Thursday, September 20, 2012

J2X Wins J/80 UK Nationals

J/80 J2X sailing team- winners of J/80 UK Nationals(Hamble, England)-  Following on from the very successful J/80 World Championship held in Dartmouth this June, the J/80 fleet returned to the Solent on the weekend of the 8th September for the The MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 National Championship. Hosted by Hamble’s Royal Southern Yacht Club, the event was included in the final weekend of their summer series. Sponsors MIQ Logistics, SLAM clothing and Coast Graphics continued their support from the World Championship.

The fleet of 27 boats was just one less than the previous highest total for the UK Championship. There was a very broad speed of ages competing, from the hugely experienced senior statesmen through to a handful of boats being sailed by students and other young teams. The generosity of owners who had loaned their boats had facilitated this.

J/80s racing off Hamble on SolentDay one dawned with a lack of wind in the morning increasing to 8-10 knots in the afternoon.  Race officer Dermod O’Malley made the wise decision to postpone ashore for two hours.  The program got under way just before 1pm in a 6-8 easterly, in flat water conditions and warm sunshine. The hottest helm on day one was Rob Larke sailing J2X. Rob and his team achieved a perfect score of three bullets which converted into a six point overnight lead. Second best for the day was Nick Haigh sailing Slightly Steamy, a  very tidy two seconds and a fifth were the proof that Nick’s transition from his last boat, a 46 footer, had been a success.  The late start, combined with a breeze that softened as the ebb tide increased, saw the third race shortened and the fleet sent home at 5 o’clock. Allan Higgs’s Juicy completed the podium on the first day.

Saturday night saw the liveliest of the fleet mixing with the rest of the Royal Southern Yacht Club’s September regatta sailors, at the appropriately titled "Best of the Eighties Party".

A further three races were scheduled for Sunday. With the easterly breeze once again established, the program got under way on time and finally saw J2 X beaten as Stuart Hawthorn’s J’ai Deux Amours struck gold in race four. Second was Mark Baskerville’s Mistral, third place went to Jon Powell’s Betty.  The race team now signalled a postponement prior to race five, the easterly was waning and intelligence from the West of the race course indicated a new weather system was about to arrive.  Sure enough after an hour a nice South Westerly of 10 knots kicked in, which built to a solid 20 throughout the afternoon. Race five saw the fleet in full planing mode and if this was to be the last big event of the summer it truly was a great day to remember. Rob Larke managed to claw back the lead from Patrick Liardet’s Aqua J to score his fourth bullet. Aqua J followed home in second with Mark Lees’ in third.  In the sixth and final race J2X achieved an incredible fifth bullet. took second and J.A.T took their second bronze of the weekend.

At the prize-giving, Rob Larke’s J2X was crowned the MIQ Logistics 2012 J/80 National Champion. Nick Haigh’s Slightly Steamy took a very solid second, Jon Powell’s Betty was third. A stellar performance from the team of 420 sailors on Chris Taylor’s J.A.T saw them sweep fourth.

Next year the National Championship is bound for England ’s East Coast for the first time in the class’ 15 year history. The 2012 J/80 World Championship will be held in Marseille, France in June with a forecast 150 boat entry, this will eclipse the previous record of 131 in Santander, Spain!  For more J/80 UK Nationals sailing information