North American J/80 Class Association
The third stage of the 2023 Women’s World Match Racing Tour had 11 teams from six nations competing May 26-29 at the Normandy Match Cup in Le Havre, FRA. Using J/80s, Pauline Courtois (FRA) won the qualifying round robin stage, and stayed perfect through the knock-out rounds to win the title. North American representative Nicole Breault (USA) lost to Megan Thomson (NZL) in the Quarter Finals, with the Kiwi advancing to the Final where she was defeated by Courtois.
For full results, visit https://www.matchracingresults.com/2023/wwmrt-normandie-match-cup/.
Race to the Straits
One of the first major events of the sailing season in the Pacific Northwest is hosted by the Sloop Tavern Yacht Club called the Race to the Straits—a 30.0nm dash from Shilshole Bay in Seattle up to Port Townsend, WA. It is principally a short-handed event, featuring both Single and Double-handed divisions. The full course length is 30.710 nautical miles each day. Saturday’s race is from Shilshole Bay to Point Hudson, and Sunday’s race is the return leg. This year's weekend saw predominantly light airs on both days, with a lot of DNFs/RETs on Sunday for most of the fleet. In the PHRF 7 division of doublehanded J/80s, winning was Gerry Gilbert's VELOCE, followed by Ryan Porter's JOLLY GREEN in second and Lek Dimarcut's UNDERDOG in third place. For more Sloop Tavern Yacht Club "Race to the Straits" information, visit https://www.styc.org/.
The Helly Hansen Sailing World Regatta Series in Annapolis had three days of extremely challenging light winds, strong currents and ultra-competitive fleets from May 5-7. Mike Beasley and his teammates on the J/80 Black Sheep were the most dominant of the weekend, topping their fleet by a whopping 18 points after winning seven of eight races. "Tuning was key," Beasley says. "We put a lot of time into boat setup and understanding what the demands were from the sails we had and what we were trying to achieve with upwind speed," Beasley says. "Working as a team was a highlight of the weekend; we had a guy from the youth team. On Friday, he was a little ropey, but he was a machine today."
1st – Black Sheep - Mike Beasley - 10 points
2nd - Kopp-Out - Thomas and Jennifer Kopp - 28 points
3rd - Meltemi - Mike Hobson - 29 points
Top Mixed Plus Team - Stacked Deck - Ramzi Bannura
Full Results: www.sailingworld.com/regatta-series-annapolis
By Peter d’Anjou
When I bought my J/80 in the fall of 2014 it came with a 5-hp Nissan long-shaft. Nice engine, plenty of power, started right up, but it was a beast, weighing 85 lbs. along with it’s external tank. For me, too unwieldy for a rolling deck and storing it behind the Barney post behind the steps was very difficult to wrestle it in and out.
Now the class rules have four specific provisions for outboards; you must carry one (in working order), they must weigh 28 lbs or more empty of fuel, they must be stowed below while racing (not on the transom), and they must be stowed below behind the front face of the cockpit.
So after burning out the impeller on my Nissan when everyone ran to the bow for something, I decided a change was in order. Something a lot lighter, so I bought the 28 lbs air-cooled Honda 2.3-Hp long-shaft.
However, I had not found a good solution for stowing it below. As with the old motor, I tied it behind the Barney post in a web of line that only made it harder to retrieve. It still slid around some. So I added some eye straps to the sidewalls of the quarter berth where I could add even more lines.
I then came up with a way using 3” u-clamps and a piece of Water proof Azex trim attached to the Barney post itself. This eliminated the line, put the engine in a reachable position just under the step/ladder. Simply remove the step for access and best of all, it used the engines own screw clamps to secure it. This worked on my boat but when I made a few of these for fellow J/80 owners found that not every engine fit under the step.
A few years went by until the 2022 Worlds. I chartered the boat back to the original owner and his crew observed and made me aware of the rule for stowing the engine behind the front edge of the cockpit. My solution was clearly encroaching beyond this by the width of the step, so once again the engine got thrown behind the Barney post tied with lines as they didn’t want to lose a championship on a technicality.
I was determined to find an alternative that was easy and permanently legal. I studied the “boxes” many of the Europeans made - but those secured the engine face down, my Honda is designed to stow on its side. I designed many elaborate frames supported on the barney post that would push the engine further aft by the post. That is when I came up with the idea of making a mount attached to the sidewall of the quarter berth rather than the post. The engine could lie on its side on the platform by the Barney post, be accessible by removing the seat. And rather than build a frame found that a simple J/24 engine mount worked best. The mount was procured from Vela Sailing - World Champion bowman Rod Favela has many J/80 specific parts available through his online store.
