Amusingly enough, the weather gurus were predicting light northerlies dying off to form a seabreeze of a variety most suitable for “Tinker Bell” to fly around in her “Peter Pan” escapades than for sailors to get around the famous island. Yes, it was warm. Yes, it was light, perhaps too light for most people’s liking. Nevertheless, the seabreeze did kick-in a wee-bit late and most teams got around the island in 10 to 12 hours elapsed time. Despite the trying conditions, the enormous armada of J/Teams lived up to the challenge and managed to “win, place & show” in virtually every division they were participants.
The massive fleet started Saturday, June 21st at 0630 hrs on the famous Royal Yacht Squadron line in Cowes; the boats then raced “westabout” (counter-clockwise), to The Needles, round St Catherine's Point and Bembridge Ledge buoy, and back into the Solent to the finish line at Cowes. The race is organized by the Island Sailing Club; with 16,000 sailors and 1,600+ yachts, it ranks amongst the world’s largest yacht races and the fourth largest participation sporting event in the United Kingdom.
The event seems to be a favorite amongst many J/UK Teams, this year counting an enormous armada of 112 J/Teams. In fact, in the primary offshore IRC keelboat classes, ranging from IRC 0 to IRC 3 divisions, J/Boats represented by far the biggest brand in the 367 boat grouping, with 88 teams representing 24.0% of the total! A rather fantastic turnout. In fact, the single largest class of boats in the entire fleet were the 31 J/109s participating in IRC 2 divisions and their strong overall performance was reflected in their standings.
For starters, the huge 52 boat IRC 0 Division saw the J/111 JOURNEYMAKER led by Chris Jones & Louise Makin take 5th while the J/133 JUMP (Ian Dewhirst) took 7th.
In IRC 1A Division, J/Teams took 9 of top 20 positions. The J/133 L’EAU DE LA (Nils Boyer) took 5th along with another J/133 APOLLO 7 (Nigel Passmore) taking 7th, the J/111 J-LANCE 9 (Didier Le Moal) taking 8th and the J/122 MINT JULEP (David Cule) taking 10th. The J/122 JELLYFISH (Ben Few Brown) took 12th with another J/122 JOLOU (Sergey Senchenko) taking 13th. In 16th was the J/111 JITTERBUG (Cornel Riklin), followed by the J/122 JACOBS LADDER (William Avery) in 17th, then the J/111 MUNKENBECK (Alfred Munkenbeck) took 20th.
The newly launched J/88 EAT, SLEEP, J, REPEAT took 2nd in class, a simply fantastic performance considering they were still tuning the rig going to the start at 0630hrs and just launching less than 24 hours earlier. In fact, they missed winning the division by less than 3 1/2 minutes. The other J/88 JONGLEUR took 10th in class.
The next two divisions could be defined as “the J/109 class” as the majority in each were either class-configured boats or IRC configured setups. In IRC 2A Division the J/crews took 11 of the top 20 spots. The J/109 JOUSTER (Adam Wright) was 2nd and BLUE JAY (Alan Bennett) was 3rd, DESIGNSTAR 2 (Roger Phillips) took 5th, TIGH SOLIUS II (Iain Mackinnon) 8th and WHITE KNIGHT 7 (Colonel John Ogden) 9th, JYNNAN TONNYX (Owain Franks and Jean Lockett) 11th, JUMUNU (Julian Sutherland) 12th, JINKS (Chris Brooks) 13th, BONFIRE 4 (Chris Brooks) 14th, the J/39 XTREME (sailed by Stephen Best, Colin Foxley & Spencer Paul) 18th and the J/109 JIGSAW (Chris Andrews of Zig Zag Sailing) 20th.
The IRC 2B Division saw J/Teams sweep the top five positions! Topping them all was the “classic” J/35 BENGAL MAGIC skippered by James Chalmers, followed sequentially by four J/109s- OFFBEAT (David Mcleman), HIGH TENSION (Chris Brooks), J’TAIME (Christopher Palmer), JYBE TALKIN (Chris & Helen Burleigh). The balance of the top 20 was just about a clean sweep with J’s taking 17 of the top 20 positions!
The IRC 2C Division saw the J/105s do well despite the light stuff. KING LOUIE (Fiona & Malcolm Thorpe) took 8th and FLAWLESS J (James Heald) took 9th.
The J/97s and colleagues faired well in IRC Division 2D. ETB TYRES JUST LIKE (Chaz Ivill) took 5th and JASLAN (Brett Lewis & H Hofmann) took 7th. The J/110 SHADES OF BLUE (Ed Holton) took 8th. Then three J/97s finished in sequence, TYREFIX JL (Dave Cobden) 11th, BLACKJACK II (Andy Howe & Annie Kelly) 12th, INDULJENCE (Nick & Adam Munday) 13th. Then J/92 WIZARD (John Greenaway) 14th.
In the ISCRS Division 4B, the J/109 SARDONYX IX (William Edwards) won her class. In ISCRS Division 4D, the J/92s HULLABALOO (Felix Marks) took 2nd in class. In ISCRS Division 5B, the J/100 ALAMARA B II (Ole Bettum) took 1st in class and her sistership J/100 THUNDERSQUALL (Julia James) took 5th in class. In ISCRS Division 6C, the J/24 JUJU (sailed by Quinton Hall, a new boat and first time around island with friends and family in a J/24!) took 2nd in class and her sistership J-RIDER (Roger Ayres) took 8th.
In the J/80 class, it was EXETER-SOLAR.COM (Nigel Skudder with a crack team of 470 class sailors with National, European and World Champion credentials!) 1st, AQUA-J (Patrick Liardet) 2nd and JUMBLESAIL (Robert Hunt) 3rd, J-WIFE (Simon Watson) 4th and WILD WALLY (the trio of Robert Walters, David Walters & James O’Neill) 5th.
In the Sportsboat Class, 8 of top 10 were J/Teams and swept the top five. On a boat-for-boat basis, the J/70s finished 1-2 on elapsed time in 10 hrs 52 minutes for the top boat. On handicap, the J/80 ROYAL 2 (Christopher Hill) took 1st, followed by last year’s winner the J/70 TEAM RAFBF SPITFIRE (Wing Commander Simon Ling), then the J/70 JENGA 8 (Andrew Barraclough) in 3rd, the J/80s ROYAL 1 (Richard Acland) in 4th and ROYAL 4 (James Baxter sailing with two crew members, Gareth Edwards and Douglas Peniston, that are ex-Fireball National Champion crews) in 5th, then the J/70 PURE STUDENT LIVING (Jack & Freddie Davies) in 6th, the J/70 BABY-J (Charlie Esse) next in 7th, and the J/70 WILSON COVERS (Ian Wilson) in 8th. For more Round Island Race sailing information