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Wildcat wins at 2015 J/30 North Americans


Results | Photos | Video | Dropbox


1st – Wildcat – Russ Atkinson

2nd – Jeroboam – Ken Deyett

3rd – Arbella – Bill Saltonstall

4th – Smiles – John McArthur

5th – Nemesis – Mark Rotsky

Take One for the Team Award – Eric Braitmeyer


Defending Champion Steve Buzbee (Blue Meanie) passes the perpetual trophy to this year’s winner, Russ Atkinson (Wildcat)


Trilogy Repeat!

Hot Chocolate spent the last five weeks racing on the Gulf Coast participating in women regattas. The Trilogy trophy is awarded to the all-woman boat with the best combined performance in the Fast Women Regatta at Point Yacht Club, Bikini Regatta at Navy Yacht Club and the Race for the Roses at Pensacola Beach Yacht Club. The next 2 weekends were spent at Pass Christian YC participating in the GYA Women’s PHRF Championship and Knost.

First up was the Bikini Regatta. It was a single race, gold cup course. The weather was sunny and hot. With a slight delay waiting for the sea breeze, we were off in about 10-12kts of breeze. The 5 boat spinnaker fleet started first, and we were off the line between Atlantic Union and Pink Meanie. We had excellent teamwork and finished 3rd in fleet and 1st in the all-women division. We had a nice dip in Pensacola Bay before heading to Navy YC for BBQ and trophies. We finished the day with a team dinner on Pensacola Beach and a beautiful sunset.

Race for the Roses, hosted by Pensacola Beach YC, was the second event in the series and is the only one that requires that all entries be all female. We had another sunny and hot day. The first race started shortly after the scheduled 11am start time. We were sailing a W2. There was a light NE breeze, which completely shut down at the weather mark. We had a nice lead, but realized that the first boat to find the fresh breeze would most likely win. Fortunately, we saw some hints of breeze coming off Gulf Breeze, and gybed to get there. As soon as we reached that pressure, we were able to start heading down towards the finish. The race committee shortened that race to a W1. Then we lowered all the sails as a brief shower passed over the fleet. We continued to wait for the race committee to lower the “L” flag and get the second race started. They moved the race course further west, and sent us on a W2 in the fresh SW sea breeze of 10-12kts. Hot Chocolate was slightly late to the start, but the stellar crew work enabled us to pull back into the lead and hold on to first. There were four boats in the spinnaker fleet with a handicap spread of just 24s. A tremendous thunderstorm rolled through the bay, after we had returned to the dock, thankfully! PBYC provided a Cuban sandwich dinner and trophy presentations at their new property on Santa Rosa Sound.

Fast Women Regatta at Point YC near Pirate’s Cove, AL, was the last stop for the trilogy event. The race course was set in Perdido Bay. A rain shower passed over the racing area prior to the start to cool everyone off. The RC sent us on a double triangle followed by a W/L and a total of 6.6nm. Lots of crew work! Madcap, another J30, was over early. We took off to the right side of the course covering Helldiver. We decided to tack back to the center of the course, and lo and behold, Madcap was almost even with us coming out of the left corner after re-starting. Fortunately, we were able to work our way around the course, and finish first in the spinnaker fleet! This made for a perfect sweep of the Trilogy races! Point YC hosted a nice jambalaya dinner at their new clubhouse prior to the trophy presentations.

On the way home, Hot Chocolate stopped in Pass Christian to race in the GYA Women’s PHRF Championship. On Saturday, we had 2 W/L races in building breeze. The first race we had a good start and good crew work, but couldn’t catch Myasasaur, Viper 640, from Fort Walton YC skippered by Deborah Wilusz. The second race the breeze picked up to 18-20kts, and we switched to our #3. The race committee lengthened the course but made it a once around. At the windward mark, we were just behind Myasasaur, but couldn’t make our time as we went downwind. On Sunday, they sent us on a distance course out to the ICW for 10.5nm race. We started in a very light shore breeze, and then drifted for quite some time. The wind would come in very short bursts of pressure from different directions. One boat would be moving along while everyone else sat and watched. When the pressure finally stabilized, we found ourselves closer to the back of the pack than the front. We finished in 4th place, but it was enough to hold on to 2nd overall. Myasasaur won with all bullets.

Hot Chocolate entered the PHRF division of the Knost regatta. However, the heavy winds on Saturday caused the tiller to crack, so she motored in.

