Mark your calendars, the 2018 J/80 North American Class Championships will be held September 7-9, 2018 at the Beverly Yacht Club in Marion MA... Registration Just Opened on yacht scoring!
The International J/80 Executive Committee has awarded the 2020 J/80 World Championship to the J/80 North American Class Association! A short list of five (5) potential venues is being explored then announced at the end of this coming Summer 2018. Please share your nomination through Facebook or our J/80 web site to where you would like to see the event to be held to ensure your participation. Stay tuned for more news on this topic here our J/80 web site www.j80na.com.
The J/80 North American Class announces J/World partnership to include all 2018 Class members get one complementary spinnaker training class for skipper, crew or anyone they choose. J/World Annapolis and the J/80 North American Class continue to enjoy a strong partnership and promote benefit for its alumni and members. Join the Class today! https://www.j80na.com/membership.html
Click here to see the new class rules effective March 2018 that address three (3) major changes:
1) Backstay Flicker now allowed
2) On-Board Camera allowed
3) Total Crew weight increased to 350kg
Ken Mangano and crew of Mango capture 2017 J80 East Coast Championship on Lake Winnipesaukee New Hampshire
This year’s J-Jamboree was held on Lake Winnipesauke from September 23rd - 25th. The event once again delivered great racing and memories for all participants. Nine teams from Maine, Massachusetts and New Hampshire participated. On Friday teams registered and attended a great welcoming party at the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association Sailing Center. Racers enjoyed J-Jamboree chili, enjoyed a few beverages and bantered about racing. Racing began on Saturday morning. The day brought New England fall weather. Participants enjoyed sunny weather with temperatures in the 60s. The wind quickly filled in to 12 – 18 knots with gusts around 20 knots. The Race Committee fired off 6 races. With great planning conditions boats rocked up and down the race course. At the end of Saturday, FKA (Les Beckwith) and More Gostosa (Conor Hayes) were tied for first place with 14 points. Argo III (Jason Blais/Casey Nickerson) close behind with 19 points. Saturday evening the J-Jamboree party was held at the Lake Winnipesauke Yacht Club.
This year’s J-Jamboree was held on Lake Winnipesauke from September 18th - 20th. The event once again delivered great racing and memories for all participants. Thirteen teams from Maryland, Maine, Massachusetts, New York and New Hampshire participated. On Friday teams registered and attended a great welcoming party at the Lake Winnipesaukee Sailing Association Sailing Center.
Racing began on Saturday morning. The day was very warm, in the mid to upper 70’s. In the morning there was little to no wind. Due to wind conditions the first race was abandoned and the Race Committee raised the AP flag. During the delay, teams participated in water fights, friendly banter, general tomfoolery and swimming. Shortly before 2pm the winds filled in. Conditions were perfect with flat water and 8-12 knots of breeze. Four races were held. Kerry Klingler’s boat Lifted dominated the day with 3 bullets and a first day total of 8 points for the day. In second place was Ken Mangano’s boat Mango with a first day total of 12 points, followed closely by Casey Nickerson’s boat Argo III with a total of 15 points.
On Saturday evening the J-Jamboree party was held at the Lake Winnipesauke Yacht Club. Racers had a great dinner, rum drinks and participated in a raffle of North Sails gear. Overnight conditions changed and fall arrived in New England. The morning dawned cool and blustery with winds over 20knots with gusts approaching 30 knots. Strong winds made for exciting and challenging conditions for all the racers. At times the scene was reminiscent of 2010 Worlds, with boats planning down wind at over 15knots and carnage on the race course!!
