Showcasing the tactician skill of the team with J/88 at the Dartmouth Regatta.

We caught up with Steve Northmore, co-owner of the J/88 Double Jeopardy that recently won class 2 at Dartmouth Regatta.

Steve owns this J/88 vessel alongside Nick Barlow and had experienced some difficulties finding crew over the last few months, so much so that they were not even sure they would enter this year’s contest.

In a change of fate, Steve happened upon Rob Larke of Ullman Sails a well-known dinghy and yacht sailor having competed in national and world championships. Assisted by Dave Freemantle a great trimmer, Neil Boynes, the “glue of the crew,” Matt Whitfield an excellent young sailor a team began to emerge, prompting Steve and co. to enter the regatta, with only a week left to participate.

The team were expecting a difficult regatta given their size and rating compared to other boats entered and the high level of the competition. Steve said: “it was difficult to get clear air and getaway, but in the first race, we started in a breeze, and we managed to hang on to the bigger boats and then hold our position, which gave us hope.  When the wind dropped away we managed to maintain our speed and won the race with only four boats finishing.”

The Double Jeopardy team ended the first two days with good results.

He continued, “on Sunday, we experienced light air and knew the bigger vessels would have a tougher job, and they did. Rob came into his own during this race, and we were really quick.

Steve himself is a lifelong fan of the J/Boat range, having sailed J/92, J/80, J/70 and J/133 amongst others and believes they offer a great sailing experience.

Steve said, “we were so looking forward to the racing and getting back together with others. With great weather and good breezes, it feels like things fell in our favour”.

“We were also lucky to find and secure Rob Larke for this regatta. He is a phenomenal talent and a great laugh to sail with. He is just a nice guy.”

Steve added, “we would have been happy with the top four, to be honest.  Our normal Plymouth crew was mixed with professionals, which gave us the edge in this win. The J/88 is really quick, but you need to have a perfect crew to make it work.”

Top Tips from the Double Jeopardy Team about the J/88.

  • We had a brand-new spinnaker for this sail this regatta and also kept our best upwind sails for it. In our opinion, it does not pay to reduce sail area for rating benefits too much with the J88.
  • You need six good people that work extremely hard to get the boat around the course.
  • We dry sail and have excellent yard workers at QAB in Plymouth, it is taken out of the water and washed the day after we have raced, this really improves performance.
  • We usually race with five people; this vessel is excellent for shorthanded sailing.
  • The top people love J/Boats. They are a great choice because they are simple. You must work hard and have tactical and trimming skills. The best sailors in the world can get the performance and show their skills using the J/Boat range.
  • Finally, be prepared to alter rig settings to the sailmakers guide throughout the day.

Photo Credit: Submitted by Steve Northmore