Donkey Jack Wins Rolex Big Boat Series Nail-biter

The Rolex Big Boat Series traditionally forms the climax to J105 Fleet One’s season. Hosted by the distinguished and very competent folks at the St Francis Yacht Club, the annual event truly deserves its reputation for world-class competition and the best crew parties on the West Coast. Racing started on Thursday 6th September under the sunny summer conditions with a stiff breeze already established through The Slot. Moon and sun conspired to provide a relatively small (for San Francisco Bay) tidal flow, and the wind remained, by and large, under 18 kts, yielding a more tactical and less survival-oriented event than those in the recent past.

The first day’s racing began on the North Course in gentle ebb and just 12 kts of breeze from the South West. Risk and Blackhawk made decisive moves to the left, which paid off well. Speed and boat-on-boat tactical calls kept them ahead of the pack and they rounded the weather mark with good separation that they never surrendered – first blood to Blackhawk. Race 2 started on the City-Front course into a building flood tide. The left paid early, but boats that failed to find a lane back to The Cone behind Alcatraz were punished as the crews that committed to the right side early-on recovered their initial losses and controlled the critical space behind the island. Risk found clean air on a high lane for the dash to the beach and lead the tacking scrum through the current relief along the shore. The rounding at Presidio Shoals was very busy as the pack converged at the mark in puffy and uncertain wind conditions prior to the downwind leg. After one more upwind and a downwind dash along the beach for a race-deck finish, Risk ended the day on top, having sailed to a bullet and a second, ahead of Blackhawk (7) and Godot with Mojo tied on 10 points.

Weather conditions and race schedule on day two and three were identical – one North-Course and one City-Front. Stable, but geographically-variable wind conditions and the turning of the tide in mid race made for an interesting contest. Wianno chose the right side early in race 3 and committed to it aggressively. This move paid-off and they benefitted from a huge lift. They rounded the weather mark in first place by multiple boat lengths, and sailed on to take the bullet. Risk, the regatta leader, did not fare so well on day two, recording only a 12th and a 5th. Godot and Donkey Jack each took home 6 points on the day, with Donkey scoring a bullet, while Godot’s best score was a 2nd in Race 4.The regatta lead shifted in favor of Godot, with multiple boats in contention close behind.

Godot and Risk suffered on Day three as Donkey Jack posted another bullet and Blackhawk returned to form with a bullet and a 4th, tying for first overall on points closely followed by Godot. With all to play for in the final race – the arduous final Bay Tour – Sunday was shaping up to be very interesting.

Weather conditions for the Bay Tour remained consistent and any one of Blackhawk, Godot, Donkey-Jack, Risk and Arbitrage had a realistic shot at winning the regatta. The fleet split after the start with Blackhawk, Risk and Arbitrage favoring the left and Godot committing early and hard to the right. An excellent start, boat speed and a huge advantage on the right of the course sprung Godot out of the pack and Donkey Jack tacked to join them. The other regatta leaders reacted too late and were unable to overcome the early leverage that benefitted the port tack boats on the right hand side of the course. To win the regatta, Godot needed to finish 4 boats ahead of Donkey Jack. During the remainder of the race, Godot stayed in front of a pack consisting of Donkey Jack, Mojo, Roxanne and Advantage3, protecting clear air and the favored course. At the finish Godot took a bullet, with Advantage3 in second, Roxanne 3rd and, crucially, Donkey Jack in 4th place. The regatta, the Rolex and the 2012 J105 Big Boat Series was won by Donkey Jack on a tie-breaker.

Check out the video of events and Kattack replays.

Don’t forget to sign up for the Logan-Paige-Simpson, Noods and Salsalito cup match racing.

Fleet #1 AdminDonkey Jack Wins Rolex Big Boat Series Nail-biter
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Summer Invitational: Stone Cold

17 boats entered the San Francisco YC’s always popular Summer Invitational on August 18/19.  This is the final regatta for the larger one design classes on SF Bay leading into September’s St. Francis Rolex Big Boat Series.  Winds blew 18-24 kts on the Berkeley Circle, such that one of Bruce Stone’s crew, Philipp Berner, a skiff sailor from Germany, suggested we might as well adjust our SF Bay “base setting” to that range since it’s been there for almost every regatta this summer!  In the three races on Saturday, Stone’s Arbitrage team nailed some starts and scored a 1, 1, 2, with Risk close behind, gathering a bullet in the third race due to some excellent downwind sailing, passing Arbitrage by jibing early into even more pressure – hard to believe there was more somewhere, but there was!  The two boats entertained the race committee by engaging in a match racing tacking duel for the last half mile to the upwind finish.  On Sunday, Arbitrage logged another bullet despite shredding a kite on the first downwind leg and changing to the back-up.  Stone was a bit aggressive on the last start and called over early.  After restarting, they clawed their way back from dead last off the line to fifth at the windward mark but were flagged for tacking too close in the zone, so did a 720, potentially losing the podium position for the regatta.  They nailed a shift on the last downwind to work their way back again to fifth by the leeward gate, only to get camped on by the whole world on the last beat, and slid back to 8 in the race. This was good enough and allowed them to edge out Risk by two points for the overall win.