In the end, it was once again Lifted dominating the day with three more bullets and taking home the 2015 East Coast Championship trophy! With a great day on the water and in difficult conditions Les Beckwith’s boat FKA came from behind and put three deuces on the board to take 2nd place overall. Mango was close behind taking 3rd. Complete results will be posted soon on the J-Jamboree website www.j-jamboree.org See you all next year!!! Cheers, Jeff Rabinowitz, J80 Fleet 1 Captian.
| 30 September 2016 |
Hosted by Annapolis Yacht Club, the ECC's are a prelude to the fall - winter J/80 racing season. We expect some of the best teams to be in Annapolis “testing the waters” and building their Annapolis experience in order to be best prepared for 2017. For local sailors, this is an incredible opportunity to learn from the best coming straight from the North Americans.
| 01 September 2016 | Registration |
John White added to his long list of impressive victories last week when he captured the J/80 North American Championship, hosted by National Yacht Club in Toronto. Competition was held on the Humber Bay area of Lake Ontario from Aug. 5-7.
| 15 August 2016 | click here for full editorial |
Congratulations to John White and the crew of 1162 from Annapolis. Finishing with 27 points after 12 races they won this year's title of North American Champions here in Toronto! … Safe travels home everyone!
| 08 August 2016 | Full results here.. |
The 2016 J/80 NA's are now only 5 weeks away and we're looking forward to seeing you there!
The Organizing Committee have been hard at work booking bands, planning meals and of course, lining up a top notch Race Committee to ensure we pack as many races into the 3 days as possible! In true J/80 Fleet 20 style, it's going to be one of the friendliest and fun regattas you'll ever attend with great racing too!
There's already 20 boats registered including 6 from the US and at least another 5-10 competitors expected. If you've registered but not yet paid, be sure to do that before the late fee kicks in on July 17th.
When registering, we hope many of you will also join us for the tune-up clinic being hosted by our friends at North Sails One Design on Thursday August 4.
If you're looking to make the most of your on water time in Toronto, consider joining us for 3 days of course racing at LYRA the weekend before the North Americans (July 29-31). LYRA is being held in Whitby which is just a 20 minute drive from National YC or compete in the free feeder race, The Founder's Cup, on Tuesday July 26th. Find out more about LYRA here - http://wyc.ca/LYRA2016/
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
J/80 Fleet 20 - NAs Organizing Committee
| 02 July 2016 | Registration |
Heading to the 2016 J/80 North Americans in Toronto? Preparation is the key to crossing the border with a boat!
My wife, Lisa, and I have been racing our J/80 Eagles Wings since 2002, but have always been a little intimidated by traveling to regattas. We finally decided that the 2012 LYRA at Ashbridges Yacht Club (just outside of Toronto) would be our first out-of-town (Rochester, NY) regatta. The north side of the lake J/80s (Fleet #20) were growing and we knew it would be great to race against a bunch of new -to-us boats. The welcoming crew at AYC was a great way to begin to ease our stress. They knew when we were to arrive, how to use the equipment, where to dock the boat and in general available to help.
Besides packing up and making sure we hadn’t forgotten anything, my biggest “fear” was how was the border crossing going to go? As it turned out, the border crossing was a non-event and despite the lack of wind, the regatta was a blast – we got to make a bunch of new J/80 friends and had a great time.
Just like racing, the key to success with crossing the border into Canada and (don’t forget) back into the United States is preparation. The definitive sources of information are the Canada Border Services Agency (http://www.cbsa-asfc.gc.ca) and US Customs and Border Protection (http://cpb.gov). We’ll cover the high level items here, but if you have any questions you should contact either or both of the above agencies well before attempting to travel into Canada. For the sake of this discussion, we’re assuming that you are US citizens and will be trailering a boat across one of the US/Canadian border crossings to Toronto for the J/80 North Americans.
Both governments have two main areas of interest when you are traveling across the border: the vehicle-trailer-boat and the people.
Both governments are concerned that all vehicles are properly registered and carry current inspections. The ideal situation would be if all three (vehicle, trailer, boat) are registered to the same name and that person is you or is with you. Otherwise, there must be clear documentation that you have permission to be transporting the vehicle/trailer/boat, including the owners contact information. The other concern is that you are not buying or selling – and therefore should be paying some tax. When asked, simply state that you are traveling to a regatta in Toronto and will be returning to the US in a few days.
