by Louay Habib
A building sea breeze, topping out at 15 knots provided near perfect conditions for the first day of racing at the J-Cup 2013 In Partnership With B&G. Hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, 49 examples of the J-Boat range were sparkling in the sunshine.
J-Cup 2013, Plymouth
Over 300 sailors competed in race races, inside and outside of the Plymouth Breakwater. With several one designs taking to the race course, there was plenty of thrilling boat on boat action.
The J/109 UK National Championship got off to a cracking start with some close encounters especially at mark roundings. Tony Dickin’s J/109 Jubilee came out on top of the 21-yacht fleet. After four races, Jubilee leads the class by just two points from Iain MacKinnon's Tigh Soluis II. David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish is just a point behind in third.
'The starts were absolutely the most important part of the day.' highlighted Jubilee's skipper, Tony Dickin. 'Our goal is to win and become national champions but this is a great fleet and we have only had one day of racing; there is plenty more to come. We picked up a fifth in the first race trying to fight for the Committee Boat end but after that we really just concentrated on getting into clear air and our results were much better because of that. The courses were good especially the course length, we loved the windward leewards but the last race, with the line right in front of the Royal Western, was a great way to finish a fantastic day on the water.'
Led Zeppelin fan, Stuart Sawyer, owner driver of J/97 Black Dog, finished the day as top dog in IRC 2. The team from Cornwall must have been covered in pixie dust today, scoring four straight bullets.
'We all live near Falmouth and sail out of the Helford Sailing Club and the standard of the competition at the event is first class but we did a lot of things right today. In the last race, we made a big call, changing to the A3, as we approached the Plymouth Breakwater. We were right on the edge but we managed to carry it all the way and we really stretched our legs. It was a cracking day, proper champagne sailing.'
Black Dog leads IRC 2 after four races with Chaz Ivill’s J/97, Jiggery Pokery in second and Andy Howe's J/92, Blackjack is thirTony Mack's McFly produced the goods today, scoring three bullets in the J/111 fleet but Jamie Arnell's J/111, Jeez-Louise, which won the J/111 Class at Cowes Week, leads IRC 1 at the J-Cup.
'We weren't very consistent today but we were bloody determined and we made up very well from poor positions, especially downwind.' said Jamie Arnell. 'The crew work today was excellent, typified by the penultimate mark in the last race. It was a spinnaker drop to harden up with a lot of tide and the manoeuvre went like clockwork, super-fast, that gave us that few vital seconds but tomorrow we will need to improve if we are to succeed. Well done to Tony (Mack), he has had a bit of bad luck at Cowes Week and the European Championship, so it was great to see him score so well today.'
Ruairidh Scott, skipper of J/70, North Sails knows a thing or two about sportsboats. The Scot is a former J/80 World Champion and three time 1720 European champion. J/70 North Sails swept the board today, scoring four bullets. Plymouth local, Nigel Passmore, is second and Mike Flood is in third position but the day belonged to Ruairidh Scott and a crack crew of Ben Field, Matt Curthoys, and Stuart Miller.
'It was a tricky day with a big range in wind speed and tuning the rig was made more difficult because of that.' Commented Ruairidh Scott. 'We started the day below our base setting (eight knots) and by the second race there were times when we should have had a stiffer setting but I always like to set the rig for the wind at the start. In one design racing, getting off the line in good shape is the key, it is easier to defend a lead than try and catch up and pass a competitor later in the race. The J/70 is a great little boat; simple but rewarding and compared to similar boats, the good thing about a J/70 is that it goes upwind quite nicely. The single spreader carbon rig is great for tuning but it is also forgiving as it is a stiff spar, so if you do get stuck on slightly the wrong setting the rig isn't going to break.'
Racing continues at the J-Cup with three races scheduled for Friday.