Wednesday, June 12, 2013

J/80's Love Round Island Race!

J/80 one-design sailboats going past Isle of Wight in Round Island Race
(Cowes, Isle of Wight, England)- Saturday 1st of June was certainly a day to remember, a day of highs, and more highs and, it was a day for Round the Island Race records to tumble.  It was the day when Great Britain's most successful Olympic sailor, Sir Ben Ainslie (past J/24, J/80 and J/109 sailor/tactician) and his all-British crew aboard JP Morgan BAR, trounced the existing Round the Island Race multihull record, held for 12 years, by an impressive 16 minutes.  Equalling this awesome, impressive feat was Simon Ling's team aboard the J/70 SPITFIRE, just blowing away their 15 boat Sportboat Class by 15 minutes on corrected time and were declared winner of the prestigious Sir Edward Heath Trophy (named after a former British Prime Minister who dearly loved sailing).

J/70 PHEEBS view of the Solent at dawn on JP Morgan Asset Management Round Island RaceAs dawn broke over the Solent, a weak weather front was clearing away to the east, leaving clear skies and a northerly airflow in its wake. The wind strength peaked at 17-22 knots as the front passed over, reducing to 13-17 knots for the first starters. It was clear it was going to be a day to break records for all kinds of boats, especially with flat water and a good wind angle on every leg of the course.  A critical turning point in the race, St Catherine's Point, had a comfortable 15 kts with occasional gusts to 20-25 kts to make for fast surfing or planing for the lighter boats. It was nearly idyllic sailing conditions for the massive 1,500 boat fleet. However, by the time the leading sportsboats were approaching Bembridge Ledge at 1030 hrs there were holes appearing in the breeze, with just 5-6 knots reported in places. Otherwise, conditions remain glorious on the water, with almost unbroken sun now warming the 15,000 sailors after a cold start to the day.

The fourteen boat IRC Sportsboat class saw very, very fast sailing.  A string of Royal Yacht Squadron/ Royal Thames YC J/80 one-designs sailed with ROYAL 1 taking 4th, ROYAL 5 in 6th, ROYAL 2 in 7th and ROYAL 3 in 9th.

 The eleven boat J/80 one-design class was a closely fought affair with the top five finishing within four minutes of each other on elapsed time after 50nm of sailing!  The winner by 30 seconds was J.A.T, followed by SURF & TURF in 2nd, WILD WALLY in 3rd, ROCK & ROLL in 4th and JASMINE in 5th.  Sailing photo credits- Paul Wyeth @  For more Round The Island Race sailing information