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80 J-70s Readying For 2016 Worlds

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  • 80 J-70s Readying For 2016 Worlds

    Phenomenal Sailing and World-Class Talent Expected at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds Hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club

    SAN FRANCISCO – Summer’s days may be numbered, but this comes as welcome news to all sailors participating in the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, as fall’s arrival neatly dovetails with the start of what promises to be a world-championship regatta for the ages. Starting and finishing guns will echo across the Berkley Circle racecourse, an area of San Francisco Bay to the northeast (and leeward) of Alcatraz Island, from September 27 to October 1, and competing sailors can expect some of the finest annual conditions that this world-class venue reliably delivers.

    San Francisco Bay enjoys a storied reputation for breeze-on summer sailing, while its winter months can be “a little” damp. Late-September, however, usually offers Indian summer conditions featuring warm days with slightly moderated airs, making it ideal for a high-performance, planing rocket ship like the J/70—a boat that gets her bow up and out of the water on the first good puff.

    Along with breeze, San Francisco Bay is notorious for its currents and tides, which have challenged world-class professional sailors racing everything from powerful keelboats to foiling catamarans. Fortunately for participants of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, the Berkeley Circle racecourse is located on shallow, tide-protected waters, out of the slippery influence of the swiftest-flowing current that rake the Bay’s deeper waters. Not only will this deliver conditions that play into the J/70’s design brief, but it also ensures that world-class tactics, teamwork and tenacity—not local knowledge—determine the winner’s podium.

    “Expectations are high for this event,” said Lynn Lynch, St. Francis Yacht Club’s Race Director. “Model sailing conditions, world-class talent, top-level race management and unbelievable socials will all come together to result in a World Championship worthy of the fastest-growing fleet around. The anticipation is palpable, and we are expecting people to come ready for some serious competition.”

    A glance at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds entry list reveals 80 star-studded boats from 15 nations, including former J/70 World Champions Tim Healy (Helly Hansen) and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann (Flojito Y Cooperando); former J/70 North American Champions Jud Smith (Africa) and Joe Bardenheier (Muse); as well as former J/70 European Champions Carlo Alberini (Calvi Network) and Claudia Rossi (Petite Terrible). Additionally, this impressive list also includes world-class tacticians such as John Kostecki, the only sailor to have ever won an Olympic medal, the America’s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race, as well as former US Sailing Rolex Yachtsmen of the Year winners Bill Hardesty (2011) and Paul Cayard (1998).

    By holding their Worlds on San Francisco Bay, the J/70 class joins the ranks of other prestigious One Design classes that have contested their highest-level regatta on these historic waters and enjoyed the St. Francis Yacht Club’s world-class hospitality. Impressive company to keep for a class that just started sailing in 2012, and has only held two previous world championships, first in Newport, Rhode Island (2014) and then in La Rochelle, France (2015).

    “We couldn’t be happier with how widespread J/70 sailing has become in just four years,” said Jeff Johnstone, President of J/Boats. “Hull numbers 1103 through 1111 are the latest to be built and will be competing at the San Francisco Worlds right alongside hull #2.”

    Along with a big spike in hull numbers comes a corollary spike in boatspeed from all corners of the planet. “The class’ [competition] level is going up very fast, with more talented sailors joining every year,” said 2015 J/70 World Champion and 2016 J/70 North American Champion, Julian Fernandez Neckelmann. While this surge in numbers and skill levels could overwhelm some classes and hosting clubs, there’s a reason this hugely popular class chose its hosting partner. “The St. Francis Yacht Club and the [J/70] class will certainly provide excellent race management,” continued Neckelmann. “San Francisco is one of my favorite racing scenarios in the world… It would have been hard to [choose] a better place.”

    Registration for this exciting event has now closed, however friends, family and interested spectators can follow the racing online courtesy of title sponsor Alcatel, who is supplying smartphones to each boat that will be used as onboard trackers to report real-time positions, facilitating a state-of-the-art virtual spectator experience for those ashore. For more information about this world-class regatta, please visit HERE!