Fleet #1 AdminSummer Invitational: Stone Cold
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Arbitrage Wins The Aldo

The Aldo Alessio Regatta is one of the highlight events on SF Bay each summer. This year J105 Fleet One opted to skip the Friday ocean race, contesting windward leeward races in the Central Bay and City Front over the weekend. Wind and weather co-operated to provide two ideal days of racing with breeze from about 10 kts to 18 kts both days. Awkward, puffy and more southerly wind direction than usual, coupled with a complex switch from slack to ebb during the race, made for interesting tactical choices on the course. Arbitrage dominated, winning the first and last race and finishing 8 points ahead of Godot, who bested Donkey Jack  on a tie breaker for second. Following-on were Blackhawk in an unaccustomed fourth spot with Alchemy and Roxanne close together in fifth and sixth place.

Fleet #1 AdminArbitrage Wins The Aldo
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Blackhawk Leverages Assets; Overcomes Arbitrage Risk

J105 Fleet One’s championship season continued on June 23/24 at the very welcoming Sausalito Yacht Club. The race course was set up with the start line to the West of Alcatraz. By varying the weather mark position to the South of the channel on Saturday and North on Sunday, the RC provided racers the opportunity for both City-Front close tacking and open-water tactical racing in a single event. Conditions on The Bay were ideal for J105 racing with 12kt to 15kt breeze, bright sunshine and low chop due to the flood tide.

Racing in the middle of the 19-strong fleet was close, but Blackhawk dominated the front of the field, finishing the five-race regatta with just 9 points, taking three bullets, a second and a fourth. Arbitrage broke free of the pack, finishing second overall with 20 points and Risk finished strong with two 2nd place finishes on Sunday to capture third.

Kudos to Dave Borton, SYC Race Chair, John Cashman and to the rest of the team at SYC for running a fantastic event at a beautiful venue. Photos are available here and here courtesy of Roxanne Fairbairn. Don already posted the Kattack tracks here.

Fleet #1 AdminBlackhawk Leverages Assets; Overcomes Arbitrage Risk
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Blackhawk Chalks Up Another Regatta Win

Brilliant sunshine and warm, steady breeze greeted competitors for the June 9/10 Spring Keel regatta sponsored by San Francisco Yacht Club. The race format was a change from the usual windward-leeward and included two reaching legs. The course setup enabled the large J105 fleet to race on it’s own course, while the J120s and Expresses shared the start/finish, keeping fleets separated. Racing was tight with multiple tie-breakers required to determine the final regatta placings. In the end, Blackhawk took the top spot, followed by Godot – who pulled out an impressive latter half of the regatta to recover and pip Arbitrage who finished in third place. Aerial photos of the racing arranged by Charles James, owner of Roxanne, are available here.



Fleet #1 AdminBlackhawk Chalks Up Another Regatta Win
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Blackhawk Pips Arbitrage, Wins Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta

Nineteen Fleet One J105s joined an 8-boat IRC division in the St Francis Yacht Club‘s inaugural Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta on Saturday and Sunday May 19th and 20th. The weekend weather was beautiful and uncharacteristically warm with clear skies and breeze from around 15kts in the mornings to 22kts with 27kt gusts late on Sunday afternoon. Racing was very close all weekend with few uncontested break-aways. Going into the last race, any of the top six boats could have won the regatta – Blackhawk pulled out a race bullet and sealed overall victory as Jam Session turned in a disappointing ninth. Bruce Stone’s Arbitrage found their form on Sunday and leveraged consistently strong finishes to take second overall. Risk, Mojo and Jam Session filled out the top 5 places. Race tracking replays by Kattack are already posted along with relative speed reports.

Fleet #1 AdminBlackhawk Pips Arbitrage, Wins Phyllis Kleinman Swiftsure Regatta
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Mojo Finds Consistency, Dominates JFEST

Glorious Mediterranean conditions, plenty of breeze and flat water greeted 20 Fleet One J105s competing in the 2012 JFEST Regatta on Saturday. Hosted by the St Francis Yacht Club, JFEST is one of the highlights of the J105 Fleet One calendar with excellent race participation and sponsored post-race social activities arranged by Sail California.

A light flood encouraged close racing as competitors jockeyed for position in current-relief close to the beach and for clear air among the crowded tacking lanes. Downwind legs provided plenty of choices – wind and current benefit towards the center of The Bay vs. a shorter distance on the long VMG path from the weather mark to the gates. Mojo took an early lead after day one with 8 points, ahead of a pack of four boats with 14 points accumulated over the three races.

Sunday heralded a return to classic San Francisco Bay conditions with overcast skies and the promise of increasing wind-pressure throughout the day. Mojo’s consistency paid off with two solid finishes, taking the regatta in demonstrative style, seven points ahead of Blackhawk. Arbitrage, Jam Session and Wonder completed the top five finishes overall.

