J/109 E-News

June 2010

In This Issue
Next Up: North Americans
NYYC Annual Regatta
Cal Race Week
Upcoming Regattas
Get Ready for the North Americans
NYYC logo

The J/109 2010 North American Championship will be sailed July 17-19, 2010 in the waters off Newport, RI as part of NYYC's Race Week. This is our Class's most prestigious championship, so we hope to see you there!  More details and entry information can be at j109.org.

J/Cup 2010

J-Cup 2010109 Starting action at J-Cup 2010. Photo courtesy Tim Wright / photoaction.com

74 J-Boats participated in  J-Cup 2010. The regatta was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club in Hamble, and the J/109 UK National Championship took place as part of the event, with 27 boats on the line.

Going into the event it was difficult to predict a winner. The defending UK National Champions were Kirsty and David Apthorp in J-DREAM, but at the last two one-design events VELVET ELVIS, raced by Class Chairman Adam Wright and Martin Miller, were at the top of the podium. And having converted from IRC mode to one-design set-up for this event, Commodore's Cup triallist David Aisher's YEOMAN IX should also be fast. Local experts were also eyeing Seamus Fitzpatrick's MERMAID, since it would be the first time this Irish team had lined up against the UK fleet. 

At the end of eight races, VELVET ELVIS won the event decisively with six bullets.  Winning three races on day one also earned them the North Sails Boat of the Day prize. The Race Committee reported 'the closest photo finish ever seen' for race three, between VELVET ELVIS and David Aisher's YEOMAN OF WIGHT. We love that! 

The 109s sailed four races the second day and so had only one left to complete on Saturday. VELVET ELVIS probably would have been quite happy if the breeze had failed to show up, as there were a lot of nerves flying around! In the end there was more than enough wind for racing and VELVET ELVIS left the dock to go out to try to win the 2010 J/109 UK National Championship, along with twenty six other J/109s with precisely the same intention.

Dave Richards (who had just won his first race in the J/109 the previous day) led the final race of this series in JUMPING JELLYFISH, until the very last moment when VELVET ELVIS managed to slip past him. What a fantastic way to win the UK National Championship and what popular winners!

Ashore the bar was open, the sun was shining and Elvis was on the sound system as competitors returned to the dock. Along with numerous other prizes from generous sponsors, the Dubarry Boot for Endurance was presented to Paul Griffiths and his team on  JAGERBOMB. Paul, daughter Gillian and son Mark have been racing J's together for a number of years and we have no doubt at all that the front of the J/109 fleet is an achievable target for them.



Velvet Elvis


Martin Miller/Chairman Wright






Matt Boyle






David McLeman






Steven Tapper




Yeoman of Wight


David Aisher




Jumping Jellyfish


Dave Richards




J Dream


Dave and Kirsty Apthorp






Richard Sainsbury/Gill Ross






Seamus Fitzpatrick






Richard and Valerie Griffiths


Complete results

Season Starts Well for 109's at NYYC Annual Regatta
Rush2010NYYCAnnualRegattaPhoto by Dan Nerney
Known as the longest running regatta in America,  the New York Yacht Club's 156th Annual Regatta presented by Rolex also has the distinction of kicking off the sailing season in New England. Over 1,000 sailors on 111 boats gathered June 11-13 from across the U.S. and Europe, for three days of racing on Narragansett Bay and Rhode Island Sound.  

The start to the weekend was Friday's Around the (Conanicut) Island Race, which is scored separately from the Saturday/Sunday races. The race has become a popular "add on" for competitors, especially those gearing up for the biennial Newport Bermuda Race the following week.  Winning their IRC Class was Bill Sweetser's J/109 RUSH.  And RUSH also won half of  the prestigious ROLEX CUP - presented to the best performing two-boat team in the Around the Island Race - along with SPITFIRE, a J/122 skippered by Pierre (Governor Pete) du Pont (Rockland, DE).
On Saturday, the first day of the two-day buoy racing, most classes completed three races. Sunday most classes added only one more race to the total score.  IRC5 was dominated by the J/109s against some tough competitors.  STORM, the champion J/109 owned and skippered by Rick Lyall (Wilton, CT), was winner of the 12-boat IRC 5 class with a 1-2-4-3- record.  STORM was challenged all weekend long by the strong team on RUSH.  In fact, RUSH's score of 5-3-2-2 score was just two points back from the lead and with the shifty winds, it was anyone's regatta going into the last race.
For more Rolex NYYC Annual Regatta sailing information, visit the NYYC regatta page.
Mid Atlantics in Annapolis
NOOD Logo 2010

In the northeastern US most owners are still taking the covers off their boats in late April/early May, and looking forward to shaking the rust off their racing skills after a long winter's rest.  In Annapolis they take things a bit more seriously. Fleet 4, headed by Fleet Captain Bill Sweetser, has held the J/109 Mid Atlantic Championship in conjunction with the Annapolis NOOD the last two years, so it's "game on" at the very start of the season.  Bill and his fellow Fleet 4 members did a great job generating interest that resulted in a competitive 9 boats at this year's NOOD. 


