A Dramatic Finale to the J-Cup 2013


By Louay Habib

With gusts close to 20 knots ripping through the race area in Plymouth Sound, the final day of the J-Cup 2013 In Partnership With B&G, produced some ballistic action for 47 examples of the J-Boats range. Hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club, the J-Cup is the venue for the Lifedge J/109 UK National Championship and the 2013 edition produced the closest finish in the 10 year history of the event.

In IRC One, Jamie Arnell's J/111, Jeez-Louise finished the regatta in style, winning the last race to take the class title from Tony Mack's, J/111, McFly. Jackie and Robert Dobson's J/133, Jeronimo revelled in the big breeze winning race seven and finished third in class.

In the J/70 Class, Ruairidh Scott's J/70 North Sails conducted a master class of sportsboat racing, winning the class with straight bullets and a race to spare. However, it was a highly rewarding experience for the entire J/70 Class as the North Sails team were happy to share their knowledge dockside after racing. Nigel Passmore's Apollo 6 finished second and the young team on Mike Flood's J7t won the last race of the day to secure third for the regatta.

In IRC Two Stuart Sawyer's Cornish team on J/97, Black Dog were unstoppable all week, scoring seven wins out of eight races. Victories in both IRC Two and the Lombard UK National Championship, made them deserving winners of the coveted J-Cup overall winner’s trophy, to enthusiastic applause by all involved. “A lot of effort has gone into preparing the boat and the crew for this regatta and all of that hard work has paid off.” Smiled Stuart. “There are some great regattas in the West Country but this is by far the most competitive regatta we have raced this season and we had to be at the very top of our game to win it.”

Chaz Ivill's J/97, ETB TYRES Jiggery Pokery was second in IRC 2 with Andy Howe's J/92, BlackJack in third.

In an extremely close J/105 class, just four points separated the top three boats at the end of racing on Friday. A win for Chris Jones’ Journeymaker in the final race, their third bullet of the regatta, was not enough to beat Andy Robert’s Jin & Tonic, who never placed outside of the top two throughout the three days.

You couldn't have written the for the dramatic conclusion of the Lifedge J/109 UK National Championship. Going into the last day, six yachts had a chance of becoming national champion and after the final race, the top four yachts were separated by a single point. In the penultimate race, David Richards' Jumping Jellyfish was leading by a handsome margin but hit a top mark and lost seven places, whilst performing their turns. Todd Well's Je Vante went on to win the race to stake a claim for the title and everything hung on the final race. A general recall, had the race officer hoisting the Black Flag for the restart and you could feel the tension mounting.

In the last race, Iain Mackinnon's Tigh Solius II was over at the start and was disqualified and later in the race, Je Vante caught a spinnaker sheet around their prop, slowing their speed but even more drama was to follow. Tony Dickin's Jubilee led the race but David Rolfe's Shadowfax and Jumping Jellyfish were not far behind. It was too complex a picture to work out on the race course, as the leading yachts concentrated on boat speed to get through the finish line right outside the Royal Western.

Jumping Jellyfish hoisted a spinnaker in a last desperate throw of the dice to win the race but Jubilee took the gun, by just one second. It was sometime before Shadowfax crossed the line in eighth but after doing the mathematics, Shadowfax was declared Lifedge J/109 UK National Champions on count back. Literally one second had decided the result after three days of intense racing.

David Rolfe was too shell-shocked to speak about the win but having been thrown in the marina by his crew he managed to stutter. “I really can't believe we've done it, we are all great friends that have sailed with each other for years and this is by far the greatest moment in all that time, thank you to the organisers and all of the competitors for making this such a fantastic regatta.”

The official prize giving was held at the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth with a fine buffet supper celebrating the 2013 J-Cup In Partnership With B&G. Surrounded by the UK's biggest collection of marine life, the regatta came to a close and the organisers are not aware of anyone ending up in the shark pool.

The vast collection of photos from photographer Tim Wright can be found at www.photoaction.com.

The organisers would like to thank the principle sponsors of the regatta; B&G, Fusion, North Sails, Fastnet, and Grapefruit Graphics. Thanks also to our supporting sponsors SLAM, Peters & May, Lombard, RS Divers, Ocean Safety, Lifedge and Harken.

The J-Cup 2014 will take place in Hamble 24th – 26th July.


25/8/2013 23:04


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