The documentation required for the people crossing the border is different between the US and Canada. In order to return to the US, you must have a valid passport, NEXUS, or enhanced driver’s license. You can enter Canada with a birth certificate, but that will not be sufficient to allow you back into the US. If you are traveling with a minor whose parents are not present, you will also need an original Birth Certificate and a signed consent letter from the parents. Canada may also not allow individuals with a felony conviction or DUI entrance to Canada. See the websites above if there are any concerns about the admissibility of anyone in your group.
The websites also document items that are prohibited going to Canada and back into the US:
If you are leaving your boat in Canada for any reason, you will need form E29Bfor temporary Importation. For example if you are racing the LYRA regatta in Whitby Canada the week before and you wish to go back to the US in-between the regatta's.
In our case, for the 2012 regatta, both border crossings went very smoothly. We crossed into Canada at Lewiston, NY on a Wednesday in the early afternoon and only spent 5 minutes with the Canada Border officer. I had all the vehicle documentation ready, but all he needed were our passports. A simple conversation about where we were going and when we expected to return and then we were on our way. Sunday night after the regatta, we did encounter a delay due the amount of traffic returning to the US (maybe an hour), but the interaction with the Border officer was also very straightforward and professional.
| 21 April 2016 |
Oh what a feeling! Its been a few weeks since LYRA and the after glow continues. We had our largest Fleet 20 turn out yet with 9 boats competing at Sodus Bay YC. For those that didn’t make it, you were missed!
The J/80 fleet started showing up first by water after racing from Rochester YC to Sodus Bay YC in true championship fashion. We clearly were making a statement by posting a 1st, 2nd and 3rd place win in the Centennial Race Division 2, PHRF 1 Spinnaker start and PHRF 1st Overall Corrected. I had friends in other fleets that were blown away watching the J/80 fleet storm by them on the course. Everyone wants a J/80!
Congratulations to Gene and the Escape crew along with the rest of the competitors. This has inspired a coastal race to be incorporated into next years race week. More to follow.
2015 CENTENNIAL RACE RESULTS:
2 Stray J
3 EAGLES WINGS
Wednesday was the day the road warriors arrived, one by one pulling in and taking over the SBYC launch area. Owners and crew across the fleet swarmed in to assist in what was a mostly uneventful process of stepping the masts and launching the boats. By mid afternoon many of the competitors were tuned and rafted off the prime location designated J/80 docks and enjoying the camaraderie.
The Smith’s invited us all to a Irish Pub in Webster where we were toasted by the locals in true tradition, Sláinte J/80’s! At this point I want to thank our Chef de Mission Lisa Smith and her crew David and Ben. You guys truly made the entire regatta for us, from the moment we arrived until we pulled out on Sunday. Having the SBYC committee know what to expect before we arrived, assigning a sweet location for us and setting the extra buoys to support our raft was awesome. Dave, your assistance and cool head mast stepping kept us all calm and got the job done. Ben, I’m sure you had something to do with the ever flowing beer (and water) in Lisa and Dave’s cooler, thanks for all your help!
I can’t forget to mention our mariners on Breakaway J that sailed in from Kingston YC, on short fuel rations and the circumnavigators on Feisty, sailing all the way from NYC in Toronto, wow… impressive!
The LYRA course racing was awesome, with three great races Friday, three more on Saturday and two on Sunday. We had every condition from no wind, good wind to OMG STAY ON THE BOAT!!! Saturday being the highlight for me, with 6' waves and 20+knots of breeze! Those downwind sled rides were incredible! A true reminder of how fun this little yacht is.
LYRA COURSE RACING RESULTS:
Hans Fogh Memorial J/80 Lake Ontario Open
9 J/80s - seven races & close results with only 6 points spread between 2nd and 6th
1 Nautical Symphony
3 EAGLES WINGS
LYRA ONE-DESIGN REGATTA CHAMPION: Nautical Symphony
Not only was this a great LYRA regatta but an awesome opportunity to demonstrate what a great fleet we've created. I was taken aside by SBYC’s Commodore, Bob Carey, and given an incredible compliment directed at the entire fleet. He shared that it didn’t get overlooked by the club and the other regatta participants just how great you all are, coming together to help each other out, to party and to compete.
