117 boats signed up for the 2018 running of a popular race in the Pacific Northwest—the Round the County, hosted by the Orcas Island Yacht Club and the Friday Harbor Sailing Club. For Saturday, it was East winds 5 to 15 knots becoming NE in the afternoon. Then, on Sunday, the wind shifted into the North and was about 8-10 knots and relatively flat waters. The currents didn’t look to be too strong compared to previous years, but it was a factor for Saturday’s racing; the bigger boats could get through Haro Straits at the halfway point before it started ebbing against the rest of the fleet. Then, on Sunday the currents lined up well with the northerly winds. In the end in Class Zero, it was the slowest-rated boat that won—Kevin Welch’s J/111 RECON. For more Round the County Race information, visit http://roundthecounty.com/.

 

Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key improved his J/111 resume by adding the 2018 J/111 North American Championship to his 2017 J/111 World Championship title. With crew John Collins (bow), Nick Gibbens (headsail trimmer), John Hayes (mast), Dave Lyons (spinnaker trimmer), John Pernick (main trimmer), Cory Schillaci (pit) and Seadon Wijsen (tactician), the St. Francis Yacht Club member recorded no scores lower than a sixth in the no-discard, eight-race series. Skeleton Key ended with 18 points, including three bullets. Jim Connelly’s Slush Fund secured the silver position with 36 points, just one ahead of Bradley Faber’s Utah and Rob Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff who tied on points at 37 for third and fourth, respectively. Sixteen teams competed over the three-day event hosted by Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland, MI. In breeze sometimes sustained over 20 knots, Friday’s race winners were Faber’s Utah, Jeffrey Davis’ Shamrock and the trio of Karl Brummel, Steve Henderson and Mike Mayer on Kashmir. However, race 6 was later abandoned due to an improper action by the Race Committee.
Top five:

  1. Skeleton Key, Peter Wagner - 1 -6 -1 -2 -1 -0 -5 -2 ; 18
  2. Slush Fund, Jim Connelly - 2 -1 -3 -1 -16 -0 -8 -5 ; 36
  3. Utah, Bradley Faber - 6 -3 -4 -7 -7 -0 -3 -7 ; 37
  4. Spaceman Spiff, Rob Ruhlman - 5 -7 -8 -5 -5 -0 -4 -3 ; 37
  5. Shamrock, Jeffrey Davis - 3 -2 -5 -8 -14 -0 -1 -9 ; 42
    Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results are available at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4547.

Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key had a near perfect day on Thursday to move into the lead at the J/111 North American Championship, hosted by Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland, MI. Good breeze allowed three races, two of which were won by 2017 J/111 World Champion Wagner. Skeleton Key also had a second in the middle contest, ending with 11 net points in the no-discard series. Jim Connelly’s Slush Fund stumbled in the last race of the day, dropping to second overall with 23 points. The consistency of Bradley Faber’s Utah puts them in third with 27 points among the 16-boat fleet. Chasing Wagner in the initial race were Richard Witzel’s Rowdy and Connelly. Then it was Connelly back in the driver’s seat, beating Wagner and the Andrew and Sedgwick Ward team on Bravo. The final battle went to Wagner again, as Witzel earned another second and Tracy Brand’s Solution took third. Racing concludes Friday. Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results are available at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4547.

Light winds greeted 16 J/111 teams for the beginning of the J/111 North American Championship, hosted by Macatawa Bay Yacht Club in Holland, MI. Jim Connelly’s Slush Fund figured out the conditions in the pair of races, posting a 2,1 on the day for the lead at 3 points. Just two ticks behind in second place is Jeffrey Davis’ Shamrock, who recorded a solid 3,2 for 5 points. Peter Wagner’s Skeleton Key started the day with a bullet but added a sixth for 7 points and third place. Following 2017 J/111 World Champion Wagner in the opening match were Connelly and Davis. Then Connelly and Davis each moved up a notch in race two, taking first and second ahead of Bradley Faber’s Utah. Racing continues through Friday. Photos are available on the J/111 Class Facebook page, and complete results are available at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4547.

Bright sunshine, steady breeze and flat seas greeted the 76 teams for the final day of racing at the 54th edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series (September 12-16), hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club. The race committee announced a 15-minute postponement on both the Alcatraz and Treasure Island race courses to allow the breeze to consolidate and—given the flood-tide cycle that the racers have been enjoying all week—the water to flatten-out prior to the day’s single long-form Bay Tour race. This traditional final-day course selection allowed all seven competing classes to finish this no-drop series directly in front of StFYC’s Race Deck, giving onshore spectators a fantastic view. Dorian McKelvy and his crew aboard his J/111 Madmen (USA 17) fully owned the ORR-B class, winning the City of San Francisco Trophy—one of the golden spades used during the 1933 groundbreaking ceremony for the Golden Gate Bridge. For more information, please visit the Rolex Big Boat Series' website at https://rolexbigboatseries.com/.

