News and updates

J/121 awarded SAIL magazine’s 2018 BEST BOATS – Performance Boat 30 to 40 ft

The J/121 wins Best Performance Boat 30 to 40 ft.  Click the image for a review video from SAIL magazine, and read below for their commentary.

We are very excited to have J/121 hull #5 arriving in Melbourne early next year.

J121 Wins Best Boat Award

SAIL Magazine has announced the winners of SAIL’s 2018 Best Boats Awards. If there’s one word that sums up the Best Boats Class of 2018, it would have to be “performance.” The boat review team at SAIL magazine determined the new J/121 offshore speedster was SAIL’s choice for Best Boats- Performance 30 to 40 feet. Here is their commentary:

“The J/Boats team are obviously good designers and boat builders. Their record in this area stands for itself.

However, ever since the advent of Rod Johnstone’s iconic J/24 in 1977, they have also shown an uncanny ability to discern what exactly it is sailors are looking for in their next boat: think the J/105 and its then cutting-edge retracting bowsprit in 1991, or the phenomenon that is the J/70 sportboat- eclipsing all other similar designs to date- in just four years!

The latest in this long line of outside-the-box designs is the new 40 foot J/121, a boat specifically tailored to appeal to skippers who are 1) tired of having to round up eight to 10 people to go racing and 2) are looking for something other the usual windward-leeward “sausage” courses that now dominate inshore racing.

To this end, the boat carries a “five-sail” rig that includes a main, jib and removable staysail (like the IMOCA 60 class), to make shifting gears with a crew of as little as five a snap, whether sailing inshore or off soundings. (A Code 0 or A-sail—sails #4 and 5—can be flown off the boat’s retractable sprit). To keep the boat on its feet, designer Al Johnstone has also included an easy-to-use water ballast system that can shift 104 gallons (400L) of water (880 lbs/ 400kg. worth) from side-to-side; the equivalent of four bodies worth of rail meat that’ll never call in sick or have scheduling conflicts.

With respect to promoting innovative, fun racing, J/Boats is championing something called “Open Course” racing- middle distance events that offer the best of both inshore and distance events. The boat would also be perfect for shorthanded offshore racing. Oh, and did we mention the boat sails like a dream and is a stunner to boot? A winner in every sense of the word.”

J/111 Scarlet Runner arrives at Sandringham Yacht Club

Congratulations to Rob and crew on the arrival of their new J/111 Scarlet Runner at Sandringham Yacht Club, Victoria. This J/111 joins the fleet at SYC, bringing the total to five J/111’s.

All are looking forward to competing in the IRC Championships to be held at SYC plus Festival of Sails, Geelong in January.  J/111 Horopito will sail around from Adelaide to join the racing.

Inaugural J/70 Australian Championships

The inaugural J/70 Australian Championship was held on the weekend of 14-15 October, with the race management support provided by the team from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.

Six races were held over the weekend of racing. Saturdays breeze was forecast for 25knots, but abated to 15-20knots providing some exhilarating kite runs down the harbour for the fleet. Sundays winds softened to 10-12kn from the south east.

First place with 6 bullets, was a clean sweep by Reg and Sally Lord, Jordan Reece, Tom Grimes, and Cam Gundy on ‘Juno’ from the CYCA.  A thrilled Reg said “We had good speed around the course, expert tactics from Jordan, and great trim and handling all round. Sailing with the team on a J/70 is just so enjoyable”. Reg and crew were fresh from competing in the 168 boat fleet in the J/70 Worlds held in Sardinia, the largest sports boat event ever.

In 2nd place, also from the CYCA was Tim Ryan and crew on ‘James’.

3rd place was tightly contested and ultimately went to ‘The Jackal’ team from RSYS.

J70 Australian Champs Juno Winner

It’s great to be part of the J/70 International Class, and have the opportunity to sail a high-performance boat with family and friends, and compete in International regattas.

Not since the J/24 have we seen such a worldwide response to a new one-design keelboat.

Like its predecessor, the J/70 has struck a chord across a wide age and skill range and has proven itself to be an extremely versatile platform.

The J/70 Class offers the highest level of competition and yet the boat can be successfully crewed by a three generation team. The real secret to the success of the J/70 is its inclusiveness of all sailors.

Nick Rozenauers sailing ‘The Jackal’ with brother Alex, Dad Peter and two mates really enjoyed the racing. “The first race on Sunday was nearly 80minutes and 4 of the J/70’s finished within 16 seconds of each other, brilliant close racing”.  New to the J/70, Andrew from ‘Jabberwocky’ said it was a great learning experience for the crew but good fun.

