J Boats Buzzing Bank Holiday
1 May 2021 – RORC Spring Series 3 and 2 Handed Offshore
J/109 Jago © Rick Tomlinson
The Solent was buzzing with activity over the May Bank Holiday with well over one hundred keel boats taking part in racing. Inshore and offshore races organised the Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) and the Junior Offshore Group (JOG), attracted no less than 27 J Boats, and they were very much in the chocolates.
The RORC ran their first overnight race this year, a 91-mile marathon which was to last over 17 hours. Starting from the Squadron Line the fleet raced upwind to the east. After exiting The Solent, they were off the breeze for a spinnaker run along the South Coast of the Isle of Wight. After passing The Needles, a broad reach into Poole Bay was followed by a harden up to finish at North Head.
Mike Yates’ J/109 Jago, racing with Eivind Boymo-Malm, was the winner, beating Sam White & Sam North racing Mzungu by just 12 seconds after time correction! RORC Yacht of the Year for 2021 Jangada was third. The big win was made all the more special by the fact that of the 29 teams taking part, the competition included; Solo Round the World sailors, Figarist, Olympic Medallist and World Champions.
“It was a very complex race, with many sail changes and tactical decisions from beginning to end,” commented Jago’s Mike Yates. “A big cloud at the Nab Tower caused a split in the fleet and we just managed to hold our kite. Our jib top was very effective on the southside of the island and the decision to go offshore at St Catherines worked well with a breeze filling in from the southwest. We also just made several tidal gates in the latter part of the race. We are delighted to win and all credit to Elvind, two-handed racing is heavily reliant on teamwork, so he deserves just as much praise.”
The RORC crewed race was essentially a 24-mile windward leeward from the Squadron Line to Bembridge Ledge and back. The impressive fleet included professionally sailed FAST40+ yachts and an IRC optimised TP52 plus an array of performance race boats, built for the IRC rule. However, the breeze built during the latter part of the race, giving an advantage to the smaller boats. Ross Bowdler’s J/80 Justify, was second in an impressive fleet.
“A big thank you to the RORC for the race,” commented J/80 Justify’s Ross Bowdler. “It is so cool to race against the big boats and get a great result.” Justify will be at the Landsail Tyres J-Cup confirmed Ross. “We did our first J-Cup last year and really loved it. The atmosphere is just great because we get to race against other J Boats. This year it looks like we will be able to party, and I can tell you we have no problem with our rating in that department!”
14 J Boats took part in Salcombe Gin Sopranino Race on Saturday May 1st organised by JOG. The 48-mile course was also essentially a windward leeward from Cowes to Owers and return. Stuart Lawrence’s J/120 Scream 2 took Line Honours in the 58-boat fleet winning IRC One and placing second overall. IRC Class Two was dominated by J Boats, with the top six teams all racing models of the J Boat family. IRC 2 was won by David McGough’s J/109 Just So. Second was Chris Burleigh’s J/109 Jybe Talkin’ and third was Gordon Craigen’s J/105 Jacana. Tom Hayhoe and Natalie Jobling, racing J/105 Mostly Harmless was third in the Double Handed Class.
A substantial number of J Boats will be racing in the first big regatta of the season for the Royal Southern Yacht Club. The May Regatta will be held this weekend, 8-9 May. 26 J Boats have already entered including ten J/70s for a new style Sprint Series. An armada of J Boats is expected for the Landsail Tyres J-Cup which will be held 24-26 June. Online entry is open and with the planned relaxation in restrictions the band is booked for the first big party of the summer!