critical moments," he says, describing one downwind finish in which they were overlapped with Kashmir. "There was a moment when we were on starboard and I could have heated it up, pushed them out a bit, taken control and then jibed to cross the favored end of the line. Everyone on the boat knew we needed to do it, but I didn’t. They literally beat us by 3 inches." Conditions were tamer than Thursday’s races for the J/111 fleet, which is now two days into its 15-boat Championship. The flatter water and more consistent breeze, says Smith, made it easier for them but also for other teams who posted good results, including Rob Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff, which finished third in the day’s first race and then went on to win the next two. "We did a better job of getting off the line than we had been doing," says Ruhlman, whose family team from Cleveland, Ohio climbed into third overall, only 5 points out of first. "In the second and third races, we just got away with good starts and sailed our own race." Downwind, he adds, their technique is to sail deeper than others. "We tend to do it a bit more efficiently," he says. "It’s our forte." It was anything but an easy day, however, as Split Decision battled all day with FOG, which engaged them in several tacking and jibing duels. "We started to get into it with them a few times, but we didn’t want to wear out our trimmer, so we broke away as soon as we could," says Norris. "Even downwind at times we’d be a half-length apart with them, and they’d start a jibing duel. But we just jibed away and tried to do our own thing. We do well in tight situations, but when we can be on our own, we’re much, much faster." Ruhlman’s daughter Meaghan, 31, is trimming mainsail, which is critical to the J/111’s upwind performance, and today, says Ruhlman, the two of them were in much better sync. "We worked on things after yesterday, and what we’re doing differently was driving the boat with fewer big adjustments to the main trim. Yesterday, in the really puffy conditions, we’d get out of sync. Today I was concentrating more on trying to maintain target speeds." With Ruhlman’s son Ryan trimming the spinnaker, they worked hard on sailing lower than anyone else on the run, "just one half-step down" he says, and unlike the first day in which they picked up a weather mark penalty, they sought opportunities to avoid high-risk situations. The results were dramatic, and they go into Saturday’s light-air forecast with momentum on their side. Complete results are available by clicking here.
Day One Advantage Goes to William Smith’s Wooton at J/111 North American Championship
The J/111 North American Championship, hosted by Chicago Yacht Club in Illinois in conjunction with the NOOD, got underway Thursday in winds of 10-15 knots, allowing two races to be completed. Recording a 3,1 for the day, William Smith’s Wooton gained a two-point lead over Bennet Greenwald’s Perseverance, with Richard Witzel’s Rowdy another notch back in third. The 15 J/111 teams got a jump on their fellow Helly Hansen Chicago NOOD entrants, as the North American Championship began a day earlier than the remainder of the fleets. After a postponement, Bradley Faber’s Utah took line honors in the opening contest, with Greenwald and Smith hot on his heels. Smith’s bullet in the next battle gave him the day’s overall edge, as Witzel and Kevin Saedi’s Momentus cracked the top three. Racing continues through Sunday. Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results are available by clicking here.