The J/111 fleet enjoyed great one-design racing for North Sea Week in Scheveningen, The Netherlands. Winning class was the Swiss team of LALLEKONIG, skippered by Joerg Sigg with crew of Wick Hillege, Nico van der Kolk, Sigrid Sigg, Joost Aaphes, Gilbert Figaroa, Wouter Kollman and Michiel van der Meulen. Their four firsts in nine races enabled them to finish with a 12 point net tally. Taking second was based on a tie-breaker—it was the crew on SWEENEY led by Paul van Driel that took the tie-break on 15 points over Sjaak Haakman’s RED HERRING. For more information, visit http://nsr.nl/.

The Helly Hansen National Offshore One Design (NOOD) Regatta in Chicago came to a close June 11 after three days of stellar sailing weather on Lake Michigan for more than 145 teams. Seven races were completed in the 14-boat J/111 division, with Martin Roesch’s Velocity taking the win with 16 points. Bradley Faber’s Utah placed second with 24 points, and the Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson, Mike Mayer team third with 32. For complete event details, visit https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=3008.

The Spinnaker Cup had 38 boats and crews lined up on a cold, grey early morning start for the 88 nm race from San Francisco to Monterey. With a heavy flood entering the Bay, the fleet had worked over to Yellow Bluff on the Marin side before sneaking past Lime Point and working across the river to seek relief on the south side. It was much calmer than forecasted in the early part of the race. However, once past Pillar Point, the breeze increased to high teens and lower 20s after Ano Nuevo. All the top boats shot tight to the coast where the pressure was greatest and then had a beeline straight across Monterey Bay to the finish. Howard Turner’s J/111 SYMMETRY crushed PHRF Division E and won PHRF Overall. For more Spinnaker Cup information, visit http://www.offshoreraceweek.com/.

The 72nd edition of the Block Island Race on May 26 off of Stamford, CT was 186nm with 66 entrants. The breeze at the first start was a shifty 4 knots, but by the third start, it settled into a stiff northwesterly of 15 knots with significantly higher gusts. Most of the fleet popped their kites right at the start, with the majority paralleling the CT coast for the first 15-20 miles. A number of forecasts predicted a big wind hole in the middle of L.I. Sound in the Bridgeport-to-New Haven area, and soon the leading boats in the fleet began to see the first signs of its unwelcome appearance. The quandary was which side of the Sound would be better for getting around the hole–the CT shore, or the Long Island shore. Some gybed toward the LI shore, and others decided to stay the course along the CT side. Cutting across the Sound carried an additional risk of not making it to the other shore before the wind shut down. The key– in hindsight– was being close to either shore: it mattered less which shore you were on, as long as you weren’t out toward the middle. The hole, however, didn’t last nearly as long as some of the forecasts had predicted, and the fleet made good progress toward buoy 1BI off the north end of Block Island, with most flying spinnakers all the way to, and then around, the island. As they passed the south side of the island, the fleet was faced with a NW breeze and back toward Long Island Sound. The forecasts indicated a good chance the wind would shift toward the SE, with a light and fluky transition period. After the fleet leaders re-entered the Sound (most through Plum Gut), the wind from the NW faded to a period of calm before the southerly wind began to fill in, but somewhat erratically. Eventually, the southerly took precedence, and by Saturday afternoon (May 27), the lead competitors began to reappear on the Stamford horizon. In the PHRF fleet, LIBERTAS—a J/111 skippered by John Donovan—took first place overall on corrected time. For more STC Block Island Race information, visit https://www.stormtrysail.org/regattas/block-island-race.

It was the largest Helly Hansen NOOD Regatta in recent years, with more than 200 boats in 17 fleets competing in the unpredictable conditions of the Chesapeake Bay from May 5-7. In the nine-boat J/111 fleet, Peter Wagner ‘s Skeleton Key stayed hot with three out of three bullets to earn the victory. Martin Roesch’s Velocity and Sedgwick Ward’s Bravo rounded out the top three. For complete results, visit https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=3007.

On April 30, professional and amateur sailors went sailing on the Bay of Quiberon to race in the Round Belle-Ile race—the VIII edition, so far. The Tour de Belle-Ile has become the biggest sailing event in all of France based on the number of the sailboats—over 450 entries across 15+ classes. Teams participated in this family-friendly event: a simple large starting line, sail out around the island, keeping it to port, and finish back off the sea-buoy off the harbor La Trinite sur Mer. In OSIA A Class with 34 entries, winning was Patrice Vidon’s J/111 J4F from Societe Regate Douarnenez; and fifth was Stephane Blanchard’s J/111 LE JOUET. For more Tour de Belle-Ile information, visit http://www.tourdebelleile.com/.

