St. Pete NOOD
Favorable conditions allowed for 10 races in the J/70 fleet at the Helly Hansen St. Pete NOOD regatta from February 13-15 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Nineteen J/70s took to the waters of Tampa Bay, but it was Martin Kullman on New Wave who rode four bullets to the top of the leaderboard with 22 overall points. Joel Ronning's Catapult placed second with 37 points, and Will Welles' Rascal third with 39.5. For complete regatta information and results, visit http://www.sailingworld.com/nood-regattas/st-petersburg.
Dazzled in Tampa
Light winds limited racing at the final stage of the Quantum J/70 Winter Series, held February 7-8 at Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL. Just able to complete three races for the 47 boats, Dazzler skippered by Allan Terhune posted a 1-6-1 to win by two points over Cole Allsopp's Moxie. Top Corinthian team was Rob Britts' Hot Mess in fourth. Winning the overall series was Terhune, which was scored by counting all races from the three events. For complete information, click here.
Three Bridge Fiasco
368 doublehanded and singlehanded entrants were signed up for the annual San Francisco Bay mid-winter classic, The Three Bridge Fiasco, on January 31. The early morning hours witnessed a strong northerly clearing out the fog which had been lingering for far too long, and the stage was set for a possible record run in speed as well as entrants. The early birds were blessed with nice winds and the remnants of a flood. Course refresher: Three course marks are YRA 16 ("Blackaller" a yellow cylinder 0.2 nm east of Fort Point), Red Rock and Yerba Buena Island. Boats shall round these three marks in any order and in either direction. Race distance is approximately 21.47nm. The various forecasts were all over the place and even the most seasoned vets had trouble deciding the best route for their particular boat and start time. For those who departed the Golden Gate Yacht Club starting line before 10:00 a.m., the concept was to get either across the main bay before the ebb, or get Yerba Buena in the rear view while the wind was northerly. A great concept in practice, and it was working...for a while. The counter-clockwise crews had a very nice spinnaker ride toward the Bay Bridge and looked golden, hugging the west side of Treasure Island for relief until the breeze lightened, then went NW. The lucky who had not committed were blessed with more consistent wind mid-channel, and wisely avoided much of Yerba Buena's wind shadow and eeked under the eastern span in good shape. Meanwhile, the clockwise contingent split between getting east as fast as possible or getting Blackaller off the check list. Those going for Blackaller early and many of the post 10:00 a.m. starters saw the breeze ease and the ebb build. The later starters had trouble even getting to the starting line. A large contingent found themselves being swept near to, or past, the Golden Gate. Those who rode east and headed toward red rocks had a good game plan. But the boats with the low ratings had a hard time getting "up river" and they too were left to decide on pulling the plug or toughing it out and hoping the westerly filled. The westerly did fill at10-12 knots and gave the boats hope that their race could be salvaged. And while logic said the shortest route from the North Tower to Red Rocks is Raccoon Strait, the pesky current and swirling winds can be detrimental. Meanwhile, even the early starters who got east and into the general area of South Hampton Shoals found the once abundant northerly get scarce and the currents more abundant. It was like being a yo-yo, more than a few crews explained. "Gain some, lose some" was the mantra of the day. The "Miracle Nooner" continued to build over the Central Bay, and with it, the masses all began to pile into the North Bay; and while flying their kites nicely, the VMG again could not easily overtake the still building ebb, and as you closed in on Red Rocks, the wind got even lighter. In all , the record warm temperatures with highs hitting the high 70s on the Bay made the 2015 3BF a pleasant afternoon. Of course it was far more pleasant for the 57 finishers, and probably eased the pain for those who were just short of the finish line when the race committee closed shop at the 19:00 cut off time. Three of the finishers were double-handed J/70s: Scott Sellers' 1FA, Tyler Karaszewski's Spitfire and Peter Cameron's Prime Number. For complete results, click here.
