The prestigious 2016 Vice Admiral's Cup produced some fantastic racing across all six classes but none more so than the J/111 Class (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England). Five J/111s made the podium during the eight race series with four teams winning races. In five races, the top three J/111s were less than 30 seconds apart, and the winner of the J/111 Class was decided on countback, with a tie for first place, and the battle for third was won by a single point. Stuart Sawyer's Black Dog was the winner of the Vice Admiral's Cup J/111 Class. The class only allows one professional sailor, but Black Dog is an all-Corinthian team of friends from Cornwall. "The last race was a good example of how close the racing was. Six boats arrived at the mark within 20 seconds of each other. You are fighting all the way around the track for just half a boat length to get an overlap," commented Black Dog's Stuart Sawyer. "I haven't had closer racing since we sailed Mirrors, 30 years ago. However at times, you are doing that at 15 knots! In one race, we hit 16.7 knots. So it is not only tight racing, it is also in a thoroughly rewarding boat. With an asymmetric set up, the J/111 is relatively easy to sail. You spend your time not fighting the boat, and you are just letting it go. The fleet is great. There are a number of very good sailors including one professional per team, which brings in a level of experience but we prefer to sail as Corinthians because we want to sail as a group of mates and keep it as fun as possible. When we sit down in the morning, we have a briefing, which finishes with the number one objective for the day and it is always to have fun. We were taking it all a bit too seriously last year, and we have found that if you have fun, the communication gets much better. We manage our expectations and enjoy the boat." Black Dog tied on points with Cornell Riklin's J/111 Jitterbug but won the class by virtue of their number of race wins. Jitterbug won two races and only missed the podium of two occasions. To come second with such a consistent set of results is indicative of how close the racing is in the J/111 Class is. "It was very close racing throughout, and probably the best race series so far in the J/111s," commented Jitterbug's Cornell Riklin. "Leads were changing all the time. To come second after eight races by such a narrow margin was how it is in one design racing. We could have easily won the first two races or come third or fourth, but we ended up with two seconds. In Race 6, we were third coming into the penultimate mark and we spotted a wind shift, set our spinnaker and went for it. We held it as long as we could and then just let it go and our momentum took us through the line into first place by one second. It was very exciting racing, and the UK Class is very friendly with some great competitors. It will be very interesting to see how the UK J/111s fair in the J/111 Worlds against boats from overseas, as I think the UK fleet has made some very good progress." There was a terrific battle for third place, with Tony Mack's proven J/111 winner McFly missing third place by a single point to Martin Dent's J/111 JElvis. Martin Dent joined the J/111 Class in July 2014 and often sails with his wife Gloria and their two children. For the Vice Admiral's Cup, there were a number of teenagers amongst the crew including Olly Maltby, who is just 13 years old, and Martin Dent's daughter Sammy who is 12 years old. Both of the youngsters were part of the crew for the 2015 J/111 Worlds in Newport, where JElvis was seventh and top British boat. "I try to make sure that JElvis is as family orientated as possible," commented Martin Dent. "I enjoy it when we come up against good crews in the J/111 Class and beat them. For the Vice Admiral's Cup, we had a number of young crew, including my 18-year-old daughter on the bow and we often sail with all the family, including my wife. The Class allows one professional so I can bring on one person who really knows what they are doing. For the Vice Admiral's Cup, we had Hannah Diamond, who is sailing the Nacra 17 for the RYA British Sailing Team, but she is only 25. The professional takes charge on board, so I don't need to say a word. If Dad goes sailing with his family and starts ordering them around, I don't think that is going to work! When you have a third party who is in charge, including myself, then there is no family issue. The J/111 is a great boat for a family to sail. It may be the hottest yacht in the J/Boat range, but when you have youngsters on board planing downwind at high speed, they get excited by it. Actually, the loads on are more manageable than other boats. I am not saying you can put a 12-year-old on a winch in big breeze, but there are jobs to do, from keeping an eye on the competition to setting the gear and packing the spinnaker for the next leg. For them planing downwind and really getting involved makes it more exciting. You can bring dinghy sailors onto a J/111, and they really enjoy it." Thanks for contribution from Louay Habib/ RORC.

The Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta (Scheveningen, Netherlands) is the largest sailing event hosted in The Netherlands each year. With dozens of classes and over 400 boats, there is something for everyone racing out of the port of Scheveningen. The newest innovation for this year’s North Sea Regatta was the ongoing series for the Dutch National Doublehanded Championship. After the two offshore races the previous weekends, the fleet assembled for their most difficult challenges yet, around-the-buoys racing double-handed on a close course. Windy, wavy conditions prevailed for most of the weekend. There was one-design J/111 racing along with offshore handicap racing courses for IRC/ORC rated boats. Today, in The Netherlands, it is the biggest boat that is sailing one-design as a class. Paul Gladdines is proud that they have succeeded, "It is truly a unique class in The Netherlands, and everyone is super excited! In the run-up to the J/111 World Championship in England this summer, the North Sea Regatta has been a major training session for our teams. They were sailing with similar conditions as in Cowes (UK), where the World Championship is being held." The racing was very tight amongst the five boats racing in the J/111 fleet. Wouter Kollmann’s crew on LALLEKONIG had a 1-DNS-1-1-3 record going into the last race. Meanwhile, Egbert Vroom’s RED HERRING was sailing a strong, consistent series, posting a 2-1-3-3-2 record to be leading the series going into the last race. A very windy, wavy, tough last race for everyone. In that final battle, LALLEKONIG got the better of their friends on RED HERRING, winning the final race, dropping their DNS as a result, and winning with 7.5 points net. Vroom’s RED HERRING scored a fourth in the last race that became their drop race thus scoring 12.5 points net to take the silver. Third overall was Paul van Driel’s SWEENY. For more Delta Lloyd North Sea Regatta sailing information, visit http://nsr.nl/.

The St. Francis YC hosted the inaugural J/Stop Regatta for one-design fleets including the J/111s. The format was short courses between either the club start line or off the western face of Alcatraz Island with weather marks up near the Golden Gate Bridge. Peter Wagner’s crew has been on a bit of a tear lately in the J/111 Class. Having won Key West Race Week and Charleston Race Week, they now add to their collection of silverware the J/Stop J/111 fleet win. Wagner’s TOPSY TURVY crew triple bulleted their first three races on Saturday. They followed up with a 3-1-4 on Sunday to win with 11 points. Richard Swanson’s BAD DOG won two races and took two seconds on their way to securing second overall for the weekend. Third was Gorkem Ozcelebi’s DOUBLE DIGIT with 17 points overall. Results can be found at https://www.regattatoolbox.com/results.html?eventID=lNNcOLWe4y.

The final Sunday (April 24) of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring proved to be a tricky day's racing when the wind ignored the forecast and dished up between 5-20 knots plus massive, cold microbursts that switched direction up to 30 degrees. The start for race one for the Black Group was near S Ryde Middle, courses with a two-mile first beat to a laid mark just inshore of the North Channel and then triangles and windward/leeward legs between there and the Ryde Middle Bank before a finish between the East Bramble and Hill Head buoys. The first windward mark was carried away by a boat in the first class to race and was then left drifting. The next two classes managed somehow to round it as it blew rapidly downwind before it was spotted by the Race Committee and replaced in position with new ground tackle (the final two classes were delayed while this was done). The second Black Group race start was near Deloitte Sailing Club mark; 6-7 mile courses with a first windward leg up to hamblewinterseries.com mark, then one or two windward/leeward legs before a spinnaker reach to a laid mark near Kilchoman and a short beat back to the same finish. As a result of their incredibly strong leadoff to their series, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG walked off with the Black Group IRC 1 Class Championship. Paul Griffiths’ JAGERBOMB managed a sixth in class despite missing the first two races. For more Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series sailing information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2016/index.htm.

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/.