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Annual Fleet President’s Message

Happy New Year, J30 Class!

I’m humbled to be writing to you as the new 2020 Class President, voted in this past fall at the 2019 North American Championship in Annapolis, MD. Ironically, as I look back at the history of the class, these great boats have been around for 41 years; maybe not quite the same number of years I have been sailing, but I do, ironically, share a birthyear with the J30, but I think my boat may be in a bit better shape than I am!

I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Dave Erwin for his many years of guiding this J30 class, as a class member and President. I only met Dave a few years ago, but in that short amount of time, it has been quite apparent that Dave has a passion for sailing, but more so, sailing his J30. In addition, Dave and the Zephyr crew are not too shabby at chartering J30s around the US, spending a day getting them into shape and then leading the class around the course! Given our beloved J30s have not been built in over 30 years, the leadership of Dave and many of the other board members that have and continue to promote the class speaks volumes as to the continued health of the class and the J30. Thank you for all of those that cruise, race, and spread the word that the J30 continues to be a great boat for so many sailors, crews, and families.

A short background on myself…I was lucky enough to have grandparents that had a small cabin on a lake in NJ where I learned to sail. I started, so I am told, in diapers on my father’s Hobie 16, then moved on to windsurfing at a young age. I competed locally as a kid and then at a national and international level in high school and college. I was fortunate enough to compete in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic Trials, qualify for the US Sailing Team in the late ‘90s, and represent the US at two Youth Worlds and a World University Games. Windsurfing brought me to many amazing beaches around the world, and in doing so, allowed me to meet so many amazing sailors with a true passion for our sport.

After college I traded my board for a tiller and drove an old (and very scary downwind in a blow) IOR boat out of Raritan Yacht Club for several years, and then purchased our first boat in 2008, a Santana 30/30. We raced in NJ, Long Island Sound, and as far as Block Island Race Week, and enjoyed racing in our local fleet. However, that fleet was a PHRF fleet, and although great competition, I would always see the good sailors traveling to one-design regattas to prove how good they really were.

One of my good sailing friends in NJ and closest competitors was Steve Buzbee and crew on Blue Meanie. We sailed against each other in our PHRF fleets for nearly a decade. When it was light, we had the edge over the J30; when it was windy, the J30 had the edge. But, again, I always wanted to have the opportunity to race head to head with a one-design boat and kept seeing Blue Meanie leave Raritan Bay most falls to compete in the J30 North Americans, many times bringing home some silver, if not the perpetual.

In 2016, my wife, Amy, and I moved to Annapolis, MD, and on the trip down to MD, our boat, Project Mayhem, was totaled – a great story over a few rums. We are alive to tell about it and Progressive was good to us. But now what to do?… We live in Annapolis and we don’t have a boat!?

Looking at the one-design options in Annapolis with “smaller” budgets, you have J22s, J70s, J80s, J30s, and on the high end, J105s. We decided to jump on a local J30 named Shamrock, owned by Bruce Irvin out of Eastport Yacht Club, and very quickly realized that the local J30 fleet met our needs. 10-15 boats on the line on a Wednesday night, multiple weekends and long distance bay races, and a competitive but fun amateur fleet. We could even keep the boat in the water year-round and race frostbites in the winter! I must have looked at 15 J30s between March and July of 2016, from MD to CT. We landed, ironically, on purchasing Belle Faster, a 1986 J30 from our old club, Raritan Yacht Club, in NJ. We sailed a Wednesday night and had a good showing against Blue Meanie and the deal was done. We bought her in July, sailed her down (successfully this time, I might add) to MD, and I spent the next two months preparing her for our first J30 NAs!

It has now been three seasons with our beloved J30, TOTALed MAYHEM, and we have enjoyed racing here in the Annapolis fleet on Wednesdays, two North Americans, the NOODs and numerous bay races around the Chesapeake Bay, almost entirely as a one-design fleet. There are hundreds of years of J30 knowledge here on the bay, with the likes of boats like Bebop, Valhalla, Cannonball, Insatiable, and many more, all of them willing to help fellow class members and J30 owners. And when Annapolis hosts a North Americans, it has been awesome to meet those who may not be as lucky as those here in Annapolis to race one-design, who travel to compete. The 2019 J30 NAs had 15 boats on the line with three great days of racing on the bay and partying as a class on land. Who can’t forget the crab fest hosted by the crew of Avita on the shores of Back Creek! Check out the pics from the event here. By the way, that is more competitors than the 2019 J109 NAs, 2019 Beneteau 36.7 NAs, and in striking distance of the J105 fleet’s NAs!

My wife and I have had three great years owning, racing, and cruising (okay, maybe once) our J30 and becoming friends with so many other J30 owners, not only in MD, but across the country. I look forward to getting to know more of you in the future and continuing to keep our class strong in 2020. They haven’t made J30s in quite a few years, so your feedback is important! You are receiving this email because our records indicate that you own a J30. Please help me as I take over the reins of our class by:

  1. Completing our 2020 J30 Class Survey.  Your response will help us understand what you need from your class.
  2. Renewing your 2020 Class Association membership.  Once renewed, you will receive an email with discounts to your 2020 US Sailing and Boat US Memberships.
  3. Continuing to leverage our J30 Class website and forums
  4. Clicking here to go to our new J30 National Class Association Facebook Group and joining, posting comments, sharing photos, announcing events, etc.
  5. Marking your calendars for the 2020 J30 North American Championship, hosted by New Orleans Yacht Club, October 29th – November 1st.

Respectfully Submitted,
Doug Stryker
J30 Class President

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