Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Brilliant Landsail Tyres J/CUP Regatta!

J/70 sailing J/Cup Regatta UK J/111 SWEENY Awarded J/CUP for Best Performance (Cowes, IOW, England)- The 19th edition of the ever popular J-Boats festival- the Landsail Tyres J/CUP Regatta- was hosted and organized by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes, England.  The regatta featured handicap racing for eleven different models in the J/range and also four National Championships for the J/88, J/97, J/109 and J/111 Classes. For the two-day weekend, the action was exciting and highly competitive, racing on tight Solent courses with lots of the legendary 1 to 4 kts of current.

J/109 sailing J/Cup UKDay One- Scorching Fast, Hot Racing
For the first day of racing, a light northeasterly breeze built during the day to provide surfing conditions for the high performance classes in the fleet. The 66 strong J-Boat armada enjoyed three races in every class, save the J/70 fleet, which got an extra helping with Race 4. The Central and Eastern Solent was a magnificent sight, blooming with the many colors of the competing J-Boats, crewed by nearly 400 sailors from all over Europe.

In the IRC Fleet, defending J-Cup winner, Chaz Ivill's J/112E DAVANTI TYRES, scored three straight bullets, but it was far from easy. “After time correction it was seconds that counted,” commented Ivill. “One poor gybe or bad decision is all it takes to drop down the fleet. There are some very good boats and teams in this class.” Mike & Sarah Wallis' well-sailed J/122 JAHMALI was second and the smallest boat at the regatta, Mike Lewis' J/80 Jester was third.

The J/109 National Championship produced extremely close racing, with four teams vying for the lead. Simon Perry's JIRAFFE scored a bullet in Race 2 to finish the day in fourth position. John Smart's JUKEBOX scored three podium finishes to claim third. Joe Henry's JOLLY JACK TAR won the last race of the day, but it wasn't enough to take the lead. Neil Angel's DIAMOND JEM won the first race of the day, and followed that with a 2-3 to lead the J/109 Fleet after three races.

J/97E sailing fast on SolentMichiel van der Meulen's Swiss J/111 LALLEKONIG scored two race wins and led the class after three races. J/111 Class President, Chris Jones on JOURNEYMAKER II, had an excellent day on the water, scoring a race win and two third places to finish the day second, to lead the class for the UK National Title. Paul van Driel & Hans Zwijnenburg's Dutch team racing SWEENY finished the day in third. The J/111 Northern European Class has enjoyed great racing this season, and with 11 teams on the start line, it has provided a tremendous regatta for the J/111 fleet.

“It was really close right through the fleet, very competitive starts and mark roundings, and by the third race, we were planing downwind, just amazing racing,” commented Chris Jones. “We have a young team on Journeymaker and they put in a lot of energy and enthusiasm. Just three points separate the top three, so tomorrow, we will have to be top of our game to stand a chance of winning.”

J/70s sailing of Cowes, England- Paul Wyeth/ Photoaction.comIn the 22-strong J/70 Class, five teams made the podium in the four races held. Graham Clapp's JEEPSTER scored a 2-4-3-1 to lead a class, bristling with talent. Rob Larke at the helm of MJOLNIR finished the day on a high, surfing downwind to a second place, and second for the regatta. Paul Ward's EAT SLEEP J REPEAT scored a fist-pumping win in Race 3, but finished the day in third after getting caught in the crush at a mark rounding. Doug Struth's DSP with Geoff Carveth on the stick, had a great day on the water, but a poor result in the last race put the team down to fourth. Clive Bush's DARCEY flew out of the blocks winning the first to races but an OCS in Race 3 dropped the team to fifth.

“We managed to hold it together today,” explained J/70 Class leader Graham Clapp. “We had our moments when things didn't go according to plan, as did lots of people, but we managed to limit the damage, and then come back to take a few places to get a decent result. In the last race, Ben Saxton made a great call to stay left, which got us the win.”

The J/88 National Championship produced an epic battle between the top contenders, Kirsty & David Apthorp's J-DREAM led on countback after three races from Gavin Howe's TIGRIS. Tim Tolcher's RAGING BULL was third. In two of day’s races, TIGRIS and RAGING BULL had a photo-finish for the line. Dirk and Dianne van Beek's SABRIEL JR finished the day in style, taking a second in the last race.

J/97 sailing J/Cup - Solent- CowesFour teams in the J/97 National Championship made the podium on the first day of racing. Defending J/97 National Champions, Andy & Annie Howe's BLACKJACK II won the first race. Bob and Jon Baker's JAYWALKER the second and Mike Sellers & Chris Miles' HIGH JINKS the third. Robert & Rachel Hunt's JUMBLESAIL 2 scored three podium finishes to end the day in third. BLACKJACK II was second, but a 2-1-1 from JAYWALKER had the team leading the class for the championship.

