Update from our friends on the left coast


The Unbearable Lightness of Sailing (in the 2015 Transpac)…

And we are off in the 2015 Transpac Race from LA to Hawaii! J/World’s Hula Girl got a nice start a couple of boatlengths down from the committee boat, with a wide lane and good speed. The beat to Catalina Island was pretty much normal, although maybe a bit lighter than usual. We had a nice 10 knots, and carried our heavy #1 jib all the way. For a while it looked like we might lay the island, but it ended up taking a couple tacks to get around the West End. Then we were off on the starboard tack drag race, pushing out to sea, through the last of the Channel islands and into the beautiful Pacific.. The breeze held wonderfully through the night, and we had a fantastic sail…. but in the morning, well, it was a different story. The Pacific is certainly living up to her name. We knew it was going to get light. Everyone out here did. So it was absolutely no surprise as the breeze tapered off and left us struggling to nurse every once of power, every drop of speed, from our sails and our boats. It’s now late Friday night (well, early Saturday morning), and it has been a tough day. The unstable, light, shifty breeze has taken a consistently high level of attention and focus. I have always argued that it is tougher to sail a boat efficiently when it is light than when it is heavy. then throw in an ocean swell that is coming from an entirely different direction than the wind, and well, you have a bit of a challenge on your hands. What little breeze there is seems to always come straight from where we want to go, straight from Hawaii. and so we try to play the huge shifts to make any progress at all towards the islands, but our tacking angles in these light breezes are huge, and the tacks are slow and painful. Regardless, the crew has been doing a great job in these challenging conditions. It’s a new boat (to them), a new team, a new event, and, well, even a new ocean for most of them! So while it isn’t your typical Transpac so far, we are pretty much rolling with it and we’ll see what shakes out. Still have over 2000 miles to go! There is the tropical storm Dolores pushing up form the south, and then the typical tradewind flow that should try to develop again, well, hopefully before this race ends, so who knows where the breeze will be, and when it will get here? We all have our guesses, I am sure, and it will be interesting to see everyone’s position tomorrow morning after this instability has shuffled up the fleet. I would expect there to be a pretty big spread in things…. Life onboard is good. We have seen whales and dolphins, little jellyfish and lots of nice blue water. Had to back down in the middle of the night when we landed on a kelp island in an apparent attempt by the on-watch crew to claim it for King and Country. I am glad I have hidden/rationed much of the snack food onboard since everyone just grazes when it gets light. It’s dark out tonight, clouds covering the sky and soaking up what little light there is…. and while it sure makes the phosphorescence in the water something wild, it also makes the sailing really, really tough. Anyway, that’s it for now… our preliminary report for this running of the Transpac, Stay tuned for more! Wayne Zittel and the Hulagains J/World’s Hula Girl

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ARC Bahamas Journal pt. 5

ARC – Euro Trash Girl (Part 5)

I really gained a lot of valuable sailing/cruising knowledge on this trip, perhaps even more than I had expected. The formal “US Sailing Certified” sailing courses that I’ve attended so far have all been taught by JWorld Annapolis, they include 6 Day Basic Keel Boat, Basic Cruising and Coastal Navigation. They have terrific equipment and more importantly a team of professional instructors who really know how to teach the art of sailing. The additional skills that I learned during this blue water passage from JWorld’s Director/Captain Jeff and Captain Tony is priceless. Like all of the previous courses I took these two captains provided instruction in a clear and comprehensive way while always maintaining a relaxed environment! Read more

ARC Bahamas Journal pt. 3

ARC – S/V Euro Trash Girl (Part 3, Let the race begin!)

I woke up well rested early Monday morning. Hurray Race Day! I threw back the blankets and turned on the lights to reveal that my dry bag had somehow exploded its contents all over the room during our lengthy stay in Portsmouth. Oh well, it will give me a chance to get reacquainted with my gear.

The crew had instructions to meet aboard Euro Trash Girl at 0730 hours. A few of us checked out of the hotel and walked the rivers bulk head for the last time. The skies were clear and blue, the river was like glass and it was a perfect Fall morning for a sail.