Gannon Troutman: Youngest Skipper at Key West Race Week
Some of the world's greatest sailors competed in the J/70 fleet at Quantum Key West 2015. Most of them got beaten by a 12-year-old—Gannon Troutman. Gannon has gone from racing Optimist dinghies to skippering an entry in the largest class at one of the greatest regattas in North America. And the kid is doing pretty well, steering Pied Piper to a fifth place overall finish in the talent-laden 54-boat class. "I almost fell off the spectator boat!" Robin Troutman said of seeing her son's boat heading to the finish line with the lead pack. "I couldn't believe he was doing that well on the first day." Troutman, a resident of Gloucester, VA, is believed to be the youngest skipper in the 28-year history of Key West Race Week. Previously, that honor belonged to Samuel "Shark" Kahn, who was 14 when he skippered a Melges 24 entry. Gannon's fascination with boats began with building models of all sorts of different vessels. Upon hearing about that hobby, the family dentist urged the youngster to give sailing a try. A summer sailing camp at Ware River Yacht Club got him hooked and led to full-time instruction at Fishing Bay Yacht Club. Gannon started sailing Optis at age eight, and four years later is a mid-fleet finisher at most major regattas, his mother said. More important than the results are the passion he has developed for the sport. "The kid just loves to sail! He wants to be out on that water more than anything," Robin said. In an effort to encourage and nurture that enthusiasm, Dan Troutman purchased a J/70 so he could sail alongside his son. Victor Diaz de Leon, who met the family while working as a junior instructor at Tred Avon Yacht Club, joined the crew for some regattas last summer and is the one that suggested competing in Key West. So a planned family vacation to Aruba was scrapped in favor of giving Gannon an opportunity to compete at the highest level of the sport. "We decided to let Gannon do this because we knew it would be a lot of fun, and he would get great coaching, great experience," Robin said. Diaz de Leon is calling tactics while Tomas Dietrich, the Optimist coach at Fishing Bay Yacht Club, is trimming the headsails. After finishing a respectable 27th in Race 1, the team put it all together in taking third in Race 2 on Monday. "It felt good to get a result like that. I hope to get up there again," Gannon said. (He later also scored a third and a first!) Gannon has raced his Optimist in big fleets, but that is quite different from negotiating a J/70 fleet with 54 entries. "Getting off the line is the hard part. It can be hard to find a lane," he said. "Gannon is doing great. He is listening well and picking things up very fast," Diaz de Leon said. Dietrich said the experience of racing for a week in a big, competitive fleet at Key West is invaluable and will benefit Gannon down the road. "The more you sail, the better you get. Gannon is seeing and learning things down here that are all new to him," Dietrich said. "There's no doubt this will build his confidence." One of the perks of coming to Key West is that a youngster such as Gannon gets an opportunity to meet some of the big stars of the sport. Gannon was a very interested spectator at Sunday evening's Panel Discussion that was presented by title sponsor Quantum Sail Design Group, and afterward got to meet such world-renowned professionals as Terry Hutchinson, Jonathan McKee and Ed Baird. Vascotto is tactician aboard the J/70 Flojito y Cooperando, which was berthed just a few slips down from Pied Piper at Conch Harbor. "Vasco has been very nice to Gannon and has stopped by almost every morning to say hello and offer words of encouragement," Dan said. Terry Hutchinson, Chief of Business Development for Quantum Sails, J/24 World Champion, J/70 owner in Annapolis, MD and 3x Rolex Yachtsman of the Year had this to say about Gannnon, "One competitor stood out in my mind, and in a very small way made me smile as you could see a bright future. Twelve-year-old Gannon Troutman finished fifth in the highly competitive J/70 fleet, and as Vasco Vascotto and I chatted with him and parents, swapping half truths about yelling at each for the last 20 years, we were all laughing. It was just awesome to see and it was also great to see the support that Gannon's parents put around him to allow it to happen. Having had great parents that supported my addiction but did not push me, it was great to see as Gannon and his peers are the future of our sport."
