The 2006 J/92 National Championship was hosted by the Royal Solent Yacht Club at Yarmouth Isle of Wight over the weekend of 1st & 2nd of July along with the J/105 National Championship. Both regattas had originally been scheduled for May but unseasonable gales had forced a postponement. The J/92 fleet comprised ten boats (a mixture of J/92s and the newer J/92 S’) racing in Class under IRC. The programme called for four races on Saturday followed by two on Sunday in the wonderful, traffic- free sailing area that is Christchurch Bay.
Saturday dawned with a north easterly gradient breeze of 6 to 8 knots under bright sunshine. The Committee started bang on time at 10.00 leaving many competitors well away from the start line, checking their upwind settings. Among those late for the start was the ironically named Just in Time, a J/92 S owned by newcomers to the J/92 fleet Andrew Roberts & Stephen Etheridge. This tardiness would have a significant effect on the overall results.
Race One saw Shoreham based J/92 Mojo (sailed by Robin and Jill Stevenson) hit the pin-end with Marie-Claude and Paul Heys’ J/92 S Java Lite and the Brighton based team on Pete and Pip Tyler’s J/92 Neilson Redeye to windward. Seeing the individual recall flag, Neilson, not realising that the recall was for late arrivals still coming downwind to the start area, turned back to restart: another error which would also have an effect on the final results.
Sensing better pressure to the right Mojo tacked passing astern of Java Lite half way up the beat. Java Lite continued to the layline losing ground to Mojo (who rounded first) and to Peter Olden’s Eastbourne based J92 S Solan Goose that had started well at the committee boat end. An early gybe saw Java Lite move to second, following Mojo around the next two marks. The final run benefited from the early stages of an onshore sea breeze. Java Lite, who with good downwind speed had taken the lead, gybed early to extend the gap. Java Lite took line honours but conceded victory on handicap to Mojo. Neilson Redeye saved their time on Solan Goose and took third.
Race Two saw the course being realigned to suit the fitful south easterly sea breeze which at times rose to a very nice twelve knots. The pin was heavily favoured and several boats approached on port, trying to wriggle through the starboard tackers who could barely cross the line. Deciding that there was slightly more wind to the west, Java Lite opted for a gybe set and got some clear air and separation from the fleet. Mojo, who had rounded the windward mark in the lead, sailed in to a patch of very light air. Java Lite worked the west to such effect that they passed Mojo and went on to take line owners from Neilson Redeye with Charlie Wise’s J/92 J’Ronimo (David Greenhalgh at the helm) in third.
Race Three and the west side of the course was favoured. Just in Time won the right hand end of the start and was first to tack onto port, followed by Mojo and Java Lite. Just in Time sailed intelligently to win their first race in a J/92 regatta. Java Lite worked her way through Mojo and Neilson Redeye closing them down. The finishing order was Just in Time, Java Lite, Mojo and Neilson Redeye. Java Lite dropped to fourth once the handicaps were applied. With a failing breeze and a majority of the fleet keen to watch the World Cup, the Race Committee sensibly decided that the fleet would be happier ashore, postponing Race Four until the following morning.
Sunday dawned with a very light breeze that was slow to build: the very same conditions which turned the Commodores Cup fleet inside out. Following a lengthy postponement, racing began in six knots of South Easterly wind. Just in Time found a zephyr to drive them through the lead and nicely round the windward mark, followed by Java Lite, now being helmed by visiting Portuguese J/92 owner Mario Sampaio. Third to cross the line was Mojo and these three positions remained the same once the handicaps were applied.
With the lack of breeze curtailing the programme and the one discard applied, the J/92 S Java Lite took the J/92 National Championship title with J/92 Mojo second and the J/92 S Just in Time third.
Mojo and Neilson Redeye are such well sailed boats that they make it hard for the sibling J/92 S to make an impact, in particular in light upwind conditions. Downwind the J/92 S (with more sail area) is, as you would expect, faster. However, it looks like the J/92 S owners are starting to get their boats going and this event bore witness to a J/92 S taking line honours in all races, handicap victory in three out of the four sailed, as well as first and third places overall at the Championship.
Many thanks to all at the Royal Solent Yacht Club for making this such a great weekend and to J/92 Class Captain Pete Tyler for his continued support. The next gathering will be in the bowsprit class at Skandia Cowes Week, followed by the J Cup in August.
|Pos||Sail No||Boat Name||R1||R2||R3||R4||Pts|
|1||GBR 1292||Java Lite||2||1||4||2||5|
|3||GBR 9226R||Just in Time||5||7||1||1||7|
|4||GBR 8272T||Neilson Redeye||3||2||3||4||8|
|6||GBR 8538R||Solan Goose||4||9||6||8||18|