Since it’s introduction the event has gone from strength to strength with its simple close racing format and fun social programme making it enjoyable for the competitors. This year there will be eight classes, including the familiar fleet of J/109s, which have become a regular fixture of the regatta in recent years.
The event will once again provide the inshore element for the 2014 GBR Team trials for the British Commodore’s Cup Team as the RYA selectors have chosen the event as its inshore qualification event again this year.
Fifty-one boats have signed on with seventeen of them being members of the “J” Navy, representing one-third of the fleet and by far the dominant brand at the event. In fact, the weather forecast appears favorable for many of the “J” teams participating. An enormous depression is rolling in from the North Atlantic across the northern UK islands all weekend, producing winds of 15-25 kts from the SW-W with showers and squalls on Saturday and Sunday.
In the one-design J/109s, seven teams are vying for selection, amongst them are a remarkable cross-section of past class winners and team members who’ve jumped boats and are ‘hotting up’ other teams. Ladbroke’s Betting Parlour selection on these teams? Impossible to tell based on past and present performances. Nevertheless, you have STALKER (Steven Tapper), JUMPING JELLYFISH (David Richards), JUKEBOX (Chris Copeland), JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks & Jean Lockett), DESIGNSTAR 2 (Roger Phillips), JUBILEE (Tony Dickin) and TIGH SOLIUS II (Iain Mackinnon) all hoping to post “scorched earth” scorelines, like running the table with straight bullets! Not. Nevertheless, the dream of many a team.
The newly ascendant J/111 one-design class has eight incredibly talented teams lined up on the starting line. Like their 109 brethren, the talent aligned onboard each team overcomes any past performances- good, bad or indifferent. Literally, just about every boat has won one or placed in every major UK offshore event over the past two years. Watch this space! As the top teams here may be odds-on favorites for the Europeans and the Worlds held later in the season in the same Solent waters. Who’s the “marked” boat today? After winning the Warsash Spring Series, it must be Chris Jones & Louise Makin on JOURNEYMAKER II, past veterans of the J/105 offshore RORC wars. A talented bunch they are. Nevertheless, perhaps holding some “powder in reserve” are teams like SHMOKIN JOE (Duncan McDonald), J-DREAM (David & Kirsty Apthorp), McFLY (Tony Mack), ICARUS (Andrew Christie & Chris Body), BLACK DOG (Stu Sawyer), JITTERBUG (Cornel Riklin), and JEEZ LOUISE (James Arnell).
In the handicap portion of the event, we find in IRC Class 0 two J/109s competing against a rogues gallery of IRC—optimized competitors from Ker, Corby, Mills, Farr, et al. Nevertheless, aligned against them are two J/109s being sailed in IRC-configuration by well-sailed crews; Richard Sheldon on YEOMAN OF WIGHT and Robert Stiles on DIAMOND JEM. For more Vice Admirals Cup sailing information