I laid the engine on its side with the mount already clamped on to find the best position and traced the location on the sidewall for the mount. It is within a foot of its old location under the seat but now clearly further aft and legal. It seems this position would also accommodate a slightly larger engine too as it is not under the step anymore but behind it. I used a fender to support the prop end of the shaft - more to protect the boat than support the engine. It added about 3 lbs to the boat and cost me $140 for the motor mount. I’ll see how effective getting it in and out is and I do wish J/boats had made a similar accommodation from the beginning, but then it may not have fit all engine options. In any event it has taken years of practice to solve this and I hope that my solution(s) may be useful to others. If getting the engine out is too difficult, especially in an emergency, then how good is it really.
Former J/80 NA class VP and newly elected class president, Jeff Rabinowitz (t-shirt) and crew on his boat Mistress during a delay between races at the 2019 J-Jamboree on Lake Winnipesaukee.
As evidenced by this website being down unexpectedly for several weeks, Much has changed in the background for the J/80 North American Class for the coming 2023 season: the North American class elected a new President, at the annual meeting this past December, Jeffrey Rabinowitz from fleet 1 NH, and added new blood to the board, with west coast (Seattle) rep, Lek Dimuracot temporarily serving in the role of interim VP.
Now, Fleet 12 Massachusetts and Marblehead native, Brian Gibbs, has agreed to serve as VP effective immediately. Canadian rep David Doyle remains as class secretary along with long time board member and treasurer Kevin Hayes.
In addition, long time President Ramzi Bannura is now President Emeritus, he continues to provide guidance and experience to the board. The President Emeritus position can cast a tie breaker if the board is deadlocked but otherwise has no voting power.
Many thanks to Ramzi for his invaluable contribution these last 8 + years - guiding the class thru numerous one-design events, including the highly successful 2022 Worlds.
The board has decided to bring in operational help to run class sanctioned regattas etc… in the future in the person of Chris Howell, whose company, One—Design Associates, also manages the International J70 class and J24, J22, events as well as others.
To afford this, sail royalty and membership fees have been raised. The new sail tag fee is $75 and the new membership fee is $195/season. We encourage all J/80 owners, whether racing or not, to support the class with dues, since a strong class helps maintain the value of your boat.
A full 2023 Class events schedule with be posted shortly:
East Coast Championship - Kingston YC, July 24-30 LYRA2023.CA
West Coast Championship - Seattle
North American Championship - Lake Winnipesaukee Oct 6,7,8
Other regattas with expected one design fleets include:
Annapolis NOOD, May
Block island race week, June
2022 Annual Meeting
The J/80 North American Class will hold its annual meeting Sunday December 4th at 7:30 PM EST via zoom. The zoom login will be posted here that day. The meeting is open to any interested parties, however voting is restricted to class members. Under discussion will be voting for class officers, next seasons class sponsored events, etc...
The J/80 Class will hold its annual meeting virtually on Sunday December 4th, 2022 at 7:30pm EDT to ensure good NA-wide participation. Please come and attend to hear the state of your class and to learn about 2023 plans.
Key topics of discussion will include a summary of the health of the class, proposed rule changes, local fleet updates and a vote on the new class constitution that is provided for your review; highlights will be presented.
Tentative Agenda: 7:30pm EDT Dec 4, 2022
Link to meeting: https://meet.google.com/kdz-bmme-vjn
Miss the meeting on Dec 4th this year? No problem... please see the recording now available...
USA Re-Captures J/80 World Title
Glenn Darden and crew, Rod Favela, Marcus Eagan, Victor Diaz de Leon, and Willem Van Waay toast the owner of Le Tigre on the way back to the dock at Sail Newport.
The first J/80 World Championship was held in 2001. In all these intervening years only 5 Americans have held the crown. And only one American, Glenn Darden, has repeated as World Champion (2006, 2022). Six straight years of Spanish team domination since 2014 and the last American, Brian Keane in Annapolis, won the title. Darden chartered his old boat 1152 Le Tigre and surrounded himself with pros in mostly windy conditions to dominate a 48-boat fleet with 2,1,1,2,12,1,2,1,3,7 scores.
The tricked out ride, replete with Atlas 2 electronics, that Darden and crew sped to a World title spent little time ashore as the Le Tigre team spent weeks upgrading and practicing before the successful North American title and the Worlds. The start lines were strikingly long and Darden perfected mid-line starts by relying on his Atlas 2 for staying behind the line prestart, rolling other boats to leeward and pinching off those above them.
Darden has won two North American titles on Le Tigre (2011, 2022) in addition to the 2022 World title. His 2006 World's win was on Le Glide, hull 407, which is curious in that this year he beat hull 406 (GP BullHound second overall) this time around.
Sailing "skiff style" with the main trimmer behind the helmsman Le Tigre lit up downwind. Whether up on plane or dead downwind wing and wing no one could catch them.