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ARC Bahamas Journal pt. 2


ARC – S/V Euro Trash Girl (Part 2 The Long Wait)

Ocean Marine Yacht Center located in Portsmouth Virginia is where S/V Euro Trash Girl would spend the next few nights tied up. Our 2 Captains, Jeff and Tony, remained at the marina after we docked to meet with ARC officials. The rest of the crew enjoyed a warm summer like stroll towards our hotel along the rivers bulk head, it was a beautiful day. Of course being the good sailors that we are we decided to delay checking into our rooms and grabbed seats at the bar! After a couple hours of wondering what happened to our skippers….in they walk looking exhausted and in need of a cocktail(s)! They said they had a short list of items to tend to in order to pass the ARC safety requirements, most were easy fixes such as adding a 6 foot length of line to our bucket! The most time sensitive item was replacing our LifeSling because there wasn’t a date of manufacture/inspection on it, our new unit would be overnighted to the marina! ALL issues resolved! Read more

ARC Bahamas Journal

The following is part 1 of a five part series written by Rick Pryor, one of our crew members from the ARC Bahama, many thanks to Rick.

ARC Bahamas 2014 (Annapolis MD to Portsmouth VA to Marsh Harbor Bahamas)

Wednesday October 29 – Sunday November 9, 2014

Where do I start?! When I first saw that JWorld Annapolis announced they would be participating in the ARC Caribbean/Bahamas I thought…wow a race from Portsmouth Virginia to the Bahamas sounded cool, but I really didn’t give it serious consideration. My family had just enjoyed a wonderful BVI charter in July and I figured the timing wasn’t quite right for a selfish blue water bucket list adventure for myself. Over the next several weeks I continued to daydream about what it would be like to really sail non-stop for days on end on the deep blue sea, especially with a crew I knew very little about! By the way the ARC – Atlantic Rally for Cruisers is professionally coordinated by the World Cruising Club, they offer ARC’s all around the globe including a 26000 NM circumnavigation if you have some spare time! check them out at www.worldcruising.com

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Day 3 of Preparing to go Offshore

Any of our constituency that knows me personally, knows that I am not only a better talker than writer, also knows that I am pretty horrible writer.  That’s the disclaimer mates.  The World is taking on a little bit of a make over.  As the right side of my brain (KB) explained in the previous post we are pointing our bows towards deep water.  On a personal note, as I simultaneously prepare for the J 80 World Championships, off shore could be my favorite destination that I have been.  Sorry Gustavia, St. Barts, you are really a close second.  In a world that seems to be continuously more connected, I personally find solace in being unconnected.  The brief respite from laptops and cell phones can be very liberating, and also very pure.  Your priorities and focus change immensely.  I remember a conference held by Microsft in the early 90’s based on Bill Gates book Business at the Speed of Thought  suggested  that technology would let us work less and play more.  In my opinion it just allows us to work all of the time.  All that said I am personally committed to taking 6 students offshore, my boss and my insurance agent could not be more thrilled.  For our current crews we have tried to build a program that would provide training in all of the areas of education that Kristen and I feel are necessary to give the grand sensation of  ” I got this”.  In honesty, when you cast off the lines to enter the deep blue, if you do not have butterflies, you simply do not understand what you have signed up to do.

Last weekend we spent time learning a about my current sweetheart, Euro Trash Girl.  No I  will never change the name, I love the name, the song and the owner.  We sailed, we reefed, we did countless COBs (used to be MOBs) with JWA veterans.    Read more

The Basic Keelboat Certification – The Essential Credential In Sailing Education

Learning in our “Living Classroom”

Learning to sail is part dream, part great instruction, and part hands-on experience.  Earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification through a J World Annapolis sailing fundamentals course gives you a great start and confidence through a smart balance on structured learning and on the water experiential learning.

Our courses are part of a vibrant sailing education program that continues to grow and be refined in accord with the evolution sailing.  No blog post or printed material can address every potential question or program change, but you are encouraged to use this as a guide to understanding the J World Annapolis Basic Keelboat certification process.

J World Annapolis is a US Sailing Certified school and training facility.  We use the US Sailing System because it is administered by the governing body of sailing in the United States and because we believe it is the most rigorous standard for sailing education.  The US Sailing Basic Keelboat program is designed to elevate the teaching standards, enhance individual knowledge and identify sailors who have demonstrated the essential knowledge to sail small keelboats on protected waters in reasonable conditions.  Earning the “BK” is the cornerstone to becoming a well rounded sailor.  For new sailors, the Basic Keelboat is THE place to start, and even if you have extensive sailing experience, earning your Basic Keelboat is the prerequisite to earning more advanced certifications and is a great way to hone your existing skills.

