Wednesday, May 31, 2017

J/88 Family Speedster Loves Chile!

J/88 women sailors having fun in Chile! (Higuerillas, Con Con, Valparaiso, Chile)- On April 29th, Juan Pumpin’s brand new J/88 ESAUTOMATIX made its debut at the Regatta Mes del Mar hosted by Club de Yates Higuerillas, north of Valparaiso in the Con Con region.  This was the yacht club that was heavily affected by the big storm of August 2015 (essentially a Low that could have been classified as a Class 4 hurricane), but now was back and better than ever to host regattas for their friends and sailors all over Chile and South America (a similar story to New Orleans’ famous Southern YC phoenix-like resurrection from the ashes).

The regatta was held in honor of Arturo Prat and the Chilean Navy sailors.  Juan-Eduardo Reid commented on the significance of the day, “it was a great event to demonstrate the strength of sailing spirit after the club had to face the big challenge of re-construction. It is still sad and very emotional for members of CYH to remember that five boats sank in the marina and one club member died trying to rescue his boat from the rocks.”

Juan continues to comment, “the morning of the 29th of April had very light winds. At the noon-time ceremony, a memorial was conducted on the yacht club’s deck for the Chilean Navy members of the Esmeralda flag ship that sank at sea.”

J/88 sailing fast off ChileInitially programmed for a start at 1330 hrs, the CYH RC sent the twenty boats to the race course and made them wait for 3-4 hours.  Finally, a nice seabreeze of 10-15 kts came in from the southwest and one W/L race was held for the fleet.

This race was the debut for J/88 #79.  The crew was composed of owner/ skipper Juan Pumpin, his two daughters (Maida & Cote), Juan Reid, Pablo Gallyas, Isidora Urrutia and Ignacio Leiva.

Juan comments on their experience, “We started in the middle of the line with boats from 22 ft to 60 ft long on the same starting line! We started fine in the middle of the line, with Caleuche (former IRC Emme 36) and First 35 Aura (IRC 3 winner for the last 5 seasons) to windward.  So, the challenge was to keep the position against these two IRC fully-tuned boats, plus the bigger boats like the Swan 65 and the X-50 coming from behind at full speed!!

We succeeded in going fast to the left side of the course.  We ended up over-standing upwind on the left layline, with frontal chop, we were getting to the windward mark a little ahead of the Swan 65 coming full speed on the starboard layline!  It was a hard time to decide what to do!!  Tack or cross??  Classic problem!! But, the brave crew decided to tack in front of the big Swan 65.  Easing the sails out of the tack, the J/88 accelerates immediately, so the big white Swan couldn't catch us and we round the mark just in front of them!!

J/88 Chile winning teamWe hoist the asymmetric spinnaker.  We didn't really know if going deep (soaking mode), or higher at 8-10 kts of speed with 12-14 kts of breeze, was going to be faster. We decided the latter was better (wrong)!  We get to the leeward mark on the left side of the course; the J/105 started to approach and the leeward mark was starting to get very complicated.  Add in the huge X-50 coming in from the right on port tack- watch out!  We managed to round close to the mark and tack immediately.  We lost 4 or 5 positions at the mark. But, getting to the left again on the windward leg paid big dividends, we were able to recover and again over the J/105s and others like the X-50.

Coming in again from the left side of the course, we were able to tack in front of the J/105 FOGONAZO (the ultimate winner of the J/105 class).   Again, we hoisted the big asymmetric spinnaker and took off downwind.  Wow, this J/88 is fast downwind!  We managed to increase the distance on the J/105s quite easily; we were learning in real-time from our mistakes regards downwind VMG!

The last approach to the finish line was from the left side of the course, we were looking for more breeze in the RC Flag and we were just able to pass and beat the huge X-50 in real-time!

We finished third in the IRC 3 class on handicap.  And, were sixth on the water, in front of the X-50!! With no practice, no tuning, having no idea on how to sail the boat!

Great boat, great crew. Impressive boat speed, especially downwind in a boat less than 30 feet of length.

The sensation in comparison to the J/70 is quite similar, but in a bigger boat. The J/88 is very sensitive to steering and very easy and stable going downwind.  Of course, you need to spend some hours to get a better understanding for the jib’s in-hauler setting going to windward. But, this was our first race!  Furthermore, we knew our downwind VMG tactics were wrong, better to sail deeper and faster to take advantage of the J/88’s ability to slide downwind on even the smallest puffs!”  For more J/88 offshore family speedster sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.