The J/70 is a dream to sail.  Most expect her to fly downwind, but few expect her to sail to windward as well as she does.  This “two-way” ability (thanks to excellent stability) clearly distinguishes the J/70 from the pack and presents a compelling option and appeal to both youth and mature sailors.

Over 1,400 J/70’s have been delivered to happy owners in the 4 short years since its launch, making the J/70 the fastest growing and largest sportboat class in the World.

The J/70 fleet thank Chris Stone and Margaret Carney at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron for their support of the Championships, and also for running the W/L Mini Regatta series throughout the year.  Thanks also to North Sails and Harken for their ongoing support of the J/70 Australian Class.

J70 Australian Champs Presentation

J/70 Worlds Wrap-Up. The worlds largest championship sportsboat fleet.

Audi J/70 World Championship: Duncan is Top of the World

Porto Cervo, September 16, 2017. The Audi J/70 World Championship, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, in collaboration with the J/70 International Class Association, and with the Title Sponsor Audi, and Official Sailmaker Quantum Sails.

With numerous General Recalls, Black Flag in play, and a full on foam up. The Audi J/70 World Championship had a thrilling climax to remember for years to come. With sparkling sunshine, a significant sea state, and a warm westerly breeze, piping up to a ballistic 30 knots, the world’s largest championship sportsboat fleet enjoyed a fantastic finale.

Click image for video

J70 Worlds video

Peter Duncan is the Audi J/70 World Champion, after a stunning performance, scoring podium finishes in every race, including three race wins. American Brian Keane’s Savasana scored a second in the final race, moving up to runner up for the championship. Italian Luca Domenici moved up to third in the final race. Italian Claudia Rossi’s attempt to become the first lady helm to win the title was ended with a Black Flag in the final race.

“Awesome! Top of the world!” Exclaimed Peter Duncan dockside at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda. ” It is a great feeling, I have sailed with some great guys, we had a great event, and everything seemed to go our way, it was just one of those weeks. It is hard to put into words how I feel like now, but this was just exceptional. This fleet has some really great talent, and the organizers, and the yacht club have done such an amazing job. Most of all I want to credit the crew, Victor, Jud, Willem, have been just fantastic.”

Runner up was Savasana (USA) Brian Keane. “We chartered the J/70, so we are really pleased to have come second in the championship. I have been racing in the class since the beginning, and now that we have fleets racing J/70s all over the world, the standard is just amazing, and so is this regatta. A world record keelboat fleet in superb surroundings.”

J70 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2017

Top team for the host club, YCCS, and first team with a Lady Helm, was Petite Terrible (ITA) Claudia Rossi. “Peter Duncan is a worthy World Champion, his team sailed the best this week. Our fourth position is better than fifth in the last World Championship, so maybe I will not win for three years!” Laughed Claudia. “However I will be in Marblehead for the 2018 J/70 World Championship.”

The Closing Ceremony and Awards for the Audi J/70 World Championship was held at the Piazza Azzurra. YCCS Commodore, Riccardo Bonadeo spoke about the event before presenting prizes to the winners.

“Congratulations to all of the winners at the Audi J/70 World Championship. This is a special year for the YCCS, as we are celebrating our 50th anniversary, over the years we have hosted many world championships. However, this is the largest world championship fleet hosted by the Club in all of those years. It has been a pleasure and an honour to welcome over 160 teams from 25 different countries, to enjoy the fantastic sailing grounds of the Costa Smeralda, and the Clubhouse at the YCCS. I would like to thank Audi the Title sponsor of this event, and our partner for a long time, which supports us in so many of these new challenges. I also want to thank the J/70 International and Italian Classes, the owners, their crews, the Race Committee, the International Jury and all the YCCS staff. We hope that all of the competitors will come and race again with the Club in the very near future.”

The 2018 J/70 World Championship will be hosted by the Eastern Yacht Club, Marblehead, Massachusetts USA. 22nd to 29th September, 2018.

J70 WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP 2017

J/70 Worlds – the Worlds largest sportsboat fleet

Porto Cervo, September 14, 2017. The world’s largest sportboat fleet finally commenced racing at the Audi J/70 World Championship, organised by the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, in collaboration with the Title Sponsor Audi, and the Official Sailmaker Quantum Sails.

Relative Obscurity (USA), Peter Duncan – Judd Smith leads after three races. Petite Terrible #Audi (ITA), Claudia Rossi – Michele Paoletti is second in the rankings, and L’Elagain (ITA), Franco Solerio – Daniele Cassinari is third.

