Teams descend upon Cowes for inaugural J/111 World Championships

J/111 fleet sailing off Cowes during J/111 EuroCup
Tim Wright
Teams from across Europe are descending upon Cowes for the inaugural J/111 World Championships. The event will be hosted by the historic Royal Yacht Squadron, with racing taking place from Wednesday 20th until Sunday 24th August.

Twelve races are scheduled across the five days, to give both local and travelling teams maximum opportunity to take the prestigious title. The lineup will almost mimic that of the J/111 Eurocup at Aberdeen Asset Management Cowes Week, which saw thirteen teams vie for the title. The winner of the Eurocup was Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug, securing themselves as favourites for a podium position at the Worlds.

Visiting teams will hopefully have used Cowes Week to gain valuable insight and experience sailing on the challenging waters of the Solent, the spiritual home of British yacht racing. Another frontrunner at the World Championships is likely to be Duncan McDonald’s Shmokin Joe, winner of the J/111 class at the J-Cup.

The French team on J-Lance IX should also be a strong contender. Helm Frédéric Bouvier from J/Composites France (the builder of the J/111), is heading up a young but experienced crew. From the Netherlands contingent Sweeny and Xcentric Ripper have experienced Solent veterans in their teams; especially Robin Verhoef and John van der Starre’s Ripper crew. Sweeny’s duo, Hans Zwijnenburg and Kees van Vliet, have proven they know the waters well, having just come off a top five finish in the J/111 EuroCup. Finally, S. De Liederkerke’s team on Djinn are also past RORC Offshore racing veterans and have well over a dozen years sailing in and out of the Solent. Do not be surprised to see a number of these non-UK teams in the top five!

J/111s flying down the Solent off Cowes
Tim Wright

For the first J/111 Worlds, the fleet will be treated to a wide variety of courses and challenging scenarios. In addition to windward-leeward courses in the Eastern and Western reaches of the Solent, the fleet will also have a long, random-leg day race; the latter resembling what many have already experienced while sailing Cowes Week. The winner will have proven to be a versatile and fast team for having to navigate such a breadth of tactical and strategic scenarios!

The Royal Yacht Squadron have formed a superb schedule of racing and evening entertainment for the competitors, to include a hog roast in the beautiful RYS Pavilion and a lavish final night prizegiving on the exclusive Royal Yacht Squadron Platform. In auspicious and functional symmetry, the 2015 J/111 World Championships will be hosted in the USA by the New York Yacht Club, before returning to the Royal Yacht Squadron in 2016. This established two year rotation of the J/111 World Championship between the premier yacht clubs of the UK and the USA, the Royal Yacht Squadron and the New York Yacht Club, enables owners to make long-term regatta plans based on top flight competition and consistent race management of the highest standard.

For a live blog from the water follow @JUKRacing on Twitter. For more information on the J/111 World Championships 2014, please contact Key Yachting on 02380 455669.