Friday, May 20, 2011

The Royal Wedding J/97 Sussex Regatta

J/97 racer-cruiser sailboat- sailing upwind off Sussex, England
(Shoreham, Sussex, England)- Wedding regatta? Not really. Royally fun? You bet. Prince William and Harry ever sail J's on the Solent? Absolutely!  Many times.  Nevertheless, the Sussex Regatta was held over the Bank Holiday weekend (the wedding one) at Shoreham, with all due respect to Prince William and Princess Katie.  It was a two and a half day affair starting on the Friday afternoon with two races which quickly indicated who was in the frame. It was Graham Allen’s J/97 JENERAL LEE and the venerable J/92 WHOSE TO NO (owned and skippered by Richard Sparrow) in the top slots. JENERAL LEE managed to bank two wins on the first day capitalizing nicely on the crew shortages on the J/92 and others (yes, that wedding problem again!)

J/97s sailing off Sussex, EnglandThe wind on the Saturday was starting to build with gusts over twenty knots from the north east, which meant flat seas and good racing. Robin Harris on Captain Fantastic warned the opposition that his cavalry had now arrived and so the battle was really on, and he was right! However, JENERAL LEE managed the win in Race 3 but was pushed hard by WHOSE TO NO in second place with Captain Fantastic close behind in third. Race 4 saw the charge of the ‘Eastbourne Brigade’ with WHOSE TO NO taking the win.  So now JENERAL LEE had to give his troops the rallying cry to take on the combined colonial armies of Ramsgate and Eastbourne! And what a great fight it was, nip and tuck all the way with the three boats finishing one second apart on corrected time. The JENERAL took the win from The Captain with WHOSE TO NO in third.

J/97 winning crew at Sussex RegattaIt was all too much for JENERAL LEE in the first race on the final day and Captain Fantastic put down his marker for the day by taking the win and still fighting hard against WHOSE TO NO in third.  The final race on the Sunday saw a further increase in the wind which was now gusting in the mid twenties with a more easterly flow kicking up some waves.  The JENERAL crew were keen to finish in a flourish but obviously the other two contenders were in no mood to let them. Captain Fantastic made a good start got to the windward mark first with the two Js snapping at his heels on the run, however JENERAL LEE's running kite blew out of its tapes in a gust and the J/92 took maximum advantage going through the gate just behind Captain Fantastic.

In the last downwind run of the regatta The JENERAL made up ground now using a heavy kite and managed to snatch second place after WHOSE TO NO's great run ended with a problem with his jib forcing him past the mark. Captain Fantastic took the final win by two minutes but it was not enough on the points tally leaving JENERAL LEE in first on 6 points with Captain Fantastic on 8 and third on 12 was WHOSE TO NO.  The final tally gave the overall IRC Class Cup to the J/97 JENERAL LEE.   For more J/97 Royal Wedding Sussex Regatta sailing news.