Here is the report from Peter Gustafsson racing on his J/111 BLUR.SE.: "It is the first race of the season, and it can be anything from a hell of strong breeze of 14 m/s and frost at night to an amazing race with great sunsets and sunrises. This year we were definitely closer to the latter option. Above all, the pre-race dinner was fine. In 2015, we tried to make the dinner the night before the race to get together a coordinated training session where we can determine our watches and get into offshore mode. We have three watches, with two hours on, two hours standby and two hours in the bunk. With only five on board, I became my own watch. Not optimal, but we still want to sail this way. After a nice wind from Stora Pölsan to Færder lighthouse, the wind turned north and diminished. We were given a chance to look at our Code 1, which we bought used for Fastnet and has been unused since then. In the IRC, the half width must be at least 75%, so it becomes an ugly kinky shape compared to a ‘correct’ Code 0. In Åsgårdsstrand, we had lunch at the hotel, prepared the boat and slept for a few hours before it was time again to race. We got off well, like another boat at the left and could head east up the fjord. We had difficulty keeping up with the First 40 and X41, which is normal for us in these circumstances. It had been good wind for all previous starts before us. But, according to the forecasts, the wind started to decline when we started at 20:40. In the end, it all died! Ouch! There appeared to be consensus that the eastern side of the fjord was better. Both in the fjord and later during the race. Maybe we went south too early. But, we took off like a train when the wind came back in. A few that lay further west did OK, so we had some luck there. Flash Tango and Magic had gone better than us; many talented sailors who are still in the top. Here, I became a little negative and felt that we had missed the train. In 2010 + 2015, we had succeeded in taking early initiative and leading the class out of the fjord. Now, we were forced to hunt our competitors. After the Pisces turning mark, there was a big wind shift, and we were discussing different options. It would be one option to stay on layline and wait for the lift. Or, we could go east to get it first and maximize the effect. The routing software indicated going east would take 20 minutes longer. So, we stood by for about half an hour before the wind started to lift us. We looked inside for the boats we saw on AIS to the east of us; not moving so well. So, we battle south again. After a few minutes, Flash did the same thing. No real split, but we now had a better position than those that made us go some extra distance away. Phew. The new instruments worked well. Especially in light weather, they are different from Nexus, but it is probably the most common cause. Then it's a difficult time of year to fine-tune numbers. Big differences at different altitudes over the water, and lots of wind-shear. But, overall we are where we had hoped. Fun! One of the things that is difficult is to sail actively when it is dark and cold. We handle most things well, but for long periods, we are passive in both trim and steering. Due in part to the fact that we were only five crew, we need to find better routines to operate 100% under all conditions. Pretty dramatic going down the Weather Islands, where we met the boats that started from Stenungsund. Here it was also clear that the boats that came from the west, like Pixeline, had a hard time. We tested using the Code 1 just after Skålholmen, but realized quickly that we could not bear off to fly it and went back to the jib. We tested at least ... nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? It turned out that the early boats had good pressure all the way, and on the overall scores, you see that the boats that were over the finish line before 13:00 were best placed. It was only the really fast and the faster shorthanded boats that started at 19:20 that got in that early. We were over an hour behind them at sea and struggled with diminishing winds. But, at least we could chase the First 40 Flash, as we watched them constantly following on the AIS. From over 1 nm behind to 0.7nm to 0.4nm, we kept narrowing the gap with them. We tried to see which angles were most efficient for us, and where they might have been having difficulties. In the end, we passed them while they were trying hard to defend themselves by changing to another sail. Now, I looked a little closer on the scores, and we found that we would be finished in about 10 minutes. It was hard to get there, but we did what we could in the declining wind. Good change between A3, Code and then A3 again. And, finally, we were almost 15 minutes ahead of them on elapsed time, good for the corrected time overall win! A great win for us, and amazing teamwork!" For more Skagen Race information, visit http://www.blur.se/2018/05/12/helly-hansen-skagen-race-2018/.

A mix of one-design Classes and handicap fleets embracing cruising boats, shorthanded sailors, and random leg racing was the format for the 2018 COLORS Regatta on June 2-3 in Chicago, IL with 107 teams on Lake Michigan. Seven J/111s competed in the Offshore Buoy Race Course 1 Racing One Design Division, getting off five races. Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key dominated with four bullets and a second for 6 points and the victory. Richard Witzel’s Rowdy followed in second place with 10 points, and the Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson & Mike Mayer gang on Kashmir rounded out the top three with 17 points. Complete results may be found at https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4699.

66 teams from Belgium, France, Germany, Great Britain and the Netherlands raced in the 19th edition of the J/Boats festival of racing, held every year in United Kingdom. The 2018 Landsail Tyres J-Cup also incorporated the UK National championship for the J/111 Class. Paul van Driel & Hans Zwijnenburg's Dutch J/111 Sweeny was awarded the J-Cup, the first overseas team to win the overall prize in the history of the event. Sweeny also won the 11-strong J/111 Class, winning the last two races, to come from behind. "Winning the J-Cup comes as quite a surprise," smiled Paul van Driel at the final prize-giving. "I would really like to thank the organizers, they did a really good job, producing outstanding racing. We love coming to this event because we get such a warm welcome and everybody is so helpful, especially the Key Yachting team led by Paul Heys. We love racing in the J-Cup and that is why we will definitely come back." Sweeny was top of the podium for the J/111 Class, but the Dutch team is not eligible for the UK National Championship. Journeymaker II was the top UK boat, finishing in second place for the fleet, with Sjaak Haakman's Dutch team on Red Herring claiming third, just a point ahead of Michiel v/d Meulen's Swiss Lällekönig. Sebastian de Liedekerke's Djinn and Paul Griffiths' Jagerbomb also scored podium race finishes. "Wasn't that good, we are very happy!" smiled Chris Jones. "This has been a fantastic regatta, and most of all, we are delighted with the number of teams that travelled over from Northern Europe. I guess they want to test themselves before the J/111 Worlds, and the fleet for this regatta has been awesome." Full Results: http://www.islandsc.org.uk/racingdocuments.aspx#jcup