The LYRA Championship Award that Nautical Symphony was presented goes to you all. Congratulations. Speaking about Nautical Symphony, WOW… a two peat! Second year in a row wining the Hans Fogh Memorial Open. A fantastic accomplishment amongst a fleet of 9 very competitive sailors, with seven races and only 6 points spread between 2nd and 6th. Congratulations to owners Bart Smit & Pascal Desrosiers, crew Gitte Frederiksen and driver/tactician David Holmes for showing us how its done.
The Hans Fogh Memorial Lake Ontario J/80 Open is being held again next year in conjunction with LYRA on July 29-31 at Whitby Yacht Club.
I look forward to seeing everyone there in the lead up to the North Americans. I'm sure we'll be taking the LYRA One-Design Fleet flag home again with more than 9 boats attending next year for sure!
CAN 33 JIGGERS!
J/80 Fleet 20 Captain
| 20 January 2016 |
Good morning J80 enthusiasts! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Life gets busy sometimes, and before you know it, the days disappear on the wings of a stiff southerly….
There is lots going on around the country with regard to local and regional events, and the J80 NA’s are set for October at Lakewood Yacht Club in Texas…but that’s not why I’m writing today. I wanted to fill you in on some of the good work being a part of this awesome class always us to do.
As some of you may know, The Leukemia Cup Regattas are a series of events held at different locations around the country throughout the year to help raise funds for research into Leukemia, Lymphoma, and other blood cancers. The first regatta was held in Annapolis, MD 23 years ago, with the latest edition held this past weekend.
Though the events are pretty standard around the country, one aspect of the Annapolis event is very unique. Years ago, J80 Fleet 10 (the Chesapeake Bay fleet) decided to change it up a bit. Fund raising while competing on the course is always a good time, but maybe they could do something a little more. A group of owners and event supporters got together and hatched a plan. What if, instead of just sailing, the group pulled out of the normal regatta aspect and took children in treatment and their families out for a fun day of sailing just off the docks of Eastport Yacht Club. There is plenty of room right off the club to host such an event. By keeping the venue close to land, it was easy to get anyone back to shore if a medical issue arose. The owners also recognized the layout of the J80 cockpit and overall stability of the boat made it the ideal platform for such an event. The proposal was presented to the Fleet, the local Leukemia and Lymphoma Society chapter and Eastport Yacht Club. Everyone loved the idea and the Leukemia Cup J80 Fun Race was born!
So, this past Saturday, the 6th Annual Leukemia Cup J80 Fun Race was held. The children (some in treatment, some in remission and some long time survivors) and their families arrived at the club around 11AM. They were attended to by scores of volunteers, including members from local High School sailing teams. Chic Fil A, a long time sponsor, treated everyone to lunch. The kids snuck over to the painting area, where a donated mainsail was spread out for all to adorn as they saw fit! Then, the kids were assigned to boats for the day, introductions were made, and everyone headed out on the water. Spectator boats were provided so the parents could stand back and enjoy some desperately needed downtime. And the kids got to stop worrying for a while and just be kids playing on the water experiencing something new!
After 4 close races, and lots of laughing, giggling and tons of smiles, the fleet headed back in for ice cream and awards. And in this event, everyone wins!
I can tell you from personal experience that this is the most worthwhile sailing this group does every year. The ability to give back and influence others in need using a sport we all love is incredibly humbling. I have been blessed with being at 5 of the past 6 Fun Races, and it becomes more rewarding and emotional every year. Church Key has had the gift of taking many children over the years, from kids in treatment, to survivors, to the siblings of a sister taken by this disease just weeks before she was supposed to come sail. You fall in love with these kids, and I stay in touch with many of the families still. They become part of your family, after all. This year we had the added bonus of taking McKenzie Wilson, a spunky 11 year old and her older sister along for the ride. McKenzie was this year’s Annapolis Leukemia Cup Honored Skipper. Even better, she had just been moved into the survivor category…4 years cancer free!