Ten of the top 20 boats at Worlds were charter boats, most prepped by World's charter coordinator, the author of this post, and Le Tigre owner since 2014, Peter d'Anjou. "Really proud to see all the international teams do well. In addition, my own fleet 12 Massachusetts boats finished 1, 2, 7 (the top Corinthian Ryan Walsh on 146 Pearly Baker), 10, 12, 15, 17, 20. I would point out the effort made by owners to upgrade and charter their boats rather than sail in a World's Championship. Ten owners upgraded to the new rig packages built by Sparcraft who also sponsored the event.
Class President Ramzi Bannura chartered both his boats: 1314 Stacked Deck to the French, and newly acquired Osprey, with an emergency repaired bulkhead hull 1322 to one of the Belgian teams. Ramzi sailed the Worlds on North American Class Vice President, Jeffrey Rabinowitz's boat, Mistress.
Ferver, hull 22 was chartered by the all-women's team from Spain and finished 15th.
Nine Canadian boats also made it across the border to join their North American class partners. David Doyle, fleet captain in Toronto, did his countrymen proud by winning the last race by minutes over his closest competitor. A local Newport boat, 251 Lead Mine, was chartered and driven to third overall by Irishman Patrick O'Neill.
Next year the North Americans are rumored to be in Canada and the Worlds return to Spain. Congratulations to Glenn Darden on impressive wins in both this years North Americans and Worlds and thanks to Sail Newport for hosting both back to back!
Brad Read (far right), Director of Sail Newport welcomes the 2022 J/80 North American champs to the podium.
Glenn Darden of Newport, RI and Fort Worth Texas charterered his old boat, Le Tigre 1152, and loaded it with world champion rock stars to overwhelm a 33 boat fleet and win his second North American Title (2011).
Darden, also the 2006 World champ is in Newport gunning for another Worlds title next week. He tuned up at the NAs by winning 4 of 7 races. His crew above of Rod FaVela, Willem Van Waay, Darden, Victor Diaz deLeon, and Becky Anderson (not shown), have won multiple titles in other classes and are the odds on favorites in the upcoming J/80 2022 Worlds, also at Sail Newport.
Le Tigre beat Per Roman's, GP Bullhound (2nd overall) to the finish in race one.
The racing was held up Narragasnsett Bay near halfway rock. Friday racing was cancelled due to 25 knot breeze and 40 mph gusts. The second day had 3 races with strong NW breezes in the 16-22 mph range. Sunday culminated in the race committee getting off another 4 races in breeze ranging from 12-20 knots out of the SW. Darden dominated upwind and down, showing a deep downwind mode wing and wing and on plane that none of the other competitors could match. Expect to see teams out practicing this manuever this week leading into the worlds when another 20 boats will join the fleet in the much anticipated climax to the season.
Thirteen charter boats with international teams from France, Holland, Belgium(2), Sweden, Spain(4), Ireland, and India, are registered in the 53 boat fleet for the 2022 Worlds.
Sail Newport and PRO Tom Duggan employed Uniform and Black flag starts trying to control the 33 boat fleet. Note the light colored jib at the pin, GP Bullhound (2nd overall) nailed the pin in almost every race. Darden often started in the middle.
Three of the Top five boats, Le Tigre - hull 1152, Next Adventure hull 406 aka bullhound, and Pearly Baker, hull 146 are charter boats prepared by World's charter coordinator and current owner of Le Tigre, Peter d'Anjou out of the Marion, MA fleet 12 Massachusetts fleet. They won 6 of the 7 races with only Dan Wittig's Turbo Sloth, which placed 3rd overall from Annapolis breaking the streak. Scores on yachscoring.com
Congratulations on another NA title for Le Tigre and Good luck to Darden and team in the upcoming Worlds!
Fleet 12 Massachusetts has contributed 5 boats to the charter fleet and several more attending. Three of these boats from Marion, MA have new sparcraft rigs and profurl furlers. One is still available for charter...
J/80 North American owners have been very generous in making their boats available for charter. With almost two months to go before the 2022 J/80 Worlds in Newport, RI we already have 12 charters with several more pending.
Of those charters, 4 are Spanish teams, 2 Belgian, 2 USA, 1 Irish, 1 Holland, 1 French, and 1 Indian boat. Five of the charter boats have upgraded rigs.
We still have a couple of more boats being prepared that should be available, so if you can pull a crew together - you might still help make this a 50 boat Worlds with nearly twenty percent of the fleet from overseas.
Come experience World Class sailing in Newport!
Contact Peter d'Anjou, class charter coordinator for information on charters
Calling All Charter Boats!
The J/80 North American class is in need of charter boats for the 2022 Worlds in Newport. We have more requests than we can fill, so if you can not make the worlds yourself, consider making a little money and helping the class have a big fleet and succesful worlds.