Racing for more than a month straight, on the coast, requires quite a bit of help. I need to thank my wonderful husband, Casey Grimm, for coordinating boat maintenance and deliveries. Hot Chocolate crew for those weekends included: Elaine Boos, Julie Bylsma, Anne David, Lynn Gildersleeve, Janice Griglack, Kaylor Grimm, Julie Groth, Fiona Inglis, Mamsie Manard, Nancy Marshall, Jena Melancon, and Forrest Richards.

Debby Grimm, skipper, Hot Chocolate

Pictured: L-R Anne David, Elaine Boos, Julie Groth, Kaylor Grimm, Janice Griglack, Debby Grimm, Julie Bylsma and Lynn Gildersleeve. Not Pictured: Mamsie Manard, Fiona Inglis, Forrest Richards, Nancy Marshall and Jena Melancon.


TEAM Zephyr V2.0 WINS

Photo: New Orleans Sailing / Curt Christensen

Team Zephyr v2.0, powered by a complete North Sails inventory and led by experienced J/30 sailor and co-owner Scott Tonguis, won the Midwinter Regatta held March 13-15 at the New Orleans Yacht Club. The five race event, held in light and tricky conditions, was won by Tonguis, a New Orleans native, and crew on a tiebreaker with three bullets and a second and third place finish.

“It was very close between us and the second place boat and we often go back and forth with local teams which keeps it exciting and fun,” Tonguis said. “I’ve moved away from New Orleans and now live in Kentucky but I try to get down here as often as I can to race with friends that I don’t get to see all the time. After 25 years of racing sailboats, it’s more about the people. The regattas are just an excuse to get everyone together and have fun,” Tonguis explained.

Tonguis started sailing in high school in New Orleans and tagged along with his older sister when she went sailing on her friends’ boats. It was during these years that Scott met North Sails representative and local sailing legend Benz Faget. “I met Benz on the J/24 Texas circuit and also sailed with Chris Weintjes (another well-known local) on the Ranger 37 circuit,” explained Tonguis. “If you go sailing with really good sailors who know what they’re doing, you wind up learning a ton and gaining knowledge and experience you can’t get on your own.”

Tonguis’s first J/30, a family-owned boat named Zephyr, was lost in Hurricane Katrina in August of 2005. “I hadn’t planned on replacing the boat but David Erwin, co-president of the J/30 class, put together a small consortium of people, including me, to own and race Zephyr v2.0. I agreed to be part of the team and come down as often as I can to race. Dave is more of a behind-the-scenes guy who does some racing and all of the organization,” Tonguis explained. “We usually race with 7 or 8 people and even though Dave can’t always race with us, he’s a huge fan of sailing and does whatever he can to support the class. He always tries to keep sailing relevant while we face challenges with other commitments and opportunities.”

“I’m very proud of Scott and the team on Zephyr v2.0 for their performance at the Midwinters with an all-amateur crew,” said Benz Faget. “It was a tight battle but Scott and crew pulled it out. They have been very good North Sails customers for many years and their teamwork and sail handling paid off earning them a well-deserved win,” Faget said.

Next up for Zephyr v2.0 is a PHRF handicapped regatta in Biloxi, MS, called the Challenge Cup, where the team will be one of four boats representing the New Orleans Yacht Club. The North team wishes the Zephyr v2.0 crew much luck at this event and throughout the rest of the season. For more information on the J/30 Midwinters, visit:


President’s Message to the Fleet

What a great year sailing in 2014! At this year’s North American Championship @ Cedar Point Yacht Club, the J/30 Board of Governors elected Dan Mather from Oswego, NY and Dave Erwin from New Orleans, LA as the 2015 Class Co-Presidents.  We want to thank Bill Kneller for his tenure of the class over the past 6 years!  Under Bill’s leadership he developed a partnership with V-Sport for apparel, initiated West Marine affiliate program, developed standards for organizing and conducting North American Championships (document is on the forum), developed specifications and source for the new J/30 DC panel replacing the obsolete model as the manufacturer was no longer in business – wrote installation procedures and related technical document and documented thousands of hours of J/30 maintenance and repair work to share with others.  Bill says that “I will continue to visit often as I made a boatload of friends I’ll enjoy for the rest of my life!”.

The class is now operating in its 35th year and has hosted 34 North American Championships special thanks to your membership and continued support.

There are a few areas noteworthy to highlight.


