Miller is J/80 National Champion

Perfect sailing conditions for the Royal Western YC organised event in Plymouth

Friday October 4th 2002, Author: James Boyd, Location: United Kingdom
14 J/80s made the journey from their local ports to Plymouth for the 2002 UK National Championships hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club on the weekend of the 21st and 22nd of September. On arrival the crews were greeted by what can only be described as fabulous sailing conditions, with bright sunshine and 12 to 15 knots of wind from the south-east. There were six races scheduled, four on Saturday and two on Sunday, with five races to count. The race area was to be on the seaward side of the Breakwater to ensure a fair breeze.

Race1
With very little tide and a slight bias to the committee boat end, most of the fleet were bunched up near theboat, which could only end up with one result: two guns and a general recall. At the second start, as the race officer had promised in the briefing earlier, flag I and Z were flown in conjunction with each other - Around the Ends and a 20% penalty. The fleet got away safely on the second start of the 3 lap windward leeward. With very little difference in the boat speeds upwind, the leaders arrived overlapped at the weather mark and charged off downwind. The fleet spread out a little after the leeward mark and Race 1 saw Quikeye home 1st, Liberty 2nd and Jeronimo 3rd.

Race 2
Flying neither of the I or Z flags, the Race Officer must have been relieved by the clean start, and those boats that had clear air off the line were well positioned for the whole race. This was the case for Angus McFee and crew in Jemini, all but one of whom were sailing the J/80 for the first time.By the 1st leeward mark they had firmly established themselves in the lead and it was amongst the rest of the fleet to fight for the spoils. Jemini 1st, Aqua-J 2nd and JSM 3rd.

Race 3
With the breeze moderating slightly it was becoming much harder to sail well on port tack into the chop that had developed. As a result many of the boats began to work the port side of the course upwind to try and get some relief from the headland at the top end of the course. A good beat saw Valour to the top mark first, a lead that they were not to relinquish all the way around. Valour 1st, Aqua-J 2nd, Quikeye 3rd.

Race 4
The racing was very close all the way around, with the lead changing on every leg of the course. Positions were changing at every mark rounding, as crews worked harder at the sets and drops gaining or loosing valuable metres as opportunities opened andclosed. By the top mark of the 3rd beat Valour were just in the lead with J-String overlapped as they went around. J-String gybed for the left and Valour continued on in good pressure. As these two boats came together again it was neck and neck, with J-String taking Valours’ stern.

J-String continued to the pin and Valour continued to the committee boat end. A simultaneous gun and hooter left everyone unsure as to the result; and it wasn’t until the fleet got ashore that it became clear. J-String 1st, Valour 2nd, Jeronimo 3rd

Race 5
After day one, Rennie Millers’ Valour was leading the championship with a 5-point margin; their closest rivals on points being Jemini, Jeronimo, J-String and Quikeye. All this would change dramatically after race 5, as the discard would be counted. With the breeze already blowing 18 to 22 knots, it promised to be a fun day on the race track.

As with all the previous races the front-runners arrived nose to tail at the weather mark, with several boats trying their luck on the port layline. Jeronimo and J-String in 1st and 2nd place respectively, took the bull by its horns and extended their lead whilst having their own private battle. The battle for first continued until the finish with Jeronimo just probing ahead of J-String. Jeronimo 1st, J-String 2nd, Jemini 3rd.

Race 6
A different course was set for the last race of the series; a windward leeward followed by a beat and then a reach to the finish off the RWYC line. Counting a poor 5th place finish in the previous race, Valours’ lead was dramatically reduced with J-String very close on their heels points-wise. At the top mark Valour were in first place with Jem some 5-boat lengths behind. With a good set and run Valour extended her lead and managed to consolidate it on the last beat. Rounding some 20 seconds ahead Valour set for the blast reach home...

A leeward drop and a short fetch to the line saw Rennie Millers’ Valour home 1st, and regatta winners. Valour 1st, Jem 2nd, Jemini 3rd

The Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth must take enormous creditfor a fantastically run regatta, both on and off the water: awesome sailing and a great social. Thank-you also to the sponsors of the championships: Silva, Yacht Parts Plymouth and J Gear. We look forward to sailing with you again.

Results J80 National Championship 2002

Position Helm/Owner Boat Name Points
1st R Miller VALOUR 13
2nd A McFee JEMINI 19
3rd R Hollingsworth JERONIMO 19
4th B Howard J-STRING 22
5th S Northmore QUIKEYE 23
6th R Gerrish AQUA-J 26
7th S Unwin JACKFLASH 27
8th T & M Reed JEM 29
9th J Westaway JSM 35
10th R Bickford LIBERTY 43
11th D Sheehan JACKSNIPE 51
11th S Andrew JET SET 51
13th C Hurst MONOMANIA 62
14th T Garside CONKER 66

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