    All Alcatel J/70 Worlds Press Releases by David Schmidt
    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery

  • #2

    After several days of sweltering heat and offshore breezes, the wind gods teamed up with Karl The Fog
    and brought a rush of wind fog and excitement to the crews in San Francisco Bay that came for the legendary
    conditions that SF Bay is famous for... The RC pulled off 2 races today in conditions that started mild and went
    to wild.


    Full formal report to follow...

    " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella" Photo Gallery


    • #3
      damn Berkeley circle. Left pays, until it doesn't. What does Paul know?


      • #4

        San Francisco, CA (September 27, 2016) – World Championship regattas always generate high-level competition, but when you stack 68 of the world’s most popular One Design boats on San Francisco Bay in a crisp, late-September breeze, you can bet your last shackle that the competition will be ferocious.

        Such was the case at the start of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, as the fleet of top-shelf competitors experienced classic early fall conditions that tested racers’ big-fleet skills.

        “You’re not going to win the regatta in the first race but you could lose it,” said Paul Cayard, a Volvo Ocean Race winner, who is serving as tactician aboard Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network. “[At first] you’re just trying to get a couple of good races in. [Then], as the regatta proceeds…you may [eventually] have to start making a more aggressive game plan.”

        While the morning started with a one-hour shoreside postponement to allow the sea breeze to fill in on the Berkeley Circle racecourse, everyone clearly had first blood in mind once the starting guns began sounding in 15-18 knots of wind, with puffs in the low 20s. There were two general recalls before the Race Committee added the motivation of a black flag: Cross the line early and disqualification is mandatory.

        The bulk of the fleet concentrated on the right side of the line, a move that suited skipper Chris Kostanecki and his crew aboard Jennifer (USA 370) just fine, as Kostanecki split with the herd and aimed left, finding clear lanes. As boats to the right-hand side of the course battled for scraps, Jennifer enjoyed a fast ride to the windward mark, which they rounded first, creating a commanding lead that they carried across the finish.

        “We nailed the start,” said Kostanecki, three minutes after crossing the line in this talent-rife class, which includes both former J/70 World Champions Tim Healy (2014) and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann (2015), as well as former America’s Cup winners and Olympic champions. “The weather end of the line was favored, and we went left. It was our game plan and we [stuck with] it.”

        Unfortunately for Jennifer, the Race Committee deemed that Kostanecki and 15 other skippers were on course side before the start, resulting in 16 disqualifications. After the Race Committee sorted out black-flag rulings, Jud Smith’s Africa (USA 179) took first place, followed by Joel Ronning’s Catapult (USA 187) and Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s Flojito y Cooperando (MEX 384).

        The Race Committee—lead by Principal Race Officer Mark Foster—quickly began race two’s countdown, with the less-menacing U flag usurping race one’s black-flag guillotine. Jennifer’s start was clearly noticed by her competitors, and the left side of the line became expensive real estate as the clock wound down. A signal sounded, sails sheeted on hard, and 68 polished teams began battling 1.8 nautical miles of uphill sailing.

        While Cayard wisely predicted that a new world champion wouldn’t be minted in the first race, this didn’t stop Calvi Network (ITA 456) from dropping the hammer on race two. Come the final downhill run, Calvi Network’s distinctive logoed spinnaker was easy to spot, thanks to the generous lead that she enjoyed over Claudia Rossi’s Petite Terrible (ITA 853) and Kostanecki’s Jennifer.

        “We started on the right side of the course, and we controlled the right side,” said Cayard, minutes after exchanging a round of celebratory high-fives with his skipper and crew. “We kept the boat upright on the run, and we had some great steering.” While a bullet was fresh in mind, Cayard—a consummate professional—downplayed their result, given that the team scored 23rd in race one, putting them in 7th place overall. “It’s a long series,” said Cayard, his mind clearly focusing on the next four days.

        After two races, Smith’s Africa is in 1st place with six points, followed by Ronning’s Catapult (who also carries six points) and Neckelmann’s Flojito y Cooperando, who finished their day with 15 points. This sets the stage for a massive battle between these three teams as their tacticians—Victor Diaz, John Kostecki and Bill Hardesty, respectively—seek the podium’s top step.

