Monday, March 21, 2016

JAMES Takes J/70 NSW State Title

J/70 sailing Australia (Sydney Harbour, Australia)- Eight boats faced the starter for the 2016 NSW Championships hosted by Middle Harbour Yacht Club.  What a sterling effort by the owners and a shame the other 6 x  J/70s from around the country couldn’t make the event.  Racing was in The Sound, close to the heads of beautiful Sydney Harbour - home of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race start - with its unique challenges of swell, shifting winds and heavy on-water traffic.

The growing Sydney Harbour based J/70 fleet was joined by boats from Pittwater (Grasshopper Unit – owned by Stuart), Botany Bay (Infinity – Tony Brauer) and all the way from Melbourne (Javelin – Peter McFarlane).

J/70s AustraliaDay 1
The regatta got underway with James called over the start in the first race and having to restart the race.   The lead changed so many times on the first work nobody could remember who led around the top mark.

James (Tim Ryan) eventually sailed through the fleet to record a win from Grasshopper Unit, skippered by Stuart, which produced lightning downwind speed in relatively light conditions.  Jester, with a new crew skippered by Brent Lawson, sailed through for a well-deserved third spot.

The breeze strengthened to around the 15 knots mark for the second and third races with James winning both races and Jester and Juno (Reg Lord) swapping turns for second place.

Day 2
The second day’s racing started out with around 10 knots of breeze from the NNE again before strengthening to 18 knots for the final 2 races.  These conditions produced some spectacular downwind racing in difficult and choppy swell conditions.

The first race of the day saw Y Knot (Stephen Brady) lead around the first mark before Java (Paul Wood) took over to be first around the bottom mark at the halfway point.  James with Steve McConaghy calling the shots, headed to the right hand side of the course on the second upwind leg to sail through the fleet and held out for a close win.

James won the next 2 races of the day to score a clean sweep of the series but the racing for second and third place was very tight.  Jester scored a third and 2 seconds to take out second place overall.  Reg Lord in Juno scored a sixth and two thirds on the last day to edge out Stephen Brady’s Y Knot on a countback for 3rd.  Y knot had a consistent series with 4 x fourths and 2 x fifth placings.

J/70 James winning team- Sydney, AustraliaSummary
Overall, this fantastic regatta produced some very exciting racing with 5 boats recording placings and 3 different boats leading around the first mark in the series.  The closeness of the racing is demonstrated with only 36 seconds between second and sixth in the second race and 30 seconds between second and fourth in race 6.

The winner benefited from more time on the water as a crew and the experience of finishing 18th at the J/70 World Championship in La Rochelle France in 2015.  The winning crew of Tim Ryan, Steve McConaghy, Adrian Kiely and Narelle Barnes scored a heat win at La Rochelle, but was pushed hard at this regatta, particularly by Jester.  The local fleet is getting up to speed quickly.  Congratulations to all the J/70 skippers and crews for helping to make the 2016 Sydney Harbour Regatta such a spectacular success.