On Saturday morning the fleet at the 2012 J-Cup Driven by MIQ Logistics headed off the dock to complete the final races in this 63 boat regatta. Tony Lovell and his team from the Royal Southern Yacht Club ensured that each of the six classes got two races away in a northerly breeze, moving left and building to 22 knots in the gusts as the day developed. By 16.00 hours all J-Cup challenges had been settled, two National Championships had been won and the winner of the 2012 J-Cup had been decided.
Mike & Jamie Holmes team on Jika Jika had led the Lombard J/97 UK National Championship fleet from the start of the event. At the first gun on Saturday morning Jika Jika had 6 points on the sheet, Grant Gordon’s Fever was just three behind on 9 and Stuart Sawyers' Black Dog had 12. The team on Jika Jika have done plenty of sailing together over the last few seasons and two more race wins were the result on Saturday: Mike, Jamie and crew triumphed and won the Lombard J/97 UK National Championship convincingly with a net score of just 8 points. Fever took the silver slot with 15 points and Black Dog took the bronze medal and also the North Sails Boat of the Day prize for this class.
With 24 boats taking part the largest class racing at the 2012 J-Cup was racing for the J/109 UK National Championship supported by Sebago. While Steven Tapper’s Stalker had held the top slot for the duration of the regatta, they did not make it easy for themselves on the last day. In fact the top five boats in this fleet all had a monumental tussle on Saturday with three of them posting (and discarding) their worse results of the whole regatta. Not surprisingly and there were several changes in the rankings. Jonathan Calascione and Johnnie Goodwin’s Harlequin put in the best performance of the whole fleet with a 1, 2 score on Saturday and this earned them the North Sails Boat of the Day prize. Never having to count a score outside the top seven across the eight races sailed, ultimately it was the team on Stalker who finished at the top of the podium and who were pronounced the new J/109 UK National Champions, supported by Sebago. Harlequin took silver, Mike and Sarah Wallis took the bronze in Jahmali, Paul Griffith’s Jagerbomb was fourth overall and Tony Dicken’s Jubilee finished fifth.
David and Kirsty Apthorp’s J/111 J-Dream left the dock on Saturday with 9 points on their card, a two point advantage over Didier Le Moal’s J Lance on 11 points and nerves must have been jangling, especially when Race 7 (the first race of the day) was won by Jamie Arnell’s Jeez Louise, with J-Lance in second. Now the gap between J-Dream and J Lance was down to just one point. The final race of the series was smashed by J Lance and J-Dream took second. So… two J/111s on equal points at the top of the Class : exactly the same situation in which these two boats found themselves at Spi Ouest regatta earlier this year… This time however it was the J-Dream team who took the Class win on count-back. J Lance was second overall and Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas’ Shmokin Joe were third. J Lance won the North Sails Boat of the Day prize.
The J/133s and the J/122s raced in IRC 1 at the 2012 J-Cup and the predominantly Solent based fleer included Mick Holland and Carolyn Aylmer’s J/122 Majic form Guernsey along with Herman Bergshaven’s J/133 Madjus from Norway. Having led the regatta since Race 1 Ian Dewhirst and his team on the J/133 Jump stole the gold in IRC 1 finishing with just 8 points. Robert and Jackie Dobson settled for silver in their J/133 Jeronimo and Ivan Trotman took the bronze and the North Sails Boat of the Day prize in IRC 1.
Having had a sticky start to the 2012 J-Cup, the current holders of the coveted silverware Andy Howe and Annie Kelly found improving form throughout the regatta sailing their J/92 Blackjack in IRC 2. Scoring just four points in the final races on Saturday was enough to secure them the North Sails Boat of the Day prize but it was Richard Sainsbury’s team on his J/92 Bojangles who won the class overall from Blackjack in second and Richard Sparrows’s Who’s to No from Ramsgate in third place overall.
