The J/70 UK Grand Slam Series is off and running with seven windward leeward races over two days of tight racing right through the 16-boat J/70 fleet. The Warsash Spring Championships was the venue, expertly hosted by the Warsash Sailing Club. There was close racing right through the J/70s with highly competitive starts, mark rounding and plenty of duels from front to back.
Martin Dent’s Jelvis scored no worse than a fourth place to win Grand Slam #1 in the Open Class by three points from Charles Thompson’s Brutus, helmed by Sam Carter. Doug Struth’s DSP, helmed by Tom Mallindine, was the winner of the Corinthian Class by a single point from Johnathon Calascione’s Calypso with Marshall King driving.
J/70 UK Grand Slam Round 1 – Full Results: HERE
Jelvis and Brutus were level on points going into the last race, Jelvis won Race 7 to clinch the championship. Jelvis is very much a family boat with Martin Dent driving, daughter Ruby on the bow and the Wetherell brothers Jack and Henry on trim.
“Well, that was yet another weekend of absolutely sick racing and no doubt that the best racing in the Solent was in the J/70s,” commented Martin Dent. “Warsash Race Committee gave us 7 excellent races, courses and start lines were just as good. The J/70 Class is getting stronger every year, with new teams joining and with the standard of all teams rising, making the races nip and tuck all the way to the end. We went into the final race level points with Brutus and had to get everything right to beat them. Jelvis team has been working hard for a few years now, and so to get the win this weekend was just reward.”
Charles Thompson’s Brutus commented. “We got a bad start in the last race and that is all it takes in this fleet; we were 13th at the top mark and had to fight tooth and nail to get back up to fourth. The Grand Slam Series decides which teams will qualify for the 2024 J/70 World Championships, and the only other route in is top five at the 2022 Europeans. It is such a competitive class to race in, and well done Jelvis, but may the best team win the next round!”
At the start of the second day of the regatta, Doug Struth’s DSP was level on points with Calypso. DSP had a shocker in Race 5 this morning scoring a 10th. However, DSP fought back to overhaul Calypso in the very last race to win the Corinthian Class by a single point and place third in the Open Class.
“Really close racing, especially with Calypso, and there were battles going on right through the fleet,” commented Doug Struth. “The DSP team have been training prior to the regatta with Elliott Willis, and also the J/70 Training Regatta last weekend. It really helped to get us off to a great start, and I am looking forward to the next one!”
Third in the Corinthian Class was Max Clapp’s Jeepster, the team are all 25 and under. L-R Horatio Sykes, Miles Jones, Max Clapp, and Mathieu Cadei.
“On the first day we had to retire from the second race, as we lost the kite halyard up the rig,” admitted Max Clapp. “We lowered the main and used that halyard to put Mathieu up the rig, to get us racing. We are a young team that has really only just come together, so we have a lot to learn but we are delighted with the result from this regatta, and we hope to improve for the next one.” The J/70 UK Grand Slam Series continues outside The Solent with Round 2 as part of International Paint Poole Regatta, April 30th to May 2nd.