Hotshots head for Poole
The entry list is up to 42 now, with representatives from five European countries, plus guest appearances from New Zealander Greg Wilcox and Puerto Rican Gilberto Rivero. There are still prospects of very late entries coming in, with boats desperately trying to put together full teams of five good sailors.
And they will need to be good sailors, as the exciting news is that Shirley Robertson has thrown her hat into the ring, making this her first regatta since giving birth to her twins in the summer, and her team, if the rumours are to be believed, is very strong indeed. This will be an extremely high class regatta, as when you look at the number of current and past champions in the fleet at all levels from National through Continental to World and Olympic it is quite mind blowing.
Ian Southworth sailing in Hedgehog is the current J/24 UK and European champion, and finished 3rd in the last J24 Worlds, these apart from his multiple wins at all levels in Enterprises and his many other dinghy and keelboat championships. His team is extremely experienced, with Chris Mclaughlin being one of his mainstays over many years, and recently having teamed up with Andy McLlelland as his trimmer, himself a helmsman of some note, and a past J/24 UK National Champion.
Stuart Jardine in Stouche needs little introduction, and has been sailing small keelboats since (it sometimes seems!) Noah was a lad. His twin brother Ado trims for him, and they make for a formidable pairing, having won the J24 UK title 5 times, along with the J24 French Open twice and the Europeans once. Their combined titles in multiple classes over the decades, including Olympic representation for both of them, sets them on the highest level.
David Ellis will be in Hitch-Hiker, in which he has won the UK title twice, the French Open three times, and three times placed second in this regatta. His team is a new one this year, and is settling down nicely after their one weekend together.
Bob Turner, the current J24 International Chairman, will be back in Serco Defence, with Alistair Clarke steering, and this is a very fast team. The boat was set up by Kenny Read many years ago, when he won his first J/24 Worlds that he competed in in Europe, and sought it out on two subsequent times to make it a straight three victories in Europe. Some boat, some team.
Among the European entries, Ivo Kok and his team from Holland sailing J/Spot are the current Dutch National Champions, and have also won the French J/24 Open in the past. They have already been out training on the local waters, having brought their boat over a week early.
And the rest of the field are all in contention, because the beauty of the J/24 class is that it is a truly One Design class. A good boat and good sails are always essential at the top end of fleet, but that does not mean that the hull has to be new, just well cared for. What counts above all else is the tactical ability of the crew, and their team work on board the boat.
To see the full list of entries....