Anyone who knows Bill would describe him as an excellent sailor, a terrific competitor and perhaps above all, a true gentleman.  However when Bill sent out an email inviting J/109 owners to participate in the Annapolis NOOD there was certainly an edge to his message: "Hello fellow East Coast J109 Owners. WE CHALLENGE YOU!  The RUSH Team will proudly display this prestigious trophy at the Annapolis Yacht Club until you take it away from us!"  The trophy he was referring to is a handsome half hull model that goes to the winner of the J/109 Class Association East Coast Regatta Series, a combination of the Annapolis and Larchmont NOOD regattas. Last year, Bill Sweetser and the Rush team won the award and it was obvious from their tone that they didn't plan to give it up without a fight!


The regatta began in light but pleasant conditions on Friday, with a shifty wind ranging between 6-12 knots throughout the day.  RUSH set the tone early by winning the first two races, settling for a second in the third race, and coming back to grab another bullet in the final race of the day. Tony Syme's LOGOS posted a solid 2nd in the first race with Steve James Mitchner's DOUBLE EAGLE close behind in third.  Craig Wright's AFTERTHOUGHT grabbed the silver in the second race and Steve McManus's SAYKAYDOO finished third.  Rick Lyall's STORM took the bullet in the third race followed closely by RUSH and AFTERTHOUGHT.  SAYKAYDOO took second in the last race with STORM finishing 3rd.


The fleet completed three more races on Saturday, a balmy "May Day" with conditions similar to Friday.  RUSH picked up right where they left off by posting a 1,3,1.  STORM posted a consistent line of 2-2-2 allowing Rush to add another point to her lead.  SAYKAYDOO filled out the top three on the day, with finishes of 3-1-3. 


Sunday dawned with promises of strong breeze and possible showers, but conditions moderated just before the starting sequence of a 6 leg marathon - the race committee planned only one race for the last day.  Competitors experienced 40-50 degree wind shifts and wind strength that varied from 3 to 18 knots.  LOGOS managed to get hard right off the start and went on to win the last race.  STORM followed with another 2nd and RUSH finished off a very strong regatta with a solid 3rd. 

RUSH 2010 Annapolis NOODThis was a terrific regatta with many lead changes on the water, tight mark roundings, and close finishes.  RUSH demonstrated her moxie by winning the class handily and positioning their team to repeat as East Coast Regatta Series Champions at the Larchmont NOOD in September.


Bill Sweetser demonstrated his gentlemanly side by hosting a class BBQ at his lovely waterfront home in Annapolis. 

Photo at right: Team RUSH: Bill Sweetser, Danielle Vileno, Brian Tyrrel, Linda Ambrose, Tom Babel, Bobby Brooks.

View more photos



Bill Sweetser

Annapolis Y.C.



Rick Lyall

Cedar Point Y.C.



Steve McManus

Annapolis Y.C.



Craig Wright




Tony Syme

Annapolis Y.C.


Double Eagle

James Mitchner

Fishing Bay Y.C.


Vento Solare

Paul Milo

MD Capital YC


Ceol na Mara

David Frizell

Raritan Y.C.



Terry Richardson




Cal Race Week:  Zapped by Elektra
Cal Race Week 2010California Yacht Club plays host to one of the longest running race weeks on the West Coast and attracts, in particular, good one-design fleets from greater southern California.  The J/80s, J/105s and J/109s all had fun sailing around-the-cans with excellent courses set by CYC's PROs.  

Tom Brott's ELEKTRA truly did zap the J/109 fleet, sailing to an extraordinarily consistent score of 1-2-2-1-1 to win their class by four points.  Chris Mewes sailed SHADOWFAX to second with a 3-1-3-2-2 tally followed by Bryce Benjamin in PERSISTENCE  with a 2-5-1-3-3 record. 

Full results

Photo courtesy Sam Haythorn Photography

This enewsletter was edited and produced for the J/109 Class Association by
Carol Newman Cronin of Live Wire.