“Really close exciting racing,” commented JAYWALKER’s tactician Roger Barber. “We have had some great racing in recent years and tomorrow to get a good performance, we will have to sail really well.”

In the J/92 Class, Robin Stevenson's UPSTART scored a 2-1-2 to take the lead by a single point from David Greenhalgh's J’RONIMO. Jack Bank's JABBERWOCK started the day with a race win, and two further podium results puts his team in third. “We take a little while to get going!” smiled David Greenhalgh. “We won the last race, so we will continue that tomorrow!”

After racing the North Sails Video debrief was well attended by a captivated audience. Frank Gerber, Jeremy Smart, Dave Swete, and Charlie Cumbley were present from North Sails, giving tips and advice to the J-Boat fleet, using drone footage from the day's action. After the North Sails Daily Prize Giving, a crew supper was held at the Island Sailing Club.

Day 2- Dramatic, Anxiety-ridden Finales!
On the last day of the regatta, no one expected the standings to be so jumbled in the various fleets. In fact, in all four of the championships, the ultimate winners were decided in the very last race.

J/111 Sweeny winnersPaul van Driel & Hans Zwijnenburg's Dutch J/111 SWEENY was awarded the J-Cup, the first overseas team to win the overall prize in the history of the event. SWEENY also won the 11-strong J/111 Class, winning the last two races, to come from behind.

“Winning the J-Cup comes as quite a surprise,” smiled Paul van Driel at the Final Prize Giving. “I would really like to thank the organizers, they did a really good job, producing outstanding racing. We love coming to this event because we get such a warm welcome and everybody is so helpful, especially the Key Yachting team led by Paul Heys. We love racing in the J-Cup and that is why we will definitely come back.”   Sailing Video Action from the 2018 Landsail Tyres J-Cup

J/97s sailing J/Cup on SolentJ/97 National Champion – Bob & Jon Baker’s JAYWALKER
JAYWALKER won the last race of the series to clinch the title, just a point ahead of 2017 National Champions; Annie and Andy Howe's BLACKJACK II. Mike Sellars & Chris Miles' HIGH JINKS was third. Rachel & Robert Hunt's JUMBLESAIL II made the podium in three races to finish fourth.

“Really close exciting racing,” commented JAYWALKER’s tactician Roger Barber. “We have had some great racing in recent years, to get a good performance in this class, we have had to sail really well.”

J/88 winners- J-DREAMJ/88 National Champion– Kirsty & David Apthorp's J-DREAM
The J/88s produced a photo finish with J-DREAM winning on countback from Gavin Howe's TIGRIS. Tim Tolcher's RAGING BULL was third, and Richard Cooper's JONGLEUR made the podium in two races to finish fourth.

“We have been second a couple of times, and we really should have won last year.  So, it feels good to finally win it after knocking on the door,” commented David Apthorp. “This regatta has been really good, with close racing and pretty much the whole fleet at the same boat speed. Winning races comes down to tactics and boat handling. It would be nice to have more teams racing in the class, but of all the classes we have raced in, the J/88 is probably the most competitive, and consistency has been the key.”

J/109 winners- J/CupJ/109 National Champion – Joe Henry's JOLLY JACK TAR
Five teams made the podium in the J/109 championship, won by JOLLY JACK TAR in the final leg of the final race. John Smart's JUKEBOX made the podium in every race to finish a worthy runner-up, and Neil Angel's DIAMOND JEM was third, just two points ahead of Simon Perry's JIRAFE. Chris Preston's JUBILEE scored a podium finish to end the regatta in fifth.

“This is a different team from 2016, just two of us remain,” commented Joe Henry. “Never give up; perseverance is the key to winning. Going into the last race, we were about fourth in the last 100 metres, and we managed to squeeze in and take second, which was just enough to win the championship!”

J/111 U.K. Nationals winnersJ/111 National Champion – Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II
SWEENY was top of the podium for the J/111 Class, but the Dutch team is not eligible for the UK National Championship. JOURNEYMAKER II was the top UK boat, finishing in second place for the class, with Sjaak Haakman's Dutch team on RED HERRING claiming third, just a point ahead of Michiel v/d Meulen's Swiss LALLEKONIG. Sebastian de Liedekerke's DJINN and Paul Griffiths' JAGERBOMB also scored podium race finishes.

“Wasn't that great?  We are very happy,” smiled Chris Jones. “This has been a fantastic regatta, and most of all, we are delighted with the number of teams that travelled over from Northern Europe. I guess they want to test themselves before the J/111 Worlds this September, and the fleet for this regatta has been awesome.”

