The Islands Race was hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club on February 24-25. The 130nm dash began February 24, with competitors starting off Long Beach Harbor, heading west around Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands and into the finish off San Diego’s Point Loma. The race has become one of the West Coast’s signature offshore races, but this year’s event featured considerable visibility and scenery for those on board, yet light winds for the last third of the race. Skies were clear enough at the start on Friday that competitors and Race Committee could see all the way to Catalina due to the stormy fronts that have been blowing through Southern California over the past few weeks. Most boats started in about 8 knots of wind out of the northwest, and winds increased as boats moved around the course to San Clemente Island. The breeze peaked at about 14 knots at San Clemente and got progressively lighter and came from odd directions (east) as boats approached the finish. Only 14 of the 24 boats entered in this year’s race finished since many boats turned their engines on and confirmed their "did not finish" status. Crushing it overall as well as in the PH3 Division was Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA from Los Angeles YC. In class, they won by 21 minutes corrected over a Summit 40 and Class 40. Overall, PICOSA took fourth place. For more Islands Race information, visit http://islandsrace.com/.

J111 Worlds Logo 2017 V1

The 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week saw the seven racing classes complete races as scheduled. The week started with a windy and wavy southeasterly that faded over the course of four days before swinging around to a light southerly for Friday's conclusion. Many sailors felt the conditions were "typical of Key West Race Week," and they complemented the race committee's judgment. Peter Wagner's (Atherton, CA) Skeleton Key won the J/111 fleet for a second consecutive year with the low score of 25 points. Skeleton Key won Friday's race to score a 6-point victory over Rob Ruhlman's (Cleveland, OH) Spaceman Spiff. For complete event information, visit the Quantum Key West Race Week website at https://keywestraceweek.com/.

Two races were held Thursday at Key West Race Week in light winds between 6-9 knots from the southeast. These were held after a harbor postponement that was signaled to allow the light northeasterly wind to shift around to the forecasted southeasterly. After posting finishes of 2-1, Peter Wagner's (Atherton, CA) Skeleton Key was named Boat of the Day. Skeleton Key also took over the lead in the J/111 Class with the low score of 24 points. Skeleton Key won the Class last year but got its defense off to a slow start with an eighth in Race 1. Since then, the crew from Northern California has steadily climbed the leaderboard while the early series leader, Rob Ruhlman's (Cleveland, OH) Spaceman Spiff, has been dropping. In the past four races, Skeleton Key has finished 1-3-2-1 while Spaceman Spiff has finished 3-9-3-5. "Today was all about being flexible. It was a very challenging day," said Wagner, a two-time All-American sailor in the late 1980s. "We're always very confident in our boatspeed; the trick is to put ourselves in position to use it. We didn't see a bias on the racecourse to one side or the other, so we tried to maintain tactical flexibility. That allowed us to benefit from boatspeed." Spaceman Spiff trails Skeleton Key by four points and now has to keep an eye over its transom at Jeffrey Davis' (Cleveland, OH) Shamrock, which has 29 points. "I have a lot of respect for the Spaceman Spiff guys. They sail their boat very well," said Wagner. "The conditions were so challenging today that it was easy to come out on the wrong side of events. We were fortunate to be able to improve our position today, and that's all that we could hope for." Racing concludes Friday. For more information and complete provisional results, please visit the Quantum Key West Race Week website at https://keywestraceweek.com/.

Day 3 at the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week (Mount Gay Rum Day) saw a softening of the breeze on the racecourse. After a windy and wavy start to the regatta, Wednesday's conditions were far more manageable, as the wind ranged anywhere from a high of 10-13 knots before dying away to 7-9. The sea state, while calmer than the first two days, was still lumpy.

In the J/111 Class, Rob Ruhlman's (Cleveland, OH) Spaceman Spiff went 1-3 in the first two races and looked to be well in control of the fleet. But then the Spaceman Spiff crew finished ninth in the third race and finds itself one point ahead of Peter Wagner's (Atherton, CA) Skeleton Key, the reigning Class champion. Observers on the J/111 course noted that Spaceman Spiff got stuck in both the left and right corners in the last race. Racing continues through Friday. For more information and complete provisional results, please visit the Quantum Key West Race Week website at https://keywestraceweek.com/.

