Friday 27 May saw the first of three days of racing for the Tacktick J/109 UK National Championship held at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. Sunshine and 16 knots met the eager fleet as they congregated at the Club for the PRO briefing.
With three races planned for today in wind that was predicted to shift from 310 to 240degrees it was a day to ensure that eyes were out of the boat. The first race saw Velvet Elvis (Adam & Helen Wright) lead the fleet for the majority of the race with Jagerbomb (Paul Griffiths), J-Dream (David & Kirsty Apthorp) and Levante (Glynn Williams) hot on their heels. J-Dream challenged Velvet Elvis for the lead on the final run only to lose it coming into the final mark rounding. Meanwhile a difficult gybe on Jazzy Jellyfish (David Richards) resulted in a crew member being airlifted to hospital. (Delighted to report all ok.)
The second race start was more eventful due to the port line bias and oscillating wind in both direction and strength – 7-14 knots. The PRO abandoned the first start due to a shift, the second attempt resulted in a general recall and third time lucky the J/109 fleet got away. Shiva (Matt Boyle) won the start and together with Jamahli (Mike Wallis) and Stalker (Steven Tapper) led the fleet on the first of two laps. J-Dream executed a poor gybe dropping her back into the high teens and together with Velvet Elvis they had to fight through the pack on the second beat. Stalker took the lead on the final beat and held off all challenges by Jahmali and Shiva until the finish.
The final race of the day saw the wind shift to about 250degrees although it took a while to settle and build to 15 knots again. The PRO started the fleet and current European Champion BlueJay (Greg Burgess) by the first mark had a commanding lead over Jagerbomb, Stalker and Basic Instinct (Jonathan Hearth). The final beat once again saw Stalker cruise into the lead, this time from BlueJay, J-Dream, Jagerbomb and Velvet Elvis. The final mark rounding was eventful due to the tight racing in this Class and the PRO had quite a bit to do with the majority of the fleet finishing within seconds of each other.
A great hog roast back at the Club and a drinks reception sponsored by Tacktick was gratefully received by the competitors as they traded their tales of the day and eagerly discussed the wind forecast and the intensity of four races on Saturday.
J/109 UK Class Association