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J/133 dominates Sydney-Hobart Race Class!

by J/Boats 10 Jan 2020 23:19 PST
Hartbreaker arrived into Hobart yesterday afternoon with the second surge of yachts in the 2019 Rolex Sydney Hobart © Rolex / Kurt Arrig

Congratulations to Jason Close's Sandringham YC team on the J/133 PATRIOT! They had a remarkable performance in the 2019 ROLEX Sydney-Hobart Race.. winning IRC 5 Class (IRC Overall 9th) and winning ORC 4 Class (ORC Overall 10th).

Jason's team included Lex O'Connor (navigator), Greg Coutts, Jordan Sunkel-Lozel, Stu Shafer, Cathy Furey, Graeme Smith, Pete Chalkley, Brett Averey, Stu Moseley, Andy Mcgrath, and Marissa Chalkley. The crew are members of Sandringham Yacht Club, with four of them having lots of International 14-foot skiff experience.

Clearly, their skiff experiences helped on this fast-reaching race... the J/133 PATRIOT was the only production boat in the top 14 overall; all the rest were flat-out, carbon-fiber racers that were professionally-sailed; TP52s went 1-2-3 (8 total in top 14), and the others were all 62 to 69 feet extreme carbon machines. Not bad company for a 15-year-old boat!

Here is the commentary from owner Jason Close on their race-winning performance:

"Our Rolex Sydney-Hobart campaign started with the Sydney-Gold Coast race in July. We had a good result, placing in both our divisions and we had a good look at our opposition.

Our race plan was to sail at, or as close to, 100% polars for the entire race and leave nothing in the tank.

With our fantastic pre-race routing and forecasting prepared by weather and climate expert Jess Sweeney, we set off confident of a good result.

After a great start, we exited Sydney Heads with two Farr 40s and were at the front of our division.

The first night consisted of some solid downwind sailing, which the J/133 really excelled in, and it enabled us to put a big break on our division and work through boats 2 or 3 divisions higher!

We found ourselves pretty well match-racing with an extremely well-campaigned Cookson 12 named Sail Exchange. We both pushed each other up the fleet and well into the overall IRC contention.

We had a number of challenging navigational decisions around Gabo Heads, with the strong current, in particular. But, we stuck with our pre-race strategy and made some significant inroads on the fleet.

The next night, we saw 20-25 knots of breeze downwind, with a very confused sea state, but the boat cut through it like butter with the assistance of some high-quality helming by the team... the skiff sailors loved it, diving from trough to trough as long as they could!

The next phase of the race was challenging, with many wind transitions to deal with. We managed to keep the boat moving and got through the wind transitions well. Unfortunately, from our perspective, the TP52 carbon racers at the front of the fleet (all the guys that won their class and overall) did not encounter the light weather that we did, so they all put a fair amount of time on us.

Coming into Storm Bay with the Cookson still hot on our tail, we had another light period before catching a decent sea breeze. Thankfully, the moderate sea breeze carried us through to the finish and allowed us to keep our nose in front of our opposition, at least in our class. However, that sequence of light patches, getting becalmed, and waiting for the seabreeze to build cost us a shot at the overall title.

To win both ORCI and IRC in our divisions was what we set out to do, and we were extremely happy we achieved this. Nevertheless, to finish 9th IRC Overall and 10th overall in ORCI in a big boat race against fully professional outfits in our production J/133 was nothing short of remarkable. It was a credit to our great team and our awesome boat! This was one for the little guys!!"

More Rolex Sydney-Hobart Race sailing information here.

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