J/70 sailing J/Cup off Cowes, EnglandJ/70 Class Winner – Graham Clapp's JEEPSTER
The 20-strong J/70 Class was hotly contested with seven teams making the podium over the six race series; it also marked the third event of the J/70 Grand Slam Series.

Graham Clapp's JEEPSTER scored two race wins and discarded a fourth. Consistency was the name of the game, aided by world-class talent including NACRA 17 World Champion Ben Saxton, and Olympic 49er sailor Sophie Ainsworth. Geoff Carveth & Doug Struth's DSP was second, and Clive Bush's DARCEY was third (with 49er sailor John Pink calling tactics). Patrick Liardet's COSMIC finished the regatta with a 2-2 to place fourth and Paul Ward's EAT SLEEP J REPEAT scored a race win to finish fifth.

“For years I was a 'trailer-dad' to my children Max and Sally, and 20 years after racing Darts, my wife told me I needed to get out of the garage, so she asked Max which boat to buy and he said a J/70,” commented Graham Clapp. “The team for this weekend have been coaching or racing with my children for many years, so we already have a good relationship. We made a few errors which did not cost us too badly, but to win in this field was amazing.”

“We didn't have a very good first day, the top mark was very busy and, like other teams, we got caught in the pile up and in our discard race we didn't get a good start,” admitted Cosmic's Patrick Liardet. “The last day was really good with two second places, which we are very pleased with. Setting up the boat and how you steer it is very important and that takes lots of practice and application. The other element is trying to sail with the same crew to minimize mistakes, as the worst result tends to determine the outcome of a series.  Myself, Andy Page and Mike Johnson have been sailing together since 2010 in the J/80 and J/70 Class. Joining us this season is Billy Venniss-Ozanne, from Hill Head, who won the 2017 UK 29er Nationals, and has been sailing in the 49er with Olympic ambitions. I think it is great that the J/70 Class is attracting sailors like Billy.”  For more information about the J/70 UK Class.   Follow the J/70 UK Class on Facebook here  J/70 UK Sailing highlights here on YouTtube.

J/112E sailing off EnglandIRC Class Winner – Chaz Ivill's J/112 DAVANTI TYRES
DAVANTI TYRES won the class for the second year in a row but was pushed hard all the way by Mike & Sarah Wallis' J/122 JAHMALI, which won the last two races of the series to come runner-up. Mike Lewis' J/80 JESTER was on the podium for all but one race, to finish the regatta in third, and Angus Bates J/133 ASSARAIN IV also made the podium. Piotr Nahajski’s J/95 JOLLITY was fifth.

“We had some really good teams to race against, and the variety of conditions and courses kept us on our toes the whole regatta,” commented Chaz Ivill. “I have hardly ever missed a J-Cup, because it is an outstanding event, and really well organized, which attracts a great bunch of people to come and race their team. Racing with lots of boats on the race course, was a great experience, and good practice for Cowes Week.”

J/92 winners at J/CupJ/92 Class Winner - Robin Stevenson's UPSTART
UPSTART held on to win the class by a single point from Jack Banks' NIGHTJAR. David Greenhalgh's J’RONIMO was always in contention but an OCS in Race 4 proved costly, with the team finishing third for the regatta. Guy Stansell's CAPTAIN SCARLETT and Ralph Mason's JABBERWOCK tied after time correction in Race 4, demonstrating the intensity of the racing in the J/92 Class.

“You turn up, you give it a go and see what drops out the bottom, and fortunately for us we were the winners, so we are really pleased,” commented Robin Stevenson. “There is always great racing when the J/92s get together, they are not all the same but IRC tends to iron out the differences. I have to say that especially J’Ronimo and Nightjar sailed extremely well, it came down to one race in the end, and fortunately the win came our way.”

The Regatta Supper and Final Prize Giving at the Cowes Event Centre was a fitting occasion to bring the 2018 Landsail Tyres J-Cup to a close. Key Yachting's Paul Heys was the Master of Ceremonies, and as winners came up for their prize, they were cheered on by the J-Boats family.  Party band “Groovejuice” played live on the main stage, the dance floor was spinning to tunes from the 60s right through to 2018, with some unorthodox maneuvers at the prize giving, which was a sell-out.”

“The J-Cup is a marvelous way to enjoy very competitive racing with a lively crowd, and we always like a good knees-up after we pack the boats away,” commented Paul Heys. “Many of the teams come back year after year, and their enthusiasm is infectious with more teams joining us every year on their recommendation.”

With thanks to the sponsors; Landsail Tyres, North Sails, B&G, Fusion, Fastnet Insurance, Grapefruit Graphics, Rigit, Harken, Wight Vodka, Dolphin Covers, Liquimoly, Frontline Image and MMC Divers.   Sailing photo credits- Tim Wright/ PhotoAction.com   For more Landsail Tyres J-Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.