Thrills and spills

Breezy opening day to the J-Cup in Torquay

Thursday August 20th 2009, Author: Becci Eplett, Location: United Kingdom
Racing at the 2009 J-Cup commenced on Thursday in Torquay under the management of the Royal Torbay Yacht Club and sponsored by B&G, Dubarry of Ireland and North Sails. The 63 boat fleet revelled in bright sunshine and a pumping westerly breeze that ranged from 18 to 35 knots, with most of the two races sailed in a blustery 25 knots plus. What a way to start!

The J/80 class sailed just one of the scheduled races, before the Race Committee sensibly decided that an average wind speed of 27 knots and gusts of 35 knots on their course was perhaps a little rich for these 26 foot sportboats. Nevertheless, Peter Wanstall and his team of seasoned J/80 sailors on board Jasmine made the most of the conditions and set the bar high with a win from Jeremy Round-Smith on Jezebel.

The J/105s just love the breeze and this Class saw thrills, spills, some fantastic racing and impressive sportsmanship. Race 1 belonged to Rob Dornton-Duff and the boys on Java who pressed Richard Watney’s Jeopardy in to second place with William Newton’s Jellybaby in third. Java had pressed in to the lead again on Race 2 before making an unscheduled detour to pick up a crew member who had fallen overboard from another J/105. While this effectively lost the race for Java, redress was granted by the protest committee with the full support of the rest of the J1/05 skippers. Java leads the class with a 1-1 scoreline with Jellybaby in second.

In IRC1, the ‘big boat’ class, John and Jill Patterson’s J/122 Panacea won the first race from Jackie Dobson’s J/133 Jeronimo. These guys had superbly close racing, and watching these beautiful Js with the masthead asymmetric kites in the windy conditions from the quayside was a great way to spend a few hours. In Race 2 it was Ian Matthews and family on their J/122 Jinja who nailed the pole position, pushing Panacea in to second place. Panacea leads the class by a point from Jinja.

The J/92s and J/97s raced in IRC2 and Colin Wall’s J/97 (the newest model from J Boats) won both the races sailed. However, this was not without a significant challenge from Andrew Roberts J/92 S, Just in Time in the first race and then Mike Cooper’s J/92 S Java Lite in the second race. On speaking with the helms and crews in this class after racing, it became apparent that there was no shortage of adrenaline on the race-track yesterday!

29 J/109s are racing at the J-Cup and they are competing for the 2009 UK National Championship title, so there is hefty pressure on the skippers in this class. In the first race, David and Kirsty Apthorp achieved precisely what they set out to do and were first across the line in J Dream with the current J/109 National Champion, Bruce Jubb taking second in Johnny Blue II and Brian Moreton’s Juke Box finished third. Clearly enjoying their time at the front of the fleet, the J Dreamers quickly took the lead in the second race as well, with Ken Grant’s Tigh Solius hot on their heels. Ben Richards and Michael Ewart-Smith took third place in Zelda. The scores on the doors for the J/109 UK National Championship show J Dream in the lead as we go to press with Juke Box in second and Zelda third.

At the Royal Torbay Yacht Club last night, competitors enjoyed generous hospitality and fine wine at the Commodore’s reception and danced the night away to the rock and roll band. North Sails presented prizes to the boat of the day in each class, and the chat was all about the excitement of the conditions on day one and the four races which are scheduled for today! Fortunately for all, however tired we may be after racing this evening, we can at least look forward to the B&G Cocktail Party; always a big night!

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