So, come next May, you’ll see the local Chesapeake Bay J80 sailors out again. There’ll be splashing, feet dragging in the water, new intrepid ‘skippers” driving boats for the first time, and smiling parents at ease for a bit. We hope if you’re in the area, you’ll stop on by. Even more, if there is a Leukemia Cup Regatta in your area, you may decide to do this little bit more….we are standing by to answer any questions you may have on how we do this. And we’ll travel to assist if needed.
If you are so inclined, I’ve attached the link for the J80 fleets Leukemia Cup fundraising page. Even 5 dollars helps…..
I hope this finds you all well. Stay happy, healthy and safe over the coming summer sailing season.
Yours in Sailing,
Chris Chadwick, USA J80 Class Association President
USA 59 CHURCH KEY
| 01 June 2015 |
Henry DeGroot was kind enough to write up a bit on his adventures this year!! Thanks for taking the pressure off me on this one, Henry!!
Quantum Key West race week 2015 had everything that you expect, beautiful Florida weather, plenty of wind, bright sunshine, amazing azure waters, and of course unlimited partying on Duval Street.
We launched the J/80 Saturday at the Truman Annex right downtown, where we got to check out the burgeoning J 70 fleet as well as the eye-popping GC32 high powered foiling catamarans being fitted with their 10 foot long carbon foils. The superb launch and recovery site set up by the race management team made it easy to get the boat rigged and dropped in the water.
Weatherwise, we had excellent conditions with a mix of sun and clouds each day. Steady northerlies in the 8-12 knot range monday and tuesday dropped off to 4 knots on Wednesday, forcing the race committee to cancel the second race. The breeze and chop built from the Southeast thursday, followed by a big breeze on Friday with 20 knot southeasterly's and big rolling waves coming in from the Straits of Florida.
To our dismay we found ourselves on the only J/80 in Key West 2015, forcing us into PHRF. We were put in PHRF 2, racing against a Cape Fear 37, a J105, a C&C 121, and a VAR 37. The J/80 proved faster upwind and equal off wind to the entire fleet in light and smooth conditions, but as the chop built it was harder to maintain upwind speeds. Once the wind speed went above 15 knots the chop was a major factor and the bigger stiffer boats made huge upwind gains. However, the amazing downwind speeds the J80 can develop in a breeze allowed us to surf our way back into contention every race. Our best speed was 18 knots, our best finish was a first, our best finish for the day was a second, and our overall finish was third in this small mixed class.
Although we were sad not to see the friendly faces and excellent competition from our fellow J80 class members, we had a blast at Key West 2015 and plan to return in 2016!
Henry DeGroot J80 808 "Wired"
***Tim Wilkes Photography***
| 05 February 2015 |
Brain Keane and his exceptional crew on Hull 1123, SAVASANA, captured the 2014 J80 World Championship!
The Worlds were a hard fought event, with conditions across the spectrum. Racing began with light shifty conditions in the beginning of the week, to big breeze on the final day! It was anyone's event coming into the last day, with multiple boats within striking distance. However, when the dust settled, Keane's consistancy throughout the event proved too much for the competition!
| 08 October 2014 | Read more |
Congratulations to Terry Flynn and Quantum Racing for putting on a clinic at the 2014 J80 NAs in Annapolis last weekend!
The conditions were challenging over 3 days of racing, with large shifts, varying winds, and a 3+ hour on water postponenment in drizzly conditions. The Annapolis Yacht Club Team put put on quite a show, from stellar race management, to logistics coordination, to good food and hospitality at the club.
A note from the Mid Atlantic Measurer:
Dear J80 NAs competitors,
"Thank you all so much for making the NAs a great event. The measurement process was a breeze thanks to the sailors having your boats ready!! I hope you all found measurement to be a smooth process as well. Look forward to seeing you all next week.
