Day One Report - Louay Habib
As if by magic, a solid south westerly breeze kicked in shortly before the start of the first race for the 2020 J/70 UK National Championships. The wind speed rose steadily through the day, piping up to 20 knots in the gusts. The Royal Southern YC Race Team, led by PRO Charlie Stowe, reeled off three excellent windward leeward races for the championship fleet 22 J/70s enjoyed spectacular conditions with close racing right through the fleet.
Three teams are tied on points at the top of the Open Championship leader board: Jelvis leads on countback from Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat and Peters & Calascione's Calypso. Graham Clapp's Jeepster was also a race winner today. In the Corinthian Division, King & Wilson's Soak Racing is top of the chart
Martin Dent's Jelvis is somewhat a family boat, with Martin on the helm and his daughter Ruby at the front, with the two Wetherell brothers, Jack and Henry, mid-boat.
"We are kind of a North Britain boat, the Dents from Scotland and the Wetherells from Yorkshire," smiled Martin Dent. "It was amazing to be out there today, having missed, like everybody else, a summer of sailing. We were blessed with fantastic conditions giving us the full spectrum of J/70 sailing modes from displacement downwind to 'full send'. The class has always provided competitive nip and tuck racing and this year, despite being in the midst of a global pandemic, the UK fleet is getting stronger with some serious new teams. I am sure everybody enjoyed themselves today."
Marshall King & Ian Wilson's Soak Racing is the reigning J/70 Corinthian World Champion and at this regatta, defending the national championship.
"Tactically, we decided that we wanted to win the right and the first two races went well in that respect, but in the last race we had a bad start and paid the price," commented Ian Wilson. "The competition was really good today, and it's great to see new young teams joining the class and going fast, we need them to turn up, and make it worth our while to retire! Spending Friday, away from work, surfing around The Solent at 15 knots was just fantastic!"
Tales from the Peloton
JP Alvarez is racing at the UK J/70 Nationals with a crew all from Argentina. "We have chartered a J/70 from the Royal Thames Yacht Club, and we all work in London," explained JP. "We have never sailed together before as a team, and we knew that this regatta would be a very high standard. We sail at home in the Rio de la Plata, so we know about current, but The Solent is a very tricky place to sail. We really enjoyed today, and we hope to improve during the regatta. During the second race today, one of the crew said look at the boat next to us. I did and it was the world champions! It is great take part in this regatta."
Racing at the J/70 UK National Championship continues Saturday 12th September with three races scheduled in The Solent.