In the Corinthian Class after Race 3: White Hawk (ITA) Gianfranco Noè, Give Me Five (FRA) Follin Robin, and Marnatura (ESP) Luis Bugallo.

Under clear blue skies, with a westerly breeze, ranging from 12-20 Knots, three races were held on the beautiful Costa Smeralda. The J/70 Armada left the safe confines of the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda apprehensive of what was to come. The sight of 162 teams gathered on the race course was nothing short of spectacular, a gigantic festival of yacht racing. The fleet would not return for over eight hours of intense competition, salt-encrusted and elated by the experience.

J Boats Stuart Johnstone, racing with Henry Brauer on American entry Rascal, spoke about the first day of racing at the Audi J/70 World Championship. “It was an extraordinary feeling leaving the harbour this morning, I was thinking back to the golden days of the J/24. I was filled with family pride, seeing so many sailors going out there to enjoy a spectacular day of sailing.”

“Out on the race course, we could recognise the depth and talent of the fleet,” continued Stuart, “If you fell out of the top tier, it was very difficult to claw your way back before the top mark. Downwind the classic post-mistral conditions meant there were big lulls as well as big puffs, which is very challenging. Packs of boats kept passing each other with sometimes 50% difference in boat speed.”

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Photo credit: Max Ranchi

The Audi J/70 World Championship will continue tomorrow, September 15, the intended first warning signal at 1100 CEST. The 162 boat fleet will be split into Gold and Silver Fleets.

Keep up with daily news, photos, videos, official documents and provisional results from the regattas on our website and via social media using #j70worlds #yccs50 #myj70worlds.

J/111 ‘Joust’ finish 3rd in J/111 World Championships

Congratulations to Rod and crew with J/111 Joust, finishing a very close third in the J/111 Worlds in San Francisco. Just 2 points difference between 1st and 3rd place after 9 races. Brilliant result and well done to you and your crew.

Going into the final day, Jim Connolly’s Slush Fund (USA 019) topped the leaderboard, tied for total points (18) with Rod Warren’s Joust(AUS 1110). However, Slush Fund had a net score of 12 points (due to discarded races), while Warren and company carried 13 net points; Skeleton Key was in third place with 17 total points and 13 net points.

The final race was a windward-leeward-twice-around affair, fortified by an extra windward leg for an uphill finish. The starting signal sounded, with Skeleton Key again enjoying a fine start, followed by Velocity and Reuben Rocci’s Swift Ness (USA 101). By the first windward mark, Joust had claimed the pole position, followed by Skeleton Key and Slush Fund. Kites were hoisted and the bow spray instantly started flying.

Positions held at the leeward gate all the way to the finishing line, where a loud chorus of cheers could be heard coming from the lone boat flying an overseas sail number. But while Joust sailed a phenomenal last race, this just wasn’t enough to earn them the regatta’s highest honor, which went to Skeleton Key, a team that consistently proved their mettle. “Congratulations to Skeleton Key and Slush Fund,” said a tired-but-happy looking Rod Warren, reflecting on his third-place overall finish. “I thought four bullets would have done it, but not quite.”

J111 Worlds 2017-2J111 Worlds 2017-3

J/133 Euphoria wins class at Hamilton Island Race Week

Following the destruction wrought by Cyclone Debbie just 5 months ago, Hamilton Island was back to its beautiful best for Audi Hamilton Island Race Week held in August, contested by 215 yachts from all around Australia.

Five J/Boats contested various divisions in the event including Stephen Everitt’s J/160 Salacia, Chris Morgan’s J/130 Ragtime, James Crowley’s J/122 Javelin, Norman Weaver’s J/122E Jazzamatazz and Tony Coleman’s J/133 Euphoria. Jazzamatazz and Euphoria both made the 1,000 nautical mile voyage from Sydney to compete in the beautiful warm waters of the Whitsunday Islands.

Euphoria’s overall win in the Racer Cruiser division was particularly notable. Competing against a very diverse group of yachts that included the previous year’s divisional winner (a Sydney 32), several Beneteaus, a very fast one-design canting keel 40ft racing yacht, three Melges 32’s and some other sports boats, Euphoria scored 3 wins out of 6 races in a variety of wind strengths that ranged from less than 5 knots to more than 20 knots over the week. As a result, Euphoria comfortably won the point-score for her division.

