Friday, October 5, 2012
David's commentary, "In 1979 I was given, by Westerly Yachts MD, David Saunders, the first ever J/24 to arrive in Europe and told to take it sailing at Lymington UK and see what it could do. My brother Paul, a friend called Dougie Winton and David Allen Williams (a yacht designer), got the boat on a Saturday, and set about launching and rigging her. We called her “Just the Job”--- as she proved to be!!
Sunday dawned a typical Solent day, 25 knots, wind against tide, misty, and not exactly bikini weather for the girls. We rigged our new girl and reached off down the river to the Solent with no idea what to expect. The Royal Lymington YC did not know what to do with this new boat, so they put us in Class 1 with boats up to 43 feet to race against.
We started upwind, in a fleet of 20 boats or so, with a beat of some 1 1/2 miles and we rounded mid-fleet. Then there were about 5 reaches against the tide. The weather mark quickly receded as the boat really showed what it could do. She lifted onto the plane and stayed there for about the next hour as we planed through the fleet and disappeared off to about a mile and a half lead at the leeward mark, ahead of the 43 footer. Then there followed a 4ish mile beat to the finish, down tide and into the teeth of 25 knots, the 43 footer and a 40 ft flat out race boat got past us and we crossed the line 3rd overall. We won on handicap by miles. The J/24 was launched that day and the rest is history.
With the J/70 I think you have the next-generation sorted, and I wish we could repeat the exercise with the similar crew as we did those 33 years ago." We agree. And, hope that we can offer our support. Nevertheless, do you think our "Lymington Mafia" pals "Fish" (Bob Fisher), Malcolm McKeag and others are up for another go 'round on the Solent with the old gang? Please let us know!