Tuesday, August 20, 2013

J/Teams Love Champagne Sailing At Cowes Race Week!

J/80 one-design- sailing Cowes WeekChris Taylor's J/80 Sweeps "Under 25", "Youngest Skipper" & J/80 Class Awards!
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- As Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week 2013 drew to a close on Saturday evening, organisers Cowes Week Limited (CWL) reflected on another highly successful regatta which saw an increase in overall entry and visitor numbers, plus online interaction figures which already surpass the totals seen for the whole of 2012.

With the exception of a forced lay-day on Tuesday 6 August, the conditions provided some champagne sailing throughout the Week and at the overall prize-giving on Saturday evening, there were many happy faces. Stuart Quarrie, CEO of Cowes Week Limited commented: “It’s been a fantastic, very rewarding week. The weather Gods have been smiling on us and it’s a testament to the huge efforts of our entire team that this year’s regatta has been so successful”.

J/80 finishing off Royal Yacht Squadron's famous Cowes finish lineMartin Gilbert, CEO of title sponsor, Aberdeen Asset Management, added: “There was a terrific buzz around this year’s event and there was a tremendously exciting atmosphere. Our guests all had a great time and it felt like the event achieved even more positive press coverage than in previous years. We’re all tired but happy after the week, it couldn’t have gone any better.”

The number of crews participating in the Aberdeen Asset Management Under 25 Trophy grew significantly following the introduction of the youth initiative by Aberdeen in 2012 and over twenty boats raced for the Trophy this year. The crew of Under 25 year-olds racing the J/80 J.A.T claimed glory at the end of the Week and were second in the Young Skipper's Trophy-- plus skipper Chris Taylor also won the J/80 series!

Five J One-Design classes participated in this year's Cowes Race Week (J/70, J/80, J/105, J/109, J/111), a record number of fleets for any sailboat brand by a significant margin and in six of the nine IRC handicap racing and cruising classes, J/Teams placed several teams in the top ten plus winning two of them.

J/109s sailing on Solent during Cowes WeekWith widely varying starting times that produce somewhat juggled results from an overall fleet standpoint (e.g. different winds and much, much different current conditions), several J Teams sailed well enough to place in the top five in IRC Black Group Overall!  Taking 2nd was Charles Ivill's J/97 ETB TYRES JIGGERY POKERY sailing in IRC 6 class and lying in 4th overall was Jonathan Calascione and Jonnie Goodwin's J/109 HARLEQUIN sailing in the J/109 class.  Scores for this are somewhat subjective as it's based on actual race scores plus a "fleet factor" thrown in for how large & competitive your fleet was relative to others.

J/109 Aberdeen Asset Management sailing Cowes Race WeekThe IRC classes saw good performances posted by a number of J's.  Starting with IRC 3 class, taking 6th in class was Yves Grosjean's French team sailing their J/133 JIVARO-- using the regatta as practice and a "warm-up" for the impending RORC Rolex Fastnet Race.  In a somewhat similar scenario were the top two J teams in IRC 4 class-- with both sailing Cowes Week and the Fastnet Race.  Taking 3rd was the J/120 RHAPSODIE V sailed by Jean Jacques Godet and finishing 6th was the J/35 BENGAL MAGIC skippered by James Chalmers (the recent IRC UK Nationals Champion).

In IRC 5 class, taking 6th was J/97 INDULJENCE (Nick & Adam Munday), in 7th was the J/105 KING LOUIE (Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe) and 9th was the J/105 JIN & TONIC (Charles Nicholson and Neil McGrigor).

IRC 6 class saw an awesome performance by Charles Ivill's J/97 ETB TYRES JIGGERY POKERY, handily taking first in class and 2nd overall in Black Fleet.  Not far off the pace in 4th was the J/92 J'RONIMO skippered by David Greenhalgh.

The IRC 7 class saw a "classic J/24" take on all the newcomers in the field and in the end, William Lack's team sailed VINYL SOLUTIONS to a respectable 5th in class.

Not to be outdone by their race-oriented colleagues, the enormous Cruiser Division A saw long-time J/122 owner- Peter Bainbridge- sail SKY HUNTER II to yet another Cowes Week class win-- adding a bit more silverware to their already overloaded "pickle dish" collection!