Cheers, Liz Chadwick
Next up, 2014 J80 Worlds right down the street at Eastport Yacht Club! See everyone in 10 days... until then, I'm..
Yours in Service,
USA 59 CHURCH KEY
US Association Secretary
Full results can be found at http://www.yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=1090
| 17 September 2014 | Read more |
I've just received news from Scott Spurlin (ph 512 335 2391), our JBoats Southwest, new and used dealer, on the resale of six used J80's. We welcome these following owners;
In a few words this is what they wrote to me:
1. Bernie Nauta writes:
I owned and campaigned Hull 159 “Weekend @ Bernie’s for a dozen years on the southern circuit until I sold it 2 or 3 years ago to Tim Kraft, due to being one of only 2 boats still active at the club. I was active in the fleet and was National Secretary for a few years. I still race at FWBC (Fort Worth Boat Club)Sundays, since I bought Roland Arthur’s old hull 20 Wild Thang. I left the name the same and just added Nauta to the front of the name. Still enjoy the boat and the camaraderie. Still the best class out there.
2.Cheit Hight writes:
I plan to join the J80 association. Hope to travel and meet some new sailor/friends. Boat 336, name is not on side yet but will be Avanti.
Cheit lives in Arkansa, and bought Al Poindexters old boat, he plans to do some traveling.
3. Bryan Colby writes:
Just put the boat in the water and it does not have a name yet. I did register on the J80 site and paid the fee. My hull # is 296. Looking forward to the season.
Bryan will be sailing in Houston.
We welcome these new owners and others, lets show them our gratitude in making our class strong and vibrant, and offer any help we can in making this one of the best associations, whether racing or just going sailing.
Alan Bates (ph 281-212-7348) plays large part in grooming up coming sailors with his B Sailing Club program here in Houston. He offers newcomers and seasoned sailors a chance to learn to sail or race. He recently joined JBoats Southwest, give Scott or Alan a call if you are in the market for an 80.
Here is our upcoming schedule for 2014, Fleet 2:
HYC Elissa Regatta - 4/5-6
FWBC Leukemia Cup - 4/26-27
DCYC Heritage Cup - 5/17-18
HYC Leukemia Cup - 6/21-22
HYC HOOD - 9/20-21
LYC JFEST - 11/1-2
We are adding Wed night races here in Houston, with more info to follow. Please contact me if interested in joining our races.
J80 USA Class Association V. P.
| 17 March 2014 |
Good Morning everyone!!! I wanted to pass on the news that due to the hard work of a number of J80 owners up north, the class has reached enough momentum that it was time to create a Canadian Fleet! Welcome J80 USA Class Association Fleet 20, located out of Ontario, to our crazy family!!!! Here's to years of sailing success, new friendships, and great competition!!!
| 25 February 2014 |
The following was pulled from a North Sails roundup.
Report by Andrew Kerr - Tactician J/80 Team Vayu 2
This year’s Key West Race Week was also the venue for the J/80 Midwinter Championships; it is hard to think of a better venue for a championship in January! Peter Craig and his team from Premiere Racing always make the event a World class event with top level race management on the water and great shore side activities after wards.
On the Sunday evening I participated as a member of the tactician’s panel representing division three (J/80 class and PHRF 1 and 2 fleets) with Ed Baird as moderator, Ed does a great job keeping everyone engaged and the ideas and conversation flowing and as a result the interaction with the audience was highly effective with great insight and thoughts from the panel and questions from the audience.
For the fourth year I sailed with Vayu 2 as Tactician and Jib trimmer, Vayu 2 is a J/80 chartered from J World Annapolis by Ron Buzil of Chicago, helmed by Jahn Tihansky (Jahn Owns J World Annapolis and is the Offshore coach for the US Naval academy) and TJ Voght from Atlanta, TJ and Jahn go a long way back together as they owned a J24 together in Tampa back in 1979. I have coached Ron’s Benetau 40. 7 team in Chicago for the last 14 years.
