The Solent is a tricky place to sail, especially when the wind is all over the place. Uber wind shifts postponed the start of the second day of the J/70 UK National Championships, but once the wind direction stabilized, three windward leeward races were hard fought for the 22-strong fleet. Paul Ward’s Eat Sleep J Repeat took a brace of bullets to lead the regatta by two points. Graham Clapp’s Jeepster scored a 1-2-1 to move up to second. Martin Dent’s Jelvis drops to third but is still in with a shot at the title going into the final day.
Eat Sleep J Repeat’s Ruairidh Scott is a World Champion in the J/70, J/80 and J/111 classes, and commented after racing: “It wasn’t easy in a competitive fleet, especially upwind when the chop gets going, it is challenging to keep the speed up. Crew weight, technique and also mast rake has a big influence on performance. This fleet is spirited and upwind there is not a lot in it. However, the first downwind leg today, we were the first boat to go into wing-on-wing, and that got us away.”
Ben Saxton, NACRA 17 World Champion, has been racing in the J/70 Class for four years, Ben is part of Graham Clapp’s crew on Jeepster. “To win in the J/70 Class, you need good teamwork,” commented Saxton. “If you start well and you are quick enough, then you can bring your tactics into play. We are pretty stacked for weight, so quick upwind but not as fast downwind. We have been working on downwind technique and we are getting faster, which shows in the results. We have worked hard to get it right and we passed Eat Sleep upwind today for our win, so that was a good feeling.”
Tales from the Peloton
Patrick Liardet’s Cosmic is currently lying in 12th position with a crew of young talented sailors including; son Freddie, Jack Hanslope and Richard Anderton. On the racecourse and in the results, Cosmic is mixing it with sailors from the Olympics, World Champions and top professional sailors.
“It is the first time we have all sailed together and mixing it up in the fleet has been good fun,” commented Patrick. “This is a very tough fleet with strong sailors, and it’s tremendous. Richard is a World Champion Fireball crew, Freddie is very strong in dinghies and keelboats and Jack is his friend from Uni’ who is a great team racer. The boats are evenly matched, so you are really fighting for every place, all the way down the fleet.”
Racing at the J/70 UK National Championship concludes Sunday 13th September with three races scheduled in The Solent.