        Racing continues on Wednesday and runs through Saturday, with the Race Committee hoping to rifle off ten more races in the next four days. Interested spectators can follow the racing online courtesy of title sponsor Alcatel, who supplied smartphones to each boat that are being used as onboard trackers to report real-time positions.

        " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

 Photo Gallery


        • #5
          There were 80 boats registered, now only 68 competing.

          What gives?


          • #6
            Gear Braking, Ball Busting Conditions at Day Two of J 70 Worlds

            SAN FRANCISCO – San Francisco has a storied reputation as a world-class venue during the summer and early fall, and Day Two of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, did not disappoint. A marine layer and 10 knots of westerly breeze greeted racers at the docks, but by the time the fleet arrived at the Berkeley Circle, pockets of blue sky and gathering airs created visually stunning optics. The Race Committee quickly started the first of the day’s three races, as they well understood that the morning’s flat waters would grow steep and sharp once the afternoon’s ebb tide arrived.

            Pied Piper (USA 380) enjoyed a fantastic start, which they leveraged into a thin-but-comfortable lead at the first mark rounding, and Gannon Troutman, the team’s brilliant 13-year-old skipper, made sure to press this advantage hard as a scrum of boats battled for position in his wake. A flurry of crew movement produced a fine A-sail set, and Pied Piper launched off toward the leeward gate. Flash forward thirty minutes, and Troutman was still leading the hunt as Pied Piper whistled across the finish line to a round of crew celebrations.

            “It was hard in the chop, but it got easier in the flatter water,” said an elated Gannon, seconds after beating many of the world’s best One Design sailors. A great start was an obvious key to Pied Piper’s success, but the team managed to stretch their lead considerably from the windward mark to the first gate by sailing low and fast through the building chop. When queried about his team’s three smartest strategic and tactical moves, Gannon wasted no words: “The start, a later gybe on the first downwind leg, and sailing conservative.”

            Stronger airs and a gathering ebb tide conspired to kick up bigger seas, which would only intensify as the afternoon continued. The next countdown commenced, headsails unfurled, and 68 boats hit the line at pace with the race committee citing only two boats for being over early. Most of the fleet opted for left side of the line and a starboard tack start, but within minutes Julian Fernandez Neckelmann (MEX) and his Flojito Y Cooperando (MEX 384) teammates found their own lane and began making big gains on the fleet; by the top of the second windward leg they enjoyed a 1:15 lead over Claudia Rossi’s Petite Terrible (ITA 853), who rounded in second. Come the finish, Neckelmann and his tactician, San Diego-native Bill Hardesty, had stretched this lead by another 42 seconds to take a decisive win.

            Consistency is key at any big-fleet regatta, and Neckelmann and company clearly demonstrated they have unlocked the Berkeley Circle’s secrets in moderate-to-heavy conditions by repeating their stunning performance on the day’s final race, commanding every mark rounding and delivering a finish that few eyes witnessed, as the bulk of the fleet was far astern, skirmishing for points and finishing slots. “There’s still two days to go,” said Neckelmann, who looked happy but was clearly conscious of the remaining races—and other brilliant sailors—that still separate him from winning back-to-back J/70 World Championship titles.

            While Flojito Y Cooperando exemplified textbook A-sail sets and gybes, plenty of other teams learned the Bay’s lessons the hard way as shrouds kissed the brine and more than one crew watched valuable sand bleed through the metaphoric hourglass as they fought to retrieve their water-logged kite. Still, broad smiles and happy faces could be seen aboard all boats, irrespective of their finishing positions.

            “It was windy at the top mark, but we’re having a great time!” said Heather Gregg, skipper of MUSE (USA 95) and the 2014 J/70 Corinthian World Champion, moments after she and her all-Corinthian crew crossed the finishing line in the day’s final race. “It’s tough sailing in such a big fleet—you make a few mistakes and you’re shot out of the back. But we have a great team and we’re having fun!”