Your boat simply needs to be One-Design compliant and insured. The going rate for charter is $3,500 and if you are willing to charter for the North Americans as well, maybe as much as $5,000. Newer, tricked out boats can command a bit more.
Help the class, subsidize your racing by chartering. Many teams are willing to barter things like new sails used in the regatta as part payment for charter. The worlds site, J80worlds2022.com has a charter tab were you can list your boat. If you have any questions or need help getting your boat pre-wieghed and measured to ensure OD conformity contact Peter d'Anjou, charter coordinator for help.
The charter boat 1314, shown above won the 2010 Worlds the last time the worlds were in Newport and enhanced its pedigree and value!
The Beverly Yacht Club in Marion, MA will host the J/80 2022 East Coast Championship Sept 10-11,
BYC will hold a two-day regatta for the J/80s on Buzzards Bay leading into the North Americans (Sept 23-25) and J/80 Worlds (Oct 1 -8) at Sail Newport in Newport RI.
Just an hours drive from Newport, BYC will be a perfect place to stop and practice in very similar waters and wind conditions found in Newport. We will store your boat between events and housing is available thru host families for you and your crew. The event has one all inclusive fee that covers the racing, launch, Haul, a mooring, and Crew dinner Saturday night.
Register Now for 2022 J/80 East Coast Championship at BYC!
Do you have a 20-25 year old Hall Spars package and want a new performance upgrade? Your best bet to improve performance and longterm value of your boat might be a new Sparcraft rig at a 33% discount negotiated by the class.
J/boats and the J/80 North American Class are partnering with Sparcraft to produce a complete rig upgrade package in time for the beginning of sailing season this spring and the pending 2022 Worlds in Newport. Branded the "J/80 Worlds Promotion Bundle", by class President Ramzi Bannura, the concept is to improve the NA fleet overall by upgrading some of the older boats.
Originally conceived as incentive for boat owners to charter their boats - getting the charter to cover most of the rig upgrade cost - the class has made it open to all owners with the intended outcome of increasing attendance overall at Worlds and NAs.
Boat owners that are willing to charter exchange a permanent performance upgrade for a short term loan of their boats. Due to the Pandemic, new boats built in France are not available for charter. And the 12 new boats originally dedicated to the cancelled 2020 Worlds were long ago delivered to the Hudson River SC. So the class is promoting the brand new rig package as incentive for chartering as we are still in need of charter boats. You can list your boat for charter on the J80worlds2022.com site
Brand new rigs retail for over $12,365, Sparcraft, which is also a sponsor of the 2022 J/80 Worlds, is offereing mast, boom, shrouds, headstay and Profurl furler for $8,400 - a 33% discount! We need 10 owners to commit to the group purchase within the next few weeks so that a spring delivery can be accommodated.
Comparing the Sparcraft rig vs the original Hall rigs, North Sails J/80 expert Will Wells, says "the decision is a no-brainer and worth doing." Outside the performance differences another consideration is many insurance companies will only give pennies on the dollar to replace a 20-year old plus rig. And Hall Spars themselves recommended that standing rigging be replaced every 10 years and the mast every 20.
Those who have questions or are interested in the package should email email@example.com J/80 NA Class Charter Coordinator for 2022 Worlds.
The paint job on Sparcraft masts is an option. The hardware comes installed - ready to go.
J/80 Worlds 2022 Registration Open
Historic Fort Adams in Newport, RI overlooks Newport harbor (left) and the Atlantic Ocean (upper) while also housing the state of Rhode Islands public sailing operation - Sail Newport
Sail Newport the organizing authority for the 2022 Worlds has opened registration for the event.
Go to Sail Newport's website for a copy of the NOR and a link to registration. You can also go directly to yachtscoring to register.
The facilities at Sail Newport are awesome. The huge parking lot is great for pre-event boat/trailer storage. The lot also has a fixed gin pole for rigging. Once the boats are measured, dock space for each boat is included in the all inclusive registration package.
Proposed 2022 Class Rule Changes
In an effort to clean up and make clarifications on the class rules, the following have been proposed for vote in the next international annual meeting.
C.2.1 World Sailing Regulation 20.4.1 shall apply (https://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/AdvertisingCodeFAQ-.pdf).
(a) each competitor can have multiple different advertising
(b) Specifically, on sails and hull, competitor advertising is permitted as follows:
- restricted to the lower 1/3 of the mainsail
- the entire surface of the gennaker
-restricted to the aft 75% of the hull (multiple different advertising allowed)
Not more than one crew weight control shall be performed for event measurement and/or registration at a class event. It shall be done after registration and previous to the beginning of the event.
C.4.1. The maximum crew weight in swimming apparel is 350kg with no limit on numbers of crew.
