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J Boats Cowes Week Preview

Cowes Week is one of the United Kingdom’s longest running and most successful sporting events and is a key highlight of the British sporting summer. It has been held in early August every year since 1826, except during the two world wars.

Traditionally, Cowes Week takes place after “Glorious Goodwood” and before the “Glorious Twelfth” (the first day of the grouse shooting season). Over the years, the event has attracted British and foreign royalty, and many famous faces in the sailing world. And, for the first time in years, it is also taking place after the Rolex Fastnet Race.

This year, Harrogate-based premium Gin brand- “Slingsby”- partnered as the Official Gin supplier for the regatta and headline sponsor of Ladies Day. On-lookers will should spot a ‘Slingsby Ladies Day’ flag flying proudly on all boats that have female sailors- many of which are women J/Crews!

As has been the tradition of J/Crews for the past few decades since 1979, a large fun-loving contingent of J’s will be participating in Cowes Week festivities all week-long! The largest concentration of J/sailors will be in the two one-design classes- J/70s and J/109s.

The huge thirty-five boat J/70 class is gearing up in their final major regatta before sailing the J/70 World Championship in the “west country” at Royal Torbay Yacht Club in Torquay. Many of the top teams will be working on refining their boatspeed, boat-handling, and tactics during the event.  Those crews are Terence O’Neill’s AQUA J, Tom Ripard’s CALYPSO, Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT, Fiona Hampshire’s ELIZABETH (a top woman skipper), Martin Dent’s JELVIS, Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8, Simon Cavey’s JUST, Jeremy Thorp’s PHAN, Marshall King’s SOAK RACING, Tilly Harrison’s SORCHA J (another top woman helm), and Jack Davies’ YETI.

With seventeen entries, the J/109s will always be a competitive class in any race week.  Cowes happens to bring out strong family crews as well as a few “ringers” that hop on certain boats to help them on “go fast” techniques and, most importantly, classic Solent strategies to overcome the massive currents flowing up and down “the river”.  Top crews include Roger Phillips’ DESIGNSTAR 2, Christopher Sharples & Richard Acland’s JAZZY JELLYFISH, Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE, Arjen van Leeuwen’s Dutch crew on JOULE, John Smart’s JUKEBOX, David Richard’s JUMPING JELLYFISH, Rob Cotterill’s MOJO RISIN, and Nick Southward & John Scott’s Hong Kong crew on WHISKEY JEDI,

In the seventeen-boat IRC 2 Class are a raft-up of leading J/111 teams, such as Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II, Tony Mack’s McFLY, Hans Zwijnenburg & Martin Worseling’s SWEENY, Chris Daniel’s J/122E JUNO, Bernard de Smet’s J/122 ZUMEX, Performance Yacht Racing’s J/120 PYR-SUNSET, and K Coster’s J/122 SAILMON.

The seventeen-boat IRC 4 Class includes four of the new J/112E’s- Team Knight Build’s HAPPY DAIZE, David Franks’ LEON, Bruce Huber’s XANABOO, and Marie Claude Heys’ DAVANTI TYRES. Joining them are Stuart Lawrence’s J/120 SCREAM 2 and Alain Bornet’s Dutch team on the J/109 JAI ALAI.

The huge thirty-five boat IRC 5 Class has over a dozen J/Teams participating. Six J/92s are looking forward to quasi-one-design racing, including Andy Knowles & Alan Macleod’s SAMURAI J, the trio Banks, Overstall & Searle on NIGHTJAR, Mark Waddington’s VAGABOND, Rob Salter’s JACKDAW, Brian Malone’s BLUE DIAMOND DODJER, and the famous J’RONIMO sailed by David Greenhalgh and the rest of the Greenhalgh sailing family.  Joining them are two J/97s- the Hunt family’s (Rachel, Robert, & David) JUMBLESAIL2 and Bob & Jon Baker’s JAYWALKER.  Two J/105s are sailing- Richard Kerns’ FLAWLESS J and Professor Roger Williams’ JOS OF HAMBLE.  Finally, James & John Owen’s J/99 JET, Dianne & Dirk Van Beek’s J/88 SABRIEL JR and the Royal Lancer’s Sailing Team’s J/019 AJAX will working hard to get in front of their stablemates.

The smallest J’s are sailing in IRC 7 Class; one is Craig & Emma Dymock’s J/22 LA VIE EN ROSE and the other is Edmund Gatehouse’s J/24 JUPITER.  For more Lendy Cowes Week sailing information