Fantastic Finish at Key West Race Week
Most of the marquee classes at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 came down to the last day of the regatta, which delivered the toughest conditions of the week. Howling winds and rough seas challenged the competitors on Friday, forcing the top contenders to raise their game in order to claim overall victory. The J/70 was the largest class of the regatta with 54 boats for its Midwinter Championship and featured a slew of top professionals. It was a week-long dog fight that saw constant changes at the top end of the standings. Skipper Carlo Alberini and his Italian team on Calvi Network emerged as overall winner thanks to single-digit finishes in nine of 11 races. Branko Brcin served as tactician while Sergio Blosi and Karlo Hmeljak handled the trimming aboard Calvi Network, which closed the regatta with a second after posting a steady string of fourths and fifths. That remarkable consistency in such a competitive class earned Calvi Network the ultimate prize at Quantum Key West Race Week - Boat of the Week. "The talent level in this class is very high. We came to Key West because we are very excited about the J/70 fleet and want to race against the best boats," said Alberini, who won the European Championship last year. "To win here is the best feeling. This might be the most important win of my career because we beat the world champion on the water." Calvi Network totaled 49 points, eight better than the Mexican entry Flojito y Cooperando that is skippered by Julian Fernandez Neckelmann. Italian pro Vasco Vascotto called tactics on Flojito, which closed the regatta strong with a first and second on Friday. Tim Healy, the reigning J/70 World Champion and two-time winner in Key West, finished third after pushing the line and being ruled on-course side (OCS) in the last race. Gannon Troutman, the 12-year-old skipper of Pied Piper, was the talk of the regatta after finishing fifth in the talent-laden J/70 class - winning a race while also posting a second and third. San Francisco skipper Jim Cunningham captured the Corinthian Division of J/70 class, which had 20 boats. The event website and full results are available at www.premiere-racing.com target=_blank class="blue">http://wwww.premiere-racing.com.
A Great Day at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015
It probably wouldn't be a late night on Duval Street for the sailors competing on Divisions 2 and 3 at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 on Thursday. After doing three races in strong winds, there were no doubt a lot of sore muscles, aching bones and tired bodies. Not that anyone was complaining. Light winds on Wednesday led to just one race on Divisions 2 and 3, and organizers with Premiere Racing were keen to make up for that on Thursday. So the six classes competing on those two courses were sent out an hour early so the race committee could take advantage of east-southeasterly winds that held steady between 10 and 15 knots. It was surprising to see reigning J/70 World and North American champion Tim Healy sitting in 15th place two days into the regatta. Healy and his crew aboard Helly Hansen have steadily climbed into second place in the 54-boat fleet for the J/70 Midwinter Championship, making a major move on Thursday thanks to a tremendous score line of 2-2-1. Tactician Geoff Becker, trimmer John Mollicone and bowman Gordon Borges comprise the crew aboard Helly Hansen, which trails class leader Calvi Network (Carlo Alberini) by three points. "Our starts weren't great, and some things didn't go our way," Healy said when asked about the slow start. "We've dug our way back by doing a little better job of playing the shifts and passing boats." Healy, president of North Sails One-Design, captured J/70 class at Quantum Key West in 2013 and 2014. The veteran professional said the fact he had to fight back into contention is further evidence the fleet is getting deeper and stronger. "People are learning the boats while the crews are getting better with more experience," he said. Racing concludes Friday. Photos are available on the J/70 Class Facebook page. The event blog is at http://premiere-racing.com/2015blog/, and the event website/full results are at www.premiere-racing.com target=_blank class="blue">http://wwww.premiere-racing.com.
Breeze and Sunshine at Quantum Key West Race Week
Based off early morning forecasts, it appeared a lay day might be in the cards for competitors at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015. However, organizers with Premiere Racing saw a small pocket of sailable conditions and sent the fleet out to the three race courses. Division 1 completed two races while Divisions 2 and 3 both got in one to keep the regatta moving along. Jud Smith remained the leader in the J/70 class (in its Midwinter Championship) for the second straight day, sailing Africa to sixth on Wednesday and adding two points to his advantage over Bennet Greenwald and Perseverance. Trey Sheehan steered Hooligan to third on Wednesday and is now tied with Perseverance on points. "Everybody is working together very nicely, and the boat is moving real well," said Michael Sheehan, who is crewing for his brother. "We were saying on the way back into the dock that we are not going to change anything. We are just going to keep doing what we've been doing." Brad Boston is tactician on Hooligan, which has a home port of Put-in-Bay, Ohio and a team comprised of close friends who grew up together in the greater Cleveland area. "We've been able to get off the line clean, and we haven't taken any flyers," Michael Sheehan said. "Brad is really sharp about looking up the course and seeing what we've got coming." Follow the event blog at http://premiere-racing.com/2015blog/. The event website/full results are available at www.premiere-racing.com target=_blank class="blue">http://wwww.premiere-racing.com.