Our regular spinnaker trimmer Nigel Brownett from Long Beach was not able to make the event and TJ filled in for him.
Fourteen J/80’s were originally registered, by start time we were down to 12 boats but we were still the second largest fleet and had great representation of fleets from Annapolis, Long Beach, New York, Chicago, Florida and Rhode Island and featured many talented teams, some of them included former J/80 NA Champs John Stork Jr. and team on Rumour, Bill & Shannon Lockwood and there team from New Jersey on Shenanigans, last year’s 3rd place North Americans ( at Block Island Race Week) finisher Gary Panariello and team on Courageous, perennial top finisher Chris & Liz Chadwick on Church Key and top West coast finisher Bob and Cheryl Hayward from Long Beach, CA on Blue Jay.
With the J/80 North Americans and World Championships both scheduled for Annapolis in September the event was a perfect way for teams to get revved up for the road to the World Championships, other stops on the J/80 winter tour include Charleston Race Week & the Annapolis NOOD with Key West being the kick starter.
Key West always presents a variety of conditions – flatter water and light air all the way to big waves and 25 knots with everything in between as the frontal systems roll down from the North, so the sails and tuning have to be flexible to every day’s different weather pattern change.
On Vayu 2 we strictly followed the North sails tuning guide and took a lot of time prior to the regatta making sure we had the rake and pre bend exactly right, the mast butt in the correct place for the 3. 5 inches of pre bend and a tuning matrix set up so we knew the number of turns up and down from base setting.
Every day when we returned to the dock we were sure to go back to base setting so we knew our starting point, when on the water we were sure to watch the leeward upper and Intermediate shrouds for visual clues of power – if 10 knots and above we needed to seem them snug as per the tuning guide, if under 10 knots then they needed to be looser for power with a ½ to 3/ 4 quarter inch of side sag in the mast for power. This visual clue proves an excellent visual for how good the tuning is, coupled with the helms feedback on power and feel.
Our North sails inventory provided excellent speed and pointing in all conditions, one key element we found was critical was playing the vang upwind in the puffs and lulls, on the rail we would call the lull and how long it would last for – “ light spot, last’s for 4 to 6 lengths, followed by a slow build”, on receipt of this we would ease the vang and backstay, ease the mainsheet, pull the traveler up and ease the Jib slightly. Depending on the nature of the puff – a slow build would require just an adjustment on the backstay, if a big build we would be sure to tighten the vang to help flatten the lower part of the Main and take pressure of the mainsheet and traveler to in turn make them easier to play.
Easing the vang in the lulls is the critical element though as the J/80 will suffer badly if the vang is on tight in any lull.
The first day of the series was the lightest with winds from the SW with the priority being velocity over angle and trying to connect the bands of Zephyrs and stay away from the other boats not only in our fleet but in the other fleets as well to maintain clear air both upwind and downwind. This day essentially was your team against the race course, these are days I personally really enjoy as it is pure strategic sailing while balancing the tactical needs.
Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday the wind freshened and went to a pre frontal NNW / NW with building chop, occasionally going North, port tack into the waves was much harder on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday so we found it better to have the Jib lead one hole forward on that tack for power and the lead in the normal setting on the other one for the easier tack where we could trim the Jib harder. With the lead one hole forward we found that we could ease the Jib sheet for power while still retaining the form shape in the leech of the sail effectively.
Tuesday was particularly challenging as there were rain squalls and complex cloud systems and a 90 degree wind shift in the middle of the day - the rain clouds brought more wind and large shifts followed by big light spots.
