J70 Regatta Weekend (20th & 21st August)

j70 20-21Aug22

Saturday 20th August

A busy weekend with the annual J70 Regatta dovetailing in with the Redwing and One-Design racing. Timed so that the home keelboats started first, ten Redwings and four One-Designs made their way to the start area mid-way between Janson & Fitzwilliam. Designed to keep clear of the J70s, their course took them to Garland, then Moreton (two and a half times) before switching to twice round a loop between Moreton and Hello Sailor! And to all accounts it turned out to be pretty spot on with some challenging beats and interesting runs.

Redwing (Olav Cole) and Avocet (Mike MacInnes) overcooked it at the start and were well over the line; both came back but then of course had to play catch up.

Redwing start: https://youtu.be/7IaRInqHxG8

Mark Downer in Enigma rounded Garland first and despite best efforts in particular by Joe Robertson in Red Gauntlet II and Rory Morrison in Paraquet, remained out in front for the rest of the race. The four One-Designs were set the same course, however were shortened at Hello Sailor! after the first beat in from Moreton. Close racing for the front two with Penny Stanley in No 9 finishing ahead of D Orange in No 12. Martin Bonham was third in No 2 and John Suffield in No 4 was fourth.

As always, the first half an hour of the J70 Regatta is all about trying to remember how to rig up these ‘pocket rockets’ and then getting some practice in before the first race. After a bit of a delay getting all eleven boats close to the starting area, the first short (once round) race got away smoothly in the SW’erly F4 (13 knots) breeze.

J70 Race 1 start: https://youtu.be/iEWbH9QN6-0

A useful ‘warmer into the butts’ which saw Fenella and her Seaview crew (746) setting the pattern of the day. Mind you the Gosling boat (737) showed promise, as did the Eddy boat (735). Race 2 was the same windward/leeward course but twice round. With the wind strength hovering around 15 knots with 18 knot gusts, the decision was made to not fly spinnakers for the first round; after a clean start it was again 746 that was the boat to beat. The Gosling’s nearly made it but could not achieve the consistency of Fenella and her crew. Marcus Hinde in 745 was third. The final race od the dsay used the same windward and spreader marks but then had a longer run to Moreton and a finish at Hello Sailor! With a longer length run that did not require so many gybes, spinnakers were allowed and provided lots of exhilarating sailing. 746 again lead the way, with 745 and 735 keeping up the pressure and finishing second and third.

Over lunch the breeze began to build so the Race Officers moved the sailing area to the North of St Helens Fort in an attempt to find a bit of shelter from St Helens Duver. Also boats were ordered to put in a reef. Initially while setting up, there was some concern about the double handed Round the Island race cutting through the starting line as a number of them kept inshore until they eventually realised that they needed to keep out of the Seaview moorings and round the red post off No Mans Land Fort! Anyway, after another good start, and with no spinnakers for the first round, the fleet were all reasonably close.

J70 Race 4 start: https://youtu.be/yRXtMAXDyUI

The Gosling boat (737) lead the way and managed to hold off 746 which had to be content with coming second ahead of Xander Huber in 747. Although not in contention for podium places, competition lower down the fleet was still very evident with 744 (?????) and 736 (Ashley McLucas) tieing for eighth place.

Although it was initially intended to run a short fifth race and then a longer final race of the day, a number of delays put paid to that idea and so the fifth and final race had the fleet heading to the windward and spreader marks, then to Derrick, Fitzwilliam and finishing at Hello Sailor! near the overnight moorings. Despite still having one reef in the main (it was decided that it was too time consuming to take it) they still made pretty quick progress after another clean start.

J70 Race 5 start: https://youtu.be/tans7rEHdoA

Whilst the angle of the reach from Derrick to Fitzwilliam was just shy of allowing spinnakers to hasten progress, it still offered some exhilarating sailing. 746 took their fourth win of the day ahead of 735 and 736.

