Pros and Corinthians gather for the J/70 UK Nationals

J/70s flying downwind © Paul Wyeth

The 2022 J/70 UK National Championships will take place 30th June – Saturday 2nd July as part of the Key Yachting J-Cup, organised by the Royal Ocean Racing Club. 26 teams are on the current entry list with more expected. Two-thirds of the fleet are completely amateur teams, racing alongside some of the world’s best professional sailors.

Eight windward Leeward races are scheduled over three days of red hot racing in The Solent. The Open and Corinthian UK National Championships will be decided as well as a new perpetual trophy for youth teams. The David Haw Youth Trophy to the top scoring team, where half of the crew are under 25.

J/70 UK Open Class

In superb form this season is Martin Dent’s Jelvis racing with daughter Ruby plus brothers Jack and Henry Wetherell. Jelvis has won all-four of the 2022 Grand Slam Events for the Open Class. 2019 J/70 World Champion Charlie Cumbley and Melges 32 World Champion Elliott Willis will be on Paul Ward’s Eat Sleep J Repeat, winner of the 2019 J/70 Worlds and 2022 Bacardi Cup. Olympic Silver Medallist Luke Patience plus his Rio and Tokyo partner Chris Grube will be on Charles Thompson’s Brutus, which was third at the 2022 Bacardi Cup. Fireball and 49er World Champion Stevie Morrison and double-470 and Melges 32 World Champion Nic Asher, will be racing on Simon Patterson’s Standfast.

The reigning Open UK National Champion, Nick Phillips’ Chaotic will be defending their title, the team come from Parkstone Yacht Club in Poole, including Matt Hardy and Pete McCoy. For the 2022 championship Chaotic will include Chris Draper as one of the crew. Draper is currently the Japan SailGP wing-trimmer, is a former Olympic medallist, America’s Cup helm, and multiple world champion.

“Chris (Draper) is from Poole, so he is a perfect fit for the Chaotic team,” commented Nick Phillips. “We haven’t done a lot of events this season, but we will be defending our National title and then going onto the Europeans and Worlds later in the year, that’s kind of how Chaotic does it really! We are taking nothing for granted, we know we have the right boat and team but Jelvis, Eat Sleep J Repeat and Brutus have been racing a lot and are going really well, it’s going to be amazing, I can’t wait for a good scrap!”

J/70 UK Corinthian Class

The vast majority of the fleet at the J/70 UK National Championships are corinthian teams, with the entire crew categorised as Class One by World Sailing. In form teams this season include Jonathan Calascione’s Calypso with 2019 Corinthian World Champion Marshall King at the helm. The reigning Corinthian UK Champion, which will be defending their title is Doug Struth’s DSP with Tom Mallandine at the helm. Youth teams abound in the J/70 UK Class with the  David Haw Youth Trophy as an additional prize, youth teams include Max Clapp’s Little J, Tim Dickinson’s Jellyfish, Patrick Liardet’s Cosmic, Ian Poynton’s Powder Monkey, Annabelle Body’s Royal Southern Youth Team, and Bethan Matthew’s Royal Thames Academy, which was third overall and top youth team for the 2021 Nationals.

Bethan Matthew’s Royal Thames Academy © Paul Wyeth

“It’s great for the J/70 Class, and the youths and corinthians among it, to sail with all the superstars,” commented DSP’s Doug Struth. “This brings our game up but make no mistake the racing is competitive right through the fleet. From front to the back, there are battles making the racing exciting for everyone. Calypso is having a good season and have probably had a bit more boat time than us. However, it’s close racing among a whole group of teams, everyone has their chances, and it will be very difficult for DSP to retain the Corinthian Trophy. It is also admirable to see youth sailors flipping into the J/70 Class from high performance dinghies, something that the class actively encourages.”