C.4.2. No crew member shall be substituted during an event of less than 6 consecutive days or that has pre-race weigh in without the approval of the race committee.
The J/80 Class will hold its annual meeting virtually on Sunday December 5th, 2021 at 8pm EDT to ensure good NA-wide participation. Please come and attend to hear the state of your class and to learn about 2022 plans for North Americans and Worlds in Sail Newport.
Key topics of discussion will include a summary of the health of the class, proposed rule changes, local fleet updates and a vote on the new class constitution that is provided for your review; highlights will be presented.
Tentative Agenda: 8pm EDT Dec 5, 2022
J/80 Annual Meeting
When: Sun Dec 5, 2021 8pm – 9:30pm Eastern Time - New York
recording provided below for those who missed the discussion
Current J/80 USA class constitution can be found here...
Please see attached meeting minutes from last years Annual Meeting for review.
Thank you for being as part of the J/80 class!
Your J/80 NA Board
2021 J/80 West Coasts on Puget Sound
J/80 hull #1 still going strong in the Northwest photos by Jan Anderson
Race Report by: Lek Dimarucot
The J/80 West Coast Championship was held on Oct 9 and 10 as part of the Puget Sound Sailing Championship organized by the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle. While several local teams couldn’t make it to the event, eight boats raced in the regatta.
Conditions varied widely, from strong breeze and choppy seas on Saturday (more typical of fall racing in Puget Sound), to calm, sunny weather with
variable wind on Sunday.
Emre “John” Sezer’s Reckless (USA 296) took bullets in all three races on Saturday, holding back Lek Dimarucot’s Underdog (USA 85) who finished second in every race. As the wind strengthened from the low teens to over 25 knots, crews and boats were tested and only half of the fleet completed the last
race of the day. Among many other incidents experienced by the fleet, Reckless tore a spinnaker and Underdog broke their vang after a knockdown.
Crews kept a lookout for a beluga whale rarely encountered in the Sound but recently reported to be in the area, but thankfully the wayward cetacean steered clear of the racecourse. It would have been hard to spot in the heavy chop, sea spray, and later pelting rain which the fleet encountered on Saturday.
The weather was a lot more sedate the following day. Because of the variable wind conditions, the race committee was only able to run two races, one in a southeasterly wind and the other in a northwesterly.
Charles and Sarah Hampson’s High Five (USA 333) won first place in both Sunday races, gaining a spot on the podium despite missing the last race on Saturday. Although Underdog finished second in both Sunday races, posting a consistent 2-2-2-2-2 scoreboard over the weekend, However, Reckless’ wall of bullets erected on Saturday proved impenetrable and Underdog took second overall.
Reckless won the West Coast Championship, despite John Sezer being overseas on another sailing adventure. “Wow, what a showing,” said a thankful John to his team, which included David Rogers, Kelly Moon, and Marc-Andrea Klimaschewski. What better proof is there that John has gathered a deep
bench of talent than Reckless winning the championship while he was away.
Pacific Northwest Fleet 18, together with the Corinthian Yacht Club of Seattle, has hosted the West Coast Championship since 2018. The local J/80 fleet has been rapidly growing in recent years, fueled not only by private owners discovering how much fun it is to race in a J/80, but also by sailing clubs who use the boat for introductory sailing lessons.
Photos of the event, including other fleets racing, can be found here.
Left to right front row: Zeke Horowitz, Thomas Klok, Marie Crump and helmsman Will Crump celebrate winning the 2021 J/80 North American Championship. Those are the Crump girls and event PRO Sharon Hadsell in the background assisting with the awards presentation.
Will Crump and his R80 team of Thomas Klok, Marie Crump, and North Sail’s Zeke Horowitz (tactics), won the 2021 J/80 North American Championship with a low score of 14 points. This is Crump’s second J/80 Championship having also won in 2013 at Block Island. The Crumps are a family affair with Marie Crumps brother, Thomas Klok - a two time winner as well, a part owner and integral part of the team.
Hosted by Eastport Yacht Club in Annapolis, under beautiful but light air conditions, the 23-boat fleet was missing our Canadian members and our international class measurers due to Covid travel restrictions, which, by the way, had caused the cancellation of the 2020 championship. However, strong representation from fleet 1 NH, Fleet 12 Massachusetts, Fleet 9 Newport RI and boats as far away as Detroit complemented local fleet 10 Chesapeake boats. Local knowledge of the tricky currents paid off with the top 5 boats all from the Chesapeake fleet.
Crump and his crew dominated with 2,1,1,7,2,2,1,5 finishes in the 8 races held over the 3 days of racing just south of the Bay Bridge. Whether the wind blew out of the north, as it did on day 1, or the south as a light seabreeze filled in on day 2 and 3, R80 consistently started well, picked the favored side, hitting the shifts and exhibiting relentless boat speed.