Sunday 21st August

After yesterday’s breezy conditions, the day began with little or no wind and boats being advised to remain on their moorings until the promised light SW’erly showed its face. In fact it started to ruffle the water at around 10:00 and settled in soon afterwards. Eight Redwings set off from a line close to Janson and headed for Garland; then it was a run to Ruthven, back to Garland, a run to Moreton and a final beat into Hello Sailor! After a slow start, Joe Robertson in Red Gaunlet II lead the way and by the half way point looked as though he would finish well ahead of the chasing fleet, however in the last couple of legs, Rory Morrison in Paraquet and young Thomas Wilson helming Quail closed the gap and put Joe under pressure

Start of Redwing race – https://youtu.be/vLh92gmQHO0

But he held his nerve and finished a good 30 seconds ahead of Rory with Thomas only a minute behind but well ahead of Mike Toogood in Tara who was fourth. The five One-Designs followed a similat course except they went to Janson instead of Ruthven. Susie Beart in No 5 was the boat to beat and finished 2 minutes ahead of Mark Grzegorczyk sailing single handed. Simon Orange in No 12 was third.

The J70’s meanwhile started with a short windward leeward course to get them back into the swing of things. Indeed they were so keen that there was a General Recall as the first race got underway.

Start of Race 6 (Race 1 Sunday) – https://youtu.be/6W9qbI5hSMw

The re-start under Flag U went much better!

Restart of Race 6 (Race 1 Sunday) – https://youtu.be/QV_zywPX1r0

735 (helmed by James Beart) took line honours ahead of yesterday’s winner 746; the next three were so close that they were scored a tie! Race 2 was twice round the same course and saw a good win by 747 (Xander Huber) who beat 746 by 2 seconds with the Gosling boat (737) third. The third race of the day was set up to have a downwind start to Moreton, then a beat to Hello Sailor! finishing off with a loop to Fitzwilliam (changed to Tara) and back to the line at Hello Sailor! After an exciting start

Start of Race 8 (Race 3 Sunday) – https://youtu.be/yFvgAqvChLw

and split tacks on the run to Moreton, the Gosling’s in 737 had a great race and finished 2 minutes ahead of race favourites 746. 745 (the Hinde’s) was third after taking a penalty for flying their spinnaker too soon at the start. After a short lunch, the fleet (including 742 that Rod had managed to re-bolt the rudder pintles that had come adrift yesterday) made its way back to the morning’s course area. Race 9 was another one rounder but with the breeze backing 20 degrees they rounded the spreader and windward marks to starboard; aside from 746 who sailed a perfect race and finished a minute ahead of 735, there were some particularly close skirmishes in the final 50m from the gate to the line! For the penultimate race, it was twice round the same course but reverting back to port roundings of the windward and spreader inflatables.

Start of Race 10 (Sunday Race 5) – https://youtu.be/4LOVvdJKvTA

Another good race for the Hinde boat (745) who finished a boat length ahead of 735 with 746 just behind. The final race was another downwinder around the cans. Split tacks to Ruthven where there was a degree of chaos as all eleven boats came back together; lots of calls for water but there was no damage and the beat back to Janson saw the fleet begin to spread out. Although the final leg from Moreton to Hello Sailor! turned out to be a close reach rather than a beat, no one minded. 745 took their second win of the day nearly a minute ahead of the Regatta winners, 746. And third was 739 helmed by Sarah Marshall – a great result for them.

So after eleven races, it came as no surprise that the overall winners of the Regatta for the second year running were Fenella & Alex Neil, Rob & Ed Glanville. Second were Archie & Marcus Himde, Lara Wheeler, Ned Blackburn & Jasper Ross; and third Rosie Gosling, James Tate, Laura Watson & Amy Cardale.

A great two days, and heartfelt thanks is due to all the helpers, mark layers, race officers, support boats (especially the ‘Flag Ship’ Duma); but most importantly to Andrew Eddy without whose amazing organising skills and enthusiasm, the Regatta would simply not be possible.

A note for diaries – 19th & 20th August 2023!

Additional J70 photos – https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjA3QD3

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