A Wet and Wild Wrap at Quantum Key West Race Week
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.
The Final Day approaches at Quantum Key West Race Week
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/.
Fine day at Key West Race Week
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/.
Key West Race Week: Off to a Perfect Start
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.
Preliminary Dates Announced for 2016 J/111 Worlds
July 7, 2015 . . . Chris Jones (“Journeymaker”) has been hard at work with local organizers in Cowes and has put together this tentative schedule of events for the 2016 World Championship. The schedule dove-tails perfectly with Cowes Week, perhaps the most famous and longest running of all race-weeks in the world. The plan is to have charter J/111s available for the Worlds as well as special shipping arrangements to entice teams to consider shipping their boats over for a fantastic month of sailing.
|Jul 29-30||Pre-Worlds tune-up regatta|
|Jul 31||Rest Day|
|Aug 1-4||J/111 World Championship|
|Aug 5||Rest Day|
|Aug 6-13||Cowes Week|
For additional advanced planning info please contact:
MY SHARONA Crowned J/111 World Champion
According to skipper George Gamble of MY SHARONA, "the most nervous day of preparation we have had was for the last day of racing of the J/111 Worlds. The sailing conditions were so variable, we felt anything could happen. And, with so many boats so close in a breeze that was unpredictable even for local sailors, we knew it was going to be a difficult last day."
In the end, Gamble and his crew on MY SHARONA demonstrated yet again why they are such a good team. Never taking any flyers and trying to stay in the hunt, they managed to take a 3rd place in the first race of the last day to seal the deal and win the 2015 J/111 World Championship off Newport. They did not have to sail the last race.
The weather forecast for the finale on Friday was unusual as a weak frontal system was approaching Newport offering up WSW winds in the 8-12 kts range with the expectation of afternoon showers or thundershowers. Typically, such forecasts can be way off. With skies clearing for a period of time, the Newport seabreeze machine asserted itself for a period of time fighting the frontal gradient over the land and nearshore waters.
2015 J/111 Worlds Newport
MY SHARONA Tops J/111 Midwinters 2015
(Key West, Florida)- The first J/111 Midwinters saw Pensacola, Florida skipper George Gamble steer MY SHARONA to a wire-to-wire victory. Quantum pro Scott Nixon called tactics on MY SHARONA, which displayed superb boat speed in all conditions in winning five races and placing second or third in four others. After a slow start, the 2014 Key West Race Week winner, Rob Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF, closed strongly to take second overall for the regatta. Third was Brad Faber’s UTAH. Early regatta leader, Bob Hesse’s LAKE EFFECT, sailed consistently to take fourth and lying fifth was William Smith’s WOOTON.
SHMOKIN JOE Wins 1st J/111 Worlds
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Day five of the J/111 World Championships dawned with a clear sky, low temperature and no gradient wind. The forecast was for 5 knots at 1030 rising to 8 by noon. With two races left to sail and a 1500 prize giving ceremony, in view of the light conditions it seemed likely that at best only one race would be sailed.
The overnight leader SHMOKIN JOE owned by Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas had a strong enough score that if one or less races were sailed the trophy was going home to Brighton with them. Whilst the SHMOKIN team may have felt safe, second place Tony Mack's McFLY were under threat from Frédéric Bouvier and his French team aboard J-LANCE 9. The French had only come together as a team for the event and had gelled as the series progressed to become the boat of the day on day four, the penultimate day.
JITTERBUG Tops J/111 EuroCup
(Cowes, England)- With just over 2 weeks to go till the start of the inaugural J/111 worlds, the J/111 Eurocup couldn’t have come at a better time to get everybody back out on the water. This mini series over the first 4 days of Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week comprised of 8 races and out on the water there was no let up in the tension.
Day one in the Eastern Solent saw a very shifty SE breeze and huge East going tides which caught many boats out when it came to laying the windward mark. In contrast to the usual straight windward leewards the race committee put in some reaching legs which gave the crews something different to contend with. The first bullet of this regatta went Stuart Hawthorn on Plan J. Race 2 didn’t see the fleet get off to a clean start and the second attempt was black-flagged. Jitterbug got away and kept clear of the rest of the fleet to take the gun followed by the West Country team on Black dog.
WINDCZAR Repeat J/111 North American Champion
J/111 sailing North Americans (Harbor Springs, MI)- The J/111 North American Championship was sailed over the July 24-27 weekend at the Little Traverse Yacht Club in Harbor Springs, MI. Thirteen J/111 boats attended the event in beautiful Northern Michigan ready to race during the LTYC annual Ugotta Regatta. Blue skies, clear water and perfect breeze kicked off the regatta on Thursday as the sailors competed in three races.
At the end of Day One, WIND CZAR (Rich Lehmann) led the fleet with a 1-4-1, followed by NO SURPRISE (Dave Irish) in second posting a 2-2-5 and KASHMIR (Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer) in third with a 7-1-2 score. While WIND CZAR and NO SURPRISE were 1-2 in the first race, Annapolis YC offshore veteran Martie Roesch took 3rd. During the second race, KASHMIR dusted off an awful first race 7th and posted their first (and only) winning race of the regatta, followed by the omnipresent NO SURPRISE (a local by the way) and Bill Smith’s WOOTON in third. The last race of the day saw several of the top teams start to predominate, with WIND CZAR again taking a first, followed by KASHMIR in second and then Ryan Ruhlman’s SPACEMAN SPIFF team from Cleveland, Ohio in third.