J/70 Panel at Key West Race Week
Even if you aren't at Key West Race Week, you can benefit from experts who are. Check out Tuesday's J/70 panel discussion at Quantum Key West 2015: https://www.youtube.com/watch?x-yt-ts=1421782837&v=gHvJKO55oF0&x-yt-cl=84359240
A Challenging Day at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015
During 28 years of running a regatta off Key West, Premiere Racing has a remarkable record of getting in a complete series. Because of the consistent conditions off the Conch Republic, there have been very few lost race days. However, that does not mean that race committee officials compromise quality just to give the competitors some action. Fair and equitable racing is the hallmark of this event, and organizers always make sure to adhere to that tradition. Tuesday at Quantum Key West 2015 brought dicey conditions that forced principal race officers to make numerous tough decisions. There were some delays, a few false starts and even one abandonment, but by the time the day was over all three divisions had completed two races in shifty winds that ranged from 5 to 7 knots. "We got two decent races, and that's pretty remarkable considering what the race committee had to deal with," said Bennet Greenwald, skipper of the J/70 Perseverance. "Those guys were really on top of things. They did a very, very professional job." The J/70, largest class in the regatta with 54 boats in its Midwinter Championship, is sailing on the Division 2 course that is managed by Dave Brennan. A veteran principal race officer and Key West stalwart, Brennan was forced to delay several times in order to start races in stable winds. "The breeze was very dodgy and moving through at 50 degrees so the trick was picking the right radial to kick the race off," Brennan said. "We want the sailors to have a reasonably square line. Prior to Race 4, we had to postpone three times to reset the line." Brennan got the Melges 24 fleet started with a heading of 150 degrees and by the time he went into sequence for the J/70 fleet, the wind had shifted to 180. He credited an experienced team of race committee volunteers for reacting quickly with regard to moving upwind marks and posting flags. "We made the racing as good as we could. Actually, we were very fortunate that it was quite good," Brennan said. Veteran sailmaker Jud Smith was the daily winner in the J/70 class, placing second in Race 3 then getting the gun in Race 4. That moved the Marblehead, MA resident to the top of the standings with a low score of 30 points, just one ahead of the aforementioned Greenwald. "We got out to the course early and had a nice tune-up session with another boat, which allowed us to get accustomed to the conditions," Smith said. "I would have been happy with two top 10 finishes on a day like this so I'm ecstatic to get a first and a second. We were fortunate to be in the right spots, and I thought the team did a good job of changing gears." Smith, who is head of Doyle One-Design, has his daughter Lindsay on the boat along with Marc Gauthier and Will Felder. The former Rolex Yachtsman of the Year says the entire crew participates in tactics and strategy. Photos are available on the J/70 Class Facebook page, the event blog is at http://premiere-racing.com/2015blog/, and the event website/full results at www.premiere-racing.com target=_blank class="blue">http://wwww.premiere-racing.com.
Off to a Great Start at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015
There is no better sight than a steady stream of racing boats either sailing or motoring out of the Historic Seaport harbor around 10 a.m. on Monday. That's a sure sign that the annual race week held off Key West is starting on time and with enough wind to get the regatta underway. Quantum Key West Race Week 2015 got off to a strong start with the principal race officers on all three divisions able to complete two good races in 8-14 knot northeasterly winds. The J/70 is the largest class in the regatta with 54 boats at its Midwinter Championship, and the goal going into the first day was to avoid that deep finish that could prove costly. "You can't win the regatta on Monday, but you sure can lose it," Heartbreaker skipper Robert Hughes said. "You don't want to sail your drop race on the first day." After finishing 11th in Race 1, San Diego skipper Bennett Greenwald got the gun in Race 2 and is the early leader while also earning City of Key West Boat of the Day honors. Hughes, who trails Greenwald by three points and leads Carlo Alberini (Calvi Network) by one, had a similar day with results of 13th and second. In fact, the top five boats on Monday all had one result of fifth or better and another result of 11th or higher. "We almost had a great day," said Hughes, who lost seven places on the final leg of Race 1. "I'm pleased with our speed. We have new sails and have made some changes to the rig setup. This is the best this boat has ever gone." Photos are available on the J/70 Class Facebook page, the event blog is athttp://premiere-racing.com/2015blog/, and the event website/full results at www.premiere-racing.com target=_blank class="blue">http://wwww.premiere-racing.com.
