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2021 J/70 UK National Championships: dramatic conclusion

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2021 J/70 UK National Championships
2021 J/70 UK National Championships

The 2021 J/70 UK National Championships, hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron, came to a dramatic conclusion on Sunday 10th October. Nick Phillips' Chaotic and Doug Struth's DSP winning the Open and Corinthian titles respectively. The Royal Thames YC Academy team, skippered by Bethan Mathews and helmed by Dom Davis, was third overall.
 
With high pressure dominating The Solent, racing was only possible on the final day of the three-day event. Four races were completed and with no discard available, every race was keenly contested from start to finish. Two of the leading contenders fell foul of Black Flag race disqualification, ending their challenges for the national title: Paul Ward's Eat Sleep J Repeat (RSrnYC) and Johnathan Calascione's Calypso (RYS).

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Consistency was the key to Chaotic's overall victory. The team won the first race, but the real reason for success was consistency, placing in the top three in every race.

2021 J/70 UK National Championships
2021 J/70 UK National Championships

Our heart-felt thanks to PRO Philip Warwick and the RYS Race team for getting four races in today which was a bit of feat," commented Chaotic's Nick Phillips. "A big thank you to the Royal Yacht Squadron for hosting the event including a fabulous dinner on Saturday night." Nick continued: "Team Chaotic have strong ties with the Parkstone YC in Poole and hope that their success is a catalyst for producing a number of J/70 teams based in Poole Harbour. Chaotic only joined the J/70 Class last year having enjoyed great success in the J/24 Class. "The J/70 is more of a grand prix beast, and we are up against Olympic and professional teams, so this has been a big step up for us, this is a different league. I firmly believe this is the most competitive class in the UK. We have been building on a solid season, and we have big plans for 2022, the Europeans in Hyères and the Worlds in Monaco. A big thank you to the class for giving us a nice warm reception and letting us do our best, even if that has caused a bit of havoc!"

Doug Struth's DSP, from the Royal Southern YC, has won the J/70 UK Corinthian title before, following on from the victory in 2018. DSP, with Tom Mallindine on the stick, won the 2021 title with race results no worse than 6th in the 24-boat fleet.

2021 J/70 UK National Championships
2021 J/70 UK National Championships

 
"Given the amount of sailing we have done recently, we are pretty chuffed, we are making a late run! It was all a bit tight and tricky especially with a four-knot tide, so we are really pleased with ourselves." commented Doug Struth's DSP.  "We have left it all a bit late this season to qualify for the Worlds, but we hope to achieve that in the last Grand Slam event next week. The class has got so much more competitive this year, typified by the fact that we need to have far better results in order to qualify for next year's J/70 Worlds. We have always been a very calm and quiet boat and that is the way I like it. The nucleus of the boat has always been the same and we all love the racing in the J/70 fleet. We hope to keep the same team next year and see how we go."

The Royal Thames YC Academy team, racing in a club-owned boat, are all in their 20s, either studying at university or recent post-graduates. "It is always great fun in the J/70 Class," commented RTYC Academy's Bethan Mathews. "We are very lucky to be supported by the Royal Thames, making the class more affordable and accessible to a young team. You always get great racing in this class, and we don't need any excuses to come to Cowes and race the J/70s! This is a competitive fleet of really good sailors, you can't find better competition, and it is so great to be a part of it. Racing the Royal Thames boats is always over-subscribed, so we hope this result will give us future opportunities."

The seventh, and final round, of the J/70 UK Grand Slam Series will be held as part of the Hamble River Sailing Club's One Design Championships 16-17 October. The 2021 Grand Slam will decide who will win a berth for the 2022 J/70 World Championships, hosted by the Yacht Club de Monaco.

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