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JOG Exposure Lights St Vaast Race

by Peter Cover 7 May 21:40 BST 3-6 May 2019
JOG Exposure Lights St Vaast Race © Martin Banfield, Dougie Leacy, Peter Cover

Following Cherbourg over Easter, the early May bank holiday is the customary date for JOG's race from Cowes to the lovely town of St Vaast. An entry of 31 across 4 classes plus double-handed was slightly depleted as the smaller boats got away in benign conditions and evening sun on Friday 3rd May.

Eastwards out of the Solent, around Bembridge and then direct to the finish, the forecast was for wind to veer to the north-east in the early hours of Saturday with a good force 5-6 locally more expected. A fast race was anticipated by the JOG team in St Vaast who were up early monitoring AIS transmissions in the Secretary's J120 cabin with some concern based on a howling wind in the harbour and lashing rain.

Attractions at St Vaast include a selection of quayside seafood restaurants, Msr Gosselin's food and wine emporium and the island of Tatihou but none of these delights were uppermost in competitor's minds as they approached Pointe de Barfleur before dawn on Saturday. The forecast turned out to be conservative with some crews later reporting gusts in the high 40s and even 55 kts from one boat with correspondingly difficult seas. Apparently it was the speed of the wind increasing that caused problems arriving as it did in some cases before spinnakers were down and reefs went in.

All credit to crews and skippers as all boats made it to the finish with one diverting sensibly to Cherbourg following a comprehensive spinny wrap. Their's was not the only one and some record boat speeds were reported under reefed mainsails or small jibs which will no doubt be remembered for some time. J Fever got line honours in 10 hours 45 mins at 06:00 followed in fairly quick order by the rest of the fleet.

Following some sleep or restorative refreshment or both, crews assembled for the traditional Saturday early-evening drinks party. JOG Captain Dougie Leacy and Secretary Martin Banfield were in good form distributing race and spot prizes but looked surprised when one recipient tried a short cut to his prize via the drinks table an understandable mistake after a testing night at sea two-handed!

The JOG offshore series continues to Dielette on the next bank holiday Friday 24th May first start 18:00 and the inshore series to Yarmouth on Saturday 18th May first start 10:00.

St Vaast Results:

Class 3
1st NJOS
2nd J Fever
3rd Prime Suspect

Class 4
1st White Cloud IX
2nd Arcsine
3rd No Chance

Class 5
1st Virago
2nd Longue Pierre
3rd Marta

Class 6
1st Ugly Duckling
2nd Fearnought
3rd Thistle VI

Double-Handed
1st Virago
2nd Castalia

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