J/109 Class – The Story so Far


Engelsmännen är aktiva och har en full kalender för 109-seglarna. Här är en kort uppdatering. Målet är att flyga över för att gasta på något race eller nästa träningsläger…

J/109 Class – The Story so Far

Fun and games for the J/109 Class in 2007 actually commenced well before most boats had even hit the water. On a cold, dark February night earlier this year a number of owners, crew and general ‘J/109 enthusiasts’ congregated at a hotel in Southampton for the first ever J/109 Class Prizegiving and Dinner. Trophies were presented for J/109 successes during 2006 in the Round the Island Race, Cork Week and the Fastnet Race. Much mayhem, merriment and dancing ensued until the small hours and it was agreed that another party would be held towards the end of this year…

In late March a training weekend on the Solent was arranged for the J/109 Class with the great Jim Saltonstall. Visitors from around the UK and Ireland joined forces with local crews to check whether anything could be gleaned from the Master Coach. The simple answer from all concerned was a big ‘yes’. The weekend was deemed a resounding success and there are plans afoot to repeat the event.

The first J/109 one-design event of the year was the Raymarine Warsash Spring Series. 22 boats turned out to brave or enjoy a variety of conditions during this six race series and amongst them a number of new owners. In the end it was the new owners of Johnny Blue II, Bruce Jubb and Jeff Dakin who emerged victorious, three points in front of Will Leonard’s Just William. Third was Jahmali sailed by Mike and Sarah Wallis.

At the Red Funnel Easter Challenge the victorious J/109 from 2006, Andrew Allen’s No Naked Flames, narrowly missed another win at this event by just one point across the series in IRC 2. The team on Beth, under charter to Jeremy Troughton for this event, put in a commendable performance and finished fourth in class.

The J/109 Spring Regatta took place at Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight on what should have been a sunny weekend in May. Instead, it blew dogs off chains all the way up and down the Solent and it rained pretty hard too. Three races of a potential six were sailed in what some described as ‘survival conditions’. Clearly Mike Ewart-Smith’s survival instincts are finely honed because Zelda won the regatta by two points from David McLeman’s Offbeat. John Perry and Philip Smith were third in Firestorm. Special mention should go to Jeremy Christy and the boys in J’Nicket who secured their first ever bullet at this event and went on to win a second!

The 2007 Round the Island Race took place on a variously wet and windy Saturday in June; I say variously because it depended on what time you started and what time you finished as to the way the weather worked for you. It clearly worked well for the team on Johnny Blue II who won IRC Class 2 B.

At Deauville in June sixteen J/109s from the UK and France turned out to compete for the 2007 J/109 EuroCup. The racing was extraordinarily close with seven different boats scoring race wins across the eleven race series. After a monumental battle ultimately it was Matt Boyle and his team on Shiva who took the EuroCup home with them having beaten Firestorm by just one point.

Wondering what to do in July in a non Cork Week year? Well, you go to Dun Laoghaire Week instead:

This was a four day regatta early in July and despite the fact that the weather was…wet and the wind was…unreliable, it was a great J/109 one-design event. There is now a burgeoning J/109 fleet scattered around Ireland and a number of boats in Dublin Bay. Add to this visiting boats from the UK, Wales and Scotland and you have a turnout of fourteen J/109s, the foundations of an Irish Class Association and an Irish National Championship. Oh, and of course there is a good deal of après sail revelling to be done as well. The winner of the Class was Jambo, owned by Nick Fry and Kate Buckingham with 15 points. James Tyrell’s Aquelina (fresh from an outstanding performance in the Dingle Race) was second on 18 points and Dun Laoghaire local boy Chris Power–Smith was third in Rollercoaster, also with just 18 points.

As I write this there are 24 J/109s racing in Class at Skandia Cowes Week 2007 and the Fastnet Race, the 2007 UK Nationals (part of the J-Cup) as well as the JOG and RORC offshore series are still all undecided. Plenty for the J/109 owner to play for it seems?

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