J/70 one-designs sailing upwind at Cowes Race WeekIn the world of one-design sailing, the J/70s sailed a novel "short series" from Saturday to Tuesday, sailing two races per day, then for those who stayed for the duration of the week, an overall J/70 series winner was declared as well.  In the nine boat J/70 class, it was TEAM RAF SPITFIRE led by Wing Commander Simon Ling that took the overall series trophy.  Following them was JUGADOR skippered by Jack Davies in second and in third was  WILSON COVERS sailed by Ian Wilson.  The balance of the top five was NORTH SAILS (Ruairidh Scott) and DJANGO (Malcolm Jaques), 4th & 5th respectively.

J/80 one-designs sailing off CowesThe J/80 class had a wonderful turnout of sixteen boats, one of their best fleet showings in Cowes Race Week for some time.  Not just winning the Young Skippers and Under 25s Award, but also the J/80 series award was Chris Taylor on J.A.T.-- congratulations, good show young chaps! Most remarkably, they won in grand style by winning four of six races! Just behind them in second place counting finishes of four 2nds and a 1st was DOOLALLI sailed by Colin Simonds and Family.  Third was Jamie Diamond's RASCAL, fourth was SEAFIRE (Ben Richards & Andrew Dallas) and fifth was JUICY (Donald Suter).

The J/80 Modified class (the fleet of J/80s used by the Royal Yacht Squadron and Royal Thames YC members) had fun sailing all over the Solent.  Taking the top honors was the yacht DARWIN PROPERTY sailed by Charlie Esse with 11 pts net.  Second was the yacht ROYAL JUAN skippered by Christopher Hill with 17 pts and in third was the yacht ROYAL 3 helmed by Christopher Daniel with 19 pts net.

With seven boats, the J/105s enjoyed some spirited racing and a past class winner again rose to the top to take class honors.  Winning three of the six races was Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe's beautiful navy blue KING LOUIE, netting 10 pts in the end to win class.  Never far off the pace and well within striking distance to the end was Charles Nicholson and Neil McGrigor's JIN & TONIC, taking second overall with 13 pts.  Were it not for bungling the last race, Chris Jones's JOURNEYMAKER 5 might have snagged the silver instead of the bronze in class.  Finally, taking fourth was JACANA (Paul Wood) and fifth was JOS OF HAMBLE sailed by the honourable Professor Roger Williams.

J/109 Aberdeen Asset Management- sailing Cowes Race WeekThe J/109s managed to field by far the largest offshore keelboat class for Cowes Race Week, with twenty-five boats blasting off the Royal Yacht Squadron starting line each day.  To say the start was somewhat important with 25 race-horses raring to go would be a mild understatement!  Showing them all how it's done was the dynamic duo of Jonathan Calascione and Jonnie Goodwin, sailing the living daylights out of their steed- HARLEQUIN- to take four 1sts in six races (7 net pts!), winning the regatta by a bit of a country furlong!  Sailing as consistently but not able to crack HARLEQUIN's dominating performance was Ross Walker's JUNO, posting all seconds and thirds to take the silver with 11 pts net.  Third to eight positions was quite the horse race with the final standings determined by the last two races with less than 12 pts separating all five boats; creating enormous anxiety for the tacticians as just about each team posted scores that looked like the child's game of "Chutes & Ladders".  Hanging on for third was Tor Mclaren's INSPARA with 26 pts, followed in fourth by JOULE (Arjen van Leeuwen) from the Netherlands with 29 pts and in fifth was JET sailed by the duet of Christopher Sharples & Richard Acland with 30 pts.

Racing in the nine boat J/111 was extremely tight for most of the series with just twelve points separating the top five in the end.  Some boats started strong but had a few niggles to deal with in their scores, others started slow and closed with a flourish of good races.  Sailing the most consistently and avoiding any enormous pitfalls was James Arnell's JEEZ LOUISE, posting a 1-2-3-1-1-4 tally for 8 pts net to take class honors.  Sailing quite fast but dealing with a few niggles was Duncan McDonald's SHMOKIN JOE, bobbing and weaving to a 2-1-5-3-4-1 record for 11 pts net to snare second overall.  Starting out quite slowly, but clearly finding a second or third gear for the last four races was TOE IN THE WATER led by Capt Lloyd Hamilton MBE. TOE's 8-7-4-2-2-2 scoreline for 17 pts net was just enough for them to win the tie-breaker for third overall.  Losing the tie-break was past champion J-DREAM sailed by David & Kirsty Apthorp, posting a 4-4-2-4-3-5 tally for 17 pts net.  Also starting fast but having a tough go of it for the last three races was Tony Mack's MCFLY, having to settle for fifth with a 3-3-1-10-7-6 record for 20 pts net.  Sailing photo credits- Rick Tomlinson    For more Cowes Week sailing information