Wednesday, November 25, 2015

J/88 JEDI Taking Sydney By Storm

J/88 sailing on Sydney Harbour, Australia (Sydney, Australia)- “From the moment we first read about the design concept of the J/88, we wanted one,” said Ray Entwistle, skipper of the J/88 JEDI. “The J/88 spells fun.  Super easy to sail, fast, low maintenance, responsive, sea-kindly, a true pocket-rocket.”

Ray goes on to report that, “she hasn’t disappointed.  Since arriving in Sydney, we have competed in some harbour and offshore races and we are just blown away with her sailing performance and attributes.  Here is a short summary of races so far.

For her very first races, the J/88 “JEDI 5” has competed in a few twilight races at Greenwich Flying Squadron. She wasn’t able to start in the division of similar sized boats due to the early start time. Hence, the J/88 competed in a division with a later start time, comprising 37 to 39 footers. However, this has not fazed the J/88 where she is currently leading the series, with a 2nd as the worse result.

On the second weekend of October, JEDI 5 sailed in the very hotly contested Super 30 fleet on Sydney Harbour under the AMS (Australian Measurement System).  Although not many boats entered for this event, the J/88 finished 1st by an astonishing 11 minutes with guest skipper Jim Chambers. Jim has dominated this event for the past 3 years with his highly successful J/97 KNOCKABOUT.

The following weekend, the Super 30 Gold fleet was racing on Sydney Harbour with more boats guaranteed to turn up, and so they did.  Flying Tigers, Bull 9000, ID35, Melges 32, Sydney 32, Cape 31, Hick 31, Archambault 32, Elliotts, Thompson 870, to name a few.

J/88 JEDI sailing Sydney Harbour, AustraliaMaking a conservative start in an 8 knots nor’easter breeze, and with 50% of the crew new to the boat, JEDI surged around the top mark at South Head ahead of some of the Flying Tigers and the M32 boat-for-boat! The breeze started to build to 16 knots, the J/88 recording impressive speed and depth downwind. Back upwind we go the wrong way up the beat, so the Flying Tigers get through as they pick the right side of the harbour.  The second reach back down the harbour and the Melges 32 pips us to the bottom mark for the last time. A short beat to the finish line and despite the slow start and going the wrong way there still a lot of boats behind us. The new crew members were surprised at the pace and how easy the J/88 was to sail. After an anxious wait for the results, the J/88 had kept her impeccable record intact with a first on AMS complimented by another first on the local PHS system!

It was then time to take the J/88 to Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club on Pittwater, north of Sydney, to do a few races there. She is placed in Division 2 and is the smallest boat at 29ft, the next boat at 34ft and right up to 40 footers.

It was an offshore race with a lumpy 1 to 1.5 mtr swell, gusting to 18 knots from the nor’east.  It was the first time for this J/88 in waves, and more breeze than she has sailed in before. The crew was pleasantly surprised by its performance.  We put the crew weight a little further back, and the boat steered very easily through the waves, pointing quite high with superb speed.

Despite being in unfamiliar waters, the J/88 was first around the top mark. Up with the class 95 sqr mtr running spinnaker and whoosh off we go.  Downwind, the boat has a very light helm, only moderate sheet loads, and incredibly smooth handling as we planed down the waves. An amazing kite ride to the bottom mark, dramatically extending our lead. On the next beat, we start to haul in some of tail end of the Division 1 boats!  We experiment moving the crew weight fore and aft up the next beat as we learn more about this stunning 29 footer. Around the top mark again and another fantastic spinnaker ride, surfing the swell to the finish line.  We blasted through the finish line clocking 16.2 knots, our fastest speed to date on the J/88!

Simply a fantastic boat.  We just can’t get enough of the 88 – she is such a beautiful yacht to sail, and we look forward to sailing and racing her, whatever the conditions.”     For more J/88 sailboat information