The two J/111s, Rod Warren’s JOUST and Stuart Lyons JAKE, have dominated the new Super 11 Class finishing first and second in the Club Marine Interclub Series in Sydney Harbour. Here is the report Ray Entwistle at YachtSpot in Sydney: "The Super 11 Series was sailed over three months with seven races counting. The results demonstrated the remarkable consistency of the J/111s to perform in a wide variety of conditions in offshore handicap racing—between the two boats, they only dropped a fourth and a DNC. The Super 11 Sailing Association racing program is based at Royal Brighton Yacht Club, Victoria. The association was formed to promote racing between high performance AMS Rated boats up to 11.2m with fixed or retractable bow sprits and to encourage the development of fast and exciting sailing yachts that utilize the latest in design and build technologies. In other racing, J/111 JOUST won the IRC and AMS Div 1 Club Championships at Sandringham Yacht Club. JOUST also won four of the six trophy races and follows on from their success in the Lipton Cup IRC Div 1. We are welcoming an addition to the fleet this week, J/111 PLAYLIST, to be sailed by Matt Powell, and hope another will follow soon coming in from the USA. It was another brilliant year for J/111s in Australia. Congratulations Rod and Stuart and their crews!"

After five weeks of racing in the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series, the final day's races on April 23 had to be abandoned due to a lack of wind. Competitors headed out for their start lines in fog with very little wind and little visibility, less than 1/2 mile. The White and Black Group Committees announced a half hour postponement and whilst the fog slowly lifted, revealing a beautiful sunny spring morning, the wind remained elusive. This proved to be the first of several postponements. With less than four knots of wind, both committees and all the competing yachts waited for breeze through the morning. Midday saw the prospects for a sea breeze filling start to look promising, with cloud bubbling up over the Isle of Wight and on the mainland. White Group Race Officer Peter Knight moved the committee boat further inshore in the hopes of picking up some temperature increased airs, but it was not to be, and eventually both committees abandoned racing and sent the fleets in at around 13:00. The final overall positions in the Helly Hansen Warsash Springs are, therefore, the results from the previous weekend’s sailing. In IRC 1 class, taking second was Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL with 19 points total, and fourth was Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG. For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2017/index.htm.

With rain, sun and above all plenty of wind, the Van Uden Reco Stellendam Regatta was a spectacular season opener for the over 100+ registered sailing teams in the Benelux region (The Netherlands). All the J/111 owners agreed it was another great success! Last year was the first time the fleet had sailed in the Van Uden Reco event as a class. This year, five teams showed up for close racing all weekend long. The fleet completed six races. Paul Gladdines, class chairman of J/Benelux, responded after the event, "All owners liked it, and the Class looks forward to more one-design racing offshore, too. It's truly unique to sail with 36 ft boats as one-design class machines!" Winning the J/111 fleet was Paul van Driel’s SWEENY crew from The Netherlands. They posted a 1-1-1-4-1-2 record for 6 points net to win by a comfortable margin. Pulling in the silver medal on the podium was Sigg Joerg’s LALLEKONIG from Switzerland, with a 2-2-2-3-2-3 tally for 11 points net. Taking third on a tie-breaker at 14 points each was Sjakk Haakman’s RED HERRING team from The Netherlands; on the short end of that stick was Sebastien de Liedekerke’s DJINN from Belgium. Occupying the fifth spot was Norbert Burkert’s TOP JOB. For more Van Uden Reco Regatta information, visit http://vanudenreco.nl/.

