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Jackson Yacht Services Bay Races in St Aubin's Bay, Jersey

by Bill Harris 22 Oct 2014 19:12 BST 12-14 September 2014
Jackson Yacht Services Bay Races in St Aubin's Bay, Jersey © Bill Harris

The Royal Channel Islands Yacht Club's Jackson Yacht Services Bay Races were held in St Aubin's Bay on Saturday 18th October. This was a real treat for the organisers and sailors as the event has had to be abandoned over the past two years due to gales in the one instance and zero wind in the other.

Throughout the week, a weather eye was kept on the forecast of strong southerly winds, with the spectre of a further abandonment ever present in sailors' minds. As it turned out, winds proved to range from force three to no more than five throughout the day, going southwest late in the afternoon. This great sailing breeze, coupled with partly cloudy skies and plenty of warm sunshine were all that was needed for a great day out. With the wind in the south, the consequent swell added a bit more spice to proceedings.

The JYS Bay Races format consists of two back-to-back races for the monohull classes and three for the sport-catamarans run over windward/leeward/triangle courses using laid marks. With the race committee securely anchored, albeit somewhat bobbing about, and the course laid racing got under way on time at the civilised hour of 11.30 a.m.

First away were the class 5 F18 sport-catamarans, with Darren Stower and Graham Monks sailing the Wildcat, GBR403 establishing an early lead and Adrian Jesson and Bruce Steedman's Wildcat, Hobie 245, and Andy Hart and Michael Kinross' Tiger, Breaching 69, in hot pursuit. Conditions were ideal for these impressive boats that, along with the Hobie 16s, provided a stunning spectacle throughout the competition. Stower and Monks had the edge in the first two races but slipped to third in the final race to give them just a single point lead over Jesson and Steedman in the overall result, the latter pair having won the final race.

Despite numerous challenges throughout racing in the class 6 sport-catamaran fleet, Gordon Burgis and Kenny Snell put in an impressive performance to complete the hat trick with three clear wins, sailing Hobie 16 Pure Energy. Grant Neale and Karen Larose were in strong contention throughout in races 1 and 2, to take second in both, but slipped to third in race 3, to finish second overall well clear of Jeremy Smith and Jill Scott's 16 Nauti-Cat that achieved a string of fourth places. Yvonne Winspear and Malin Nilsson, sailing the 16, Matou, clinched a second place in the final race to finish fourth overall.

Completing the sport-catamaran turnout, class 7 (all Hobie Dragoons) also put in a strong performance throughout their races. The crews, all RCIYC cadets, are keen participants in the Club's busy Hobie fleet racing programme. Two firsts and a second place gave the overall result to Ollie Voak and Megan Newstead on Dragoon 1077, well clear of Leo Marshall and Arthur Carey, on Dragoon 218, with two thirds and a second place. The second race was won by Declan Flambard and Megan McDonagh on Dragoon 1078 but their retirement from race 3 due to damage kept them firmly in fourth place overall. Gemma Newman and Elsa Swetenham were third overall sailing Dragoon 1078.

The keelboats made their first appearance early in the afternoon, their race getting away at 2.20 p.m.. Whilst the turnout was disappointingly thin, there was no shortage of competitive edge. Allen Brown and partners Melges 24, The Dog's........!, thriving in the conditions, sailed with the class 2 quarter tonners, Julian Barber's Super Q, and Malcolm Le Couteur's Micmac, both Farr 727s. The Melges had a clear win in race 1 but was just a minute clear in race 2, to take the prize for the combined classes. Super Q raced well to take top spot in class 2 in both races, MicMac, sailing under white sails throughout, was only narrowly beaten in race 1 but Super Q fully crewed and flying her spinnaker at every opportunity doubled her lead in the second race.

Chris Fritot's Sonata, Rondo, took both races in class 3, ahead of Tom Vallois sailing his Sonata, Moonlight Sonata, single-handed. Whilst not taking the top spot, Moonlight Sonata sailed well with her skipper giving a master class on how to sail single-handed and fly a spinnaker in fairly brisk conditions. Rondo, with a clean sweep to her name in the recent UBS Jersey Regatta, has clearly had a very successful year, so far.

The day's racing came to a close shortly before 5.00 p.m. when the last boat crossed the line and headed for home. The prizegiving was held in a crowded RCIYC clubhouse the following day, Sunday, when Commodore Darren Stower welcomed and thanked the sponsor and competitors. The prizes were presented by Wendy Dalton, on behalf of Jackson Yacht Services, with sponsor Mike Jackson bringing the event to a close in announcing that his company would be sponsoring the event again in 2015.

Detailed results are on www.rciycjersey.com

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