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.

J/Fest San Francisco was held at St. Francis Yacht Club on April 1-2 with four J/111s on the starting line. After five races, Roland Vandermeer and Peter Wagner’s Big Blast tallied four bullets to lead them to victory over Nesrin Basoz’s Swift Ness (11 points), Dick Swanson’s Bad Dog and Gorkem Ozcelebi’s Double Digit (both with 16 points). For complete event information click here.

For many, it was "chilled champagne" sailing on day three of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series. The series is at its midpoint, and the overall results are beginning to take shape as the front-runners and riders start to become apparent. The third Sunday of the Series was more like a classic Spring Series day; cold with sunshine and reasonable winds from the east. The Black Group start line was near E Knoll with the first beat set to a removable buoy on the mainland shore. True wind was around 18 knots, varying from 14 to 21, but with relatively flat water. On the combined IRC1 and 2 starts, eagerness prevailed as boats clustered up on the committee boat end of the line, and the individual recall flag was displayed - boats peeled off and restarted. In IRC 1 class, Cornel Riklin’s J/111 JITTERBUG took second and Simon Bamford’s J/111 KESTREL placed third, which puts them in the same order in the overall placings. For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2017/index.htm.

j111postThe J/111 Aeolus finished in the top three (second after time correction) of 80 boats in the Double Handed Farallones Race. USA101 Swiftness also competed. Visit http://www.pressure-drop.us/forums/content.php?7189-A-Four-Course-Fiasco for the recap.

The second Miami to Havana Race fleet started on March 15 off Miami, Florida. Hosted by the Coral Reef Yacht Club and Hemingway International Yacht Club of Cuba, along with SORC as Race Committee, it was a pretty fast race overall. In PHRF 2 Class, Gary Weisberg’s crew from Marblehead, MA sailed their J/111 HEAT WAVE fast, finishing in a corrected time of 1:06:23:55 to take second in class and fourth overall. For more Miami to Havana Race information, visit http://www.havanarace.org/.

Last year, the first race of the Helly Hansen Warsash Spring Series took place in unseasonably glorious sunshine, but this year on March 12, entrants were faced with drizzle, mist and light winds. With light fair tide beats and foul tide runs, the latter were always going to a challenge, and both the White and Black Groups boats found that avoiding holes downwind was the main priority of the day. It was a challenging day also for line and course setting for the committee boats. The winds reported on Bramblenet were 7-10 knots Southwest, but Dock Heads was reporting 7-10 knots Northwest. In the end, Northwest predominated, but 10 knots was rarely if ever seen. On the White Group, Race 2 had to be abandoned when the wind switched through 90 degrees or more and dropped below 3 knots. However, another two races were completed, and as Race Officer Peter Knight noted, the same boats were up at the front. IRC1 was won by JITTERBUG (J/111 - Cornel Riklin), with KESTREL (J/111 - Simon Bamford) third. For more HELLY HANSEN Warsash Spring Series information, visit http://warsashspringseries.org.uk/2017/index.htm.

The Islands Race was hosted by Newport Harbor Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club on February 24-25. The 130nm dash began February 24, with competitors starting off Long Beach Harbor, heading west around Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands and into the finish off San Diego’s Point Loma. The race has become one of the West Coast’s signature offshore races, but this year’s event featured considerable visibility and scenery for those on board, yet light winds for the last third of the race. Skies were clear enough at the start on Friday that competitors and Race Committee could see all the way to Catalina due to the stormy fronts that have been blowing through Southern California over the past few weeks. Most boats started in about 8 knots of wind out of the northwest, and winds increased as boats moved around the course to San Clemente Island. The breeze peaked at about 14 knots at San Clemente and got progressively lighter and came from odd directions (east) as boats approached the finish. Only 14 of the 24 boats entered in this year’s race finished since many boats turned their engines on and confirmed their "did not finish" status. Crushing it overall as well as in the PH3 Division was Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s J/111 PICOSA from Los Angeles YC. In class, they won by 21 minutes corrected over a Summit 40 and Class 40. Overall, PICOSA took fourth place. For more Islands Race information, visit http://islandsrace.com/.

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