The first day of the J/70 UK National Championship will be remembered for classic sea breeze racing in the Solent. Royal Yacht Squadron PRO, Simon van der Byl, and his dedicated team, set four superb courses. Using the Hill Head Plateau to keep the competitors out of most of the four metre tide, the windward leeward racing produced some spectacular J/70 action.
Whilst the leaders got away into fresh breeze, at just about every mark rounding, the peloton behind were fighting for room.
Defending UK National Champions; Calascione and Ripard, racing Harlequin (RYS) did not win any of today’s races, but their consistency (four – two – two – two) was enough to lead the championship by three points.
“Getting into the top five and staying there, was key today” commented Seb Ripard. “To do that in these conditions you have to plays the shifts well, and not only upwind. Although there are fewer manoeuvres downwind, it is important to stay focused and to gybe on the shifts. We have come here to defend our national title, and that is our main goal, but we are also looking at our speed against the top teams with a view to the Worlds in September. We didn’t sail anywhere near a perfect day, but we are pretty happy with our speed for now.”
an Wilson’s Soak Racing (RSrnYC), won Race Two but finished the day in second place, three points behind the leader.
“More come backs than Lazarus.” laughed Ian Wilson, after his team Soak scored a three – one – three – six today. “The breeze was as expected and we didn’t really change our set up all day. The standard in this fleet has improved massively, especially when you see the likes of Geoff Carveth, Luke Patience, Ben Saxton, and John Pink in the fleet. Simon van der Byl, is one of the best race officers around, and he set some great race courses, which meant there was plenty of opportunities to make a come back, if you played the shifts, and the pressure well.”
Martin Dent’s Jelvis recovered from a poor result in Race One, to win Race Three, and to finish the day in third place ahead of the chasing pack. The intensity of the competition was evident by Jeremy Thorp’s Phan (RSrnYC), failing to make the podium in any race, but finishing the day in fourth. Clive Bush (CYC), is tied on points with defending Corinthian champion, Patrick Liardet (RSrnYC). However, the team from the Chichester Yacht Club won Race One, and is ahead on countback. Jack Davies young team Yeti (RSYC), is in seventh place, and top youth team.
Action at the J/70 UK National Championship continues, Saturday 8th July, with four windward leeward races scheduled in the Solent.
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by Louay Habib