To the delight of the more than 600 sailors competing in the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week, day two's racing nearly mirrored day one's memorable conditions. ‘Lewmar Day’ offered more stellar racing in 15-20 knot winds amid sunny skies and warm air temperatures. Rob Ruhlman (Cleveland, OH), sailing the J/111 Spaceman Spiff, said these conditions are what keeps him coming back year after year. "I've done race week 15 or 20 times and like the format. I like that it's not a two- or three-day regatta. It's always a great experience. Very few places are like Key West," said Rob Ruhlman. With two seconds Tuesday, Spaceman Spiff leads the J/111 Class with the low score of 7 points. Peter Wagner's (Atherton, CA) Skeleton Key, the defending Class champion, moved up to second by winning both of the day's races and trails by 6 points. "Our buddies on Skeleton Key sailed really well," said Rob Ruhlman. "I'm happy that we were able to dig out of a few holes. We dug out from fourth or fifth at the windward mark in the first race and had a bad start in the second race. The racecourse seemed very open. There was no particular emphasis on one side or the other." As for staying ahead of Skeleton Key, Rob Ruhlman said, "We beat them both times yesterday, so they can be beat. They're a good team, but this Class is very good. The boats are incredibly evenly matched; it's close, tight racing. The winner is usually the team that doesn't make mistakes. It's very difficult from a boatspeed standpoint to make up lost ground." Racing continues through Friday. For more information and complete provisional results, please visit the Quantum Key West Race Week website: https://keywestraceweek.com/.

Registration is open for the 2017 J/111 World Championship hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California, scheduled for August 22–27, 2017, including two days of measurement. The West Coast already has a highly competitive J/111 fleet, and the World Championship will expand on that with entries from the Midwest, East Coast and Europe, making this a truly world-class event. If you are thinking of racing a J/111 in San Francisco for Worlds, consider sticking around for multiple weeks of great racing at the St. Francis Yacht Club. The Aldo Alessio and Phylis Kleinman Swiftsure Regattas take place on the Bay August 18–20, and can serve as an excellent warm-up to Worlds. Following, the 2017 Rolex Big Boat Series is September 14–17 and has proven year after year to be the crown jewel of West Coast regattas. To learn more about 2017 J/111 Worlds, read the Notice of Race, and register, visit https://www.stfyc.com/j111worlds2017.

The comments from the first day of the 30th anniversary Quantum Key West Race Week, the City of Key West Day, were nearly unanimous – epic sailing conditions in one of the best racing venues in the world. Rob Rhulman’s (Cleveland, OH) Spaceman Spiff took the early lead in the J/111 Class at its Midwinter Championship. Spaceman Spiff finished 1-2 and leads Jeffery Davis’ (Cleveland, OH) Shamrock by 1 point. Racing continues through Friday. Photos are available on the Class Facebook page, and complete event information is available at https://keywestraceweek.com/.

The 41st Annual Fort Lauderdale to Key West Race, hosted by Lauderdale Yacht Club and the Storm Trysail Club, started at noon on January 11 under perfect conditions (winds from the ENE blowing 15-20 kts) with boats setting Code Zeros and asymmetrics once they approached Rebecca Shoals, the first primary turning point to the WSW toward Key West. The annual race sends sailors on a 160 nm sprint down along the curve of the Florida Keys, to the Key West Sea Buoy, where they make the hard turn onto the final leg up the channel to the finish off Fort Zachary Taylor State Park. The PHRF A class had Gary Weisberg’s J/111 HEAT WAVE from Jubilee YC in Gloucester, MA up against a J/88, M32, Farr 395 and a Class 40. In the end, HEAT WAVE took the silver. For complete event information, visit http://keywestrace.org/.

Despite earlier results indicating that the winner of the Lipton Cup Trophy in Australia was another boat, a scoring review was taken on Monday morning following the announcement of the results on Sunday. It was determined that there was an anomaly in placings; this was then rectified, subsequently changing the overall results. As a result of the review, the finish time of the J/122 JAKE was altered for race one, and there was a net effect on the fleet results. Consequently, Dr. Rod Warren's J/111 JOUST wins the Lipton Cup Regatta off Melbourne, Australia. Congratulations on the great sailing to the JOUST team! The Lipton Cup Regatta came to an end after a weekend of gorgeous, beautiful blue skies and light winds. For more information, click here.

The first of two weekends of racing in the Hamble Big Boat Championship have kicked off. IRC 1 saw some extremely close racing, with boats switching positions all around the race course. After six races, it was Simon Bamford's J/111 KESTREL sitting in second place. At the prize-giving in the Hamble River Sailing Club clubhouse, supported by Wadsworth, Stuart Childerley announced the day's special prizes. The "Best Start" that week went to the Bamford’s KESTREL! "They had a perfect time on distance run and nailed the first start, bang on the line," said Stuart. For more event information, visit http://www.hamblewinterseries.com/.