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The Landsail Tyres J-Cup in Partnership with B&G

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The Landsail Tyres J-Cup in Partnership with B&G
The Landsail Tyres J-Cup in Partnership with B&G

Four National Champions & Landsail Tyres J-Cup winner Decided

The last day of the 2017 Landsail Tyres J-Cup was blessed with champagne conditions in beautiful Tor Bay. However, as we all know, when you pop a champagne cork it doesn't always all end up in the glass. A southwesterly breeze oscillated 20 degrees left and right during the day, and with tight racing in one design fleets, and closely matched handicap classes, getting the wrong side of a shift proved costly. The Royal Torbay Yacht Club produced two well managed windward leeward courses, as the club has done for the entire event, and two races were held for all six classes.

J/88 Open UK National Championship

The intensity of racing in the J/88 fleet was exemplified by the fact that the winner only won a single race out of eight starts. Every mark rounding and wind shift became important with teams swapping places on many occasions. Richard Cooper's Jongleur and Tim Tolcher's Rajing Bull, both made the podium during the regatta, and 2016 National Champion, Gavin Howe's Tigris, finished in style, winning the last race. However, two teams battled for three days to take the prize. David & Kirsty Apthorp's J-Dream, scored three bullets over three days of top class racing, but victory went to the new J/88 UK Open National Champion; Paul Ward's Eat, Sleep, J, Repeat.

“Awesome racing, it was really really close. The J/88 is a fast cool boat and lots of great people race in the class, who enjoy a drink and a get together after racing.” explained Paul Ward. “We were just in front when we started the last race, and it was very quiet on board - game face on. In the pre-start J-Dream came and had a little play, and we managed to defend that, and sailed our own race. This year the same team has sailed together for the whole of Cowes Week,  and the whole of this regatta, and we really won this yesterday, when the boat handling in tough conditions was spot on.”

J/97 Open UK National Championship
Torquay is a special place for Annie and Andy Howe, the Blackjack II team was formed at the 2009  J-Cup, which was held in Torquay. Back then the team's best result was a third, fast forward to 2017, and Blackjack II has retained the UK National title for the J/97 Class. Bob Walker's Jaywalker was a worthy runner up, proudly representing the Royal Lymington YC, and local hero, George Rock-Evans, representing the Royal Torbay YC, was third.

“Eight years ago we came to Torquay, and we picked up a few sailors here and there and we didn't do very well, but we started dreaming of winning.” commented Annie Howe.  “It has been an amazing adventure since then, and we have been getting better and better, and our dream has come true, we have had the most amazing time racing J/Boats. It is brilliant to back in Torquay, and come full circle, it is just so emotional and fantastic to come back and win, it means a huge amount

J/109 Open UK National Championship

One of the most competitive J/109 Nationals for many years was played out in Torbay with ten boats scoring podium finishes during eight races. The winner came from behind, taking the championship in the very last encounter, having not won a single race.There is no finer example of the attitude - never give up.

Before the last day, David Richard's Jumping Jellyfish was lying mid-fleet, but after gaining redress for a Race 6, the team moved up to fourth, and scoring a second place in Race 7, Jumping Jellyfish was leading the championship by 0.4 of a point from Simon Perry's Jiraffe. Steve Berry's Blue Jay was third. In the last race, Jumping Jellyfish held their nerve to score a fifth place, enough to win the J/109 Open UK National Championship. Blue Jay was runner up, and Jiraffe third.

“It was an amazing win, unbelievable.” commented David Richards. “It was about never giving up, we thought we had an opportunity, and we took it. I have been racing J/109s since 2004, and that was probably the hardest ever, because there was no stand out boats, and winning was all about consistency, not making rash calls and trying to be a hero. Of the top three boats, only one got a bullet. This means absolutely everything to me, I have been trying to win this competition for 12 years. We came within an ounce of winning it three years ago, and we are a team of good sailors and great friends.”

J/111 Open UK National Championship

Paul van Driel's Dutch J/111 Sweeny is the new Open UK National Champion, after an impressive performance in Tor Bay. Sweeny scored five race wins out of eight, to lift the title. Tony Mack's McFly kept the championship alive with a win in Race 7, but Sweeny won the last race, to make no mistake. McFly was runner up for the championship, with Dutch team Red Herring, skippered by Sjaak Haaman in third.

“ It is unbelievable to beat the top British guys in British waters.” smiled Paul van Driel. “We have trained so hard for this, and I am incredibly proud of the crew. We have really put a lot of effort into this, everybody is so dedicated, they are second to none, and that is why we have won. Our feeling was to focus on McFly, they are the fastest boat in the fleet, and we were on them from the start, and we like strong wind, and it came good for us on the second day. On the last day, McFly was on us, and we were defending, and that worked out, but we had to be careful, because the other boats were coming good as well, and we were like two dogs fighting for a bone.”

IRC & Handicap

In the Handicap Class, Rob Larke helming J/70 Mjölnir, scored a fifth race win in the last race to secure the class, and Ralph Mason's J92 Jabberwock won a keen contest for runner up, from Richard Puddifoot's J/70 Jibba Jabba. Rob Larke's win was all the more amazing as he had undergone neck surgery, and was told by his doctor and his wife, that sailing was out of the question. However Rob Larke was not going to miss the J-Cup!

A total domination in the IRC Class, was complete with Chaz Ivill's J/112E Davanti Tyres scoring eight straight bullets. Helmed by Marie-Claude Heys, the brand new design, showed a great turn of speed at all angles of sail. The J/112E has now been unbeaten in 2017 in major regattas in France, and was also a class winner in this year's Round the Island Race. Key Yachting's Paul Heys was racing on board, as co-skipper.

Key Yachting Sales Director, Hannah Le Prevost, took to the stage to announce the winner of the Landsail Tyres J-Cup. “Paul and Marie Claude Heys have been running the J-Cup for 18 years, and supporting J/Boats in the UK, and many other places. Always going above and beyond what was asked of them. They have raced at every J-Cup and have never walked away with the trophy. The new J/112E is a new boat, they have put together a team that have not sailed together before and made it work. If any team here was to make a score line of all bullets, we would be handing them the J-Cup. Paul and Marie Claude said they were not going to have it, that it was not for them. They have always given so much of themselves to other people, so perhaps this is a good time to give them the J-Cup.” 

Chaz Ivill's J/112E Davanti Tyres, helmed by Marie-Claude Heys and co-skippered by Paul Heys, was declared the 2017 Landsail Tyres J-Cup winner. Three hundred guests at the Landsail Tyres J-Cup party gave the Davanti Tyres crew a standing ovation,followed by a superb set from Britain's best ten piece soul funk band Joey the Lips. The party lasted well into the night, with the J-Cup family fully letting their hair down.

The 2018 J-Cup will take place in the Solent, hosted by the Island Sailing Club. Entry is already open and registration is on May 24 with racing 25th-26th May.