by Becci Eplett
The International J/70 Sportsboat Class is off to a flying start in the UK, Europe the USA and fifteen countries around the world and the most recent boat has just been delivered to the UK. Visitors to the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show in January will have the opportunity to see the new J/70 at stand E144. The boat on show will be the Spitfire, sponsored by Prolinx Ltd in support of the RAF Benevolent Fund charity and raced by Team RAFBF Spitfire powered by SLAM.
The first J/70 Sportsboat hit the water earlier this year and since then it has developed to become the fastest selling J Boat ever built. There are already fifteen boats sold in the UK, and 160 Worldwide and it's very easy to understand the broad appeal of the boat. The J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing and racing in a boat that is easy to own.
The J/70's 6.1 metre waterline coupled with her high aspect, all carbon mast and boom provides extremely spirited performance with the kind of stability which one would enjoy in a much larger boat. The International J/70 Class has a packed regatta schedule for 2013 and beyond, with class one-design events scheduled in the USA, UK, France and Italy. The J/70 is not just for racing sailors; it will comfortably fit a family of four or five and offers an easy transition from dinghy sailing to keelboats and provides a superb teaching platform for youngsters.
Wing Commander Simon ‘Sling’ Ling one of the owners of Spitfire, the J/70 which will be launched at the London Boat Show, has owned and raced many different keelboats and sportsboats over the years including SB20s, J/109s and J/80s. The J/70 held instant appeal for Simon, so much so that he was amongst the very first UK sailors to trial the boat. Simon's confidence in the J/70 is illustrated by the fact that he has been appointed founder Chairman of the new J/70 UK Class Association. Team Spitfire sail on behalf of the RAF Benevolent Fund.
He explained ‘The boat needed no sales pitch and was very much a product that sold itself. After five minutes and despite test sailing in only 10 knots of wind, we knew that the J/70 was the right boat for us. We are very excited at the prospect of sailing such an exciting boat in a new one-design Class. As a serving officer in the Royal Air Force, I am delighted and proud to continue to support the work of the RAF Benevolent Fund supported by Prolinx.
This year, our relationship with the Fund took on new meaning with the death of one my Sailing Team, Flight Lieutenant ‘H’ Poole. H was tragically killed in an air accident flying an RAF Tornado Jet Fighter just four weeks before he was due to race on board our previous boat, a J/80 (which was also called Spitfire) at Cowes Week 2012. The Fund, who had supported H as a member of my Sailing Team, was there to support H’s family in the aftermath of his tragic death. Such support only reinforces our strong desire to promote the Charity and the wonderful work it undertakes.’
Dean Benton, Director of Marketing and Communications at the RAF Benevolent Fund said ‘We have enjoyed a long standing partnership with Sling and the RAF crew of Team Spitfire who sail in support of the RAF's leading welfare charity. The crew are great advocates for their charity, raising awareness of our welfare work alongside the need for fundraising. The team have had great success previously and have done much to raise our profile and brand, not only within the sailing community but amongst the wider public. The addition of Prolinx Ltd, a long term supporter of the RAFBF and now boat sponsor, can only build on what we have been achieving previously.’
You can see the J/70 Spitfire on stand E144 at the Tullett Prebon London Boat Show from the 12th to 20th of January, but two special events are planned; the first is at midday on Saturday 12th of January and then her official launch will take place on Monday 14th January, also at midday. All are welcome.