Fleet #1 AdminMojo Finds Consistency, Dominates JFEST
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Donkey Jack Wins Division in SSS Corinthian Race

Fleet One J105s took the top four places in the 15-strong double-handed “108 PHRF and Under” division of the SSS Corinthian Race. The day started slowly with zero wind and the remains of a strong flood trapping the 130+ race entrants in Belvedere Cove. Once past the point, the wind filled-in and the combination of clear skies, massive fleet and challenging current made for a spectacular and fun day on the water. Donkey-Jack made a clean break through the slow stuff and finished well ahead, winning the division. Akula pipped Jam Session by 11 seconds and Racer X finished close behind in 4th.

Standings in the (unofficial) J105 SSS Double-Handed series are:


Three Bridge Fiasco Corinthian Total
Jam Session 1 3 4
Donkey Jack 3 1 4
Akula 4 2 6
Nantucket Sleighride 2 DNC 7
Godot 5 DNC 10
Nirvana 6 DNC 11
Lightwave 7 DNC 12
RacerX 8 4 12
Energy 9 DNC 14
Meliani 10 DNC 15
Moonshine DNF DNC 17
Sophia DNC DNC 17


Three Bridge Fiasco



Jam Session




Donkey Jack








Nantucket Sleighride




































Fleet #1 AdminDonkey Jack Wins Division in SSS Corinthian Race
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Blackhawk Wins Abbreviated and Blustery Spring One Design

The J105 Fleet One Championship season opened this weekend with the St Francis Yacht Club’s Spring One Design regatta. A winter storm and atmospheric instability made for challenging conditions at both ends of the wind velocity spectrum. Race One started a little before 1pm on Saturday once enough pressure developed for boats to make progress in the 2.5kt ebb. The breeze ramped throughout the afternoon and by the second race, 25kt puffs and a narrow window of opportunity to gybe after the offset mark combined to winnow the fleet to just 11 finishers of 17 starters.

Day 2 kicked off with a postponement due to high wind and a forecast for increased strength later in the day. After a poll of the owners and discussion with the RC, the AP was dropped and racing started in the early afternoon with 25kts on the fun-meter. Wind strength was variable over the course with strong puffs in the center of the Bay and steep ebb-driven chop. Closer to shore the waves and wind were smaller and more manageable, at the penalty of less current. Most boats made it around the weather mark, launched kites and enjoyed a wild ride down to the leeward gates. With wind building to over 33kts in the central bay and a growing list of casualty-kites among the racers, the RC wisely declared a shorten course and the regatta finished with 3 of 5 scheduled races completed.

Top 5 were: 1 – Blackhawk, 2 – Donkey Jack, 3 – Mojo, 4 – Wonder, 5 – Risk. Full results available here and later, here.

Fleet #1 AdminBlackhawk Wins Abbreviated and Blustery Spring One Design
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Wonder Wins RegattaPro Winter One Design Series

The final day of the RegattaPro Winter One Design (WOD) series began with a 120 degree windshift while the J120s were in sequence, causing a postponement and a short delay while the weather mark was retrieved from Southhampton Shoals and re-set to the South West of the starting area. With the new wind, the overcast cleared and the day’s racing started in sunshine and perfect sailing conditions.

In the first race Jam Session pulled out a bullet with Wonder protecting their series lead by claiming second ahead of Roxanne in third. In the final race of the series, the tables turned as Donkey Jack and Akula extended down the last leg, with Donkey Jack claiming victory by less than a boat length. Moonshine posted a hard-fought third place and pipped Blackhawk over the line.

Wonder wins the series by 6 points ahead of the next group, comprising Walloping Swede, Godot and Jam Session. The race tracks and stats may be retrieved under J105  Fleet1 on Kattack.



1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Wonder 9 6 2 1 6 1 2 7 34 18 1
Walloping Swede 3 2 3 6 9 2 8 11 44 24 2
Godot 5 1 14 11 1 5 4 9 50 25 3
Jam Session 18 18 9 5 2 3 1 6 62 26 4
Wianno 1 4 6 2 8 10 14 13 58 31 5
Roxanne 4 10 4 7 11 9 3 10 58 37 6
Alchemy 18 18 7 4 12 4 5 5 73 37 7
Donkey Jack 8 3 5 10 19 19 12 1 77 39 8
Akula 6 8 18 18 4 8 13 2 77 41 9
Moonshine 7 9 8 8 10 7 9 3 61 42 10
Joyride 2 5 10 9 13 11 10 14 74 47 11
Arbitrage 18 18 1 3 7 6 20 20 93 53 12
Hazardous Waste 10 7 13 13 15 13 15 12 98 68 13
Aquavit 18 18 11 18 17 16 6 8 112 76 14
Sophia 12 11 12 12 16 14 17 17 111 77 15
Racer X 11 12 16 14 19 19 16 15 122 84 16
JuJu 18 18 15 16 14 15 11 16 123 87 17
Nantucket Sleighride 19 19 19 19 3 12 20 20 131 91 18
Blackhawk 20 20 20 20 20 20 7 4 131 91 19
Fleet #1 AdminWonder Wins RegattaPro Winter One Design Series
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