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Vaikobi 2024 LEADERBOARD

Karen and Richard

by John Curnow, Editor, Sail World AUS 7 May 2023 23:00 BST
Disko Trooper - Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race © Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club

She was a delightful songbird, and he is a gifted arranger. So the sister and brother combo have the Surname, Carpenter, and one of their many hits was, Only Yesterday.

Well it seems like only yesterday that I was looking at the 100th J/99 in, Nice way to celebrate , and now we are at over 140 vessels delivered. It really has been quite the journey too, for in 2020 we talked about Good thinking, 99!

However. All of that is then, and this is most certainly now. Apart from really highlighting just what a patch of time we have all experienced in just a few years, merely by reflecting on those two pieces alone, this seems like a good time to take stock. So just where does it all stand then? Here we go!

Now the Australian season is not so much winding down, as it is changing gear, following the birds and whales uphill, and soon the Northern Hemisphere will be coming to life.

From the get go, the J/99 has proven herself to be versatile, from fully crewed to shorthanded, seasoned pro to weekend warrior, inshore or off, and even being a cruiser when required.

"The J/99 has certainly struck a chord", commented Ray Entwistle from J/Boats Australia. "Without doubt, the key is her versatility. The J/99 is a dream to sail. Most expect her to fly downwind, which she does, but few expect her to sail to windward so incredibly well. This 'two-way' ability, thanks to excellent stability, clearly distinguishes the J/99 from the pack, and presents a compelling option for sailors of all ages and skill set."

"A significant point to be made is that the Australian J/99's are all standard set-up boats, standard keel, standard alloy mast, and no water ballast. There is a mix of tiller or wheel steering."

"The Australian fleet now numbers in the teens, and more are on the way, which we understand is a result of how the J/99 packs a lot of performance and versatility into a manageable size and budget."

It's all in the results

April saw an extraordinary result in the RPAYC Pittwater to Coffs Harbour Race. Quite the amazing achievement, as the one model from J/Boats scored an incredible First, Second, and Third overall under ORC, and they were all sailed two-handed.

Disko Trooper-Contender Sailcloth (Jules Hall and Jan Scholten) was First, Blue Planet (Chris O'Neill and Ian Smith) Second, and Rum Rebellion (Shane Connelly and Tony Sutton) was third under ORC two-handed. The theme continued under IRC, with the three J/99s scoring Second, Fourth and Fifth in two-handed, and an impressive Second, Fourth and Seventh overall.

Blue Planet won PHS (Performance Handicap System) overall, which is a fantastic result considering Chris had only owned his J/99 for a few months.

B2G or the venerable classic, the Brisbane to Gladstone race served up a fair amount of wind and sea state for its annual Easter run. Tony Craner's J/99, Balancing Act, finished in Third overall, and second under PHS, which is magnificent as it was Tony's first serious offshore race in his new J/99, which they raced four-up.

Held over the weekend of 4-5th March 2023, the six-boat fleet for the J/99 Australian National Championship was a six-race, fully crewed windward/leeward series, conducted as part of the Middle Harbour Yacht Club's Sydney Harbour Regatta.

"Others have categorised the J/99 solely as a double-handed Sydney to Hobart winner, and offshore racer following its incredible win in the 2021 race. There is no doubt the J/99 does this type of racing extremely well, with proven results from around the World. However, the National Championships highlighted the J/99 is equally adept 'around the cans' in close competitive racing, with 5-6 crew on board", said Entwistle.

"The format for the Nationals was to keep it simple, and thereby stop any arms race, using a simple box rule for sails (one Main, two Jibs, two Kites), and ORC Club certificates to capture the small differences in sail area."

"The overarching feedback is that all skippers and crew had enormous fun and enjoyed the camaraderie of this growing class. They all pushed outside their comfort zones and usual race program for this W/L close racing format. The Australian Nationals were the first in the World to be held which is a remarkable achievement."

The winners of the event were Disko Trooper, Jupiter, and Rum Rebellion.

Previous Calendar Year

In December of 2022 there was the CYCA's Cabbage Tree Island Race. Disko Trooper-Contender Sailcloth was First Overall under ORCi, and Second Overall under IRC. This super-impressive crew were First in Div2 of ORCi, First in ORCi two-handed and Second in IRC two-handed.

"Also, a special mention to J/99 Jupiter (Third in ORCi two-handed, and Fourth Overall in ORCi), as well as Rum Rebellion (Fourth IRC two-handed). The J/122, Joss, was First in the Wild Rose Trophy, the J/122 Rum Chaser was Fourth in PHS two-handed", commented a chuffed Entwistle.

Entwistle then added, "Remarkably, four of the top seven yachts in the combined ORCi fleet were double handed J/99's!"

November of 2022 was the CYCA's Bird Island race, where Rum Rebellion was First in the IRC two-handed division, First under IRC Div2 Overall, Second in ORCi two-handed, and Second overall in IRC Corinthian. "The J/99 is an amazing little boat", said Shane Connelly. "I was able to keep up with many well sailed and much longer crewed boats sailed by very good sailors."

In September of 2022, Rum Rebellion showed good form winning the CYCA Flinders Islet race in IRC two-handed and was third overall in IRC Div2, in a 15 and a half hour stint down South.

One month earlier, in the 384nm Sydney to Gold Coast race, Disko Trooper won IRC two-handed, so it certainly has been a golden patch, with more to come.

It's not all Sydney, either...

"At club level, J/99s have also reported scooping up local silverware. Last July, Nanook from the Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron at the bottom of Port Phillip won the Pinto Trophy trifecta with wins for Line Honours, ORC, and PHS. They were also the overall Club Champion, which is determined from the combined series over the season."

"Joyride, the J/99 from Newcastle has had a great 2022/23 season. They were First under both IRC and ORC in the Winter Short Ocean Point Score, claiming three Firsts and three Second places along the way. They were also First under IRC and ORC in the Summer Short Ocean Point Score. This is an eight-race series where they amassed four First, one Second, and three Third place results."

"They were First under ORC in the Spring Ocean Point Score, courtesy of a string of no less than six bullets to secure their unassailable win", said and ecstatic Entwistle in closing.

Talk with J/Boats Australia about the J/99, or any other vessel in the J/Boat range.

OK. There it is. There is so much more on the group's sites for you. Simply use the search field, or 'edition' pull-down menu up the top on the right of the masthead to find it all. Please enjoy your yachting, stay safe, and thanks for tuning into

John Curnow
Editor, Sail World AUS

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