            After a total of five races, Neckelmann’s Flojito Y Cooperando is currently topping the leaderboard, followed by Jud Smith’s Africa (USA 179) and Rossi’s Petite Terrible. Racing resumes tomorrow, with San Francisco’s famed wind and tidal conditions again expected to be the dominant racecourse features. Interested spectators can follow the racing online courtesy of title sponsor Alcatel, who supplied each boat with a smartphone to be used as an onboard tracker to report real-time positions, facilitating a state-of-the-art virtual spectator experience for those ashore. For more information about this world-class regatta, visit

            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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            • #7
              Classic SF Bay conditions!
              "Honey Badger don't give a shit"


              • #8
                Wild ass shit! The forecasters were slightly off, I would say!


                • #9
                  Appears to be some shuffling atop the leaderboard!


                  • #10
                    Throw-outs will do that for you (or to you!)


                    • #11

                      Hard to enjoy your cheetos when the driver keeps steering like that.


                      • #12
                        Good point.

                        Look up the translation of Flojito y Cooperando if you are bored.


                        • #13
                          Rise Of The Petite Terrible

                          Split Personality Conditions at Day Three of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds Hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club

                          SAN FRANCISCO – Mother Nature had some surprises in store for the 68 boats that assembled on the Berkeley Circle for the third day of racing at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, namely split personality conditions that tested each boat's light- and heavy-air skills, as well as their patience as conditions played tricks on racers and the Race Committee alike. While the breeze varied, consistency proved its importance as several teams stayed fast, irrespective of the breeze and its meandering moods.

                          Winds of 5-10 knots and a flood tide awaited sailors as they began the downwind run to the Berkeley Circle, which is located some 7 nautical miles northeast of St. Francis Yacht Club. With a stronger left-hand component to the breeze than previous days, the Race Committee set the windward mark due east from Alcatraz Island, allowing boats to catch a fast, tide-powered ride to the leeward gate, a procession that was lead by Joel Ronning’s Catapult (USA 187), with hometown hero John Kostecki calling tactics. The breeze slowly built as the fleet swapped their kites for their headsails and Trey Sheehan’s Hooligan: Flat Stanley (USA 389) and Jack Franco’s 3 Ball JT (USA 3) hotly pursued Catapult.

                          Flash forward to the finishing line, and Catapult strutted to a clean win sailing wing-on-wing, followed by Hooligan: Flat Stanley and Claudia Rossi’s always-fast Petite Terrible (ITA 853). “It felt great to get in a fairly light-air race,” said Ronning, immediately ex post facto. “I’ve got a fabulous crew, and they knew what to do! I listened to [Kostecki], and we kept the boat going fast.”

                          While Ronning made his win sound simple, there was nothing straightforward about what unfurled next. The Race Committee started their countdowns for race two, the starting gun sounded, the boats launched off into gathering airs before popping their kites at the offset mark, and—with Jud Smith’s Africa (USA 179), Catapult, and Petite Terrible hammering for the leeward gate—the race was abandoned due to a course that was no longer square to the wind.

                          Principal Race Officer Mark Foster personally apologized to the fleet for this abandonment, but the racers themselves were to blame for the next two starts, which resulted in general recalls as the outgoing tide flushed boats over the line in advance of the clock. The Race Committee noted—via VHF channel 69—that 40-some boats were OCS in the second general-recall start, and that they would be conducting the next start under the dreaded U flag, meaning that anyone deemed OCS would be disqualified.

                          The message was received, and the next start was noticeably more conservative. The gun fired and the fleet pounded uphill in 18-22 knot airs and some of the afternoon ebb’s strongest waters, which churned up the Berkeley Circle’s infamous washboard.

                          This nasty chop didn’t stop Africa, Tim Healy’s Sail Newport (USA 2), Mauricio Santa Cruz’s Bruschetta (BRA 403), Catapult and Petite Terrible from finding the windward mark ahead of the pack. Spinnakers were hoisted, afterburners lit, and Africa, Catapult, and Petite Terrible began replaying the abandoned race, along with added pressure from Sail Newport and Bruschetta.

