Thanks to Gary Leduc for this report: "The race started at 8:00 am in 11-13 knots true from the east. We had a short port tack favored beat out to a drop mark, then a jib reach down Muskegett Channel to the sea buoy. The second leg was pretty much dead downwind, but the starboard jibe was a little favored. The breeze stayed easterly until the very end of the 16-mile run, when the wind clocked a little SE and freshened. That made for a nice broad reach from Squibnocket to Devil’s Bridge. On the approach to Devil’s Bridge, the breeze slammed back to the east and started to freshen slightly to 14-16 knots. The tide was slack at Devil’s Bridge, but due to start flooding soon. The key is to get up inside middle ground in Vineyard Sound for the flood and ride a 2 knot boost all the way past Vineyard Haven. That did happen for us, and as we came out of middle ground at West Chop, we were doing over 10 knots SOG right into the 14-16 knot Easterly. Those conditions made for very, very close, steep chop. One issue we did have was the Ferry coming out of Vineyard Haven. We could not cross her bow. So, we had to tack onto port. We wanted to continue on starboard, but the ferry altered that plan slightly. Once clear, we tacked back onto port to a layline for the finish line. We were a bottom-rated boat in PHRF Class A, while the highest rating boat was Aurora, a 65 footer. Also in our class were Chessie Racing and Irie and Crazy Horse, all big fast boats over 55 feet. Our corrected time was 6:38:11, winning by a margin of 19min 20sec! Since 2013, the J/111 WICKED 2.0’s race record in the Around The Vineyard Race looks like three firsts and one second."

From tragedy and big seas to flat calm and floating, the 110th Chicago Mackinac Race was a race of extremes for the 289.4 nm course from the Chicago Lighthouse, just off Navy Pier, to Mackinac Island. After the Cruising Division start on July 20 and the Racing Division start on July 21, the 288-boat fleet was soon dealt with 20+ knots and six-to-eight foot seas as they sailed up Lake Michigan. Ultimately, 65 teams would retire. As the low moved east, the wind lightened and a weak high pressure system met the fleet in the northern part of the lake. Seventeen J/111s started, and it was Dave Irish’s Nosurprise that took Class honors, ahead of Richard Witzel’s Rowdy and Tom Dickson’s Warlock. For complete results, visit http://competitor.cycracetomackinac.com/results.cfm.

Edgartown Yacht Club’s 80-year-old ’Round-the-Island (’RTI) race is 56 nautical-miles. It started early and finished in the late afternoon on the wings of a moderately heavy breeze. It is part of Edgartown Yacht Club’s annual Edgartown Race Weekend, which includes two days of ‘Round-the-Buoys racing on Thursday and Friday (July 19 and 20) before segueing into Saturday’s distance racing that this year also included, for the first time, a shorter ’Round-the-Sound race. Douglas Curtiss’s J/111 Wicked 2.0 won PHRF A. For complete results, visit http://www.rtirace.org/raceresults.shtml.

Running racing in light winds on the biggest tides of the year meant the weekend of 14–15 July was never going to be easy. With water temperature in the Solent now almost 21 degrees Celsius and unbroken sunshine predicted, the met office forecast was for a late start to the sea breeze on Saturday and even lighter winds on Sunday. The PRO, Philip Gage, issued an amendment to add an extra race on the Saturday, in case racing had to be abandoned on Sunday – as indeed turned out to be the case. The larger keel boats in Black group set off on schedule, with a light southeasterly blowing and the last of the east-going flood adding to the apparent wind. But after the first race was completed, the wind died away as the southwesterly sea breeze started to kick in – but slowly. As it got stronger, the race team managed to get in three more races, with the final race being the best conditions of the day. The J/111 fleet was won by Jelvis (Martin Dent). Full details of the results can be found here: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4691.

The 80th running of the Queen’s Cup, one of the most storied yacht races on the Great Lakes hosted by the South Shore Yacht Club will certainly not go down as one of the fastest in history. Nearly 200 boats participated, with over 1,200 sailors enjoying great parties both pre-race and post-race at each venue (Milwaukee, WI across Lake Michigan at a course of approximately 89 degrees to Grand Haven, MI). PHRF 3 was the J/111 Division. Winning that competitive class was Mark Caliban’s NO QUARTER, followed by Brad Faber’s UTAH in second and Richard Hobbs’ HOBGOBLIN holding on for the bronze. For more Queen’s Cup Race information, visit http://www.ssyc.org/.

