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2016 Landsail Tyres J-Cup – Fantastic start on Day 1 + Video

by Louay Habib on 9 Jun 2016
Sunshine opener – Day 1 - 2016 Landsail Tyres J-Cup Tim Wright /
Well over 400 sailors enjoyed a fantastic start to the Landsail Tyres J-Cup in partnership with B&G. Despite a forecast of very light winds, an early morning sea fog burnt off, as an easterly breeze of five knots piped up to over 14 knots with bright sunshine by the end of the day. There were three races for all six classes in the Eastern Solent, and with five one design classes and a tight rating band for the IRC Fleet, races were won by seconds with thrilling encounters across the fleet of 66 J-Boats.

J/111 UK National Championship

The eight J/111s enjoyed highly competitive racing on the first day of the regatta, Stuart Sawyer's team from Falmouth, racing Black Dog lead the class, having won two of today's races, just ahead of two Dutch J/111s. Black Dog got off the line well nailing the pin end in the first race of the day, and extended into clear air to take the first race. However in the second race, Black Dog over shot the pin end and turned around to start behind the fleet, but fought back by anticipating a wind shift to take the lead on the last lap. Marco van Driel's Dutch J/111 Sweeny performed well scoring three podium finishes, including a win in the last race to end the day just two points behind Black Dog. Sjaak Haakman's team racing Red Herring, also from the Netherlands, is third after the first day of racing.

J/88 UK National Championship

Gavin Howe's Tigris and David Apthorp's J Dream had a terrific battle at the front of the J/88 fleet. J Dream won the first race, but after three races, Tigris holds a single point lead having won the last two. Richard Cooper's Jongleur had a consistent day to finish third.

Gavin Howe bought Tigris late last year, after racing in the J/70 fleet. “We are pleased with today's results, especially our boat speed. We are quite a heavy crew and when we saw today's forecast was for light winds we thought we might be at a disadvantage. However the wind built during the day, touching over 14 knots by the end. If it is light tomorrow, we may not do as well, so we are taking nothing for granted.”

J/97 UK National Championship

Defending J/97 UK National Champion, Andy Howe's Blackjack II, scored a second and two first today to lead the class. Ole Bettum's Almara B III scored three podium finishes to end the day in second place. Richard Sparrow started the day with a race win, and ended the day in third place, just a point ahead of Rachel and Robert Hunt's Jumblesail 2.

J/109 UK National Championship

Joe Henry's Jolly Jack Tar lead the class after a polished performance in today's three races. Scoring three wins to dominate the first day. Robert Styles Diamond Jem scored well in every race, to take second after the first day's racing. Peter Nicholson's Jubilee finished the day in third.

“This is the first time that this crew has sailed together, we are all serving in the Royal Navy.” commented Joe Henry. “Jolly Jack Tar was third in the J-Cup last year and this time we are here to win it. I don't think we did anything special today, we just tried to avoid mistakes and sail a clean race. Except for a bad start by me in race two, we achieved our goal. After starting late, which was my fault, our heads didn't go down and we managed to read the change in the tide better than others to get back into a winning position.”

J/70 Class

In the 20 strong J/70 fleet, two teams dominated the first day of racing. Calascione and Ripard's Harlequin lead the class by virtue of a 2-2-1 score line, but the Maltese/British team was pushed all the way by Team RAF Benevolent Fund Spitfire. Led by skipper Simon Ling, the team won the first two races today, but placed fifth in the final race to finish the day second in the class.

“Spitfire is quick.” commented Malta's Seb Ripard. “In Malta, we have five J/70s but to come here and race in a big fleet with a lot of well sail boats, is a great way to improve our performance. We are setting our sights on the 2017 J/70 Worlds and the J-Cup is an essential part of our development.”

“The J/70 Worlds in San Francisco is the aim and the J-Cup is a big part of that build up.” commented Spitfire's Simon Ling. “The team have been together for a while now and that really helps, especially with communication and getting our starting routine absolutely right. It was great to have Harlequin right at us today, but there are plenty of boats in this fleet who can win races.”

IRC Class

A mixed fleet of 12 J Boats competed under the IRC Rating System, to produce incredibly close results. Craig Latimer's Scottish team racing J/92 Wildebeest top the leader board after three races but only just. The first race set the standard with Wildebeest tying after time correction with last year's J-Cup winners, Robin Stephenson's J/92S Upstart. Robin's team finished the day just a point behind Wildebeest. Making their UK racing debut, J/112E J Lance, skippered by Didier Le Moal scored a 4-2-1, placing third, only half a point behind Upstart.

After racing, the North Sails U Service team delivered a video racing debrief. Led by Frank Gerber with in put from One Design specialist, Jeremy Smart, and expert keel boat exponent, Dave Lenz. The Royal Southern Regatta Marquee was buzzing with stories of today's racing prior to the J-Cup daily prize giving and sailors' supper. Racing continues tomorrow, Friday 10 June with three races scheduled for all classes.

Watch the video

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