Thursday, May 23, 2019

Great Sailing @ RORC Vice Admirals Cup

J/111 sailing on Solent, England
J/122E Wins, J/109s & J/111s Enjoy Tight Class Racing!
(Cowes, England)- The Royal Ocean Racing Club’s annual Vice Admiral’s Cup Regatta was sailed this past weekend on the every capricious Solent.  The fleet was treated to a wide variety of weather conditions, cloudy to sunny, light to breezy, shifty to streaky, and, of course, lots and lots of current off Cowes!  Here is how it all went down over the three-day event for the one-design classes of J/70s, J/109s, and J/111s.

Day One- Light Freaky Friday
The opening day served up light airs, with big shifts and wind reversals that challenged competitors and race officials alike. A quiet morning quickly gave way to an afternoon that started with fast-paced action on both course areas.

The first start was for the J/111 and J/109 classes in a very shifty southwesterly of 10-12 knots that created plenty of tactical challenges in a tight race with a short 0.8 mile windward leg. The fleet strongly favored the committee boat end of the line and the first start was abandoned with 40 seconds to go.

In the restart, the fleet was more spaced out, with Cornel Riklin's J/111 JITTERBUG closest to the pin end of the line. Both Simon Bamford's KESTREL and Joerg Sigg's LALLEKONIG appeared well placed mid-line, but the former was OCS.

It was an intense race for the J/111s, with two laps completed in only 35 minutes, and the first five boats finishing just 69 seconds apart. Joerg Sigg's Swiss LALLEKONIG took victory, 20 seconds ahead of Tony Mack's McFLY, with Cornel Riklin's JITTERBUG third.
J/70s sailing on Solent, England
Day Two- Strong, Shifty Saturday
The second day of racing delivered four short, sharp races that tested the 72 competing boats and hundreds of sailors over a wide range of conditions. It was day of intensely close racing in a very shifty north-northwesterly breeze of mostly 10-15 knots, but with a number of lighter spells and a brief squall that saw gusts above 20 knots.

“Today was really enjoyable, with great racing and good courses set in tricky conditions,” said Christopher Daniel- his J/122e JUNO was leading the Performance 40 class. “It was a big challenge to make sure we stayed in phase with the 20-25 degree wind shifts, but it was champagne sailing. We came ashore with big smiles.”

The J/70 class joined the action for the first time on Saturday, with the fleet enthusiastic to get away. Five boats – Andrew Barraclough’s JENGA 8, David Atkinson’s RASCAL RACING, Patrick Liardet’s COSMIC, Doug Streuth’s DSP and Adam Munday’s OCEAN ROPE – were all called over at the start of the first race.

This left the way open for Paul Ward’s EAT SLEEP J REPEAT to pull out an impressive 10 length lead by the end of the first beat. He was followed by Charlie Thompson’s BRUTUS and “the comeback kids” on Liardet’s COSMIC, even though the latter also lost out through overstanding the first mark. In the end, Ward finished more than a minute ahead of Clive Bush’s DARCEY, while COSMIC took third just four seconds later.

DSP won the second race, but slipped down to 11th in the third race. The fourth and final race of the day saw Darcey take a commanding win, ahead of BRUTUS. In the tightest of finishes, Philip Rees’ BRYN took third place just three seconds later, and DSP fourth, seven seconds later.

The larger yachts sailed in a different course area, further east. The third race of the day saw fast-paced action in its closing stages as a shower swept across the race area. With the wind speed peaking beyond 20 knots the leaders powered to the finish in full planing mode.

The Performance 40 class raced for the first time today. Christopher Daniel’s J/122e JUNO rose to an early overall lead with a second place followed by two wins over the fast King 40s.

Tony Mack’s McFLY asserted near dominance in the J/111 fleet, taking two decisive wins and two second places. The winner of yesterday’s race, Joerg Sigg’s LALLEKONIG took a 30 percent points penalty for an infringement in race 3, and now lies one point behind McFLY in the overall standings.

Competition further down the fleet is equally strong in this class, with Chris Jones’ JOURNEYMAKER II on 14 points, and both Jan Van Berne’s RED HERRING and Cornel Riklin’s JITTERBUG on 15 points going into the final day.

Chris Preston’s J/109 JUBILEE started the day with back-to-back race wins, and took second in the next two.  However, with a discard applied, Simon Perry’s JIRAFFE retained a single point advantage in the overall rankings. Mike Yates’ JAGO also notched up three podium finishes today, but slipped to sixth in the penultimate race and is eight points adrift in third overall.
J/122E sailing on Solent, England
Day 3- Simply Splendid Sunday
Summer sun returned for Sunday’s racing, with bright sun and rising temperatures, but initially without any wind. The committee boats left the dock when the beginnings of a southerly of 2-3 knots sprang up in the central Solent at 1030 hrs. Half an hour later, it had swung into the southeast and increased to 8 knots and the AP flags signaling the postponement came down at 1100.

The Performance 40 class went into the final day with a much tighter leaderboard- Chris Daniel's J/122E JUNO led the class, counting four points from three races, just one point ahead of a King 40.

At the start of the opening race two boats headed off to the right hand side of the course and rounded 1-2, closely followed by Daniel’s J/122E JUNO. By the end of the race, the JUNO team sailed impeccably, crossing the line first and saving her time on the fleet. JUNO took another decisive victory in the final race to win overall 10 points ahead the next boat.

At the start of the day, five boats were still in contention for a podium place in the J/111 fleet. A win in both of today's races sealed Tony Mack's class victory on McFLY, 6.5 points ahead of Sigg's LALLEKONIG. The three-way fight for third was resolved in favor of Chris Jones' JOURNEYMAKER II, thanks to his two second places.
J/109 sailing on Solent off England
Last year's J/109 class winner, Simon Perry's JIRAFFE went into the final day one point ahead of Chris Preston's JUBILEE. Both were neck and neck at the end of the first run of today's first race, with JUBILEE rounding the mark inside JIRAFFE. Both had been late to drop their spinnakers, which were still hoisted to the lower spreaders, as they turned up to windward. JUBILEE was quick to complete the drop, however JIRAFFE had a snag and had slipped to leeward and astern by the time it was sorted.

In a tight finish, that saw more than half the fleet cross the line in just 22 seconds, JIRAFFE recovered to lead by 12 seconds ahead of JUBILEE, with RNSA's JOLLY JACK TAR taking third place five seconds later and David Richard's JUMPING JELLYFISH fourth, just five seconds after that.

JUBILEE won the final race, but JIRAFFE took second, just 19 seconds ahead of John Smart's JUKEBOX. It was enough to seal overall victory for JIRAFFE by one point. A very consistent performance by JUMPING JELLYFISH, with an almost straight run of 4ths, secured third overall, one point ahead of JOLLY JACK TAR.

The J/70 class used the regatta as Round 3 of their 2019 UK J/70 Grand Slam Series. A win in both races today saw Paul Ward's EAT SLEEP J REPEAT cement overall victory ahead of Clive Bush's DARCEY, while reigning Grand Slam Champion, Doug Struth's DSP, was third. All races were decided by a minute or less, with race five going to Ward’s ESJR by just five seconds from DARCEY.

"This was the first time for the J/70s at the Vice Admiral's Cup and the race team did a great job for us, with six exciting races over two days," says Ward. "Onshore at the RORC clubhouse, we enjoyed catching up with the other classes over a few beers and a curry. Thanks to all of the team at RORC for a great event!”  For more RORC Vice Admiral’s Cup sailing information Add to Flipboard Magazine.