1st Place – Blue Meanie

2nd Place – Bebop

3rd Place – Falcon

4th Place – Smiles

5th Place – Fat City

The J/30 NA Band

Congratulations to Blue Meanie skippered by Steve Buzbee to win the 2014 North American Championship hosted by Cedar Point YC. Second place went to five time National Champion Bebop skippered by past J/30 president Bob Rutsch & Mike Costello.  Class Measurer Charlie Stoddard skippered Falcon to finish third place. Rounding out the top five was John McArthur Carl Sherter from Cedar Point YC who skippered Fat City. Carl continues to maintain top honor of skippering the most J/30 North American Championships.  Check out the final results and 34 year regatta history.


March 13-15 J/30 Midwinters @ New Orleans Yacht Club

July 25-26 Southern New England Regional July 25-26th @ Barrington Yacht Club Official Web Page

Sept to 24-27 North American Championship @ Beverly Yacht Club


The J/30 Forum continues to be the official communications medium for the J/30 Class. We continue to have discussions from sailors from all over the world exchanging sea stories, posting videos, sharing photographs, getting maintenance tips, coordinating cruises and scheduling races. Don’t forget to check out the discussions on the district forums that are local to your area.

After talking to other J/Boat classes such as J/105 and J/109, we have been nominated as one of the best National Class forums across the sailing world.  There is a wealth of information on the J/30 Forum made possible by people who have shared information on core replacement, engine rebuilding, running rigging upgrades, deck repair, and the list goes on. If you have not registered on the J/30 Forum, you are missing a great resource available at no cost for your use.

Don’t forget to engage and speak to your district governors and ask “how can I help” so the J/30 Class can serve you better.  Create opportunity to meet and connect with other J/30 owners in your area.


Brandon Forbes “Endeavour” Canada
Coverage of Tropical Storm Arthur

Vic Farmer “VJay” Naples, FL
St. Patrick’s Day Sail

David Erwin “Zephyr V2.0”
Season of Sailing (Music by Zephyr)


The J/30 Class continues to partner with V-Sport, the J/Boat licensed apparel supplier to offer member discounts on J/30 logo merchandise that can be personalized for your boat. The class has also partnered with North Sails to offer J/30 flags available for purchase online. We offer both the large battle size and smaller back stay flags. In 2013 the J/30 Class Association partnered with West Marine and is now a member of the West Marine affiliate program. You can support the J/30 Class when you make your West Marine purchases online. The J/30 Class Association receives a percentage of sales from your purchases when you click through from our website you are directed to the West Marine website with a cookie that identifies you as a J/30 affiliate. You can also use any discounts that you may be authorized. We will keep a link visible on the J/30 website and on the J/30 Forum so you can easily locate the click through link.
The J/30 Class continues to partner with Boat US so that J/30 Class members receive a 50% discount on their annual Boat US membership as described in the Members Only section of the J/30 forum. We are also offering a US Sailing membership savings ($10 discount for individuals, $5 discount for youths, $15 discount for families) through the Member Value Program? those who pay J/30 Class dues online and enter their US Sailing number get a custom link with their data already entered to get this discount.


The class will be sending an email with a request for your J/30 Class record update and 2015 class dues by the end of January. Please take the time to complete the annual directory survey.  National and Fleet Membership is optional. National class dues will remain at $50 for each owner/co-owner and $25 for associate membership (crew members). We also have a Junior Membership category for crew members who are age 16 or younger. We hope this category will encourage Junior sailors to be recognized and added to the fleet roster. It is intended that when Junior Members pass the age of 16, they will become associate members, and eventually J/30 boat owners. The Chesapeake and Gulf Coast fleets will pay optional national and local dues using the national fleet tracking and renewal process. This helps us in so many ways to keep fleet information current while offering a service for local fleets. If you have not received an email message by 1 February, please contact us to be sent a custom registration link for your boat. We ask that everyone please support the class and pay dues, so we can continue to build the momentum with resources such as the web site, forum and National Championship.


We have developed many friendships over the years due to the J/30 Class.  Let keep this spirit alive.  The J/30 Class will remain successful as long as its membership is active and participating. We would also like personally thank all of the J/30 Board of Governors, local fleet leadership and the many volunteers dedicated to the mission. Without the work and dedication of these individuals, we would not have the successful class that exists today.

Happy Sailing!

Dan Mather and Dave Erwin

Class Association


2014 Zephyr Season of Sailing Video