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.
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.
KASHMIR Takes J/111 Class at Goose Island Colors Regatta
The annual regatta that marks the start of the offshore sailing season in Chicago on Lake Michigan is Columbia YC’s Goose Island Colors Regatta.
In the J/111 fleet, the trio of Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson and Mike Mayer drove KASHMIR to a convincing victory with four firsts in just five races. Second was Bennet Greenwald and crew from San Diego YC on PERSEVERANCE with all top three finishes for just 11 points total. Tied at 21 points each were Rich Witzel’s ROWDY and Bill Smith’s WOOTON, with the nod going to Witzel’s crew for third overall. Taking fifth was the Kevin Saedi’s MOMENTUS. For more Goose Island Colors Regatta sailing information, visit http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1617.