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2024 J/70 NSW Championship at the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron

by J70 Australia Class Association 17 Jan 12:37 PST 13-14 January 2024

Conditions were nothing short of thrilling for the 2024 J/70 NSW Championship held at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron last weekend.

Day 1 was sailed in a freshening easterly and glorious sunshine on Sydney Harbour. Day 2 and 3 were overcast with occasional showers and all teams were tested in southerly breezes gusting over 25 knots. Eighteen boats with sailors from 20 clubs around Australia contested the event.

Reg Lord's Juno won the overall scratch series and with their performance improving over the nine races also took out 1st in the performance handicap pointscore. "This was a difficult regatta, with at times strong wind against strong tide, harbour traffic, and rapid shifts in conditions. Crew weight seemed to be crucial: heavy enough for upwind but light enough to plane early and stay on the plane through the lulls. Juno's team of Will Sargent, Paige Caldecoat, and Max Brennan all sailed brilliantly!" said Lord.

Second overall, and 1st Corinthian team was Vamos with Tim Ryan, Jess Grimes, Charlie Gundy and George Richardson.

Third overall was Chris Dare from Sandringham Yacht Club with Lachlan Dare, Ben Lamb and Murray Jones. New to the J/70 fleet this season Chris commented "the racing was extremely close and if you made one small mistake you lost places. But that's the way it should be and why we have decided to join the class. The established teams/boats make less mistakes and the results showed that. Our learning curve is massive at the moment, and we are looking forward to the racing the nationals this week."

Rob Davis, a member at both Sandringham and Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron finished 4th overall. Rob the owner of the Farr 40 Nutcracker, chartered the J/70 Celestial and was never far from the front of the fleet. Crew David Chapman also helped Rob win the inaugural RS21 World Championship raced in Biograd na Moru, Croatia in 2022. Finn Alexander (Australian Sailing Squad) was also onboard this week as well as Jack Acton who is visiting from the UK.

Other teams that won a race and finished in the top five included last year's NSW J/70 State Champion David Doherty, owner and skipper of the TP52 Matador. David chartered the boat Sequel and had onboard with him Steven Thomas, James Corrie and Hamish Hardy. Doherty commented "The main difference I find between the boats is that J70 is a great training ground for the TP. The TP will glide through the shifts & sea state. The J70 makes you become a lot more proactive in dealing with these. The J70 is teaching me to keep a constant heel angle with its faster needed reaction times. The manoeuvrability on the start line has been a big difference, with the TP you really have to commit to what you are doing and not a lot of change can be done. I find the fun factor is much the same without the logistical nightmare."

The first Youth team, with all sailors under the age of 30 was Harrison Sly (skipper), Brandon Demura, Felex Duell and Hayden Brown. The team was also the second placed Corinthian Team. They were sailing one of the three Sandringham Yacht Club owned boats that have come to Sydney for the NSW State and Australian Championships.

Sandringham launched the SYC J70 Sailing Program in October 2023, investing in club owned J/70s with the aim to attract and retain young members at the club, to develop a group of high-quality sailors who can compete nationally and internationally in keelboats and to train young sailors to provide a resource of crew to boat owners. There are 15 young Sandringham members in Sydney this week.

Racing continues on Thursday with the start of the 2024 J/70 Australian Championships.

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