by Gemma Dunn
Competitors are gearing up for an exciting J-Cup 2013 in partnership with B&G, scheduled to take place in Plymouth this week.
The event returns to the Royal Western Yacht Club in Queen Anne’s Battery Marina for the first time in six years, and comprises the Lombard J/97 UK National Championships and the Lifedge J/109 UK National Championships. The J/105s, J/70s and J/111s will be racing one design, the latter two classes building on the momentum of racing one design at Cowes Week this month, a first for both boats. The remainder of the fleet will race in mixed IRC J Boat classes.
Racing starts on Thursday 22nd August and nowhere will the competition be hotter than at the Lifedge UK J/109 National Championships, which currently has an impressive twenty-one entries. A number of the J/109s who finished the Rolex Fastnet race towards the end of last week will undoubtedly have used the weekend to recharge and regroup ahead of their UK Nationals at the J-Cup. It was the team on Steven Tapper’s Stalker who finished at the top of the podium in 2012, never having to count a score outside the top seven across the eight races sailed. Jonathan Calascione and Johnnie Goodwin’s Harlequin took silver, Mike and Sarah Wallis took the bronze in Jahmali, Paul Griffith’s Jagerbomb was fourth overall and Tony Dicken’s Jubilee finished fifth.
The Lombard J/97 UK National Championships will no doubt see some fine sailing, particularly as the J/97 is enjoying a strong run of national successes so far this year. Fresh from winning the title of overall winner at the Scottish Series, Iain Laidlaw’s J/97 Jaywalker has now been awarded best performance at West Highland Yachting Week, an event which attracted 100 boats. 2013 marks the third successive year a J/97 has won the Scottish Series title, with sisterships also securing class wins recently at Plymouth Race Week, the IRC Nationals, Cowes Week and Falmouth Week.
The J/111 Class has five boats racing on a level rating basis at the J-Cup this year, three of which enjoyed champagne sailing conditions in the J/111 Class at Cowes Week. David and Kirsty Apthorp’s J-Dream will be fighting off the competition to retain their title from 2012.
In usual J-Cup style we’re set for a massive event: six classes, eight races inside and out of the breakwater, two National Championships, an anticipated 50 boat entry, 400 sailors, live entertainment every night, fantastic sponsor support from B&G and Fusion, prizes galore including North Sails daily prizes, vouchers from Lifedge, RS Divers and Grapefruit Graphics, bags and clothing from SLAM, Lombard and Harken, plus extra goodies from Peters & May and Ocean Safety, and of course the infamous J-Cup Prizegiving Party on the final Saturday, this year to be held at the spectacular National Marine Aquarium, where the winners will be presented with some beautiful locally made trophies sponsored by Fastnet Insurance. A live blog from the race-track can be found at the event website.
Title sponsor B&G will also be providing some special prizes on the final night. Alan Davis, Product Line Director for B&G said: 'We are delighted to be supporting the J-Cup 2013, it promises to offer fast and exciting racing, and is one of the highlights of the UK racing calendar. The B&G team is particularly looking forward to meeting the competitors, working with Key Yachting and being an integral part of this fantastic regatta.'