Photo: Ian Finlay with a race to spare

Ian Atkins and his crew are the Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Champions

Tuesday May 11th 2010, Author: Bekki Eplett, Location: United Kingdom

The final three races in the nine race series of Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Championship 2010 took place on Saturday morning. The event was hosted by the Cardiff Bay Yacht Club and was presided over by PRO David Cairncross. The fleet were greeted by more breeze on Saturday morning than they had enjoyed over the previous two days of the Championship; a blustery 15 to 23 knots blowing from the cold North East. Going in to the final day only seven points separated the top three at the Championship;, Elle S’Appelle and Purple Haze.

Race Seven was won by Just Do It, helmed by Terry Palmer. Having mastered their downwind big breeze sailing at the Spi Ouest Regatta at Easter (alongside 92 other J/80s) the Just Do It squad had been hoping for something a little more fruity than on the previous two days, and were duly rewarded. Tom Phipps and Kelvin Matthews sailing for the British Keelboat Academy finished second and Ian Atkins took third place in

Kelvin Matthews, sailing with Tom Phipps for the British Keelboat Academy having had a couple of frustrating days at the Championship went on the record on Friday when he said: "We’ve not yet put in our best performance at this event". Delighting in the heavier breeze, British Keelboat Academy duly went out on Saturday morning and nailed the second race, Race Eight of the series. In second place was Step Toe (one of the four boats entered by the charity Toe in The Water) and Ian Atkins settled for a safe third, enough to win him and his team from the Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Championship with a race to spare. Nice one all; Ian Atkins on Helm, Rob Lark on Tactics, Dan Brown on Trim and Karen Schwerdt on ‘Pit and making everything happen’.

The final race of the championship, Race Nine, was also won by; a fitting finish to a consistent and impressive campaign. British Keelboat Academy slotted in a second, finally having found their form and showing the fleet the strength of their boat handling in the windy stuff. Thor Askeland, finished third in Elle S’Appelle, which was enough to earn him second place in the Championship overall. A stunning regatta for Thor – his first ever Nationals. Scott Cole managed a steady seventh in the last race, thus enabling him to hang on to third place overall for Purple Haze, a fabulous result from this team from the host club.

The prizegiving for the Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Championship 2010 took place at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club on Saturday night and it was, by all accounts, a tremendous occasion. Events like this simply cannot work without the assistance of sponsors, and all present at the prize-giving passed thanks to Tacktick Suunto for their title sponsorship of the event, for the fabulous prizes that they presented (including fleeces, bags and some very swanky Suunto watches) and for their longstanding support of the J/80 Class. The daily ‘prize’ sponsors were Maiden Marine, Zinc Marine and Freemantle Rigging and their presentations were each equally well received.

In addition to the National Championship Trophy for winners and the glassware and prizes for Elle S’Appelle in second and Purple Haze in third, two other prestigious awards were presented.

Four boats racing at the Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK Nationals were entered by Toe In The Water, a charity which aims to rehabilitate injured servicemen through the sport of sailing. Unlike a lot of the privately owned J/80s, these guys only get to sail together relatively infrequently in borrowed boats. It’s hard to believe that some had never sailed at all before being injured during the course of their daily duties; they are determined, talented, competitive and extremely good fun. They are an asset to the J/80 Class and all four teams from Toe In The Water rightly and deservedly shared the prize for ‘Outstanding Achievement’ which was most generously offered by Cardiff Marine Group.

Steve Cooper of J/80 Junior High is the International J/80 Class President, and also a Cardiff Bay local and one of the principal organisers of this event. The lucky winners of the ‘President’s Bent Stanchion Award’ were the team from the Britannia Royal Naval College, racing their J/80, Wave Warrior. Suffice it to say that this team were deemed by El Presidenté to have overcome significant adversity in order to complete the regatta with both boat and crew intact!

The J/80 fleet have been to Cardiff before and the are several very good reasons why they have chosen to return; the race management is fantastic, the Club has to be one of the friendliest that the class has ever frequented and the staff and volunteers (so many of them!) at Cardiff Bay Yacht Club make the whole process of ‘doing’ a regatta simple, easy and pleasurable. The Tacktick Suunto J/80 UK National Championship delivered exactly the kind of racing, camaraderie and competition that the J/80 Class has come to expect.


Pos Boat Owner R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8 R9 Tot
1 Ian Atkins 1 1 3 3 1 3 3 3 1 16
2 Elle S'appelle Thor Askeland 3 2 6 2 2 4 5 4 3 25
3 Purple Haze Scott Cole 7 8 1 4 3 1 4 6 7 33
4 British Keelboat Academy British Keelboat Academy 6 7 8 8 5 8 2 1 2 39
5 Just Do It Terry Palmer 13 5 13 1 4 6 1 5 6 41
6 Step Toe Toe in the Water 8 4 11 7 9 2 6 2 4 42
7 Junior High Steve Cooper 5 3 5 5 12 5 7 7 8 45
8 Little Toe Toe in the Water 2 12 2 6 6 9 14 8 5 50
9 Tip Toe Toe in the Water 14 6 7 16 10 7 8 9 10 71
10 Joie de Vivre Steve Toynton/Robert Keen 4 10 12 10 7 11 9 10 11 72
11 Big Toe Toe in the Water 9 11 4 11 14 10 11 13 16 83
12 Just in Time Andy Deverson 10 13 9 12 11 14 10 11 9 85
13 Wave Warrior BNRC 12 9 10 9 8 12 12 16 16 88
14 Mojo John Griffiths 15 14 15 13 13 13 13 12 12 105
15 J-Star Nick Duppa-Miller 11 15 14 14 15 15 15 16 16 115

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