Meltemi, USA 60, helmed by Michael Hobson, was second overall with 23 points. Hobson also consistently launched off the start line and competitors quickly learned not to start near him or be relegated to the second row - his worst race was a 5 (throwout). He just edged out USA 1313, Turbo Sloth, helmed by Daniel Wittig,(24 points). JR Maxwell on 1150 Scamp was fourth overall and Chesapeake fleet captain Shannon Lockwood on Shenanigans was 5th. For complete scores go to Yachtscoring.com
EYC was a tremendous host, completely opening their club to visitors, and smoothly managing the obligatory boat/crew weigh-in and launch and haul. Kegs of free beer, and after racing parties with a barbecue added to the camaraderie the class is known for. Race organizers had post-race expert panel of sailmakers and pros to overview the racing and answer competitor questions. EYC even used GPS tracker phone apps from Kwindoo to record the boats tracks and progress.
Photos of the event can be found on Will Keyworth’s web page willkeyworth.smugmug.com.
The 2022 North Americans will be held in Newport, RI next September. Sail Newport will be managing NAs as a back to back competition in conjunction with the 2022 J/80 Worlds next October. A single weigh-in and measurement for both championships along with boat storage between competitions is expected to contribute to a large fleet in Newport.
Again, Congratualtions to the R80 Team!
Kudos to EYC for holding a first class event.
East Coasts are always a well attended event.
The 2021 J/80 East Coast Championship is being hosted by J/80 fleet 1 on Lake Winnipesauke. J-Jamboree registration is open! Haul-out is based on order of registration so sign up early! Lake Winnipesaukee is wonderful in the fall and the hospitality is spectacular! A big regatta against the stalwarts from fleet 1 is a great warmup for NA's in Annapolis. Join the tour! And email Fleet 1 fleet Captain David Stowe with any questions.
(Jamestown, RI)- Having sailed against the PARTY TREE J/80 racing team in the Jamestown Tuesday evening race series and in various Round Jamestown Island Races over time, it was fun to catch up with them in the spring of 2021 at SAIL NEWPORT's south drysail lot as they prepared their boat for the 2021 sailing season.
Here is the story of how this crew of Millennials came to fruition from the perspective of Mike Filimon (kite trimmer, travel & logistics) and the team of Connor O'Neil (tactician), Sam Cushing (skipper), and Will Snyder (bow & tech support).
In his opening comments, Mike said, "the drop off in sailing among post college sailors and young people, in general, is something I am very passionate about. That is why I became the co-owner of J/80 USA 003 THE PARTY TREE.
I sailed in college at the University of Rhode Island; while I was there, I lived in a house with several other sailors.
We all graduated at different years and the last year one of us was in college, he was the last one in the house while still on the sailing team.
One night we were sitting at the table after an alumni sailing event talking about how much we missed sailing. We were talking about ways we could keep sailing after watching all our friends and teammates who had devoted their lives to the sport STOP sailing after college.
We always had a fake tree with Christmas lights on it in the living room that turned on at 5:00 pm and turned off at 2:00 am. We called it "The Party Tree" in the spirit of Jimmy Buffet's "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" song. We were discussing this when the lights both literally and figuratively turned on and Party Tree Racing was born. We decided that night to form our own race team with the intent of buying a boat. So, as engineers/ geeks we are, we first we bought the domain name partytreeracing.com, as well as created the Instagram account- "partytreeracing".
After college, we all got adult jobs and moved to Newport and joined Sail Newport. We chartered the J/22 for a season and raced together...it was fun! We were really competitive (second in both series) and had a great time. We knew at this point we could be a race team. We also had lived together, so we knew we could handle paying bills together.
We had liked the idea of a J/70, since that was the hot fleet and a boat that took 4 people to sail. We started looking at the market and quickly realized a J/80 was twice as much boat for half as much money and there were already two of them in Newport. All four of us are engineers, so we set out to develop a plan for the hard work of boat ownership.
We made a budget that included all the operational costs. We determined we could dry sail the boat at Sail Newport and store it there for the winter. We got insurance quotes and went as far as making a race schedule and checking entry fees. We budgeted for one new sail a year. We realized; split four-ways we could make this work.
To ease the finances, we went to a bank, and they looked at the four of us and said, "you are renting a house?" NOT! And, we said "no, we are buying a boat". They looked confused and said they couldn't help us. We explained we needed a joint checking account, not a loan, and they said that they could do that for us. We drafted a boat agreement with rules governing usage and we all agreed to deposit the same amount per month in the boat account. We also agreed what expenses are personal and what are boat account.
