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J/111 World Championship

Record fleet preparing for 2015 J/111 World Championship

In just four short years, the J/111 class has grown at a remarkable pace. It achieved International Class status from ISAF in less than two years and hosted its first World Championship in Cowes, England in 2014 with eighteen boats in attendance.

Today, over 115 boats have been launched since the fall of 2010 and nearly 25% of that fleet are showing up for the J/111 Worlds in Newport for the week of June 15th to 19th. The twenty-five boats entered come from the British Virgin Islands, Australia, Canada, Great Britain and the USA. Of the American boats, teams have traveled from as far west as San Diego, California, representing a total of twelve states (including Illinois, Wisconsin, New York, Maryland, Connecticut, Florida, Michigan, Rhode Island, Ohio, Massachusetts and Arizona).

The excitement is building rapidly amongst the crews in anticipation of sailing in the beautiful waters off Rhode Island. Newport is famous worldwide for hosting such events as the America’s Cup, numerous one-design class world championships and, most recently, the Volvo Ocean Race.

Looking forward to that opportunity of racing off Newport is the current J/111 World Champion, Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas from Great Britain. This sharp duo shipped their boat- Shmokin Joe- over from the U.K. to participate; she has been seen for some weeks up at NEB Boatworks in Portsmouth, RI and she’s looking mighty fast and clean as a whistle. Other top five J/111 teams from the U.K. include Chris Jones and Louise Makin of Journeymaker V fame sailing a chartered boat- Wild Child; Tony Mack’s notoriously fast crew aboard Team McFLY from Royal Southern YC; and Martin Dent’s JELVIS team of young, fast and smart dinghy sailors from Queen Mary Sailing Club.

Virtually all of the top American teams will be in attendance from the Midwest (Chicago-Mackinac Race winners and J/111 North American winners), the Gulf Coast (Key West Race Week winners) and the East Coast (New York YC Regatta, NOOD Regatta, Edgartown Regatta and Block Island Race Week winners). Current J/111 North American Champion, Richard Lehmann, will have his Wind Czar crew from Little Traverse YC ready to show their performance in the Midwest was no fluke. They will be accompanied by the balance of the top five from the last NA’s on Lake Michigan: Dave Irish’s No Surprise, the Chicago trio on Kashmir (Brummel/ Henderson/ Mayer), Rob Ruhlman’s Spaceman Spiff, and Marty Roesch’s Velocity. The top eastern teams include Doug Curtiss’ Wicked 2.0 from Buzzards Bay; David and Maryellen Tortorello’s Partnership from Long Island Sound; and Fred Van Liew and David Brodsky’s Odyssey from Newport, RI.J/111 World Championship

Participating from Sydney, Australia is Rod Warren and Ray Entwistle on Libertas (partnered with owner John Donovan); from the Caribbean is Sam Talbot’s Spike from Road Town, Tortola in the British Virgin Islands; and, from north of the border comes two Canadian teams from Quebec: Marcel Cote’s Survenant and Carl Desgagnes’ Volteface, both from Quebec Yacht Club.

The long-term forecast appears promising with a broad variety of wind and weather conditions to challenge the fleet on Rhode Island Sound. In the forecast are for at least one weather front to pass through with breezes ranging from the classic southerly sea breezes (200-240 degrees) with 10-20 kt winds and frontal passages leaving lighter NW to NE breezes in the 5-10 kts range and flatter waters. The fleet will be sailing mostly windward-leeward courses, but one day will also include a middle distance race of around 18-25 nm depending on breeze.

Helping the visiting teams on “local knowledge” will be none other than North Sails President Ken Read. Having won six J/24 World Championships (including one in Newport), Ken should be able to provide teams with a perspective on what it takes to get around the track offshore in Rhode Island Sound. Ken’s local knowledge chat will take place on Monday, June 15th at 5pm at Ida Lewis YC. As a primary sponsor, North Sails is also providing “North Sails Day” on Tuesday, with a review of the day’s racing by North U Regatta Services (Chuck Allen and Sandy McMillan) under the Sail Newport tent.

more info ………….j111worlds.com

by Stuart Johnstone

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