Friday, July 26, 2013

J/111 MOJITO Eclipses Hong Kong Offshore

J/111 sailing off Hong Kong, China (Hong Kong, China)- Recently, J/111's have been scoring significant performances in major offshore series around the world.  Michele & Simon Blore, sailing their J/111 #77 MOJITO has found herself in a tough division in Hong Kong's Nautica Typhoon Series 2013, a 9 race mix of windward leewards and islands races, competing in the top IRC group against Sam Chan's TP52, FreeFire; the GTS43 Elektra; two Mills 40 footers Ambush and (ex-Tiamat) Mandrake, and also the Ker 40 Signal 8. Also in the division are three A40's, two First 50's, a Marten 49, an MC38, the X41 Orient Xpress, a Sydney 38 and an all carbon Anteros 36. Here is the Blore's report:

"The top boats are all sailed by the core of Hong Kong's Commodore's Cup teams, plus the odd "Pro" as well, whereas Team MOJITO is still made up from the core of our J/92S team from 2008 to 2012, plus some new friends.

For Race 6 on Sunday, there were 21 IRC B boats on the sportily short start line, and undaunted by the size and speed of the kit all around her, Mojito judged it to perfection with a nose ahead on most of the fleet at the gun. In such a large fleet of bigger boats, getting out in front early was key, and quickly a lane opened up for a tack to port so we could work the right side upwind; a zone that seemed to be getting slightly better pressure all day.

J/111 sailing upwind off Hong Kong, ChinaThe fleet quickly extended with the much faster TP, the Marten, and the "fast 40's" (Signal 8, Elektra, Ambush and Mandrake) all pulling away, but MOJITO just being able to stay in touch. In the 10-13 kts of breeze, MOJITO was on her North 3Di no 2 headsail, and downwind we were changing gears from 145TWA, and tack down, to playing the tack in the puffs and increasing the TWA to 160-165. It helped having one of the crew dedicated to trimming the tack line, in much the same way as playing the pole on a symmetric boat. The high power to weight ratio of the J/111 again proved to be a factor, as slight increases in wind pressure were quickly converted to more speed and depth downwind, and we are still learning how best to maximize this.

On the second upwind, by playing a few shifts and by tweaking in-haulers and trim some more, we lost little ground on the fleet ahead as we continued to work the west side uphill and downhill.

Downwind the J/111 was at times matching the angles of the pole boats, and gaining depth on the Ker 40; and by the end of lap 2 we rounded just a minute or 2 behind the fast 40's, so we knew we were in the mix for a top 3 place. Of the similarly rated boats such as the Anteros and the A40's, we had already opened up a winning margin of a few hundred metres by that time.

On the final lap upwind our pace still seemed to be good against the 6 boats ahead of us (all of whom gave us time), as we continued to cross tacks with the faster McGonaghy MC38.

Another good downwind leg consolidated our race as we sailed an eastward shift out on the now favored starboard gybe, and we finished believing we had a good shot at a podium place, in what is a very competitive and closely matched fleet of the 6 or 7 leading boats. Back at prize-giving we were delighted to hear that we had won the race, beating the TP52 by only 5 seconds on corrected; but a win's a win, and our new J/111 put down another marker in Hong Kong!" Sailing Photo Credits- Guy Nowell/ RHKYC.   For more J/111 one-design offshore speedster sailing information