| Following your Dreams: A World Tour on a J/109
Retired vet Dr. Bob Riggle from Seattle and his companion Phyllis Macay have embarked on the ultimate around the world cruising adventure
aboard the J/109 Gaia. Dr. Bob is the former J/109 Fleet #1 Champion
and finished 4th in the Vic-Maui race back in 2004 so he is no stranger
to racing and offshore sailing. This new cruising voyage started back
in September and is now thousands of miles underway with the pair
having sailed the entire west coast of the US, Mexico and Central
America. According to their web site chart, Gaia is now somewhere in
the Galapagos. For stories, photos, port of call
schedule and more visit www.gaiaworldtour.net
Photo: Phyllis tries on some native decorations.
|UK and Ireland Update
|Across the pond here, the 109 fleet is back the water. The season proper kicks off March 16th with the opening race of the Warsash Spring Series, but many of us have been out in the depths of winter with some pre-season racing. And bloody cold, wet and miserable some of it has been!
The season started with the Class dinner at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Being overly oiled I was "persuaded" to join the crew of Jaguar on the opening Frostbite race on Southampton water - fun but "Brass Monkeys" as we Brits like to say. The spanking new J-DREAM has been a regular in the series and took 3rd place, as has JOYRIDE who finished in 7th.
Meanwhile, on BATFISH we've been out in the Little Ship Club's Fast Cruise series - taking honours as the only boat to brave a Force 7 one day, and winning the February race by a considerable margin in both IRC and club class handicap. Our reward was to have an additional 10% handicap imposed on our club rating.
The highlight of the spring for most crews was a weekend training with redoubtable Team GBR Olympic Coach Jim Saltonstall. On a stormy March Saturday, 12 J/109s gathered in Hamble for boat handling and starting drills before the rising weather forced us back to the bar for a series of performance lectures. On Sunday better weather saw a series of three short races and repeated starting drills - taken very seriously indeed - with some very close calls and near crunches!
So who are going to be the top Solent boats in 2008? Hot boats include 2007 Champions Bruce Jubb and Jeff Daiken's JOHNNY BLUE II, Mike Ewart-Smith and Ben Richards' ZELDA, Mat Boyle's SHIVA, Guy Knight's BETH and John Perry and Philip Smith's FIRESTORM. I reckon they all face challenges from champion J/105 sailors Kirsty and David Althorp who have moved up to the new J-DREAM. Also RORC commodore David Aischer is now sailing a 109 named YEOMAN OF WIGHT, and there are a host of well sailed boats who can all take line honours. Sorry if I've missed any deserving names off this list - but its all to play for! -Bill Blain
Bill Blain owns BATFISH , a Solent-based J/109. As far as we know Bill holds the record for the most ever people drinking Dark and Stormy cocktails in the cockpit.
Photo: Tight action on the starting line. Courtesy j-uk.com website.
|Meet the new Treasurer
Ric Campeau (owner of HOODOO), J/109 class treasurer, recently took a few minutes to tell us a bit about himself. A mortgage banker, Ric came into the J/109 family via the J/22 and J/24 fleets. "I enjoyed the people and quality of the boats. We bought our first J/109 in 2004." His favorite way to spend time on the boat? "Racing and booze cruising." Home port is Charleston, SC; he lives about a half hour away in Summerville, SC. Be sure to meet Ric at Charleston Race Week.
These photos were taken by John Quirk (Hamble Yacht Services) at one of the largest boat yards in the UK, during the recent floods.
|Fleet 10 Season Schedule
|Rick Lyall sent the following details about the upcoming season on Long Island Sound and beyond:
I hope you are all looking forward to the 2008 season as much as I am, which begins in a little over a month at AYC Spring Series. We have added a couple of distance races this year with the Edlu Race in May and the Vineyard Race at the end of August. We had a good turnout at the Distance Racing Seminar (8 J109 owners out of 50 total owners) in January so there appears to be interest in expanding our agenda from just doing buoy races to include distance races. Let's see how it goes and we will continue to refine the schedule based on the fleet's preferences. At this point I honestly don't know if we will be racing one design in these regattas or competing using our IRC ratings. If you have some thoughts you'd like to share, please pass them along. The schedule is posted on the J/109 class website under Regatta/Documents.
Note that we have scheduled a J109 Rendezvous on July 19-20th in Stoninington, CT. We are hoping to attract both racers and cruisers to the event... more