The J/80 Class all enjoyed the building breeze and planning conditions on Saturday, and Chris Ducker’s SLAM finally found some decent form for which the crew were nominated as North Sails Boat of the day. Patrick Liardet’s Aqua J also had a fabulous day and won both races but neither SLAM nor Aqua-J were able to knock Stewart Hawthorn’s J’ai 2 Amours off the highest podium position and the results at the end of the day were J’ai 2 Amours in first, Aqua-J second and SLAM third overall.
The Prizegiving dinner and party for the 2012 J-Cup Driven by MIQ Logistics took place at St Mary’s Stadium on Saturday night and 400 competitors were in attendance. Prizes were presented by generous sponsors for first to third place in all classes and for first to fifth for the J/109 UK National Championship fleet. Following a very quick (and debilitating) round of SLAMbucca, armfuls of silverware, glassware, Wight Vodka and caps, SLAM clothes, bags, gifts and Harken goodies galore were offered up to those who were lucky enough to finish on the podium. Then, as has now become the norm at the J-Cup, a number of other very special prizes were also presented.
The Dubarry Boot for Endurance was awarded to David Richards of the J/109 Jumping Jellyfish. David and his crew are regatta stalwarts and do more racing, covering more nautical miles than most in their J/109 and if there is a J Boat regatta to be done, David will be there, fully supportive of the fleet and of the organising team. The second Dubarry Boot, this one for Outstanding Achievement, was presented to Jim Dick of the J/97 Jackaroo. Jim was the founding Chairman of the J/97 UK Class Association and has been responsible for building cohesion in the class and for championing one-design racing. He also won the Scottish Series overall in Jackaroo in 2011, helping in no small way to put the boat on the regatta map.
The Musketeer Trophy is presented for the best two boat team from differing classes and the scores are weighted according to the size of the Class in which each boat competes. This year it was won by the J-Dream (winners of the eight boat J/111 Class) and Harlequin (placed second overall in the 24 boat J/109 Class). The trophy itself is a beautiful silver double Champagne ice-bucket and the winners must return it topped with Champagne at the 2013 J-Cup.
B&G has been a principal sponsor of the J-Cup for ten years and this year a voucher for £3,000 of electronic equipment was on offer. This is clearly a major prize and it went to Mike and Sarah Wallis from Jahmali. Mike and Sarah are valuable long-term members of the J/109 Class; Mike sits on the Committee as the Technical Representative, Sarah organised the Class Party earlier this year. They are competitive racing sailors who each share their well defined sense of fair play and friendship with the other owners and crew in their fleet and are deserving and popular winners of the B&G prize.
In addition to all of the other prizes and trophies presented at the J-Cup, this year there was another rather special one to add to the list. ‘H’ Poole was a well known J Boat sailor, all round top bloke and friend to many of us in the fleet. He was tragically killed in a crash between two RAF Tornado aircraft a few weeks ago. Some of H’s closest mates and colleagues who were racing at the J-Cup wanted to present a trophy in his honour and it was a privilege to have H’s partner Beth at the party on Saturday to present the prize. It was awarded for an individual performance by someone who knew no limits and fittingly it was presented to Nick Cherry: erstwhile J Boat Sailor (who was racing with Jumping Jellyfish again this year) and who is a recently returned hero of the Figaro single handed series.
The overall and most coveted prize of the whole regatta is the J-Cup itself, a relatively modest piece of silverware by comparison with some of the other beautiful trophies which are contested at the event. In eleven years of running the J-Cup regatta, the J-Cup has never been awarded to the same boat or the same team, twice. A simple piece of silverware it may be but it embodies the soul of the J-Cup regatta and of the unique spirit of friendship, competition and camaraderie which exists between J Boat owners. The overall winner of the 2012 J-Cup Driven by MIQ logistics was Steven Tapper and his crew on Stalker. A determined and focussed progress up through the J/109 rankings over the last three years or so and now a National Championship win in a 24 boat fleet: yes, that’s an impressive result and an extremely deserving J-Cup win.
With thanks to all of the sponsors of the 2012 J-Cup, not least the title sponsor MIQ Logistics, but also to our supporting sponsors SLAM, B&G, North Sails, Dubarry of Ireland, Coast Graphics, Harken UK, Lombard, Sebago and Wight Vodka.