Now, the problem with the J/80 over the J/70 was that none of us had a car that could tow it!! Thankfully, one of us was thinking about trading in his old college beater. He bought a new pickup truck that could tow a J/80, so thankfully that solved that problem!
Around this time, I was out sailing on a C&C 35 with my Dad and all of his friends. They were complaining about how there aren't enough young people in sailing and not enough boats on the line anymore. I told them as a millennial we can't afford it. One of them owned a J/29 I had raced on and was moving. He said, "I would sell you my boat for $10 grand". I told him “That is not the issue, I can write you a check for $10,000 right now, but there is a 20 year wait for moorings in Newport."
So, I need to rent a private mooring which costs thousands a season. I don't own a house, so I need to pay someone to haul it and store it for the winter. That is going to cost a lot more. I explained we need a J/80 because we can launch, tow, and store it ourselves. The owner looked at me and said, "wow you put a lot of thought into this..." I responded with "well we kind of have to".
We started scouring the market for a J/80 that fit our needs and found one in Wickford for the right price. It was even sail number 3 (number tree) so at that point it was fate. We put in an introductory offer because it didn't have a set of sails that would be competitive, and it was accepted. We bought it Wednesday, sailed it across the bay Sunday, and raced the Jamestown PHRF Fleet Tuesday. We didn't really have kite, or kite sheets, but we were out there.
That summer we raced the PHRF Fleet in Jamestown and had a great time doing it. Anytime not racing, we spent daysailing, or rafting up with friends.
We got an email from the J/80 fleet captain for the Marion J/80 fleet. He explained that J/80 North Americans were happening in Marion, MA and they were trying to get as many boats as possible. We explained that we were not going to be able to attend because our boat only came with its original 1993 kite, which was cut as a reacher, and would not be competitive. He decided to talk to the fleet and help us. One senior member had purchased a new kite for the J/80 NA's and decided to give us his old kite in return for our participation. Another fleet member agreed to lend us a jib. We raced with a 13-year-old mainsail made by Vermont sailing partners. In the end, we raced and had a great time.
We learned a lot along the way that other people can hopefully use to run successful programs. We decided that we would make a better team than individuals. We knew we would be each other's crew and after living together knew we could handle it. Pooling our resources let us afford it and we also split the work.
I once had someone ask me, "How do you share a boat and not get in fights over who gets to use it?"
My answer is "we don't co-own the boat; the boat co-owns us". LOFL! The work list is beyond us individually!
We split the work as a team, which is the only way it works! And, when one of us wants to take the boat out, we all get to go and enjoy it together.
Our usual response is that boats are so much work, how do you own them by yourself?
We are also still roommates, but have split from one house to two apartments. I have a detached garage at my apartment that is our sail loft, and the other apartment has a basement storage unit that stores the outboard, bottom paint and epoxy supplies all winter.
We each have our defined roles, Will is tech support, Sam drives the bus, I get us to the starting line and Conor gets us over the finish line.
We also could not pull this off without fleet support. The J/80 fleet in Marion, MA and around the USA had been great and welcomed us with open arms.
We have so far received 3 hand-me-down sails from other boats who were happy to help because they wanted to see us on the water with them.
We have even agreed someday, when we are older, and in a position to do so, we have to pay it forward to the next generation after us, because we owe that debt to the sailing community.
The active J/80 fleets have been a friendly group of great sailors who are always happy to lend a hand to what it takes to get another J/80 out there with them. I even managed to hop on a boat in Seattle for West Coast Championships during a business trip and found friends on both coasts!
We now run an active program and are gearing up for our second Block Island Race Week...hahaha, we may be the boat to beat this time!!
Last year, not only did I win the family rivalry and leave my Dad in my wake, but we also ruffled a few feathers when we were crossing gybes with a Swan 42, who were shocked we were so hard to pass. We are a steady fixture at J/80 one-design events and have friends in other fleets.
The J/80 one design events are always well-run and feel like a reunion as we get to meet old friends and make new ones.
We typically trailer to a few one-design events and then fill in the schedule with local events in and around Newport. The J/80 has been not only affordable, but let us do everything we could ever want in a boat. Whether it's spending the night on Block Island or top level one-design racing, our J/80 has served us so well we have even convinced another college friend to buy one for his young family.
This all started to happen in the summer of 2018. We have come a long way since then and have a trophy collection to prove it. We even did a FIGAWI and were known as the people crazy enough to race such a small boat and even crazier to sleep on it.
When we aren't racing, we are out sailing every weekend. To the point that Tim Kohl, the local J/Boat dealer in Newport, saw us once on the water and said, "you guys don't stop"!!
Two years later, doing the Storm Trysail Club Vineyard Race on the same C&C 35 with my Dad (after we had beaten them at Block Island Race Week the first time) the owner said, "well you guys all make good money, you could buy a bigger boat". Laughing, I said "yes, we could buy a bigger boat, but that wouldn't mean we have any more fun!!"
