Day five of the J/111 World Championships dawned with a clear sky, low temperature and no gradient wind. The forecast was for five knots at 1030 rising to eight by noon. With two races left to sail and a 1500 prize giving ceremony, in view of the light conditions it seemed likely that at best only one race would be sailed.
Shmokin Joe - Stuart Sawyer and Duncan McDonald J111 World Champions 2014
The overnight leader Shmokin Joe owned by Duncan McDonald and Phil Thomas had a strong enough score that if one or less races were sailed the trophy was going home to Brighton with them.
Whilst Shmokin may have felt safe, second place Tony Mack's McFly were under threat from Frédéric Bouvier and his French team aboard J Lance 9. The French had only come together as a team for the event and had gelled as the series progressed to become the boat of the day on day four, the penultimate day.
Down the fleet there were individual battles to be fought; Stuart Sawyer’s Black Dog from Falmouth in fourth was just half a point clear of Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug from Lymington in fifth. Similarly Jamie Arnell’s Jeez Louise in seventh was just half a point ahead of David and Kirsty Apthorp’s J Dream in eighth.
The Royal Yacht Squadron race team stationed their committee boat to east of the Bramble Bank in the shallow water near Fastnet mark. After two hours of studying a glassy sea, PRO Simon van der Byl took the popular decision to draw the regatta to close. With ten great races completed, no one should feel that they did not have the opportunity to improve their lot.
Thus, following their terrific victory at the J-Cup, Shmokin Joe are the first ever J/111 World Champions! A lavish prizegiving ceremony was conducted on the exclusive platform of the Royal Yacht Squadron. J Boats President Jeff Johnstone thanked the club and volunteers.
The 2015 World Championships will be held in June, in Block Island in the state of Rhode Island on the East Coast of the USA. At a lively owner’s meeting held on Saturday night there was tremendous interest from the European teams in competing at that event. With 112 J/111s built in the last three years, this class has shown that it has a bright future.