Highlights of the impact of having your Basic Keelboat Certification

  • Drives personal confidence: Earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification drives your personal confidence as a sailor.  The majority of J World Annapolis Basic Keelboat students – including those who come with extensive sailing experience – report the course enhances their knowledge and improves their sailing opportunities by providing access to “advanced” certifications such as Bareboat Cruising,
  • The US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification has widespread value and recognition:  Particularly among chartering organizations.  A BK certification is a quick way to demonstrate that you’ve had the necessary training to rent for a day or charter for a weekend a small keelboat.
  • Opens doors and creates connections:  By earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification from J World Annapolis you receive the benefit of connecting to the sport of sailing through an existing network of J World Alumni and J World Alumni experiential activities like Thursday Night Racing and our Flotilla events.

Earning and Maintaining the Basic Keelboat Certification

Earning and maintaining your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification is a three step process:

  1. Basic Keelboat Certification candidates must demonstrate their sailing skills through a practical, on-the-water evaluation administered by a US Sailing Basic Keelboat certified instructor.  J World Annapolis certification candidates generally develop the skills necessary to pass the “BK” by participating in either a five day sailing fundamentals course or a three weekend sailing fundamentals course.  Sailors with extensive sailing experience CAN challenge the BK.  While we do not recommend it, we do offer the option.  During the three hour evaluation, challengers will be asked to demonstrate the requisite skills.
  2. Basic Keelboat Certification candidates must also pass an 80 question written exam that tests general knowledge on seamanship, rules of the road and sailing theory questions.  The written exam is challenging for candidates that don’t read the Basic Keelboat course book.  Those candidates that read the material, generally score very well on the written exam.
  3. While there is no requirement for maintaining the Basic Keelboat certification, we strongly recommend that in order to keep your skills up and develop as a sailor you must spend time on the water.  In fact, before moving on to courses like Basic Cruising we recommend that you sail no less than 40 hours – and more is better.

Tips and Hints For Earning and Enjoying Your Basic Keelboat Certification

Earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification is fun and easy to do.  It is a great way to get into the sport or expand your enjoyment of it.  Here are a few tips for earning your US Sailing Basic Keelboat Certification with J World Annapolis:

  1. Get Started NOW!  – Savvy candidates begin preparing early and arrange their schedules to make the most of their J World Annapolis educational experience.  We offer the “BK” every week and weekend of our sailing season (April – Dec.) By registering now you can receive your written materials in advance and begin planning your work and family life to enable you to earn your certification quickly and without distractions.
  2. Begin with an honest self assessment – Students who have the best success at J World Annapolis arrive with a desire to be better sailors, an open mind and a willingness to learn.  Even if you have extensive sailing experience, we feel confident that we can provide you with more knowledge and confidence.  We call our instructors coaches for good reason – once we have taught you the fundamentals we work hard to develop you as an individual sailor to your individual capacity.  Heck, even Tiger Woods has a coach!
  3. Stay Sailing! – Once you have earned your “BK” make sure you use it.  We are happy to help connect you with other students and local sail boat owners so you can continue to build your skills and enjoy sailing.  Moreover, we offer a variety of low or no-cost experiential learning opportunities such as Thursday Night Racing, Bay cruises and flotillas.

What Is The Purpose and Benefits Of Certification?

The purpose of certification programs are to:

  • Establish a standardized body of knowledge that is equivalent to certain levels of experience;
  • Assess the level of knowledge and ability demonstrated by a sailor in a valid and reliable manner;
  • Encourage structured growth and development of sailors;
  • Formally recognize sailors who meet the requirements outlined by US Sailing for each certification.
The benefits of certification programs are:
  • Verification of your knowledge by an independent evaluator who has been certified in sailing education – a way to prove you know what you know;
  • Personal growth and development of your sailing skills
  • Enhanced sailing opportunities

What Do I Need To Demonstrate To Be A Basic Keelboat Certified Sailor?

Certification Requirements
Basic Keelboat Certification requires the successful completion of the following knowledge and skill requirements. These requirements are expected to be able to be performed safely with confident command of the boat in familiar waters with a wind range of 5 to 15 knots. The certified candidate will be able to skipper a tiller steered keelboat up to 27 feet in length.  For this course we use our fast and stable J/80’s.