                          Further astern, however, teams began flashing their keels at the sun. Ander Belausteguigoitia, who is sailing aboard Bala (MEX 680) explained heavy-air broach-recovery: “First you let go of all sails and controls, and if it’s not coming back, you have to pop the halyard about halfway, but you have to be careful it doesn’t go in to the water. The spinnaker is still in the air, and before it goes into the water you have to re-hoist it.” Get it right and the race can be salvaged; blow this delicate timing and your crew can expect a lengthy shrimping session.

                          While other boats were perfecting their recovery tactics, Africa took the bullet, followed by Sail Newport, Catapult and Petite Terrible. “The guys did a good job, they stepped it up and gave me a good one,” said an elated Smith, just after finishing. When queried about the team’s preference between the two vastly different sets of conditions experienced on Day Three, Smith smiled and admitted, “I like 6 knots, but the crew likes the heavy stuff!”

                          After seven races, Petite Terrible is topping the leaderboard, followed by Catapult and Africa. Racing resumes on Friday, and interested spectators can follow the racing online thanks to Alcatel-supplied smartphones, which the event is using as onboard trackers. For more information about this world-class regatta, visit
                          " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                          • #14
                            Day 2 Report With Bruce Cooper

                            Wind and fog met racers at the docks Wednesday morning for day 2 of racing at the Alcatel J70 Worlds at St. Francis yacht club. This meant wind and some more wind with another layer of warmth of clothing was in order.

                            With three races scheduled, boats left the harbor right on time to get to the Berkley Circle racing area which is about an hour east sailing from the city front. I was of course the last crew to report to USA250 where my skipper and crew were patiently waiting for their “big”. As a sailmaker, there is not a dock or boat you pass that someone is asking for rig tuning or sail trimming comments. I’m always late to the boat.

                            Race 3:
                            Breeze at 220 with 15 knots. We had a nice lower line, middle start. We were able to use our boat speed out to the left side of the course. We rounded the top mark inside the top 20. From there we sent it back to the same side of the course and hooked into the remaining flood tide. At the leeward mark, it was very crowded. We tried to push it more than we should have and ended up fouling. After two circles, we found our speed again and went back out to the left and tried to rally back as much as we could. In the end, we found out we were over at the start with a “U” flag. We learned from our mistakes and decided we shouldn’t always trust the “pings” on the Velocitek!

                            Race 4:
                            Wind increased to 18-20 for the start of race 4. With a solid start from the port line segment it was a race off to the left side to catch newly building ebb. We stuck to our plan and fought to be far left, being joined by some of the top teams. A solid top mark rounding, we managed to distance ourselves from the pack and have some more breathing room. A quick decision around the bottom gate sent us again to the left side of the course, once again following some of the top teams helped us pass some more competitors allowing us to have a 20th place finish. Staying consistent was key.

                            Race 5:
                            The 3rd race of the day looked like a very very windy race with the fog coming back in. The race started with more ebb tide setting the fleet up close to the starting line as boats furled jobs to slow down. Only 3 boats were scored with DSQ for jumping the line early, not bad for such a big fleet.

                            USA 250 started at the midline start boat but had some light traffic so we had to bail out with a tack or two and found our new strategy of going right instead of left with a clear lane. A reality check is see what local boats with the hot talent are going your way. We had MEX384 Flojito y Cooperando and USA 179 Africa in our line up, so we were in good company.

                            With the fog/cloud line coming in, the wind speed stayed at around 20 knots, but it seemed the wind was dropping in pressure and switching left. Very different than what the wind looked like 5 minutes before the start!

                            Managing lay line into the 1st mark is tough. We lined up early and paid the price. We rounded in the high 30’s or low 40’s. Staying on starboard gybe, we found pressure and shift that the boats that uber out early never got. USA250 was on a rail planning at 16 knots around a large group of boats in the middle of the course. Approaching the leeward gate, we picked the left gate and had our best mark rounding of the regatta. We pushed to the right on the lifted tack. Net gain to us. The wind stayed low in the 14-16 knot range which kept boats over tensioned on rig and starving for power.

                            At the windward mark, the wind came back in full 25 knot force. Wipe outs, bow planting with full green room (standing room only) was in order. USA250 hoisted and got real squarely but stayed under control and blasted off again down the right side.

