J/70 – simply the best keelboat racing in the UK
As we near the end of January, your committee has been working hard on bringing the great racing that we have in the J/70 class to a wider group and make it even more diverse and fun.
We’re seriously targeting having 50 boats regularly racing in a few years time to ensure that J/70 racing is the simply the best keelboat racing in the UK.
And of course the international events, including Monaco Winter Series, the Italian Series (in glamorous places like Garda and Punta Ala), annual European Championships and World Championships, go to make the J/70 a brilliant class for those sailors who like to race internationally.
Many of you have thrown in your ideas and we’ve adopted those we think we can make happen this year, and pencilled in some more ideas for next year.
Here’s what we’ve planned for 2022
A great racing schedule
The 7 Grand Slam series events are confirmed, and the notice of race is published. It kicks off on April 9/10 with the Spring Championship weekend, followed three weeks later by a three day regatta in Poole on the first May bank holiday. The series runs through to October and this year there will be an even bigger and boozier dinner and prize giving (if that’s even possible) at the Royal Thames Yacht Club in November.
All the event dates can be found on the class website as well as entry links to most events.
As well as Corinthian and Open titles, we are adding a trophy for the first mixed gender team. So come on ladies, join the fun.
The results of the series will also form the basis of selection for the World Championship in 2023.
More clinics and coaching
Whilst there are some of the best international J/70 teams in the world in the UK fleet, your committee is also keen to provide opportunities for all J/70 teams to develop their skills.
We have a clinic organised for April 2nd and 3rd, run by the legendary Andrew “Dog” Palfrey.
We will also provide a coach on the water during the sprint series racing for aspiring improvers.
And we’ll be introducing a buddy system where the top boats are paired with mid or lower fleet boats and are encouraged to share tips and techniques. Stand by for more information on this.
Easier crew finder
One of the challenges many owners face is finding regular or occasional crew. We are working to make this easier. We already have a well attended whatsapp group for the class, and are also introducing a facebook J/70 crew group to help crews and owners find each other easily.
If you are a youth sailor, or any sailor in fact, that wants to experience the fast and furious racing in the J/70 fleet, why not register as a crew on our facebook crew group.
Banking on Covid 19 not disrupting our events in the same way as the last couple of years, we are working to bring back social events after racing on Saturday afternoons. Our plan is that every Grand Slam event features some sort of after racing social where you can discuss those start lines and layline tacks over a beer or two.
As well as encouraging mixed gender crews in our Grand Slam series, I want to mention the Royal Thames J/70 Women’s Regatta on September 3/4th. The Royal Thames have 6 boats that can be chartered, and there are another 9 boats available from the RYS and Royal Southern YC, so no excuses for the ladies not to get a team and boat together.
Plenty of charter boats
Speaking of charter boats, we are keen to see as many of the 15 club boats sailing at our events as possible. For those who are members of Royal Thames, Royal Southern or Royal Yacht Squadron, why not get a team together and try your hand at the racing. And if you are not a member, join up! These club boats are all really well maintained and since all J/70s go pretty much the same speed, these club boats frequently manage placings at the top of the fleet when well sailed. It’s definitely the best value way to get top flight keelboat racing experience.
For those J/70 teams looking to attend the World Championships in Monaco next October, please be aware that you need to get your petitions in fast to have the best chance of being selected. The International Class will be selecting boats based on the quality of their results so regular class teams will stand a good chance of getting a place. Invites to petitioners should come out around 20th February allowing plenty of time to plan.
New and brokerage boats available
Finally, Hannah has informed me that production of new boats is ramping again after the Covid hiatus, and they also have a few boats coming into their brokerage division.
So if you want to get involved in the best keelboat racing in the UK, contact Hannah at Key Yachting without delay
Marshall KingJ/70 UK Class Captain