The Duck Island Yacht Club in Westbrook, CT and the Block Island Yacht Club teamed up to co-host Block Island Race Week 2018. The sailors were blessed with five good days of racing on Block Island Sound from June 17-22. In the PHRF Spinnaker division, a half-dozen boats sailed the entire week. The highlight was the three-way "match race" taking place within the PHRF division all week long. In the end, topping the J/111s was Sedge & Andy Ward’s BRAVO. Greg Slamowitz’s MANITOU, then Kenn Fischburg’s WILD CHILD followed them in succession. For more BIRW information, visit http://www.birw2018.com/.

Following Cleveland Race Week one-design weekend is additional days of women’s, youth, double-handed and "big boat" sailing. Topping out PHRF B was the Ruhlman family on their J/111 SPACEMAN SPIFF that won class honors with straight bullets in six races. For more Cleveland Race Week information, visit www.clevelandraceweek.com.

Sixty-one yachts competed in the Harken June Regatta, as part of the 2018 Summer Series organised by the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Glorious sunshine prevailed for a weekend of Solent racing with up to six races enjoyed by 11 classes. Nine J/111s were racing under their one-design Class Rules. Six teams made the race podium in a highly competitive series. Martin's Dent's Jelvis, the 2015 J/111 World Champion, was runner up and 2017 J/111 UK National Champion Tony Mack's McFly was third. Winner of the J/111 Class was Sebastien de Liedekerke Beaufort's Djinn, which had arrived in Hamble only a few days before the event. "The team come from Belgium and Holland, and we are very much a Corinthian team," commented Sebastien. "We have really enjoyed coming to Hamble and received such a warm welcome from the Royal Southern. The racing has been extremely well organised and very close. The J/111 Worlds are in Breskens this year so it has been very interesting to race here with British teams and other teams from Holland." Racing in the 2018 Royal Southern Summer Series continues with the July Regatta which will be over the weekend of 14/15th of July, sponsored by Charles Heidsieck champagne. For details on how to enter: www.royal-southern.co.uk.

Among the 11 Class winners at the Chicago NOOD on June 8-10 stood one above all: J/111 Kashmir, which earned the event’s overall title. The boat is co-owned by Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer and Karl Brummel. This was team Kashmir ’s first major regatta of the season in preparation for the J/111 North Americans later this summer, and the crew saw improvements in boat speed throughout the weekend as they settled in with new sails. "I thought we were fast downwind, and our speed upwind was OK on Friday, but not great," Brummel said. "We had some boathandling problems that we were able to fix." Kashmir’s results on Friday were a second and a third, but in Saturday’s first race, said Brummel, "We just got launched, and fortunately the other top three or four boats somehow got buried. We just kept getting faster and faster; our speed upwind was probably better than anybody’s at the end of the regatta. We were breaking in new jibs, so it was the first time trimming those and getting the rig right." The game plan going into the final race was to get a clean start and cover the competition, Brummel said. All they had to do was sail their boat well and sail better than everyone else. "But we failed to execute that plan," he said. "We got a horrific start. We were second row, we tacked out to port and went right. It turns out there was a nice lane of pressure on the right that wasn’t on the left, and we rounded the mark first." Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, he added, but what also helped was that the second-place boat was over the starting line early and had to restart. "That took some pressure off of us, but the third-place boat got a good start so we were not thrilled with the first 30 seconds of the race," Brummel said. "We were flat out lucky." As the Helly Hansen Chicago NOOD’s overall winner, team Kashmir earns a berth in the Helly Hansen NOOD Caribbean Championship Regatta, presented by Sunsail in the British Virgin Islands this October. For complete results, visit https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4474.

J/111 (top three - 12 Boats)

  1. Kashmir, Karl Brummel/Steve Henderson/Mike Mayer - 3 -2 -1 -3 -1; 10
  2. Shamrock, Jeffrey Davis - 4 -3 -3 -1 -5; 16
  3. Rowdy, Richard Witzel - 2 -1 -9 -4 -2; 18

A winter of one-design racing in St. Petersburg and Annapolis hardened Doug Curtiss’ team on the J/111 Wicked 2.0. Matching up against a fleet of identical boats is a great way to learn precisely how to squeeze every drop of speed out of the 36-footer. "It tends to hone the skills a little bit," he says with a laugh. "We learned a lot." Still Curtiss came into the weekend, where he raced in the PHRF 2 class, with modest expectations. "We like to be top third and just go out there and have some fun," he says. "If I had to say there’s a signature that I hope to leave on the Wicked program, it’s that we have great crew chemistry, everybody has fun and we just like to be competitive." With a first in Saturday’s single race—a marathon that took teams all of four hours to complete—and a second Sunday, Curtiss exceeded all his goals. Wicked 2.0 won the class by a single point over Phil Lotz, commodore of the New York Yacht Club, who was racing the Club’s new IC37 in its inaugural Annual Regatta. For complete results, visit https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=4628.

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/.