Two bullets for Sproul
The first three races of the championship were sailed on windward-leeward courses laid in Start Bay, just outside the beautiful port of Dartmouth. In their eagerness to let the games commence, sadly, most of the J/80 fleet missed a visit from the Mayor of Dartmouth who took time to walk the pontoons of Darthaven Marina, who are berthing the fleet and sponsoring the Class for the Nationals. However, all 26 crews enjoyed brilliant sunshine and a strong and shifty westerly breeze for the racing, which ranged between 25 and 30 knots for the greater part of the bay. A short and choppy work bench (wind with tide) only served to add to the thrills and spills on the race course.
The provisional results (still subject to protest at the time of going to press) show Kevin Sproul and the crew of J.A.T at the top of the leaderboard at the end of day one with seven points; a scoreline which includes two race wins. In second is Jumpin Jenga, skippered by Stewart Hawthorn on nine points. This is a particularly impressive scoreline considering the major blow-out of Hawthorn’s bright red kite which the Solent fleet has become used to seeing out towards the front of the fleet. Rob Larke’s J2X is third overall as we go to press - a great result for him too. Larke’s ‘fresh out of the box’ J/80 won the last race of the day and he feels that he has found his form. Larke said: "We’ve definitely got good pace, especially downwind, and the crew are settling in nicely to the new boat. Our boat handling is good in these testing conditions and we got the first beat of the last race just right too."
RABF Team Spitfire helmed by Andy ‘Rodders’ Rodwell and skippered by Tony Hanlon had a fabulous day and are currently in a very respectable fifth overall. They explained "We had a storming first race with some extremely close boat on boat racing and so we are delighted with the third place for that one. We seem to be fast upwind and we were good turning the corners today too."
Three more races are scheduled for tomorrow and the weather people are telling us that we will have a little less of the fruity stuff for these. Tonight the fleet dines at Rockfish in Dartmouth, courtesy of a very kind invitation from celebrity chef and food critic Mitch Tonks.
There is a huge buzz in this class at the moment, in part because everyone is gearing up for the 2012 J/80 World Championship which will also be held in the port in June next year. Perhaps the best summing up of the day came from Sarah Norbury, Editor of Practical Boat Owner magazine who has just joined the class with her partner Jon Powell in their new J/80 La Bete. She explained "This is our first regatta in our J/80 and conditions today have been somewhat a baptism by fire! It’s an extremely competitive fleet but extremely friendly and we are delighted to be sitting in eighth place at the end of day one. We are really looking forward to tomorrow!"
|1||GBR 1360||J.A.T.||Kevin Sproul||1||1||5||7|
|2||GBR 1339||Jumping Jenga||Stewart Hawthorn||5||2||2||9|
|3||GBR 1362||J2X||Rob Lake||6||4||1||11|
|4||GBR 573||Team Baltic||Henry Bomby||4||7||3||14|
|5||GBR 912||Spitfire||Andrew Rodwell||2||8||6||16|
|6||GBR 725||Purple Haze||Roger Dunstan||3||6||12||21|
|7||GBR 1262||Oi||John Cooper||7||3||16||26|
|8||FR 1256||La Bete||J Powell||10||13||7||30|
|9||GBR 811||Surf and Turf||Geoffrey Pane||13||14||4||31|
|10||GBR 801||Just Do It||Terry Palmer||9||11||14||34|
|11||GBR 734||Juicy||Alan Hibbs||19||9||8||36|
|12||GBR 743||Swallow||Gordon Craigen||14||15||10||39|
|13||GBR 908||Peloton||Mark Greenway||8||21||11||40|
|14||GBR 1338||Flipper||Matthew Vincent||27/DNF||5||13||45|
|15||GBR 433||Excess||Chris Goldsmith||27/DNF||12||9||48|
|16||GBR 605||Elle S Appelle||Thor Askeland||11||10||27/DNS||48|
|17||GBR 891||Harley Quin||Nigel Skudder||16||17||15||48|
|18||GBR 571||Junior High||Steve Cooper||17||18||17||52|
|19||GBR 527||Jammy Dodger||Andrew Mcausland||12||16||27/DNS||55|
|20||GBR 109||Jester||Michael Lewis||18||19||20||57|
|21||GBR 393||Jasmine||George Neville Jones||20||22||19||61|
|22||GBR 511||Jammin||Steve Best||15||20||27/DNS||62|
|23||GBR 744||Exe J||Richard Soper||21||23||18||62|
|24||GBR 534||Wave Warrior||Rob Stone-Ward||22||25||27/DNF||74|
|25||GBR 1138||Just So||Nigel Banford||27/DNS||24||27/DNF||78|
|26||GBR 80998||Captain Jack||Frank Rowsell||27/DNS||27/DNS||27/DNS||81|