Here are the practical skills and knowledge required:

Preparation to Sail:

  • Demonstrate ability to recognize and forecast prevailing local weather conditions.
  • Perform a presail check for the boat’s flotation integrity, safety and legally required equipment, and crew indoctrination.
  • Demonstrate the proper rigging of the sails, halyards, sheets, blocks, and winches.
  • Check all other equipment specific to your boat not indicated above.
  • Describe personal preparation such as clothing and sun protection.

Crew Operations and Skills:

  • Demonstrate how to put on a Personal Flotation Device (PFD).
  • Demonstrate tying and use of knots: stopper knot, bowline, cleat hitch and sail lashing knot.
  • Demonstrate the use of these sail controls: halyards, sheets, cunningham/downhaul and outhaul.
  • Be familiar with the nomenclature for basic parts of the boat, sails, battens and rigging.
  • Describe the proper use of Personal Flotation Devices (PFDs) and throwable flotation devices.
  • Describe the use of sail controls.
  • Explain potential electrical hazards such as overhead electrical wires and lightning.

Sailing Theory:

  • Describe basic sailboat design, sail theory and boat dynamics.
  • Explain how to read the wind and determine all points of sail.
  • Understand what is meant by the term “sailing by the lee” and explain the inherent dangers involved

Leaving the Dock or Mooring:

  • Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for departure suitable to the conditions: raising sails, line handling, casting off and boathandling.
  • Understand the effects of wind, tide and currents in relation to the boat and surrounding area while preparing to get underway.
  • Describe the differences and alternatives for leaving under sail and/or power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.

Boat Control in Confined Waters:

  • Demonstrate in close quarters under sail: starting, stopping, speed control, tacking, jibing, steering control, sail luffing, the No-Go Zone, getting out of irons, backing the jib, and crew coordination and communication.
  • Demonstrate sailing a predetermined closed course and maneuvering around obstacles.

Navigation (Piloting):

  • Point out Aids to Navigation in the harbor and local waters that you are sailing, and respond accordingly.
  • Be familiar with basic chart reading specific to your local waters.
  • Describe Aids to Navigation: buoys, daymarks, regulatory markers, and other markers specific to your local waters.

Navigation Rules, International-Inland:

  • Demonstrate use of Navigation Rules while sailing.
  • Describe the Navigation Rules, International-Inland, for Stand-On and Give-Way sailboats and powerboats for collision avoidance and understand your state and local boating regulations.

Boat Control in Open Water:

  • Demonstrate proper sail trim with accurate sheet adjustment of the main and headsails. Make use of the sail telltales and identify points of sail.
  • Perform a heaving-to maneuver per the prescribed method.
  • When appropriate, demonstrate sailing “by the lee” and explain the inherent dangers involved.

Heavy Weather Sailing:

  • Demonstrate how to reef and/or depower sails.
  • Describe weather warning sources

Overboard Recovery Methods:

  • Properly demonstrate one of the overboard recovery methods, which is most appropriate for: your sailing ability, boat type, crew experience, wind and sea conditions, and maintaining constant visual contact with the victim.
  • Understand the Quick-Stop and Quick-Turn overboard recovery methods to include: constant visual contact with the victim, communication, recovery plan, sequence of maneuvers, boathandling, course sailed, pickup approach and coming alongside the victim (or simulated object).
  • Describe methods of getting an overboard recovery victim back on deck after the vessel is stopped alongside.

Safety and Emergency Procedures:

  • Explain the proper procedure for using an approved distress signal.
  • Be familiar with treatment of victims of overheating, hypothermia and seasickness.
  • Describe the use and regulations for flares.
  • Be familiar with at least six different distress and emergency signals per Navigation Rule 37.
  • Be familiar with the U.S. Coast Guard requirements for safety equipment.

Anchoring Techniques:

  • Be familiar with anchoring procedures for emergency situations such as loss of boat control, sudden storms, prevention from going aground or injured crew situations.

Returning to the Dock or Mooring:

  • Demonstrate appropriate helmsman and crew coordination and skills for arrival under sail and/or power suitable to the conditions: boathandling, deploying fenders, stopping, tying up and lowering sails. Explain at least two different approach plans for other conditions.
  • Describe the differences and alternatives for arrival under sail and/or power in upwind, crosswind and downwind situations.

Securing the Boat Properly:

  • Demonstrate stowing of sails, rigging and equipment. Thoroughly clean the boat, and install any covers.
  • Check both the electrical and bilge systems for dock operation if required.
  • Check the locks on companionway, lockers and hatches. Make a final check of docklines, spring lines and fender placement.


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