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Christopher Daniel's J/122e Juno wins the 2019 Performance 40 Class Series

by Louay Habib 16 Oct 2019 19:02 BST
J/122e Juno wins the 2019 Performance 40 Class Series © Paul Wyeth

Christopher Daniel's J/122e Juno has won the 2019 Performance 40 Class Series by the narrowest margin, beating Mike Blair's Cobra by just half a point in the six regatta series.

"Chris and the Juno team are exactly what the Performance 40 Class is all about," commented Performance 40 Class founder Dave Swete. "Juno is a corinthian boat with a core crew of the Daniel family mixed with young, and especially women sailors. The team has improved as a crew year on year and the atmosphere on board is just fantastic. After racing the Performance 40 Class love to get together for a drink in the yacht club bar, which is fundamental part of the spirit of Juno and the whole class."

Christopher Daniel has been racing Juno for five years with a young crew of family and friends, including three siblings all in their twenties.

"When the kids were younger I drove to them to the extremities of the country to attend various dinghy regattas, and now all three of them are crewing for me, which is great, sailing as a family makes it more fulfilling. Juno normally sails with at least four girls on board and half of the crew are under 25. When we started racing Juno, the network for potential crew was thrown very wide and slowly over the years that has resulted in a pool of about 15 sailors to make up our racing crew of 10. We all go sailing for fun because we enjoy it, and that is definitely an ethos we have on board. This keeps the team together, as does improving our ability and results. Having a young crew gives a great energy on board but we run a quiet boat, to me a leader shouting at his crew is a sign that the skipper has lost control. Everybody is encouraged to give their feedback at the end of the race and every opinion is respected."

The Performance 40 Championship is all inshore racing but Juno has also enjoyed success racing offshore, making the class podium for the 2019 RORC Myth of Malham and a strong performance in the Rolex Fastnet Race rounded off a successful offshore season, and Christopher Daniel has big offshore plans for the future.

"We targeted winning the P40 Championships at the beginning of the season," commented Christopher Daniel. " It was a tall order given the strength and depth of the competition and our position last year. We set about it with some structured training sessions from Dave Swete, a largely consistent crew and a programme of reflection and improvement. We ended up winning three of the events, but still only managed to win by half a point owing to Cobra's consistency and the strength of the rest of the fleet, and if you look down the finish times, most races were won by just a few seconds.

The funny thing is we originally bought Juno to race and cruise, and although my wife Lucy is very supportive, and we couldn't do it without her, Lucy prefers sailing in the Caribbean and the Med, and we have plans to take the boat to Malta and Antigua for the Rolex Middle Sea Race and the RORC Caribbean 600. We have a real focus on the Rolex Fastnet Race for 2021. Juno is a very capable offshore boat and the added performance means that you can get from A to B quickly, as well as in comfort. We have charted boats abroad before but it is difficult to find a boat as good as Juno, and when you come to sell a boat like the J/122e it is attractive to both the racing and cruising market.

Racing Juno with the family and our friends is a wonderful experience, and I can't thank Paul Heys of Key Yachting enough who sold us the boat and was always helpful and supportive. Sadly Paul is no longer with us, but all of our success on the race course is dedicated to him."

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