                            We made big gains last run, so we stayed with out angle. Gibing for the finish we sailed across some light spots and had to work hard to keep the low speed plane. To our surprise the boats who gybed early were blasting across our bow. Net loss to us.
                            At the finish we slipped out of the top 20 and crossed 23rd. All in all, a great day of racing.
                            Skipper Steve Wymann said he felt good about the day and the boat handling was an improvement. USA 250 maneuvering and gear shifting moved us up and will work on better starts.

                            Day 2 take away’s:
                            -sail the sides of the course and do not sail the middle of the course (upwind and downwind).
                            -Enter crowded leeward gates with 2 options. Your planned rounding and a “bail out” move.
                            -keep back stay and sail trimming adjusting in lulls. Even when wind drops from 20 to 17-18 knots.
                            -Lay line setup at windward mark is critical. If coming in when crowded, either approach one port with 4-5 boat lengths to mark or sail extra up and out on wide starboard laying. Goal is to minimize bad air on final approach.


                            Day Three of J-70 Worlds Update:
                            By Bruce Cooper:

                            Thursday September 29, 2016
                            Two races were held today on Berkeley Circle for the J70 fleet. Race 6 was in mild conditions of 8-12 knots and race 7 had winds of 15-20 knots.
                            After 7 races the top 5 boats are right on points with a good show down coming for the final 5 races. There is a good representation at the top with the Italians leading followed by the Americans in 2-3, another Italian boat in 4 and the Mexicans in 5.
                            Leading the Corinthian Division in 1st place is Shawn Bennett USA32 with all Ullman Sails followed Pat Toole USA 58 and Simon Ling GBR123 with Ullman Sails upwind inventory.

                            Race 6
                            After a nice start, we decided to play the right side of the course. On the first beat we noticed a big left shift and stepped out to be on the low edge of it. We sailed a clear lane and got to the 1st mark in good shape. That down wind leg, we picked up boats to a top 20 rounding. A bad tactical decision to play the left instead of following the fleet heading towards sunshine. Many boats sailed right around us on the right. On the final downwind leg, we played puffs and gybed to catch a couple more boats and had a terrific finish (just ahead) next to SoCal racer Scott Deardorf on USA351 CAKE. It was close, too close for comfort. We decided it was best to not sail by ourselves to the opposite side of the course than the fleet next time!
                            Race 7:

                            Z Flag start with ebb tide spells disaster. After a general recall 1st attempt, the fleet spread out and fought for the right and left start marks to get up the course on an edge to get some tide benefit. USA250 started with a 8-10 second delayed start at the right start boat and tacked to the right in the front group of 15 boats. Again, we were in good company of the regatta leaders, so we stuck with our plan and stayed right.

                            It was planing conditions as we rounded the 1st mark and took off down the right side. There were moments when the boat aft and to windward was coming on with a 25 knot puff and it seemed like no matter how hard you worked the boat, they were going to have your wind at a high speed pass. But, the puff hits your spinnaker and the boat pulls away just in the nick of time. Jack Franco on USA3 tried a high pass and paid the ultimate price of sailing the edge with a big puff, USA3 laid it down hard right at the time they were trying to pass USA250. Whew!

                            We gated left and played the right side with good pace. The rig was set for 20 knots so when the wind dropped to 16 to 18, Ryan and Steve had to work extra hard keeping the speed and groove. We lost about 4 boats on the upwind leg as a result.
                            Approaching the last upwind mark, the breeze was up again with the front boats off and planning downwind. USA250 had a good set and went into FAST downwind trim.
                            The best tactic for passing downwind seems to be sail the edge laylines and come into the finish totally on fire never getting off the high plane. Bob Hughes USA353 Heartbreaker had the slight edge on the final approach and stayed heated (and almost flipped over) coming into the finish and beat us by 1/2 boat length. We finished 17th and felt good knowing we let a few boats slip by on the upwind and downwind.