Ready to Race at Quantum Key West Race Week 2015
Key West has been a flurry of activity for the last four days as sailors swarmed into town for the annual race week that is being held for the 28th year. Quantum Key West 2015, which begins Monday on the aqua waters off the southernmost point of the United States, has attracted 115 boats in 10 classes and competitors have been busily preparing and practicing. The J/70 is the largest class in the regatta with 54 boats and features a who's who of top professionals for the Midwinter Championship. This is the third year the sport boat has competed in Key West, and Tim Healy is the two-time defending champ. The North Sails executive is a favorite again after capturing both the J/70 World Championship and North American crown. "We have another real strong fleet down here this year, and I think there are a number of boats that are capable of contending," Healy said. "The Class is maturing, and people are learning how to sail the boats better." Follow the action on the J/70 Facebook page and also at the event blog (http://premiere-racing.com/2015blog/) and event website (www.premiere-racing.com target=_blank class="blue">http://wwww.premiere-racing.com).
Premiere Sailing League to launch in 2015 in J/70s
The new Premiere Sailing League, America, revealed at the Strictly Sail boat show in Chicago, will kick off this August and will be comprised of four district qualifying regattas that divide 72 sailing club teams by region (North-Chicago; South-New Orleans; East-Newport; West-San Francisco) to compete for top ranking. The best four teams from each district then compete head-to-head in the Premiere Sailing League National Championship to be held in Annapolis, Maryland during the United States Sailboat Show in October. "The Premiere Sailing League (PSL) is the first event of its kind in the U.S.," said PSL's Director and Founder Benjamin A. Klatzka, an avid sailor and successful businessman who recently moved from Germany to Newport, R.I. to pursue his dream of bringing the sailing league format to the public. "It is structured after the enormously successful sailing leagues pioneered in Germany and Denmark (www.sailing-championsleague.com), with the objective of strengthening community and camaraderie within the sport of sailing by providing an integrated platform that brings sailing clubs together to compete at both a local and national level." The success of the European sailing leagues has been a source of inspiration for Klatzka, who says he will someday be able to include a national sail-off in the mix. He is working with a Board of Advisors comprised of experienced sailing industry professionals for advice on how to best build the Premiere Sailing League and will be sharing details with the public over the coming weeks and months. "To reach the broadest audience, Premiere Sailing League regattas will be held close to shore, have a stadium-style atmosphere and utilize the latest social media technologies, allowing the sailing and general public to support and encourage their teams," said Klatzka. "With these spectator-friendly initiatives, we hope to create strong fan bases for the clubs similar to more traditional professional sports teams in the United States." Each of the Premiere Sailing League teams will be made up of four sailors representing yacht clubs and sailing organizations. Sailing will be conducted in fun, easy-to-sail J/70s. "Having seen what the new sailing leagues in Europe have done to excite and promote grassroots sailing, we're really excited to support Ben's initiative in the U.S.," said Jeff Johnstone, President of J/Boats of Newport, RI. Klatzka will announce a Warm up/Test Run Event at the beginning of the season for prospective competitors, team and event sponsors, and organizers for host venues. To be a part of the Premiere Sailing League family, check out the Facebook page. For more information, go to www.premieresailingleague.com or contact Benjamin Klatzka by clicking here.
Marty Kullman Dominates Fleet at Quantum J/70 Winter Series Weekend #2 at Davis Island YC
The second stop of the three-event Quantum J/70 Winter Series attracted 52 boats for the seven race regatta hosted by Davis Island Yacht Club in Tampa, FL. Setting the pace from their opening race bullet was Marty Kullman on New Wave, posting only one score out of the top three to win by 12 points over Will Welles in second. Topping the 21 Corinthian entrants was Henry Brauer and his Scamp team in fifth overall. The final event is February 7-8. For complete Series information, visit http://diyc.org/calendar/2014-j70-winter-series/.