J80s head for Wales
The Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Championship 2010 commences this week. The event will be hosted by the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club from Wednesday 5 May to Saturday 8 May. Racing will take place in the Bristol Channel under the watchful eye of PRO David Cairncross and J/80 teams have travelled from all around the UK to comptete. The J/80 is fastest selling sportsboat in Europe and the class is delighted that marine electronics specialists Tacktick Suunto are sponsoring the event.
The competition in Cardiff will be hotly fought; alongside the travellers there will be a strong local field of five J/80 teams. J/80 International Class Chairman, Steve Cooper, will be competing in Junior High. Steve and his team are well travelled J/80 sailors and were part of the huge World Championship fleet at Santander last year. Local knowledge pays and we may see Junior High come of age this year. Scott Cole and his team on Purple Haze also from Cardiff, are known to be fast and both these boats know the sailing area well.
Toe In The Water, a charity that aims to encourage and rehabilitate injured servicemen and women through the sport of sailing, have four boats entered in the regatta. The relationship between the charity and the UK J/80 Class has been established for over three years now. While these crews don’t get to sail with each other as frequently as many of the others at the Nationals, in the past the Toe In The Water teams have proved tactically strong and have shown skilful boat handling as well as pace.
The British Keelboat Academy will be represented at the Tacktick Suunto J/80 Nationals by Tom Phipps and Kelvin Matthews. These lads slotted in some really strong results at the championships in 2009 and will be well worth watching. The Britannia Royal Naval College will also be racing for the Championship title in J/80 Wave Warrior, skippered by Joe Henry.
From the Solent, Thor Askeland makes his J/80 National Championship debut, racing Elle S’Apelle. Thor won the Autumn Champs in Hamble last year and has shown more than a few moments of brilliance throughout the spring season. He will be looking for consistency at the Nationals and for a podium finish. Terry Palmer (J/80 UK Class Chairman) and Caroline Cooper slotted in a top three result in the 93 boat J/80 fleet at Spi Ouest earlier this year, racing Just Do It. They will perhaps be hoping for similar windy conditions in Wales this week; they know they are quick in the big breeze. Ian Atkins will also be making the trip to Cardiff; having won five out of seven races sailed last weekend in his local series, Ian and his crew on Boats.com will have silverware their sights next week.
Racing at the Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Championship 2010 starts on Thursday. A full programme is planned on and off the water. It will be and extremely exciting and lively week!