We may not be the fastest boat in the fleet, and we are definitely not the best funded, but if you see a J/80 with four guys wearing green hats, we are definitely having the most fun on the water!! GUARANTEED!! PARTY TREED!! Fair Winds- Mike Filimon"
Sailing photo credits- John Lincourt.
The 2021 J/80 North American championships are being hosted by Eastport YC and will be held in Annapolis Oct 1-3...
Registration is now Open: click here to register
2021 Race Dates
Planning for the 2021 season has started to crystalize with fleets updating their local schedules (see fleet pages) and North American Class OD events which are listed under the J/80 Championships tab.
New hulls continue to find their way into North America with 10 boats delivery to Hudson Sailing in time for the 2022 Worlds in Newport. This boat, 1632 joined the Fleet 1, NH fleet in the summer of 2020.
The molding of hull #1700 is in the works, making the J/80 the second most popular Jboat of all time, behind the J/24. The legendary J/24 has some 6000+ hulls, so it is nice that the J/80 is mentioned in the same breath and continues to grow as a class. No offense to the venerable 24, but most people would prefer to race a J/80.
Mark Girone's hull #1592 gets a Baltoplate finish and final assembly in Bristol, RI.
J/80's on the used market are almost non-existant here in 2021. A new hull costs 55K without electronics or paint and still seems like a good deal given the cost of bringing an older boat back up to that level. Major fleets in Annapolis, Austin, Lake Winnepesaukee, NH, Toronto, Seattle, and Marion Massachusetts continue to grow.
A total year + rehab on hull #63 included a sprayed VC Epoxy finish. Ex Harmful 26 is joining the growing Massachusetts fleet in Marion this year. Used boats are difficult to find but worth the effort to rehab. The Toronto fleet found that importing a used boat from Europe helped build their fleet in 2020.
Nothing like a new bottom! Hull #1632 dangles from the fork truck during christening at Fay's boatyard in Gilford, NH. Fay's and fleet 1 hosted the 2019 North Americans.
J/80 Class Rule Change Status
Rule Chance for only Proposal #2 to take effect January 1, 2021. Change to rule will be reflected in the J/80 Builders Specifications.
J/80 Rule Amendment Proposals 2021
PROPOSAL #1 – Jib Material and Construction - Proposed by France J/80 NCA Class Rule: #G.4.1(b) Headsail Construction Current Rule: The body of the sail shall be constructed of either: woven ply and/or laminated ply made from one or more of the following materials: polyester, aramid, HMPE. Sail reinforcement shall be made from one or more of the following materials: polyester, aramid, HMPE, glass fiber. Aramid is marketed under trade names such as Kevlar and Twaron and HMPE under trade names such as Spectra and Dyneema. #5 or #6 luff tape shall be used for the furling system attachments. Proposed Rule: The body of the sail shall be constructed of either: woven ply and/or laminated ply made from one or more of the following materials: polyester, aramid, HMPE. Sail reinforcement shall be made from one or more of the following materials: polyester, aramid, HMPE, glass fiber. Aramid is marketed under trade names such as Kevlar and Twaron and HMPE under trade names such as Spectra and Dyneema. #5 or #6 luff tape shall be used for the furling system attachments. Effective for new sails delivered after January 1, 2021, all materials used to make the sail and the sail manufacturing process must be widely available to the sailmaking community. Reason for change: to level the playing field for suppliers and encourage more competitive (lower) pricing for the jibs.
PROPOSAL #2 – Spinnaker Halyard Cleat Use – Proposed by North America J/80 NCA Ref: J/80 Building Specifications Line #52 Current Specification: Spinnaker halyard 150 cam cleat on starboard side of mast OR one cheek block on deck (outboard of mast) and one cam cleat aft on starboard cabin trunk. Proposed Specification: Spinnaker halyard 150 cam cleat on starboard side of mast AND/OR one cheek block on deck (outboard of mast) and one cam cleat aft on starboard cabin trunk. Reason for change: to allow concurrent installation and use of the two different cleats currently permitted in the building specifications. The aft cam cleat near the cockpit was standard on USbuilt boats for several years before the mast cleat became standard. The official building specifications have always allowed for either cleat but not both. For racing in normal conditions, the mast cleat is preferred as it keeps the crew weight forward; however in very windy conditions and with less athletic (i.e. older) crew, the cockpit cleat is safer for handling. Cost impact is minimal.
Date: Nov 17, 2020 - 8pm ET
- Year in Summary (regional fleets to provide update)
- State of the Class - Financial Status
- J/80 Rules update
- Worlds 2022 update
- Future Championship venues - (2021, 2022, 2023
- Vote of the Board
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