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J80 National Championship at the Royal Western Yacht Club

by J/80 UK Class Association 24 Jun 2008 17:08 BST 18-21 June 2008
The J80 fleet enjoy the conditions in Plymouth for their national championships © Taz Keady / www.TekterImages.com

The Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth hosted the 2008 J/80 UK National Championship from the 18th to 21st of June. An entry of 26 boats (the largest turnout for a UK Nationals to date) arrived on Wednesday for an eight race series managed by PRO Mike Pearson and his team.

Stepping of masts and launching of boats was achieved rapidly on the Wednesday, prior to the start of racing on the Thursday, and most boats got out for a practice sail in the race area before the forecast high winds blew in. The class is steadily growing in the UK and is the fastest growing sportsboat in Europe. Boats came from as far away as the Medway and Cardiff and while the Solent fleet was the largest contingent at the event, the Westcountry boats also turned out in force. University sailors were well represented with two Plymouth University boats competing at the event alongside an RYA team and a boat from the UKSA fleet (AgainstMalaria.com) thus ensuring a youthful feel to the fleet.

The Race Officer had the unenviable task on the first day of running the racing from a small unstable committee boat in a large swell left over from the previous nights storm. After one general recall the conditions and the need to get in three races (and running the 1720 nationals concurrently) saw the immediate use of the black flag for all of the rest of the days starts.

Kevin Sproul in Jane had only put his brand new boat in the water for the first time the day before but quickly showed his intentions with a win in Race One from local boat Jimini, owned and raced by John McLaren. Paul and Marie-Claude Heys also started their series promisingly with a third in another brand new boat, Janner.

The second race saw different faces at the top of the fleet with Sebastian Ripard in AgainstMalaria.com taking the race from Ian Atkins in Boats.com with Kevin Sproul finishing third.

Enthusiasm to get away in the third race caused eight boats in total to be black flagged in two starts. The whole of the J/80 Committee, Class Captain, Secretary and Treasurer managed to join the (newly formed, but not-so-exclusive) Black Flag Club! The race was won by Kevin Sproul with Sebastian Ripard having a good day in second. One of the Plymouth University boats, Jang Bang, steered by Mark Yeabsley came third.

The next day was much lighter and with south westerly shifting around to the south east during the day, Mike Pearson had his work cut out. That he managed to get in three races and fair beats throughout was a testament to his skill. All the racing had been exceptionally close but with the shifting wind at least there were opportunities to make gains. The first race of the day was won by Kevin Sproul and Neil Martin in Jenga 4 was now showing some excellent speed in second. It was the turn of the other Plymouth University boat J.I.L.F sailed by James Eastbury to get a good result in third. In the next the first two positions were reversed with Ian Atkins and his lovely crew of ladies in Boats.com coming in third.

The final race of the day saw the left hand side of the beat pay with Hester Robertson of the Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme boat taking a good lead at the first beat which they held to the finish. Sebastian Ripard and his team in Against Malaria.com came second with Jimini from the home club getting back up their in third. Kevin Sproul had his lowest position of the championship in 5th, a result that he was able to discard.

Heavy overnight rain did nothing to dampen the spirits and although low cloud and drizzle did not make the final day seem quite like summer, good breeze from the south soon brought some decent waves to surf on.

Kevin Sproul was not going to let this championship slip away with wins in both the races. Neil Martin took second from Liz and Chris Savage in Savage Sailing Team who finally got some reward for putting in the preparation of coming to Plymouth for the previous weekends open meeting and staying down to practice. Paul and Marie-Claude Heys also had a much better final day with a fourth and third. Scott Cole in Purple Haze from Cardiff also had a happy end to their championship with a second in the final race.

At the prize-giving on the Saturday night, the trophy for Best Newcomer at a J/80 UK Nationals was won by Neil Martin and his team in Jenga 4 who finished second overall. The trophy for the best local boat was won by John McLaren and his crew in Jimini who finished fifth overall.

Overall Kevin Sproul and his team; Adrian Gray, Nick Fraser and Rob Gullan showed great speed and consistency, winning the 2008 J/80 UK National Championship by 18 points. Neil Martin was second from Ian Atkins in Boats.com.

Throughout the fleet the positions reflected that almost anyone could have their day but also racing was so close that small mistakes were heavily punished. The Port of Plymouth provided a beautiful and challenging venue, the race management was excellent, and the hospitality at the Royal Western Yacht Club was exactly as the J/80 Class has come to expect and enjoy. We look forward to coming back in the near future.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameOwnerClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1991JANEKevin SproulRoyal Southern Yacht Club13112-51110
21024JENGA 4Neil MartinBudworth SC5482162-1528
3912BOATS.COMIan Atkins 425437-21530
41055AGAINSTMALARIA.COMSebastien RipardUKSA6128-1325832
5605JIMINIJohn McLarenRWYC269-221537446
6850SAVAGE SAILING TEAMLiz SavageRoyal Southern Yacht Club125-27104103953
71097JANNERPaul HeysRoyal Southern YC38-27619144357
81118J.I.L.FJames EastburyUPYC81473513-261060
9572JEVANRobert & Jonathan FoxTenby S.C7101176-15101364
10165ROYAL CASTLE HOTELNick HaworthROYAL DART YACHT CLUB1374-19111681170
11856CHILLI JAMAshley Barker 109-27581219770
12801JUST DO ITTerry PalmerUpper Thames S.C917129-18891781
1384VOLVO RYA KEELBOAT PROGHester Robertson 14191016161-271490
14534WAVE WARRIORJonathan BannisterBritannia Yacht Club19151412719-27692
15725PURPLE HAZEScot Cole 20136152022-27298
161117JANG BANGMark Yeabsley 11123-271420231699
17890BJORN SLIPPYJulian BatesRoyal Southern1721-27111017111299
18744JUST CHILLINGStephen ChivertonHayling Island Yacht Club2116-27139111218100
19393JASMINEDan FlanaganRWYC18-2215202141321112
206666JEZEBELJeremy Roundsmith 1611132422-25620112
21571JUNIOR HIGHSteve CooperCardiff Bay YC1523-271412232519131
221023JIROLAMOLouis KennaRoyal Corinthian Yacht Club-2624182117211724142
23750JIN PALACEJames SullivanStone SC2218-27182492727145
24479JOIE DE VIVRERobert KneenRWYC2420172523-261523147
258046JUST IN TIMEAndrew DeversonCardiff Bay YC25251617-26242422153
26694JABBERWOCKYTim FrenchMEDWAY YC2326-272325181925159

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