Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Vice Admiral’s Cup Fun 4 J/111s & J/109s

J/crew on Solent (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The 2017 edition of the RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup continued to expand its inclusion for one-design and offshore classes that have made their mark on the famous “river” known simply as the Solent.  Again, the J/Boats were well represented by the J/109 and J/111 classes, with five of the former and six of the latter entered. Among the J/109s were the second and third placed finishers from last year's Nationals: Robert Stiles' DIAMOND JEM and David Richards' JUMPING JELLYFISH. The J/111 line-up included reigning World Champion, Martin Dent with JELVIS.

Campaigning the J/111 since 2014, Dent typically sails with a young team, including family and students. He reckons being World Champion means nothing, "It is a good fleet and we'll be struggling again against the top teams, like Tony Mack on McFLY, Cornel Riklin on JITTERBUG and Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II."

The Vice Admiral's Cup is becoming a must-do regatta for the J/111s as it is the first event of the year they sail under class rules (as opposed to IRC), limiting their sail inventory and to sailing with one 'pro' on board. Dent also likes it being a three-day event..."that's better than two and the Vice Admiral's Cup has always got good race management."

As to J/111 racing, Dent continues: "It is such good fun: you put the kite up and start ripping downwind at 16-17 knots, and you think 'great – we're going really fast', but then you find that everyone arrives at the same time at the leeward mark. It’s never a procession, there are always lead changes!!”  Here is how it all went down for Martin, the J/111s and the J/109’s at this year’s Vice Admiral’s Cup.

J/109 sailing off Cowes, EnglandDay One
The Solent laid on perfect conditions with brilliant sunshine, wind that built from 10-20 kts through the afternoon, building up a steep chop that was enough to cause crews to struggle to keep boats beneath rigs!  Almost “fresh to frightening” sailing weather.

Dent’s JELVIS repeated his World Championship-winning form, posting a 1-3-1 to lead the J/111 Class, but by just one point from Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG. Simon Perry and the crew on JIRAFFE did one better to lead the J/109 class with a 2-1-1 scoreline, which Perry reckoned was the best his team had ever managed, albeit coming straight out of a win at Warsash Spring Series, “we’re savoring the moment. What we enjoy most is sailing with a good group of boats."

Day Two
Conditions turned positively autumnal as crews found themselves wrestling their boats around the courses in 15-20 knot winds until a squall caused conditions to gust up to 28 knots, plus rain and reducing visibility.

Some clearly enjoyed the brisk conditions. Mack's McFLY scored three bullets to take the lead in the J/111s.  After her stand out Friday, Simon Perry's J/109 JIRAFFE found it harder going, but managed to retain the lead in the J/109s. John Smart's JUKE BOX was the lowest scorer winning the opening race, with David Richards' JUMPIN JELLYFISH and Robert Stiles' DIAMOND JEM claiming honours in the subsequent two.

Commenting on their three bullets on the J/111 race track, Tony Mack said, ”It was lovely sailing- we are delighted with our results. Sometimes I think things just go well for you and you make the right calls and other days you don't seem to. Perhaps that is why we keep coming back!"

J/111 McFly sailing off Cowes on Solent, EnglandThe J/111s sailed two windward-leewards today ending the day with a round-the-cans course that was shortened at Gurnard Ledge. Even the invincible McFLY had her upsets, including one wild broach coming out of a gybe!!  No one is infallible, that is for sure!  While the results indicate otherwise, racing among the J/111s was still close. "You had to try until the very end. In the J/111s there are some very good owner-drivers," concluded Mack.

Day Three- Finale
Sailing concluded on the central Solent in lighter 10-13 knot winds, this time blowing from the east. The leaderboard was very tight across the J/classes, so discards decided their outcome.

In the J/109s, the final day brought about a change of leader with Robert Stiles on DIAMOND JEM edging out David Richards’ JUMPIN JELLYFISH by a point, in turn finishing one point ahead of Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE. "It has been very, very close racing," admitted Stiles. "We won it on the last tack going into the windward mark. It has been a real ding-dong all through the event. We are delighted to have won it two years in succession."

JUMPIN JELLYFISH had managed to get the overlap on DIAMOND JEM at the final mark of the first race to finish ahead but in the second race DIAMOND JEM turned the tables. "It has been three days of great sailing," said Stiles. "It is a really nice regatta and there were some great courses."

Racing in the J/111 class also came down to the last race with Tony Mack’s McFLY managing to beat Martin Dent’s World Champions crew on JELVIS by a mere point.

"It has been a fantastic three days of sailing,” said Dent. "It has been a fabulous variety of racing– we have had all conditions. The Vice Admiral’s Cup does proper justice to a one-design fleet and it is credit to the RORC race team in setting courses that are challenging, but fair."

JELVIS claimed the first race after winning the pin at the start. Prior to the start of the second race JELVIS and McFLY were involved in a match-racing style dial-up. JELVIS then sailed their opponent away from the start area, but then at the gun, they got held up by another boat that was OCS, enabling the wily Mack to get away. As a result, McFLY beat JELVIS to the overall win by just a point.  For more RORC Vice Admirals Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.