In the gusty pre Frontal conditions we found we had to ease the mainsheet out a little quickly as the Traveler would not suffice on an initial basis, in this instance the Jib was eased as well to keep the slot consistent and the boat tracking straight. If the Jib is kept in all the pressure will go to the bow and blow the boat sideways. The value of playing the Jib cannot be overstated – easing slightly in a puff (as the apparent wind shifts aft toward the true wind), easing in a lull or light spot for power and easing it together with the Main in a big puff to keep the boat tracking. To this end I found myself occasionally “French Hiking” (made famous by the French 12 meter sailors from the America’s Cup’s in Newport) of half facing inboard to play the sheet while hiking out fully with the lower body, it is not comfortable at all but being a long time J24 sailor I am not used to rail comfort anyway so no difference ! It was however effective in the conditions where the Jib demanded to be played all the time otherwise the boat would come to a stop in a square wave.
I found the North sails weather service to be excellent all week and also an excellent learning tool as there is an in-depth discussion of cloud formations and what to look for in the sky. There was much value on sailing to the ridge of the cloud to get the downdraft and lift and avoid the middle of the cloud where there is updraft, the exception to this was with the rain clouds. Along these lines I encourage teams to keep copies of the weather forecasts, compare them with the notes gleaned from the race course and from that one can start to develop trends in what to look for on the race course.
These three days were very shifty with the wind oscillating 15 degrees or sometimes more, the priority was to be on the closest tack to the mark and consolidate on other boats by taking opportunities to tack and cross whenever the opportunity presented itself. Having kept notes on the event since the first Key West in January, 1988 (it’s a lot of notes!) the general consensus was to sail toward the shore for both more velocity and an easier port tack into the waves when you made the trek across to the mark just shy of the port tack layline, there was also a geographical left shift at the top of the beat so it was important to tack shy of port tack lay line in expectation of a lift later on.
If there is one trait that can serve one consistently well as a tactician it is patience, as very often the situation does not look good and a knee jerk reaction to a situation rarely works, along these lines we waited until the wind would come back to median or got ourselves into a wind line and then tacked, it does not always work but very often it can bale you out of a situation that is less than ideal and mitigate the potential damage an adverse shift can do!
On the downwind legs it was important to keep a firm luff on the spinnaker as there was some cross chop and also to be aggressive with crew weight fore and aft – forward in the light spots – particularly out of lighter air Jibes to prevent the transom from sinking and aft in the puffs to promote a plane.
When planing was possible we would get the weight aft, unroll the Jib and utilize it as a staysail, pull the backstay on to firm the luff of the spinnaker and ease the vang to promote twist in the sail and provide a wider steering groove for playing the waves, to this end we had three marks on the vang for light, medium and heavy air.
In a big light spot the jib was rolled up, the weight moved well forward and the backstay eased right off. In my position my weight position varied a lot depending on the wind and waves - in lighter air i always find value in standing up to see the wind and doing constant “ Sanity Checks” as Mike Ingham calls it – looking around and scanning nonstop at the highest point on the cabin top in front of the mast while hop scotching from side to side to balance the boat in puffs and lulls, then getting the weight low for any chop before standing up again, in medium air I would alternate going forward in the lulls to standing on the balls of my feet and pressing against the lifeline, when we could plane I would go to the back of the boat, call puffs and pump the mainsail if needed.
We constantly looked out for crab pots as we had heard stories of some teams on the other circles hitting them, as our designated “weight Rover” – in a lull I would go to leeward and tighten the leeward spinnaker sheet as that has the potential to lasoo a crab pot, we also were careful to make the sure the spinnaker pole tack line was in the cradle of the bow pulpit and tightened up as that could also catch a pot.
Friday was the passage of the cold front with the wind out of the NE with gusts up to 22 knots and some big waves, the fleet enjoyed one great final race and then it was back to the dock and on to the awards ceremony and team dinners to wrap up the week.
Key West was another fantastic week! A big thank you to Peter Craig and Premiere Racing for putting on another world class Key West Race week, we are already looking forward to next year’s regatta !
Key West Race Week 2014 / J/80 US Midwinter Championships
1. Ron Buzil "Vayu 2"
2. John Stork, Jr. "Rumor"
3. Chris & Liz Chadwick "Church Key"
4. Bill & Shannon Lockwood "Shenanigan"
| 30 January 2014 | Full Results |