The 2018 J/111 World Championship was hosted in conjunction with the Breskens Sailing Weekend in the Netherlands. A dozen J/111 crews participated from five nations (Belgium, Great Britain, Germany, Netherlands and Switzerland). The teams raced offshore on the North Sea along the famous Benelux beaches and seashore. Hosts for the Worlds were Watersportvereniging Breskens, Royal Yacht Club of Belgium, Koninklijke Roei & Zeilvereniging De Maas, Koninklijke Nederlandse Roei en Zeilvereniging Muiden, Koninklijke Antwerpse Watersportverenging SRNA and the Royal Netherlands Yachting Union (RNYU). The British J/111 contingent would prove formidable over the course of competition. In the end, it was Martin Dent’s JELVIS that loved the big breeze and big winds and repeated their win from 2016 to be crowned the 2018 J/111 World Champion. The first day of competition saw big breeze, big waves and difficult steering conditions in the chop that builds offshore of Breskens due to the current. The second day produced even tougher conditions than the first, with a steady 20-plus knots of wind and huge waves. Spinnaker runs saw boats easily hitting 14+ knots boat speed most of the way down the track to the leeward gates. Dent’s JELVIS team scored a perfect 1-1-1 on the day. The only downside was that Simon Bamford’s team on KESTREL had a massive collision with RED HERRING during the first race of the morning. On the third day, the windspeed was gusting up to 23 knots and waves up to 8 feet high against the current. Britain still ruled after three days of racing, with Dent’s JELVIS in an untouchable position for the final day. In the end, the JELVIS crew won their second J/111 World Championship with a very consistent performance, reveling in the breezy, choppy conditions. Taking second was Tony Mack's McFLY, and the battle for third place was won by Paul van Driel's SWEENY (they were also declared the J/111 Worlds Corinthians Division winner). For more J/111 World Championship information, visit http://www.j111worlds.nl/.

New England's classic Labor Day weekend offshore race is Stamford Yacht Club’s annual Vineyard Race. The 238 nautical-mile adventure starts off Stamford Harbor, and takes racers down the length of Long Island Sound to Buzzard's Bay Light Tower (passing it to starboard), then back to Block Island (also passing it to starboard), before again sailing the length of Long Island Sound, back to the finish just inside the harbor. This year’s race may go down in history as one of the longest ever. Winning PHRF Class 11 and Overall PHRF was Bill & Jackie Baxter’s J/111 FIREBALL; their victory took just under 48 hours to complete the course (an average 4.95 knots over 238nm). Second in their class was another J/111, Abhijeet Lele’s VARUNA. For more Vineyard Race information, visit http://www.stamfordyc.com/Sailing/Vineyard_Race_(1).

St. Francis Yacht Club hosted the Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta on August 18-19. Reuben Rocci’s J/111 SWIFT NESS won ORR B. For more event information, visit https://www.stfyc.com/.

Eleven J/111s competed at the Verve Cup Offshore Regatta hosted by Chicago Yacht Club from August 10-12, which also served as the J/111 Great Lakes Championship. Conditions ranged from a lumpy 6-10 knots on Friday, light winds on Saturday and about 8 knots on Sunday under sunny skies. Richard Witzel's Rowdy won three of the seven races to secure first place with 17 points. Peter Wagner's Skeleton Key took the runner-up position with 20 points, two better than Bradley Faber's Utah in third. For complete event details, visit https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4700.

The 2018 Buzzards Bay Regatta was held August 3-5 by Beverly Yacht Club (Marion, MA) and New Bedford Yacht Club (South Dartmouth, MA), with six course circles hosting nearly 200 entrants. The J/111 Wicked 2.0 lead by Douglas Curtiss took the PHRF New England Championship Race 1. Complete event details may be found at https://yachtscoring.com/emenu.cfm?eID=4710.

Edgartown Yacht Club’s Round-the-Island Race (one of America’s oldest distance races) took place around Martha’s Vineyard. It is part of the Edgartown Yacht Club’s Edgartown Race Weekend, which includes two days of buoy racing and a Round-the-Sound Race. Starting at 0800 Saturday morning, the RTI fleet sailed between Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket along the east beach of Chappaquiddick. At midday, the fleet headed into the open Atlantic Ocean off the south coast of the Vineyard. In the afternoon, after rounding the cliffs of Gay Head, the sailors then headed up Vineyard Sound to the finish near Edgartown Harbor. Douglas Curtiss’s J/111 WICKED 2.0 won PHRF A. For more Round the Island Race & Sound information, visit http://rtirace.org/.