                            Day 3 take away's:
                            - stay with the fleet
                            - skipper has a panic word for when the rudder is loosing grip telling the trimmers to full release the vang and dump the spin sheet.
                            Note: having the spin flag and the boat going 10 knots on course is better than a full knock down broach!
                            - huge gains when sailing off the start with clear wind and lane. To round in the top 20 this is a must.
                            Last edited by Photoboy; 09-30-2016, 09:20 AM.
                            " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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                            • #15
                              Friday 3 Race Enduro

                              Endurance Sailing at Day Four of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds Hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club

                              SAN FRANCISCO – Sailors are a hearty type, but even hearty bodies get tired, especially when exposed to world-class competition that requires A-game performances for several days in a row. Such is the game at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by St. Francis Yacht Club, as San Francisco Bay has been delivering big wind and waves all week for the 68 boats from 15 countries racing in this high-octane event. Stir in a strong ebb-tide cycle and the Berkeley Circle racing area quickly becomes a small sea of white caps that sap boatspeed and test stamina.

                              “It’s been a tough series for us—we expected that—but it’s been tougher than we thought,” said Simon Ling, skipper of the Corinthian Team RAF Benevolent Fund Spitfire (GBR 123). “Everyone warned us that it was going to be cold and windy, and it has certainly delivered. We like those conditions, but sailing a keelboat in the chop—we haven’t had a lot of experience with that, so that’s all been part of the learning curve this week…It’s been a fantastic event and we are loving it.”
                              While Ling and company enjoyed a strong Day Four, with a 4th-place finish in Race 9 and a 2nd-place finish in Race 10, their feelings were echoed throughout the fleet. “This morning I woke up and said, ‘It feels like Day Four,’” said Justin Kromelow, skipper of Loose Lucy (USA 375), who celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday and boasts the coolest-looking sails in the fleet.

                              The day began innocently enough, with bluebird skies, 4-6 knots of breeze, and a flood tide that kept the racecourse smooth for the run to Berkeley Circle. Then, the air filled to 8-10 knots. Two knots of flood tide escorted the fleet back downhill after rounding the weather mark in 10-15 knots. These conditions suited Brian Keane and his Savasana (USA 96) crew, who took the day’s first bullet. “We got a good start; we got off the line cleanly. We headed to the left side of the course, and we got into the good wind and current,” said Keane, adding, “I like these conditions!”

                              Unfortunately for Savasana and other teams that prefer the cerebral stuff, Mother Nature had other plans, as the breeze continued building and the tide clocked from flood to ebb. Small white caps appeared that grew into deeper troughs and prouder peaks as the tide powered up and the breeze built to 15-18 knots. The Race Committee started Race 9 cleanly, and—come the leeward gate—Douglas Strebel’s Black River Racing (USA 51) was in the lead, followed by Heather Gregg’s Corinthian MUSE (USA 95) and Matías Seguel’s Allegro (CHI 74). Strebel successfully staved off advances from the pack to take the bullet, followed by Joel Ronning’s Catapult (USA 187) and then MUSE.

                              Conditions got serious in Race 10, as the ebbing tide and breeze produced the week’s biggest seas thus far. Outbound water swept enough boats over the line early to warrant a general recall, which in turn inspired the race committee to fly the U flag, meaning that anyone OCS would be disqualified. Unfortunately for Claudia Rossi’s Petite Terrible (ITA 853), who began the day in first, the Race Committee announced her over early; Rossi and company sailed a brilliant race and crossed the line in first place, only to realize their starting-line mistake. Instead, the bullet went to Jud Smith’s Africa (USA 179), followed by Ling’s Team RAF Benevolent Fund Spitfire and Ricardo Brockmann’s Vincitore (MEX 401).

                              Just yesterday, Smith reported that he preferred light-air sailing after taking a bullet in Race 7. “I changed my mind!” said an ebullient Smith. “We had a good start, the breeze was a bit more predictable this afternoon, and we have good speed. We’re good upwind and we’re good in the breeze.”

                              After four days and ten races, Ronning’s Catapult is topping the leaderboard, followed by Julian Fernandez Neckelmann’s Flojito Y Cooperando (MEX 384) and Carlo Alberini’s Calvi Network (ITL 456). For more information about this world-class regatta, or to track the racing in real-time, please visit

                              Helpful Links

                              For photos, click HERE HERE

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                              " I just found out my nest egg has salmonella"

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