Euphoria has now built an enviable track record at HIRW having also won her division in 2011 and coming second on a count-back in 2015 when tied equal first on points. Her owner, Tony Coleman, also won at HIRW in 2003 with his previous Euphoria – a J/120.

It is also notable that a majority of Euphoria’s crew (six out of ten) are ladies – so she also became quite a popular boat at the various social events held on Hamilton Island during Race Week. Lots of fun was had by all !

Euphoria HIRW

Splitting fortunes at the 2017 J/111 Worlds at St. Francis Yacht Club

Spend enough time sailing on any body of water and it slowly reveals its secrets, giving sailors a set of rules-of-thumb that should—theoretically—be the keys to success, provided that time-honored patterns prove consistent. San Francisco Bay certainly has its closely guarded secrets, as the sailors gathered at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco, California, for the 2017 J/111 World Championships learned today during the first three races of this exciting series. 

But instead of delivering conditions that were consistent with the tacticians’ hard-won playbooks, today’s action was defined by big fleet splits that delivered interesting returns on investment at the rounding marks, leeward gate and finishing line.

“By running three races, our goal was to let the fleet leg-out a bit,” said Jeff Johnson, Principal Race Officer. “We saw gradually building conditions throughout the day that gave people time to shift gears and to introduce their crews to San Francisco Bay.”

This build-up began with a slowly gathering morning breeze that filled in on San Francisco Bay’s Berkeley Circle, where the racing was held, with a steady 10-knot breeze and a tide that was flooding by the time the first starting gun sounded. While common wisdom on the Berkeley Circle holds that one should go right until it doesn’t work, some of the fleet instead opted for better current relief and others sought out stronger pressure.
J111 Worlds 2017-1
While this created one split, another was created well in advance of the regatta by each skipper’s crew selection. “Skeleton Key—that’s the boat to beat,” said Ralph Wedge, who is trimming mainsail aboard Reuben Rocci’s Swift Ness. “We’re a Corinthian group, but we’re serious about what we do. Except for Bad Dog, all the other boats have professional sailors, but it’s a friendly and competitive fleet.”

Once the starting signals began sounding, Corinthian and mixed-crew teams all brought their A-game to bear against their rivals on a windward-leeward-twice-around course. And while rules-of-thumb were certainly considered, the fastest sailors also knew when to go off piste in terms of their rulebook strategy. “It took a lot of grinding,” said Peter Wagner, skipper of Skeleton Key (USA 115), immediately after taking the regatta’s first bullet. “The race was won upwind.” When queried about the favored side of the course, Wagner’s crew reported that things oscillated, requiring sharp focus from the entire team, and from their skipper.

The breeze continued to slowly gather for the day’s second race, forcing teams to work through their gear changes and apply more rig tension as needed. Again, the fleet chose opposite sides of the racetrack up the first uphill hike, with Jim Connelly’s Slush Fund (USA 119) winning the start and holding her advantage all the way around to the finishing line, where Skeleton Key almost nicked victory. Our congratulations to Rod Warren’s Joust (AUS 1110) crossed the finishing line next to complete the second race’s Top Three.  Rod and crew are based at Sandringham Yacht Club, Melbourne.

“Our plan was just to have fun and sail fast,” said Jason Currie, Slush Fund’s mainsail trimmer, just after crossing the line. “We won the pin end of the start, and we tacked and sailed away. Currents played into it a fair amount, and we sailed into the cone of Alcatraz” to seek relief from the flooding waters.

St. Francis Yacht Club’s race committee was clearly paying attention to the shifting weather conditions as the daily high-pressure system tried valiantly to push blue skies above the course, but the marine layer remained steady, even as the breeze swung to the south for the day’s final race. Skeleton Key enjoyed a tactically wise mid-line start, followed by Martin Roesch’s Velocity (USA 008) and Doug and Jack Jorgensen’s Picosa (USA 120), but the building breeze and steepening waves saw numerous lead changes. By the first weather mark, Picosa was in the pole position, followed by Skeleton Key and Slush Fund. But instead of the rich getting richer, Warren’s Joust team crossed the upwind finishing line in first place, followed by Velocity and Slush Fund.

At the end of the first day of racing, Wedge’s prediction rang true as Skeleton Key is currently topping the leaderboard, followed by Joust and Slush Fund.

Racing is set to continue tomorrow, and the Race Committee is again aiming to rifle off three more windward-leeward races on the always-challenging Berkeley Circle, keeping clear of the Bay’s shipping lanes and narrow rivers of current that characterize its western waters. Racing continues through Sunday, August 27.