What happens when some of the world’s best keelboat sailors climb aboard high-performance one-design boats on a famously windy racecourse for a world-class regatta? In the case of the J/111 Worlds, the result will involve tightly contested starting lines, high-drama mark roundings and ample bow spray. Since launching in August of 2010, the J/111 has enjoyed steady, sustainable growth for a high-end, mid-sized keelboat, with more than 120 boats now sailing in over 12 countries. The class debuted their World Championship in 2014 in Cowes, UK, and made an appearance stateside in Newport, Rhode Island in 2015 before returning to Cowes for their most recent Worlds. But the 2017 J/111 World Championship (August 23-27, 2017), hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club (StFYC) in San Francisco, CA, will represent the first time this red-hot class has contested their Worlds on the West Coast. Registration for this regatta is now in full swing, and StFYC encourages teams to sign up early. To date, nine American-flagged boats have entered the 2017 J/111 Worlds, including Peter Wagner (StFYC) and his Skeleton Key (USA-115) crew, who earned a proud second-place finish at the 2016 J/111 Worlds and an even prouder first-place finish at this year’s Key West Race Week. While Skeleton Key might be sitting on years of hard-won local knowledge, they will be joined on the starting line by other talented and locally savvy teams, including Dick Swanson (StFYC) and his Bad Dog (USA-103) crew and Reuben Rocci’s (Richmond Yacht Club) Swift Ness (USA-101) squad. And that’s to say nothing of overseas teams who are looking to leverage their class knowledge on American waters. "There are two things we’re renowned for here: world-class race management and reliable wind conditions," said Gerard Sheridan, co-chair of the 2017 J/111 Worlds at St. Francis Yacht Club. "We have a great Race Office staffed by committed and highly skilled professionals, and a dedicated team of race-committee volunteers. We run more races per year than any club in North America, so we get plenty of practice!" As for the competitors, there’s no question that holding the 2017 J/111 Worlds on San Francisco Bay represents a coming-of-age for the Class, especially when it comes to brass-against-the-bulkheads spinnaker sets and gybes. "There’s an old saying: ‘If you can sail in San Francisco Bay, you can sail anywhere in the world,’" said Rob Theis, owner and skipper of the J/111 Aeolus (USA-007), who advised that visiting teams should use the remaining months before the starting guns sound to familiarize themselves with StFYC’s City Front racecourse, create a big-picture strategy and a little-picture playbook, with focus on boat-handling skills. "Prepare well and never give up!" said Theis. "It’s a bucket-list venue you won’t forget." While predicting weather conditions can be a slippery foredeck, San Francisco Bay has decades of reliable meteorological data that strongly points to August as a great sailing month. "Typically the first race of the day will have wind speeds in the low to mid-teens," explained Sheridan. "As we get into the afternoon and it heats up inland, the breeze can pipe up into the high teens with gusts into the low-20s. This gives the crews variety of conditions to demonstrate their finesse, gear-changing and boat-handling skills." San Francisco Bay’s typically breezy conditions are a powerful magnet for sailors, but this sophisticated, world-class city also presents itself as a superb vacation destination for families, and StFYC’s clubhouse and facilities make visiting a treat for sailors and non-sailors alike. "There’s no better or more comfortable viewing location than our Race Deck with its panoramic view of the Bay from the Golden Gate Bridge to the west; Sausalito, Tiburon, Angel Island and Alcatraz to the north; and the Berkeley Circle and Treasure Island to the east," said Sheridan. "In a flood tide, you’ll have all the boats short-tacking along the City Front, providing those on shore—and particularly on our Race Deck—quite a spectacle." For teams seeking to glean empirical knowledge before the 2017 J/111 Worlds, StFYC’s Aldo Alessio/Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta is scheduled for August 18-20, and is an ideal opportunity for teams to familiarize themselves with racing along the City Front. Registration for the J/111 Worlds is open until August 1, 2017; please visit stfyc.com/j111worlds2017 for more information or to register for this exciting World Championship regatta.

Race Officer Peter Knight summed up day four of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series as "a testing day for competitors and committee boats alike!" It was set to be a challenging day on the Solent; a sunny spring day, but with a forecast of 5-10 knots of breeze dropping towards lunchtime and tides at about 95% of full springs. Black Group classes started near East Knoll, with the wind initially about 10 knots NNE and dropping to 5 or 6 knots by midday. Courses set were a beat to Coronation, followed by round the cans courses shortened at East Bramble as the wind faded. IRC1 and IRC2 did about 12 miles on their shortened course. As the breeze dropped, cross-tide runs and spinnaker reaches taxed tacticians as the puffs and lulls made calculating lay lines difficult, and noticeably at East Knoll some boats had a slog to get back to the mark against the flood tide, after getting too far east. The course for the IRC1 and IRC2 classes was put at risk when a laid inflatable Spring Series mark was removed by "a third party," as Peter Bateson, Series Chairman politely explained. "Fortunately, the Race Committee discovered this in the nick of time and substituted a rib with an ‘M22’ flag. The five leading boats had to sail a few extra yards, but it appears that the order of results was fortunately unaffected." In IRC1, KESTREL (J/111 - Simon Bamford) had her first win of the series, after a string of thirds, with JAGERBOMB (J/111 - Paul Griffiths) second. As a result, KESTREL is biting at the heels of the leader and lies in a close second. For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2017/index.htm.