Sunday, October 8, 2017

Spain's Stephane Azzoni Loves Sailing J/80s!

Spanish J/80 sailor (Barcelona, Spain)Stephane Azzoni- a J/80 and J/92 sailor from Spain reports- “I would like to share the pleasure I always have sailing my J/92 and now my J/80, single handed or with crew, fantastic boats really!  I am still playing the lottery, let’s see if I'm lucky and I can buy a J/121!”  Stephane continues to explain his love for J/Boats:

“I bought my J/92 after sailing a Mini-Transat 6.50 for some years: I was looking for a more versatile boat, that would allow me to bring onboard my small family for some short cruises, as well as to do some single-hand racing.

I found "Geronimo" near Barcelona, in a port where she had been quietly resting for 3 years. She was equipped with a new set of sails, almost never used.

After renaming the boat "Vol De Nuit" (from a Saint Exupéry novel), doing a basically cosmetic refit and buying a new running rigging in Dyneema, I started sailing and training in this nice playground that is the Costa Brava.

I regularly took part in some very interesting coastal and offshore singlehanded regattas.

I mostly remember one, the Dragonera, from El Balis (a port located a few miles to the north of Barcelona) to the island named La Dragonera, located to the South West of Mallorca Island.

J80 sailing offshore of SpainI say mostly because I had the chance to win the regatta (in compensated time) for 1 minute and 30 seconds on the second boat, after 120 miles and 21+ hours of racing, a 49 feet skippered by a great navigator who would then become a great friend and with who I continue to sail doublehanded on his magnificent X46.

After that regatta I brought the boat to Pollença, on the North part of Mallorca, a beautiful bay with plenty of small beaches to anchor. My family arrived by plane and we spent a week sailing and enjoying the bay every day.

The J/92 is more a day boat than a cruiser, the headroom inside is limited and the kitchen minimalist, but the cockpit is huge. Anyway, as it was the end of June, we spent most of our time outside and had some really great holidays onboard.

Under sail she's an easy boat, stable, fast under asymmetric spinnaker and perfect for solo sailing as well as for sailing without an experienced crew.

I sold "Vol de Nuit" to her new owner, a very kind Greek sailor who made the delivery by sea from Spain to Greece with some friends. We are still in touch and he's enjoying a lot sailing and racing his new toy. According to the latest news from him, she's the boat to beat in the local fleet, winning almost every race out there.

After that I briefly owned a racing boat of 35 feet and finally bought my actual toy, a J/80 named "Valentina": she's really an amazing boat.

J/80 offshore double-handed sailingI mounted an autopilot Raymarine ST2000+ to be able to sail single-hand, but my program is mainly the local club regattas with a small crew, and the J/80 regattas with the Barcelona fleet, with a crew of young guns coming from the dinghy world, and full of talent.

And what a level in this fleet in Spain!! These guys have been sailing their J/80 for 6 years or more now, and they do it very, very well: the first 5 are really impressive.

Every time I have the chance to sail with them, I learn a lot and realize how much I still have to learn from the boat and from them.

I can only speak well of the J/80. If I consider the J/92 to be a good boat, for me the J/80 is nearly perfect in this size: well-built, strong, easy to handle, very fast under asymmetric spinnaker, and at the same time very stable, with a tremendous marine behavior for a 8 meter boat only, as at ease with 5 knots of wind, than with 25 or more.

Enjoy this J/80 planing mode video- again!!!It also appears to be very competitive under ORC handicap in a mix fleet. This year, we even won a local championship (in our class and overall in corrected time), in windy conditions, beating a TP52, a DK46, a GS44R and some 40 and 35 feet boats, after a coastal race the first day and 2 windward leeward races the day after, amazing!!

A very important thing I would like to add is that, unlike most of the large-scale production shipbuilders, when I call J-Composites in France for some technical advice, there is always a technician available to inform me- great service!!

That said, I must admit being in love with the J/111 and the J/122. Therefore, I keep on playing the lottery, just in case luck smiles at me and allows me to buy a J/121: my absolute dream!!  Fair winds to everybody.  Best regards, Stephane Azzoni”

J/80 (with Raymarine ST2000+ autopilot):

J/92 Vol Nuit- Add to Flipboard Magazine.