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J/109 Wins Royal Southampton Yacht Club Two-Handed Series 2019!

Congratulations to Mike Yates and his crew Rob Oakeley, for their terrific victory with J/109 Jago! Mike and Rob won the overall and Passage series, with Richard Cooper’s J/88 Jongleur taking the inshore series.

Mike sent us this report. “In these times of trying to find lots of crew for the fully crewed racing, you need to try two handed racing. A good series consisting of 8 races through the summer is the Royal Southampton YC Double Handed which has been running for over 20 years, consisting of 4 inshore and 4 passage races.

2H racing is all about minimising the errors, and so you need a good pairing who have the same/ similar outlook on racing and can swap roles at will. We tend to run the boat with one person staying in the middle and the other doing front and back….the joys of using the autopilot. Otherwise we race the boat in the same way as fully crewed but missing the crew on the rail to keep you dry!

This year saw over 50 boats take part over the various races, including 4 x 109s, 4 x 88s, 2 x 92s, 1 x 105 as well as a Grand Soleil 34. We had some testing conditions, notably the Poole Bar Race Passage Series Opener, reinstated for this year and blowing upwards of 25kts. It was all about the beat out of the Solent using the shifts and tide to best effect.

The race to Weymouth was a drifter where Jago eeked out a lead of over a mile, to then sail into a hole and watch the fleet scoot by inshore. The return leg from Weymouth was again light winds and a foul tide beat along the Dorset coast which is just stunning close up. Rock hopping around St Albans Head where you can see the rocks beneath you is exhilarating if you don’t own a boat! Jago took a win on this race by keeping close along the shore and then a great circle route across Poole Bay keeping the kite going on a tight reach.

The Island Double is always a classic, easily better than the “other one” and it was a true test with a light airs and hugely tactical run to the Needles, and then a squeeze round the lighthouse to take advantage of the tidal gate. 8 boats managed to open up a big lead on the rest of the fleet for the whole race to turn inside out at Bembridge. With the fleet ghosting around the forts to the finish off Osbourne Bay the course was shortened at Bembridge.

The Nab Double was different again with a 25kt blast out and back from Hill Head. Sistership Jubilee and Jago were 1st and 3rd round the Nab against some much bigger and sportier craft with Chris Preston’s Jubilee putting in a great performance to take the overall win. Jago was hunting them down but this is where you have to sail conservatively, as we managed to get a kite wrap on a gybe which cost us dearly.

Loads of other fun in the rest of the races but you’ll have to come and join in to get a taste of real sailing fun and a great challenge!”