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Co-Skippers Ross Werner and Kevin Wilkinson Prepare for the Pacific Cup

We’re continuing our Pacific Cup profiles with Ross Werner and Kevin Wilkinson, co-skippers and co-owners of the J/112e Jubilant. This will be the pair’s first Pac Cup, an event they’ve talked about entering for many years.

“We finally have the time and the right boat, and we’re not getting any younger!”

Pac cup sailboat
Jubilant in action.
© 2024 Ornaith Keane

The race will be a true family affair, with the crew being made up of Kevin’s sons Andrew and Patrick, and Ross’ son Peter. Add one more sailor, Gilles Combrisson, who races with Jubilant in the Bay, and you have a well-organized boat. “Gilles has done Pac Cup before and is a professional rigger and composites wizard.”

Ross and Kevin bought the J/112e in England in 2022 and had her shipped to San Francisco. They’d been partners in a Beneteau 35 for many years, during which time they’d also been thinking about a boat for the Pacific Cup. “When we finally stopped talking about it and started looking, we very quickly focused on the J/112e. We found her on the market in Hamble, England, so we flew to the UK, checked her out, had a survey done, and made the deal. She arrived in San Francisco in September 2022.”

Their first race was the 2022 Great Pumpkin Regatta. In 2023 they sailed most of the YRA Offshore Series — Lightship, Farallones, Spinnaker Cup, Drake’s Bay, Half Moon Bay, Bluewater Bash — plus the Jazz Cup and many local Bay races. “This year we are planning to do the YRA Offshore series leading up to the Pac Cup for crew practice,” they add.

The Wilkinson crew: (left to right) Dad Kevin, Patrick taking care of tactics, and Andrew at the helm.
© 2024 Kevin Wilkinson

In compliance with the YRA offshore requirements, Jubilant was already well equipped. Nonetheless, there was more to add. “For Pac Cup the big things are upgrading to a lithium ion battery and installing the emergency rudder. Then adding a liferaft, storm sails, and some other required gear. We’re installing an Iridium GO! exec® for weather/internet. Other prep includes a haulout for new antifouling paint and to inspect the rudder shaft and bearings, and we’ll have the rig inspected just in case.”

Ross’ sailing life began in Southern California, where he spent time with his aunt and uncle who lived aboard their Ericson 36. He raced 420s in college and did a lot of big-boat racing in New England before moving back to California and racing on the Bay. Ross’ son Peter sailed and raced in high school with Peninsula Youth Sailing Foundation (PYSF).

Kevin started sailing as a kid, but didn’t do much racing until later, mostly big-boat sailing on the Bay.  His sons Andrew and Patrick race an International 14 out of Richmond YC. “When my sons got hooked on dinghy racing at South Beach Yacht Club and in high school at PYSF and in college, it raised the competitive spirit in the family and greatly improved our big-boat team performance,” Kevin says. “We’ve got a great boat and team lined up for Pac Cup, and competing for our Division win and the Family Trophy will be our goal.”

Together, Ross and Kevin have raced in the Marblehead to Halifax, Antigua Race Week, and Baltic Sea Kiel Week, and also enjoyed several charters in the Caribbean, Greece, and Croatia.

The J/112e cuts a fine figure on the Bay.
© 2024 Ross Werner

At this point there are no other offshore plans on the “jubilant” sailors’ horizons, though they do mention a possibility of joining the Baja Ha-Ha in 2025.

One last question we asked was if they would be using Starlink while racing to Hawaii. “Have you seen the size of that antenna? Too big, too heavy, and too much power.” We take that as a “no.”

Good luck to Ross, Kevin, and the crew of Jubilant.

You can see more 2024 Pacific Cup profiles here: Heather RichardElliott JamesMatt Arno, and  Andy Schwenk.

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