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/.

Despite steady showers, strong winds made for favorable sailing conditions Sunday as the 2016 Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta, the largest national sailboat racing circuit in the United States, came to a close after three days of competition. During the three-day event, nearly 200 boats and 1,000 sailors raced in 13 classes in a battle against rain, wind and fierce competition from around the world, ranging from amateur to world champion. Seven J/111s were registered, and only one point separated the top two boats after six races. Martin Roesch’s Velocity eked out the victory with nine points, over Bennet Greenwald’s Perseverance with 10. David McCreight’s Dark Horse took third place with 21 points, one in front of Douglas Curtiss’ Wicked 2.0. For complete results, click here.

Competition in the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series in England continued over the past few weekends. April 10th weekend: Crews and skippers alike had their work cut out with a SE to ESE wind of 19-24 knots, gusting 28-29 knots and a big spring tide in the Solent, the fourth day of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series. Black Group classes, except for IRC4, started racing near mark Deloitte Sailing Club and followed a largely windward leeward pattern to and from the Ryde Middle Bank and then up the North Channel for further legs before finishing at East Knoll. In IRC1, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG was the only one of the three boats leading the class to finish the race. JITTERBUG finished first, with Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL taking second. April 19th: It was tight racing for the first weekend of the Crewsaver Warsash Spring Championship as 110 boats were competing with around 850 people on the water. A NNW wind dominated in the Solent over the weekend racing. Saturday was largely grey and cold with the wind generally 8-10 knots, dropping away for a time during race three to 5-7 knots and coming up to 12-15 knots at the end of the afternoon. Sunday bought sunshine but a very light breeze from between the W and NNW. Fluky and between 3-7 knots. Black Group start area was toward the eastern end of the Ryde Middle bank near the Roger Swinney buoy. The four races on Saturday and two on Sunday were mainly windward/leeward courses. The IRC 1 Class saw stiff competition, with Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II posting all top five scores to hang on to fifth position. April 19- Part 2: Competitors searched for wind on day five of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series. The forecast NNW wind of 5-10 knots shifted around 105 degrees extreme to extreme. Black Group's start area was around the eastern end of the Ryde Middle Bank with windward/leeward courses. 
In IRC 1 class, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG had maintained her overall series lead with an astounding 10-point gap to second place. However, JITTERBUG sustained some damage in an incident with another competitor and was not able to race on the Sunday. For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series and CrewSaver Spring Championship sailing information, click here.

Eighteen classes with 243 boats competed amid breezy conditions at Charleston Race Week 2016, held April 15-17 in Charleston, SC, including six J/111s. Peter Wagner's Skeleton Key dominated with four bullets in all four races. William Smith's Wooton followed in second place with 10 points, and Rob Ruhlman's Spaceman Spiff in third with 13. For complete results, click here.

Four J/111s competed in J/Fest 2016 on April 16-17 at St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, CA. Richard Swanson's Bad Dog won both contests for the win with 2 points. Nesrin Basoz's Swift Ness took the silver spot in each race for 4 points and second place. Gorkem Meltem Ozcelebi's Double Digit and Rob Theis' Aeolus tied on points at 7 for third and fourth. For complete event information, click here.

Sunday's racing in Warsash, England saw light to medium conditions, warmer than the previous Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series race, but overcast. Black Group start was at East Knoll buoy, with winds of 9-13 knots southeast backing almost east at times. Courses were mainly windward/leeward with courses set between start and Ryde Middle bank; becoming slightly skewed as the breeze backed further east than forecast. In IRC 1 class, the J/111 JITTERBUG (Cornel Riklin) saved her time on the fleet to take first place for the third week running, leaving JITTERBUG leading the class overall by an enormous 10 point margin. For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series sailing information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2016/index.htm.

J/111 owners can now enter their biggest regatta of the year via a new dedicated website. Thanks to the host of the regatta, the Island Sailing Club in the heart of Cowes, J/111 owners, crew and anyone interested in following the event can enjoy the build-up to one of the most exciting events on the J/Boats calendar and indeed submit their entry in one platform. Taking place during the first week of August, the World Championships will be attended by teams from Australia to the US to the Netherlands and of course the UK. The regatta returns to beautiful Cowes two years since it was held there for the inaugural event. Included in the 2016 program will be a welcome party, an owners' supper at the fascinating Sir Max Aitken Museum and a farewell party following the final prize-giving and presentation of the new J/111 World Champion! Competitors will be able to refer to the website for official race documents, berthing and local information, a schedule of events and much more. Here's a reminder of the busy program for J/111s in the Solent this summer: 
• June 9-11 National Championship at J-Cup – Royal Southern YC 
• July 16-17 Europeans - Royal Southern YC 
• July 29-30 Pre-Worlds Regatta – Royal Southern YC 
• August 1-4 World Championships – Island Sailing Club 
• August 6-13 Cowes Week - Cowes Combined Clubs 
The 2016 J/111 World Championship website is https://sites.google.com/site/j111worlds2016/.

