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J/80 East Coast Championship at Kingston Yacht Club

by J-Boats 20 Aug 2023 00:59 BST July 28-30, 2023
J/80 East Coast Championship 2023 © J-Boats

The J/80 East Coast Championship recently took place at the end of July as part of the Lake Yacht Racing Association (LYRA) Annual Regatta in Kingston, Ontario.

Famous for its reliable breeze and challenging wind shifts, Kingston was the venue for the 1976 Olympic sailing regatta. The sailors thoroughly enjoyed the three days of racing in such awesome sailing conditions. The expert race management provided by the host Kingston Yacht Club enabled the fleet to have nine races and, as a result, permitted the competitors two discards!

Racing began on Friday morning under mostly sunny skies and moderate breezes between 8 to 12 knots. With excellent race management, the Race Committee treated racers to four races throughout the afternoon.

Saturday dawned gray and rainy. The fleet went out and the RC managed to get off one race under difficult and sporty conditions of driving rain and breeze from 15 to 20 knots with gusts in the upper 20s.

Class stalwart Hugh McGugan (CAN 347 BREAKAWAY J) commented, "The NE breeze saw the J/80s planing downwind at speeds in the 15-knot range (the 1-mile run took 5 minutes to sail), mostly under control, although with a couple of notable exceptions and spectacular broaches"!

On Saturday evening, the racers enjoyed dinner and local music at Kingston YC.

Sunday began with light conditions of about 5 knots that built throughout the day to 12 to 15 knots. The RC provided teams with 4 quality races and still brought the fleet back with ample time for teams to de-rig, decompress, and lift a beverage or two before the awards ceremony.

As for results, Conor Hayes and team MORE GOSTOSA (USA 1153) provided a master class with six bullets and a total of 9 points after their two drops (including a race 9 DNF since they'd already won).

There was a hard-fought battle for the remaining podium places. In the end, John Vallee and team SHEET'N'GIGGLES (CAN 1326) were second with a total of 22.5 points after their drops. Both Hugh McGugan and team BREAKAWAY J and Doug Gibson and team CHEEKY MONKEY (CAN 1067) had 28 points, with BREAKAWAY J winning the tie-breaker for third. Congratulations to all of the teams!

In moving the east coast 500 miles inland, the J/80 Class truly embraced our rapidly-growing Fleet 20. Fleet 20 is comprised of several dispersed J/80 local fleets and has grown every year for the last 8 years: Toronto area (12 J/80s), Ottawa/Nepean (7), Port Dover on Lake Erie (4), Rochester NY (4), as well as 1 in Kingston and 1 nearby in Eastern Lake Ontario.

With suburb organization, grace, style, and cooperating breeze the North American J/80 Class was treated to a fantastic event. Particular thanks must go to Hugh McGugan and his mighty gin pole for raising and lowering so many masts in such a short timeframe! Smiles abounded at this regatta and there is already discussion about coming back.

The Class thanks LYRA, Kingston YC, the entire KYC Race Committee, volunteers, staff, and the City of Kingston for hosting the event.

Find out more at

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