Tim Wright / www.photoaction.com

J-Cup underway today

J boats showdown on the Solent

Thursday July 26th 2012, Author: Becci Eplett, Location: United Kingdom

The J-Cup Driven by MIQ Logistics is scheduled to take place on the Solent this week. The event comes back to its spiritual ‘home’ at the Royal Southern Yacht Club this year and includes The Lombard J/97 UK National Championship and the J/109 UK National Championship supported by Sebago.

The J/111 Class will be racing at the J-Cup for the first time this year and the International J/111 Class Rules will apply in full.

The remainder of the 63 boat fleet will comprise three more classes: the J/80s which will also race in a one-design class and two mixed IRC J Boat classes. Even the brand new J/70 is set to make her first regatta appearance!

Racing starts tomorrow.

Nowhere will the competition be hotter than at the J/109 National Championship supported by Sebago. Studying the form at recent J/109 one design regattas will not help the pundits at all as several boats have been starring.

Paul Griffiths, J/109 Class Chair who sails with his family and friends on Jagerbomb is blisteringly quick in the light stuff but was not giving much away on interview. When pressed, Paul explained: "The issue is that the racing in this fleet really is wide open. On any given day there are easily ten boats in the running. What I can say for sure is that everyone sailing in the 24 boat J/109 National Championship fleet is delighted at the prospect of racing in some sunshine and thrilled to share in the generous support of our sponsor, Sebago".

The current Lombard J/97 UK National Champion is Grant Gordon and his team on Fever, having won the regatta last year in Guernsey. Fever is back to defend the one design title this year, along with eight other J/97s, a fleet which includes three newcomers to the Championship. It’s tough at the top of the J/97 fleet and even the smallest of errors can be costly.

Gill Ross has a predominantly young squad on board Rock n Roll 2, but having competed together at the recent J/80 Worlds she will be hoping that the strength of her close-knit team will pay dividends.

From Cornwall, having recently won the South West IRC Championship, Stuart Sawyer and his crew on Black Dog were looking fast last weekend at a training regatta here on the Solent albeit they were just pipped to the top slot by local boys Mike and Jamie Holmes in Jika Jika. Mike and Jamie also have the 2012 Lombard J/97 National Championship title firmly in their sights.

The J/111 Class has eight boats racing on a level rating basis at the J-Cup this year and the fleet is chock full of winners: Didier Le Moal’s J-Lance comes to compete from France having beaten David and Kirsty’s J-Dream (Round the Island Race Class winner) by the very narrowest of margins at Spi Ouest regatta at Easter.

Jamie Arnell’s Jeez Louise won the J/111 Class at the Vice Admiral’s Cup earlier in the summer and Duncan MacDonald and Phil Thomas’ crew on Shmokin Joe have been slotting in some very impressive results in their home port of Brighton. So, in usual J-Cup style we’re set for a massive event: six classes, two race areas, eight races, two National Championships, 63 boats (so far!) 400 people, two bands, SLAM clothing, SLAMbucca shots, the B&G Dark and Stormy Party, North Sails daily prizes, the Wight Vodka Online Results Service, fantastic sponsor support, prizes galore and of course the infamous J-Cup Prizegiving Party on the final Saturday, this year to be held at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton and (according to current forecasts) sun, sun, sun all the way!

To sum up, James Clark, Global Services Director at MIQ Logistics, the principal sponsor of the 2012 J-Cup said: "We are thrilled to continue our sponsorship relationship with Key Yachting and the 2012 J-Cup Driven by MIQ Logistics is set to be a fabulous regatta. We understand the huge responsibility that comes with our investment but the opportunity to be involved with the J-Cup was one that we could not ignore and it demonstrates and cements our commitment to the marine sector. This will be my first J-Cup and I have to say that I am really looking forward to the event."

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