J-105 Double handed sailing

This essay was originally written by me for the J-105 class newsletter with a view to getting more J-105 owners to take up the D-H aspect of racing, on a boat almost perfect for it.

Few are the boats one can sail solo with a kite up.

Few are the boats one can sail solo with a kite up.

One of the easiest boats on the planet to sail double-handed is notable by its absence from the fastest growing slice of keelboat racing: double-handed.

Regular readers will know of my interest, nay passion, for short handed sailing, often double handed. D-H  “racing” is much closer to “normal” sailing than fully crewed racing for the simple reason that double-handed is how almost everyone who is not involved in some kind of race actually sails their boat. D-H “racing” uses all the same skills and knowledge, preparation and equipment used for “cruising” and it is the shortest line between cruising and racing. Look around at the boats out sailing anywhere on any given weekend and everyone not racing is sailing with one or two people even on some quite large boats.

The really good news is that for many double-handed races a J-105 needs to merely register and show up. Only the offshore or longer races require more equipment than normal. There are many day and overnight races that a well prepared and outfitted J-105 can enter with very little in the way of extra equipment except, most reasonably, jack lines.

FOR "bigger" races it is straight forward to install a "solent" stay on which to set small sails

For “bigger” races it is straight forward to install a “solent” stay on which to set small sails. This picture is of such a rig on the 105 Jaded in the Halifax race in 2009 with one reef and the Solent upwind in about 22 true in the Gulf of Maine. To add to the economy, the Solent/ “4” in this case was a cut down old class jib.

J-105’s have competed in the Bermuda 1-2: Solo to Bermuda from Newport and then DH back to Newport. I have done three Marblehead to Halifax races and several other races and DH and Solo passages on Jaded. A few years ago a J-105 won the Fastnet overall while sailing in the Double Handed Class and one has come second in the IRC class in the 2009 O.S.T.A.R single-handed race. The skipper was 18.

If additional sailing gear is required, say smaller headsails, then it is pretty easy to install a Solent stay on the 105. AND it can be done in such a way as to not take the boat out of class for OD events. Other components like a good self steering autopilot are universal anyway.

Heading to Halifax in the 2009 Halifax Race. A sound Autopilot is a good investment anyway.

Double-Handed aboard Jaded, heading to Halifax in the 2009 Race. A sound Autopilot is a good investment anyway. When DH, you get to do everything….At least once!

D-H racing is a great way to enjoy such a fun boat as the 105, earn something new and frankly have a blast without all the phone calls, beers and sandwiches.

D-H racing has all of the elements of racing that we are used to in crewed events, and more than one person has observed that many crewed races are, largely, D-H in execution until one gets to the corners.

Lots of sitting around, until you get to the corners

Lots of sitting around, until you get to the corners of course

Sail handling, tactics, navigation & steering are all the same with D-H racing but all require that elusive component required when operating a boat—seamanship. Both of you get to do everything but you have to think a few more moves ahead than when sailing crewed. If nothing else it gives a two man crew a different view of what happens forward of the traveler.

Both parties get to do everything DH. Good practice for when executing the Exit Plan. Sorry the picture is blurry, we were going 10 knots after all...

Both parties get to do everything DH. Good practice for when executing the Exit Plan. Sorry the picture is blurry, we were going 10 knots after all…(OK full disclosure, this picture is from a Class 40…)

I have nothing against racing with a full crew. I have done it my whole life. BUT the existence we all live these days bears on all our decisions and trying to round up the crew on Friday night for a Saturday race, has frustrated more than one owner to either abandon racing all together or more frequently take up Double handed.

Fully crewed often means a lot of people sitting around for most of the race.

Fully crewed often means a lot of people sitting around for most of the race.

I count at least 7 groups around the country focusing on double-handed racing. Just on Long Island Sound alone in May and early June there are three regattas with D-H classes, all sailed on the western Sound and so easily within reach of the local 105 fleet. The boats must conform to the local YRA safety regs, which are precisely those that a J-105 has to meet for day racing on Long Island Sound.

For the more adventurous, I count over 20 races between Long Island Sound and Maine that have D-H classes.

So, come on people, get more value from your boat—sail more often. What better way to learn some new stuff and lower the cost per hour of sailing? Oh, it is a ton of fun and the camaraderie is fantastic.

Safety at Sea Seminars for 2015

Cooper’s “Save the Dates” for winter 2015 Updated 06 NOV 2014

 

There are at two Safety at Sea seminars in the North East scheduled for early 2015. The first one, at Mystic Seaport does NOT have ISAF endorsement. It is rather a seminar focusing on the coastal and nearshore sailor. It is a long day, but the content is fantastic. I visited last year and the place was sold out. There are  plenty of breaks, copious amounts of coffee and lunch.

This years seminar is to be a reprise plus you get me presenting too.

07 February 2015: Saturday

Mystic Seaport: 0800: 1600. A one-day Safety at Sea seminar with a number of topics covered, including sails (by of course yours truly) this seminar focuses on inshore and near coastal sailors. I was at this year’s one and it was sold out and very highly regarded by attendees.

MYSTIC seminar does NOT qualify as an ISAF SAS

21-22 March 2015. Sat & Sun

At UMASS Boston. 0700-1800 This seminar, or an equivalent ISAF certified course, is mandatory for Marion Bermuda and all offshore races including the 2016 Newport to Bermuda Race.

This seminar is hosted by the Marion to Bermuda race in conjunction with the Marblehead to Halifax Race Organizing Authority. This seminar does qualify for the ISAF crew SAS certificate from US sailing. This certificate is required generally for at least 30% of crews in offshore races, more air less anywhere. So even if you are not planning on doing either of these races in your own boat, having this certificate is a “PLUS’ in the event you look for crew spots on the races.

It is a two day seminar. Class the first day with break-out sessions. On Sunday there are dedicated sessions including first aid, in the water life raft instruction, (bring your swimmers) and weather presented by the very knowledgeable Frank Bohlen who has a great ability to make a complex science understandable to normal people. The entry fee is worth it just for this seminar.

BOSTON seminar DOES qualify for ISAF certification.

As always if you have any questions you know where to find me.

Cheers

Coop