Lightning, thunder and torrential rain opened the final day at Quantum Key West 2016, with organizers debating if the conditions were safe to proceed. With several titles at stake, but bad weather threatening, this was not an easy call. Forecaster George Carras from Commander's Weather described the moist tropical conditions in the atmosphere as "juicy and unstable," with a chance for more cells, but with nothing on the radar the fleet headed out of one more day of battle. When they got out the harbor and headed into the southerly, the forecasted 8-15 knots turned out to be 20+ and building, with monstrous seas enhanced by the south-flowing ebb tide, especially in the Division 4 and Division 1 pre-start course areas. These seas hampered the Race Committees in their efforts to set marks and establish their race courses, so the PROs pulled the plug for these classes for the day. But racing proceeded on the Division 2 and 3 areas where the ebb tide was not as strong and produced nothing more serious than some OCS calls for some teams. Skipper Peter Wagner and the Skeleton Key crew made a successful debut at Quantum Key West, winning the J/111 Midwinter Championship in dominant fashion. Skeleton Key, which does most of its racing on San Francisco Bay, also reveled in the big breeze while notching seven bullets and a pair of seconds. "I really enjoyed my first Key West. We had great conditions and it was a really well-run event. The race committee did a fantastic job," said Wagner, who hails from Atherton, CA. "We're just really fortunate that we managed to sail consistently, and we had a lot of fun doing it. We got off the line well, and Seadon did a great job of managing things tactically on the course. We had really solid boat speed throughout." Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results, videos, etc. are available on the event website at www.keywestraceweek.com.

Quantum Key West 2016 organizers with the Storm Trysail Club held three more races on all three courses today in solid 10-14 knot winds that started out of the northeast and slowly clocked around to the east, all per prediction. In the J/111 fleet, skipper Peter Wagner (Atherton, CA) has sailed Skeleton Key to an insurmountable 14 ½ point lead over Spaceman Spiff (Rob Ruhlman, Cleveland, OH). Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete event details may be found at http://keywestraceweek.com/.

Unlike Tuesday in the howling wind, Wednesday started well on day three of Quantum Key West Race Week 2016. Races were contested in perfect 15-18 knot northeasterly winds that held steady enough to provide the closest race action of the week. Skipper Peter Wagner and the Skeleton Key team have really stretched out the lead in the J/111 fleet. Two bullets on Wednesday gave the San Francisco Bay area boat a total of five for the regatta and a comfortable 11-point lead over Spaceman Spiff. "The Skeleton Key guys start well and are very consistent. They’re also darn fast," said Rob Ruhlman (Cleveland, OH), skipper of Spaceman Spiff. For complete event information, visit http://keywestraceweek.com/.

Quantum Key West Race Week 2016 got off to a rousing start on the City of Key West Day with strong winds welcoming the 133 boats in 12 classes, and organizers getting in three races on all three divisions. Sailors from 16 countries took to the azure waters off the southernmost point of the United States and found ideal conditions--northeast winds that exceeded 20 knots for Race 1 and diminished slightly for the subsequent starts when the sun broke through and brought out the seas so famous in Key West. It was a bumpy day on the water with three to four foot waves rolling through the course areas, giving a challenge for all teams. Peter Wagner is a first-time skipper in Key West and made an impressive debut, winning all three races in the J/111 fleet for their Midwinter Championship, earning City of Key West Boat of the Day honors aboard Skeleton Key. Wagner (Atherton, CA) is a San Francisco Bay sailor and is thus accustomed to big breeze. "That’s our home turf so these are conditions we are certainly very familiar with. That said, this venue is very different from San Francisco," said Wagner, who has another Bay area sailor, Seadon Wisjen, aboard as tactician. Wagner took delivery of his boat last May and this is only the fifth regatta for his team. He called Key West Race Week a "legendary regatta" and admitted he’s been remiss in not previously attending. "We got off the line clean and stayed in phase. We didn’t try to make it too complicated," Wagner said. "We’re not going to get too excited about one day. It’s a long regatta, and I’m sure the other boats will have their moments." Photos are available on the J/111 Facebook page, and complete results may be found at http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1390.