The Nineteenth Annual Island Series just completed the first of the three race series—The Hardway Race on May 19. Santa Barbara Yacht Club in California and Pierpont Bay Yacht Club in Ventura, CA hosted the event. This year, the fleet was sent down the Coastwise Spinnaker Course—from the start line off Santa Barbara, leave Anacapa Island to port, leave the R2 Ventura entrance buoy to starboard, and finish in the Ventura Harbor entrance channel (a 47 nm course length). Winning the seven-boat PHRF A class was Bernie Girod’s J/111 ROCK & ROLL, followed by Kenny Kieding’s J/111 ARGO 3. For more Hardway Race information, visit https://www.sbyc.org/.

The Vice Admiral's Cup at the Royal Ocean Racing Club has a long-standing reputation for providing exceptionally close competition. The final day of racing this year saw further intense racing, with most classes going to the wire, in a building south-easterly sea breeze. Anyone looking at the overall results might assume that Martin Dent's J/111 Jelvis had an easy ride to victory, thanks to his six race wins. However, the scoreboard belies the effort that went into those results. Hans Zwijnenburg’s Sweeny took second, while Chris Jones’ Journeymaker II placed third. Full Results: www.rorc.org/racing/race-results/2018-results

The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta wrapped its third stop of the season with two races completed Sunday, May 6 amid challenging wind conditions on the Chesapeake Bay. In the 8-boat J/105 fleet, Martin Roesch’s Velocity kept all of its scores in the top three over seven races to secure the win with 15 points. Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key settled for second place with 17 points, and Rob Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff took third with 23 points. For complete event details, visit https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4473.

The traditional season opener for the Dutch offshore community is the Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta, sailed off Stellendam, The Netherlands. The J/111 Northern Europe fleet had a great turnout of a half-dozen boats from The Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Germany. Racing was very close, and any mistakes were quite costly. After five races, there was a tie-breaker for first place. Paul van Driel’s Dutch crew on SWEENY and Sebastian de Liedekerke’s French team on DJINN both finished with 8 points each, the win going to SWEENY based on number of firsts. DJINN’s crew counted only second places. Third was nearly another tie-breaker, but Sjaak Haakman’s Dutch crew on RED HERRING was able to toss their last race OCS and finish with 10 points net. One point behind in fourth place was Jorg Sigg’s Swiss team on LALLEKONIG. For more Van Uden Reco Regatta information, visit http://vanudenreco.nl/mr/.

The St. Francis Yacht Club held its annual J/Fest April 7-9 with rain, low clouds, wind and sun. In the J/111 fleet, Dorian McKelvy’s MADMEN just missed an "all bullets" regatta, winning with just 6 points total. Second was Nesrin Basoz’s SWIFT NESS, and third was Dick Swanson’s BAD DOG. For more J/Fest San Francisco information, click here.

The Big Daddy Regatta marks the 33rd year of mark racing on Saturday and a Pursuit race on Sunday for the host Richmond Yacht Club. All mono-hulled keelboats with a Northern California PHRF rating of 280 and below were invited. Fleets over 5 boats may be given one-design starts on Saturday. In the PHRF F "big boat" class, it was Nesrin Basoz’s J/111 SWIFT NESS from Richmond YC that took home the honors with a 1-2-2 for 5 points total. For more Big Daddy Regatta information, visit http://www.regattanetwork.com/event/16268.

In the light, but consistent easterly breeze, all fleets sailed series of stadium-style racing off Simpson Bay, competing in short around the buoy courses. Taking home the event’s coveted "Most Worthy Yacht" trophy was Sam Talbot and his team racing the J/111 SPIKE, which finished the three races in fiercely competitive CSA 3 Class with straight bullets. "We were up against a lot of very competitive boats that are well known on the Caribbean circuit, so we were excited with this outcome," said Talbot whose team of U.S. and BVI sailors was probably one of the younger ones competing, with the average age onboard being 30. "This is my second time racing in the St. Maarten Heineken Regatta, and we are so happy to see such an incredible turnout of competition. We owe the win to some great crew work onboard." For more Heineken Regatta information, visit https://heinekenregatta.com/.

The 130 nm Islands Race drew 26 teams for the ninth edition of this Southern Californian offshore contest on February 16-17. Starting in Long Beach Harbor, the course headed west of the Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands before finishing in San Diego. This year’s race fell on the lighter breeze side, with the wind speed never exceeding 10 knots. In the end, it was Doug & Jack Jorgensens’s J/111 PICOSA that dominated their ORR 4 Division fleet of high-performance modified custom boats. For more Islands Race information, visit http://www.islandsrace.com/.