Saturday, November 28, 2015

Australian J/122 JOSS Victorious Offshore

J/122 Joss sailing offshore- Australia (Freemantle, Australia)- The 2015 Fremantle Sailing Club's  Rockwater Coventry Reef Offshore Race (48nm) had a bit of everything, 34 yachts competing in 4 Divisions started the race at around 9.30 in very warm, light and ever changing conditions. By mid-day it was approaching 38 degrees, and the finish saw many boats racing against a spectacular lightning storm with rain.

Division 2 (IRC 1 to 1.10) had the largest fleet of 13 yachts all dueling at the start line in a 6-knot breeze. It was Giddy Up (Farr 395), JOSS (J122) and Aquila (Northshore 369) who got away best, closely followed by Circa (C&C 115) Wasabi (Elan 410) Prime Factor (Farr 40), Argo (Archaumbault 40) and Cro-Connection (C&C 115).

Giddy Up was fastest to the 1st mark, with the majority of yachts launching their A2’s for the 6 nm 2nd leg to the Windward Channel Marker off the south of Rottnest Island. This was by far the toughest and most frustrating leg as the first hints of seaweed appeared and the winds lightened and started to swing from the northeast to the north. It didn’t help being in Gauge Roads with large ships powering through the fleet and Rottnest Island power boat enthusiasts heading to the island.

When the fleet finally rounded the Windward Channel Marker, Giddy Up continued to lead and Wasabi had edged ahead of JOSS.  The winds shifted from northwesterly to southwesterly, and throughout the 18 nm leg down to Coventry Reef the winds slowly built to 8-10 knots. JOSS, using our No 1 Light jib, did the best, catching Wasabi and closing on Giddy Up. The highlight was a 6 tack duel between JOSS & Wasabi near Coventry Reef that saw JOSS come out ahead, & round the windward Coventry Reef mark 100 m ahead of Wasabi and in clear view of the Giddy Up crew.

With JOSS’ big light green A2 flying it was a straight run back to the channel North of Garden Island, JOSS & Giddy Up were well matched in terms of speed however it appeared clear that Giddy Ups lead did not appear nearly enough from an IRC rating perspective. Wasabi was falling back so tacked in closer to Garden Island.

Due to the challenging light conditions & the impending lightning storm, race control shortened the race to the Garden Island Channel (40nm), with a downwind finish.

JOSS crossed the line 2nd on the water in Div 2, at 5.45pm only 5 minutes behind Giddy Up in a time of 7 hours 54 minutes winning both Div 2 IRC and 1st in Div 2 YAH.

JOSS has enjoyed a strong start to the 2015/16 Offshore Season, having won the 2015 Valmadre Series Div 2 YAH, 3rd IRC, & 1st in the recent Roland Smith (80nm) IRC, & 2nd YAH. It now adds the Coventry Reef Honours to its tally.