Update from “Down Under”

The below update was sent to the class by the Australian Dealer, enjoy!

J109 û æSweet ChariotÆ Sydney, Australia Late December 2005 to mid-February 2006

The J 109, hull number 264 left the USA in November 2005 and all was looking positive for her to be commissioned and hit the water to meet some well planned sail & crew trials. We planned to run a very intensive race programme to give the boat some high visibility and profile in and around Sydney. Alas, you know what they say about well laid plans.

From Rhode Island, Port Everglades, Panama City, New Zealand, Brisbane, then finally Sydney the freighter was running three days late, and the J109 was finally unloaded during the early hours of Friday 25 of November. She sat on the dock all weekend waiting for the dockyard workers to complete the paperwork the following Monday. The low-loader was re-arranged; and the commissioning yard did all they could to accommodate the J109 which was now way behind schedule. Every marina, shipyard and shipwright was working overtime to prepare boats for the Australian blue water classic, the mighty Sydney to Hobart race which commences on Boxing Day.

As the next week passed it became apparent we would miss the first few warm up races we had planned and crew training was indeed a luxury we would not have time for. The boat was finally completed, named æSweet ChariotÆ and launched on the 10th December 2005.

We planned to test the North Sail wardrobe and wireless TackTick instruments, meeting at Greenwich Flying Squadron, a local sailing club west of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the base club for the owners û Ray & Sandra Entwistle. With much excitement the owners and JBA met at the club – it was blowing thirty knots at 8.30 am which was extremely unusual for the time of year, and it blew all day and for the rest of the week, only the #4 jib was tested. Finally the weather was calm; we trialled most of the sails and fitted the spreader protection patches on the main sail.

After Christmas and some unplanned work commitments, the owners Ray & Sandra left Sydney to sail the boat to Pittwater, approx. 20n.miles north of Sydney ready for the J109Æs debut. û the high profile two day Pittwater û Coffs Harbour regatta. We had spent less than two hours behind the wheel with the sails up, but were looking forward to getting some feel for the boat on the journey to Pittwater. The forecast winds never kicked and the J109 was motored all the way.

Arriving at the Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club at ten pm we knew we were not prepared and had yet to meet three crew members we had never set eyes on before.

The next day arrived, crew members were briefed on the course, the boat, and the fact we had not yet seen one of the jibs and a spinnaker. The pressure was on.

The four races over the following two days were sailed from a drifter to fifteen knots and from the beginning the boat felt responsive and on-the-pace. The J109 was beating larger boats on the water and therefore scoring very well on handicap. Sweet Chariot scored a 5th, 1st, 2nd and 3rd to ultimately win the regatta.

Our next success story was the Australia Day Regatta held on the 26th January. Despite being at the smaller end of the division (boats of up to sixty feet were in this division) we finished 5th over the line and took the handicap win.

To date the J109 has been entered into 3 regattas and 10 races around various clubs in Sydney. Sweet Chariot has won 12 of these races either on scratch or handicap.

Every where we sail, the J109 attracts interest through her speed and looks, especially as we have been fortunate enough to be at the pointy end of the fleets. We are very pleased with the racing performance and qualities of the J109 and are looking forward to experiencing her cruising attributes at the end of the Australian racing season.

Permanent link to this article: https://j109.org/update-from-down-under/