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Junior Offshore Group 2018 season underway with NJO Sails Cowes-Cherbourg-Cowes races

by Pandie Bronsdon 5 Apr 2018 14:45 BST 30 March - 2 April 2018

Offshore in March!

The Junior Offshore Group 2018 season started, as is tradition, with the Easter weekend races to and from Cherbourg. Easter being early this year that meant 'offshore in March' - the wisdom of which many of the 40 plus skippers and crews who started probably questioned at some point.

NJO Sails Cowes-Cherbourg

Class 6 set off from Cowes at 07:00 on Good Friday, with Classes 5, 4 and 3 following at 20 minute intervals. Conditions were, apart from being decidedly chilly, generally acceptable (for March) and most boats managed a spinnaker, or Code 0 depending on class and timings, hoist at Bembridge. Both versions of the Tacticians Guide to Channel Crossings seemed to have been read in the preceding days and the fleet scattered East and West, with a few sticking to the rhumb line as well. With the wind forecast to build from the South the plan was to find it as soon as possible.

Unfortunately the wind didn't materialise as quickly as expected and many boats found themselves parked up for a long period in the rain, sails flogging and with limited visibility in the many shades of grey that only the English Channel can produce. By the time the new wind arrived, from the West (!), the chance of completing the crossing on the expected tide was also long gone for many and a number had already decided to call it a day and catch the remaining tide back through the Needles.

For those that persevered the breeze built quickly to a resounding F5, later increasing to F6, allowing for a fast trip to and through the finish in the harbour entrance. The majority of the fleet arrived too late for much in the way of the usual Friday night social and instead plugged in heaters and caught up with their sleep.

Class 6
Magic - George Beaver & Ollie Bewes
Dogmatix - Will Collins

Class 5
Alexa - Mark Wynter
Long Pierre - David & Diane Cooper & Paul England
Nimrod - Paul Love-Williams

Class 4
Bigfoot – Rob Nelson
Diablo – Nick Martin
Juliette – Jerry Freeman

Class 3
Phosphorus II - Mark Emerson
Bellino - Rob Craigie
Old Mother Gun - Phil Ferrands

Double handed (all classes combined)
Bigfoot - Rob Nelson
Bellino - Rob Craigie
Diablo - Nick Martin

NJO Sails Cherbourg-Cowes

After Saturday's prize giving and general catching up with people not seen since October, Sunday morning arrived equally as cold, wet and grey. The fleets started as usual in the inner harbour, heading out through the Eastern entrance. Winds were relatively light and fluky close in, building as everyone moved away from the mainland. Gradually it freed enough for most people to again hoist spinnakers or Code 0's for a fairly fast, although no less cold, trip towards Bembridge. As this point the wind was still building with white sails, and then reefs for the smaller classes, being called for in the approach to the finish off Gurnard.

All in all a good start to the season, and at least it can only get warmer from here. Hopefully.

Class 6
Magic - George Beaver & Ollie Bewes
Dogmatix - Will Collins

Class 5
Alexa - Mark Wynter
Long Pierre - David Cooper & Diane Cooer & Paul England
Nimrod - Paul Love-Williams

Class 4
Juliette - Jerry Freeman
Bigfoot - Rob Nelson
Arcsine - Cathy Claydon

Class 3
Bellino - Rob Craigie
Old Mother Gun - Phil Ferrands
J Fever - Tim & Francis Lester

Double Handed (all classes combined)
Bellino - Rob Craigie
Juliette - Jerry Freeman
Bigfoot - Rob Nelson

Next JOG Race: Nab Tower, Saturday 21st April, first start 09:00

Entry Forms, full race programme & crew available/boats looking for crew information all now available online at www.jog.org.uk

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