Having completed the first two races of the championship on Friday in sublime race conditions, competitors were sent ashore and racing was abandoned before the first start sequence on Saturday as an easily sailable 21 knots quickly built to a steady 33 knots in the course area near Mother Bank on the Solent. Three races were scheduled for Sunday, of which two were completed by the J/70s and the J/80s in a fading breeze of between 6 and 12 knots which swung between 230 and 190°.
Sunday was a ‘double bullet’ day both for Rob Larke and his crew in the J/80 National Championship fleet on J2X and also for Ruairidh Scott and the boys on the J/70 North Sails. For Scott, these two wins completed his perfect regatta score-line and stamped convincing authority on this first J/70 UK National Championship title. Conversely, for Rob in the J/80 fleet, two wins on the final day of racing, although impressive, were not sufficient to overhaul Kevin Sproul and his crew on board J.A.T who had led the regatta from Race One and, having never posted a result outside of the top two across the series, were deserving winners of the 2012 J/80 UK National Championship.
Both fleets were invited to a Pimms-loaded prizegiving on The Platform at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday afternoon, which unsurprisingly was extraordinarily well attended. PRO Captain Simon Van Der Byl thanked competitors for their sportsmanship throughout the weekend and presented prizes alongside the Rear Commodore for Finance, the Honourable Patrick Seely.
In the J/80 fleet, Gillian Ross and her crew from Rock & Roll were presented with the prize for Most Improved J/80 which was sponsored by Race Yacht Services. Rock & Roll’s results got better and better as the championship progressed, perhaps aided and abetted by the team’s visit to the Isle of Wight Festival.
The Best Corinthian J/80 Team at the J/80 Nationals was Jon Powell and his crew on Betty. There are many full-time professional sailors racing J/80s and J/70s and both classes acknowledge that recognition is due for outstanding achievement by the ‘amateurs’ in each fleet. In the J/70 Class The Best Corinthian Team was Simon Ling and the boys on board Team RAFBF Spitfire Powered by SLAM. The prizes were generously sponsored by Fastnet Insurance.
It was a short hop back to the podium for Jon Powell: he and his crew on Betty finished third overall at the 2013 J/80 UK National Championship with 15 points across the series. Rob Larke and J2X finished in second place with 11 points. J.A.T finished on just 7 points and the 2013 UK National Champions, Kevin Sproul, Phil Taylor, Chris Taylor and Chris Fisher were presented with the silverware and were congratulated by the assembled fleet.
In third place at the 2013 J/70 UK National Championship was Simon Ling and his crew from Team RAFBF Spitfire Powered by SLAM with 12 points on their score-sheet. Second overall was class newcomer Russell Peters and his team from Bob with 9 points. Ruairidh Scott, Hugh Fletcher, Ben Field and Matt Curthoys sailing North Sails stepped up to accept the J/70 UK National Championship title, never having lost a race. They were presented with a stunning J/70 half-model, sponsored by Wilson Covers.
On behalf of the J/70 and the J/80 fleets, Scott thanked all at the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Club’s unrivalled hospitality and for the excellent race management delivered by Captain Simon Van Der Byl and his team. He went on to congratulate and thank his crew for their skill and support throughout the season so far and all of those racing at the championship for their competition and sportsmanship. Sincere thanks were also proffered for the other supporting sponsors of the event, Grapefruit Graphics, Peters and May, Wight Vodka and SLAM.
The next key event on the 2013 calendar for J/80 and J/70 sailors is AAM Cowes Week and then both fleets will race at the J-Cup in Plymouth later in August. The 2014 J/70 and J/80 UK National Championships will take place at Poole Regatta over 24-26 May 2014.