Monday, May 27, 2013

SHMOKIN & JELLYFISH Top Vice Admirals Cup Regatta

J/111 sailing upwind on Solent off Cowes, England (Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club recently hosted the ninth Vice Admiral’s Cup Regatta with MUSTO as its principal sponsor.  Since its introduction the Vice Admiral Cup has gone from strength to strength with it’s close racing format and fun social programme making it enjoyable for all the competitors.  Strong turnouts of J/111s and J/109s made for fantastic racing across a broad spectrum of conditions-- shorts & shades to something "good for ducks on a cool, damp day".

On the first day, with four frenetic races there was plenty of action for the competitors taking part in the opening round of the 2013 Musto Vice Admiral's Cup.  Race Officers Bob Milner, officiating for the bigger boats, and Robert Lamb, on the small boat course, kept their customer's good and busy with some great windward leeward racing on Central Solent courses in a variable 8-15 knots from the north east. The smaller boats managed three races whilst the larger boats pushed through and went for a fourth.

J/111s starting off line in Vice Commodores Cup- Cowes, EnglandClass 2s six J/111s proved to be a three way battle between James Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE, David and Kirsty Apthorp's J-DREAM and Duncan McDonald & Phil Thomas's SHMOKIN' JOE. The only boat that was able to challenge the trio all day was Tony Mack's MCFLY who made the podium twice with a second in race two and a third in race four, which put them into fourth overall at the end of the day. With a 1-3-3-1 scoreline it was JEEZ LOUISE that took J/111 of the day by a single point from J-DREAM. SHMOKIN' JOE showed great speed, but a lost protest in the fourth race, which means that although they still hold onto fourth place they are now four points behind J-DREAM and only a single point ahead of MCFLY.

What the fleets on the small boat course lack in size they more than make up for in numbers. Class 3 featured thirteen J/109s with a different winner for each of their three races. First to show was David Richard's JUMPING JELLYFISH who claimed race one and went on to add a third and a fourth to their scoreline to take the overall lead with eight points. Andy Johns and David Rolfe's SHADOWFAX got her regatta off to a slightly wobbly start with a seventh place but won race two and took third in race three to claim second place overall on eleven points. Just one point behind them was Steve and Jody Maine's J2EAU who won the final race of the day.

The second day of racing brought a mixed bag of weather. Morning saw very light airs and weak sunshine forcing the race committee to postpone. After an hour's delay racing began under steely skies in a shifty and patchy breeze of circa five knots from the west-south-west. As the day wore on the wind built slowly, maxing out at around ten to twelve knots by mid afternoon, and the sun eventually put in a most welcome late appearance.

With the Solent jam packed with dozens of events and classes, Bob Milner elected to take the big boats west for clear air and set up shop off the entrance to Beaulieu River. Meanwhile Robert Lamb managed to find a nice corridor for the small boat fleet up and down the Bramble Bank. Both fleets completed three races today.

James Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE hung onto the overall lead in J/111s by the skin of his teeth. He went into the day with a single point lead and added a pair of seconds and a bullet to his score so now counts 10 points overall. Top performer of the day was Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas's SHMOKIN' JOE with a pair of first followed by a second, which jumps them up for third overall into second on count back sharing equal points with JEEZ LOUISE. David and Kirsty Apthorp's J-DREAM had a mixed day with a third and fourth followed by a did not finish and they drop down from second overall to third, six points behind the leaders.

J/109 one-design sailboat- sailing upwind at Vice Commodore's Cup- Cowes, EnglandDavid Richards' JUMPING JELLYFISH put in another very conservative day with a four, two, four score and continues to lead the J/109s in Class 3 with a seven point margin. Paul James's JIGSAW turned the tables after yesterday's mediocre performance and jumped from ninth overall to second with the help of a pair of wins and a sixth place. Tony Dickin, helming JUBILEE, moved up from fourth to third and is now tied on equal points with JIGSAW. Last night's second placed SHADOWFAX, owned by Andy Johns and David Rolfe, struggled in the light airs finishing ninth and tenth before recovering with a second in the windier last race. As a result they drop down from third to fourth overall, but are only one point behind JIGSAW and JUBILEE. Top J/109 performer today was FARDONYX, helmed by William Edwards, with a pair of thirds and a first, however they were unable to sail yesterday so currently lie ninth overall.

"Good weather for ducks" is probably the best way to describe conditions on the final day of sailing where grey was the predominant color and oilskins were the preferred attire (good news for sponsor Musto!). Fortunately nothing could dampen the spirits of the competing teams who took on two final races to decide this hugely competitive series. Winds were predominantly from the northeast, but with some very big shifts and velocity ranging from sub five to around ten knots the tacticians and trimmers certainly got a strenuous workout. Once again Rob Lamb took the small boat fleet onto the Bramble Bank and Bob Milner returned to the Ryde Bank area with the big boats.

The final result of the J/111s went down to a protest between Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas's SHMOKIN' JOE and Tony Mack's MCFLY regarding a pair of incidents on the run into and rounding of the leeward mark in the final race. The Protest Committee elected to hear both protests together and ultimately found that SHMOKIN' JOE had not infringed. A very relieved SHMOKIN' JOE were delighted to claim overall victory in the class from James Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE. Having had to pull out of yesterday's race seven David and Kirsty Apthorp's J-DREAM was back in the hunt today and a third and fourth place put them into third overall, just one point ahead of MCFLY.

J/109s sailing off start- Vice Commodores Cup- Cowes, EnglandIn the J/109s, William Edwards' FARDONYX and David Richard's JUMPING JELLYFISH battled it out for supremacy with each boat adding a second and a first to their totals. For JUMPING JELLYFISH the hard work paid off with overall victory by a confident twelve-point margin, but FARDONYX had to settle for fifth overall having been unable to compete on the opening day. The battle for second and third was incredibly close with half a dozen boats in contention for a podium place going into the day. Paul James of Jigsaw had held second place on count back from Tony Dickin aboard JUBILEE, but just couldn't seem to find traction in the difficult conditions and after two disastrous results dropped down into sixth. JUBILEE meanwhile played it conservatively taking a third and fifth and put themselves onto the second step of the podium. Thanks to a third place in the final race Steve and Jody Maine's J2EAU snatched third overall, just one point ahead of Andy Johns and David Rolfe's SHADOWFAX.  Thanks for contribution from Fiona Brown.   For more Vice Admiral's Cup sailing information