Tuesday, June 12, 2018

J/Women Win Dubarry Women’s Open Keelboat Championship!

(Hamble, England)- The 10th Dubarry Women's Open Keelboat Championship took place in the Solent on 2nd & 3rd of June 2018, hosted once again by the Hamble River Sailing Club.

For the second year running twenty boats came to the start line, but they were bigger boats so a record number of 170 women sailors attended the 10th Anniversary event. As usual, the Friday night briefing contained a number of entertaining presentations. First was progress report on the "new" Maiden project. This was followed by Saskia Clark, tactician on the J/111 JOURNEYMAKER 11 for the weekend, detailing the trials and tribulations of her medal-winning Olympic campaigns. Josie Gliddon then bravely took on the responsibility of the weather forecast for the weekend. "There are no isobars anywhere in Europe,” she stated looking at the synoptic charts for the next two days. She then advised competitors, to don cheap sunglasses and look out of the boat for any sign of moving air pollution. This would give a clue to where the new wind would come from. Best guess from the East!!

Kathy Smalley and her race team need not have worried. There were no foghorns in evidence overnight and as they approached the start area, a steady 14 knots from the South West, proved once again that the Solent does not necessarily need an isobar to have wind. As the Nobel Prize winner for Literature, Robert Allan Zimmerman, once said, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows!!”

The RC Committee Boat hook was dropped near Royal Southern (4S) and with a windward mark of East Knoll (4H) proceedings got underway on time. In Class 1, the J/112E DAVANTI DREAM TEAM (Marie-Claude Heys and Becky Walford), the J/122E R&W (Christine Allen) and the J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II (Laura Dillon and Louise Makin) battled it out for the first spot. They finished in that order. In Class 2, the J/109 JYBE TALKIN (Chloe Slater and Cressida Robson) came in first with the J/80 WILDCAT III (Lucy Burn) second and the J/109 JOLLY JACK TAR (Laura Blagden) in third.

The breeze stiffened slowly until, by Race 3, a good 20 knots was blowing against the ebb tide. There were a number of lessons learned about getting spinnakers down in plenty of time when approaching the leeward mark at speed. Even after the finish, it pays to remove the kite quickly. At the end of day one, Marie-Claude Heys/ Becky Walford’s J/112E DAVANTI DREAM TEAM took three 1st places in Class 1. Lucy Burn’s J/80 WILDCAT III was leading Josie Gliddon’s J/80 BOYSTEROUS in Class 2.

Owing to the increase in numbers, the Saturday night “Frocks & Flip-Flops” party was moved to the Hamble Memorial Hall, which was suitably dressed and pom-pommed for the evening. The annual raffle raised over £1,000 for Breast Cancer Care and The Hamble Lifeboat. If there were a prize for partying, the ladies from Voodoo, Verity Rouse and the RORC U35 Team, would have won it by a nautical mile. They were still going strong when your correspondent had long since retired for the night!

J/112E Davanti Tyres women's crew sailing on SolentOn Sunday morning, the River Hamble and the Solent were like glass. Not a ripple. The committee boat went on station at hamblewinterseries.com (4J) and waited. One by one, the yachts appeared and anchored. Not surprisingly, Voodoo appeared last but the AP saved her. Cheap sunglasses were now deployed in earnest, but to no avail. The Hamble River SC PRO, so calm in the wind on Saturday, now became twitchy, rushing here and there muttering to herself. "Relax Kathy,” an old wag on the boat said, "There's no rush to make a cock up.”  Those crews who had gone to bed early now began to show the energy they had saved. The ladies on the J/109 JOLLY JACK TAR started things off with a rendition of “YMCA”!! But, they were soon out gunned by Thunderbird with the whole crew doing “the Macarena” in perfect unison, whilst motoring in a circle. BGT, auditions next, I think.

Eventually, a light light breeze from just east of south crept towards the fleet. Slowly it built to 6 knots from the SE and a windward mark was dropped 0.5nm to windward. The line was set and all was well for day two racing. All that is, apart from Uproar, Mellissa Chapman, who found herself in the middle of the start line unable to retrieve her anchor. Undeterred Class 1 started managing to avoid the bright orange Impala. Gradually, the breeze built and for the second race the windward mark went out to 0.9nm. The racing was much closer in the lighter conditions with bunched groups rounding the leeward mark.

J/112E Davanti Tyres wins women's regattaIn Class 1, the J/112E DAVANTI DREAM TEAM scored two more bullets, to take the class.  But, they were less comfortable bullets than the day before. The J/122 R&W with three-second places came second overall with the defending champions, the J/111 JOURNEYMAKER II in third. In Class 2, the J/80 WILD CAT III with 8 points, beat the J/80 BOYSTEROUS with 9 points.

Marie-Claude and Becky on their J/112E DAVANTI DREAM TEAM drew up the crew relatively late in the day; five weeks before racing, with a wide range of experience from virtual novices to very experienced management. With an age span of 20 to 60, the team comprised of four J/Boat owners, two youth from the RYA keelboat squad, and local sailors. Competition was tough, namely, the very well sailed J/122 R&W with Lucy McGregor doing tactics, and Louise Makin’s J/111 JourneyMaker run by Laura Dillon, and helped by Olympic gold medalist Saskia Clark!

Marie-Claude said, “I am proud of our result, and very happy to have finally won the event after finishing in second place five times! We had more wind than expected, and on Saturday, the Hamble River SC PRO Kathy Smalley managed to give us three races with different courses, as the breeze built to reach 15 kts. On Sunday, we had to tie on to a buoy for a couple of hours waiting for the breeze to kick in, and when it did Kathy (the HRSC PRO) managed to send us on two good windward-leeward courses. A beautiful weekend in champagne sailing conditions, in great company and a win. I could not be happier!”

J/112E DAVANTI TYRES has an excellent race record since her delivery last summer, winning her class at Round the Island, Dartmouth, two J-Cups, and the Warsash Spring Series.

Becky commented, “With many of the crew being experienced J/Boat sailors it was easy to settle into the J/112E. This J is a pleasure to sail, being stable and forgiving. However, she is also very rewarding, as working the boat with fine adjustments meant we got the best out of her. Our competition included Olympians and previous WOKC winners, which meant we had our work cut out right from the off. The 5 races were held in perfect condition of bright sunshine with 8 to 15kts of breeze and bright sunshine. Having been chief bridesmaid on too many occasions it was great to finally win the 10th Dubarry Open Keelboat championships. Thank you to all involved!”  Sailing photo credits- Trevor Pountain/ Yachts & Yachting  Sailing video highlights of Dubarry Women’s Open Keelboat Championship  For more Dubarry Women’s Open Keelboat Championship sailing information  For more information about the J/112E sport cruiser Add to Flipboard Magazine.