By Louay Habib
18-20 July, 2019
Organised by the Royal Southern YC.
By Invitation of Key Yachting Ltd.
The Landsail Tyres J-Cup is an annual event in which all J/Boats are invited to attend, to race in one-design classes or under IRC. The 2019 edition was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club with racing in the Solent. Sixty teams racing ten different examples of the J/Boat range were in action with skippers from Great Britain, France, the Netherlands and the United States. This year’s regatta also featured the J/70 UK Class Training Event.
Before the start of racing, the J/Boats family bid a fond farewell to Paul Heys who ‘sailed away’ in February this year. The sixty-boat fleet gathered in the vicinity of the proposed location for the Paul Heys Memorial Buoy for a special tribute. Whilst observing a minutes silence Paul Heys’ ashes were released in a seashell by his wife Marie-Claude, assisted by Paul’s daughters, Gemma and Natalie. Over £25,000 has already been raised, covering the cost and maintenance of the Paul Heys Memorial Buoy for ten years. The target of £34,000, will ensure that the buoy will be raced around by Paul Hey’s grandchildren and those of the J-Boat family. To make a donation: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/paulheys
Martin Dent, J/70 and J/111 Jelvis, after the memorial to Paul Heys. “It was fantastic when we came in and congregated, I looked at the other boats and teams were standing in rows on deck to attention. It was very moving. We got to our feet as well in honour of an absolute legend. I am glad that we are fund raising to put a mark in to celebrate Paul. I hope the mark will be a place of much carnage….. if ever we are doing a mark rounding there, we will leave the drop late, rodeo drop, and possibly fling it in with borderline rights in honour of the greatest rogue. Paul Heys has made more impact on sailing than any other single person, and is responsible for so many Solent sailors, including my family and team Jelvis. I miss him.”
All nine races were completed over three days of thrilling racing for over 300 sailors. Conditions ranged from moderate to fresh and frightening. Mother Nature saved her best until last with 25 knots of breeze in clear blue skies for the last race of a fantastic regatta. Competitors enjoyed the use of modern facilities at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, including the spacious Upper Bar with elevated views over the Hamble River. In the dining room North Sails delivered a video debrief, a master class on heavy airs trimming and boat handling from: Dave Lenz, Ruairidh Scott, Jeremy Smart and Charlie Cumbley.
In the 16-strong J/70 Class, Paul Ward’s Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat scored seven bullets out of nine races to win the class from Charles Thompson’s Brutus. Clive Bush’s Darcey was pushed hard by Graham Clapp’s Jeepster for the podium, with Jeepster winning the last two contests. However, Darcey was third by a single point after nine race.
Paul Ward’s Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat was awarded the J-Cup for their impressive performance, the first time a J/70 team has won the prestigious trophy. A very surprised Paul Ward was quick to thank his team and Paul Heys at the Prize Giving. “I am shocked, this is totally unexpected!” commented Paul. “A big thank you to Paul Heys, all of us here wish he was still around, and like many many of us, he has helped me enormously with my sailing. A big thank you to the Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat team, Charlie (Cumbley), Ruairidh (Scott), and Mario (Trindade).”
In the IRC Big Boat Class, Chaz Ivill’s J/112 Davanti Tyres won the class for a third year in a row, but it was far from easy. Davanti Tyres put in a stellar performance on the last day, winning all three races to win the class, just ahead of Mike Wallis’ J/122 Jahmali. Isabelle Hung’s “The Outsiders” racing J/122 Jolly Jellyfish were competing in their first J-Cup, and finished on the podium in third.
In the IRC Small Boat Class, Frédéric Bouvier’s J/99 J Lance 14 was in commanding form, scoring all podium finishes in nine races, including six bullets. Jeff Johnstone racing J/99 Jet was runner-up, and the American skipper gave the French J/99 a great battle, succeeding in victory and one tie during the regatta. President of J Composites SAS, Didier Le Moal was part of the J Lance 14, racing against the President of J/Boats Inc, Jeff Johnstone.
“What an amazing weekend,” commented Jeff Johnstone. Having this many J/Sailors together is when the magic happens – you can design boats in a vacuum, and you are never quite sure how people respond to it until you show up at a regatta like this. The racing has been fantastic, run by a stellar race committee. Meeting up with so many friendly people, enjoying their boats and testing them to the limits. I know I speak for the J Boat Company back home, and Didier (Le Moal), when I say that the great camaraderie shows great respect for Paul Heys, who started this event.”
Ten teams competed in the J/92 Class, a bumper entry for the high performance 30-footer. Robin Stevenson’s Upstart impressed, scoring four race wins and a tie for first place to win the class and retain the J/92 National Championship. David Greenhalgh’s J’ronimo, with VOR sailor and daughter Libby on tactics was second. A very close third was Alan Macleod’s Samurai J scoring eight podiums out of nine races.
“With a new baby this year, the J-Cup is the first regatta of the season for Upstart,” commented Robin Stevenson. “The J/92 is the only boat I know, and this is a regatta full of great competition in the class. Boat handling was the key, especially for the last two days, and the Upstart crew performed very well in the big conditions”
In the J/111 Class, Tony Mack’s McFly held off a strong challenge to win the class from 2018 J/111 National champion, Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s Journeymaker II, and 2018 J-Cup winner Paul van Driel’s Sweeny. In a high-octane close encounter, races were won by just seconds. Tony Mack was full of fun at the Prize Giving, and was quick to praise his crew. Journeymaker II and Sweeny tied for second place, both scoring equal points after nine races. Sweeny was scored second on countback after winning the last race of the regatta.
In the J/109 Class, eleven teams duked it out over nine races. Last year’s runner up, John Smart’s Jukebox, won the class scoring five race wins with Ireland’s Mark Mansfield calling tactics. Simon Perry’s Jiraffe was second, scoring seven race podiums, including a win in big conditions in the last race. Racing in the class is highly competitive, with a full programme of J/109 events through out the year. Thirteen J/109 will be competing at Cowes Week and 19 J/109s are set for the Rolex Fastnet Race for the J/109 Fastnet Trophy.
Kirsty & David Apthorp’s J/88 J-Dream was on the race podium for all nine races, including six bullets, to retain the J/88 National Championship for a third year in a row. Gavin Howe’s Tigris scored all but one podium finishes, including a race win to finish the regatta in second place. Tim Tolcher’s Raging Bull saved their best until last scoring a 2-1-4 on the final day to finish on the podium in third.
250 sailors attended the Prize Giving and Landsail Tyres J-Cup Gala Dinner, held at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. A glittering array of silverware, trophies and trophies were presented, as well as prizes from regatta supporters B&G, Henri Lloyd, Wight Vodka, Dolphin Covers, Ocean Ropes, North Sails, MMC Diving Services and Force 4. The Soul Lounge Band closed the regatta with a live set that soon filled the dance floor. The 2020 Landsail Tyres J-Cup will be hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Cowes, Isle of Wight from Thursday 2nd – Saturday 4th July, 2020. For more information: www.key-yachting.com
Results: Landsail Tyres J-Cup: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=6117
J/70 UK Class Training Event: https://yachtscoring.com/event_results_cumulative.cfm?eID=9454