Congratulations to the Royal Southern Yacht Club for organising two splendid days of racing for the Doyle Sails September Regatta. Race officer Peter Bateson and his team delivered three races a day around excellent courses and in a steady South Westerly of 12 to 15 knots on Saturday, building on Sunday to finish in Sun and 20+ knots.
With too few J/109s entered in the Royal Southern Summer Series for a one-design start, Simon Perry’s Jiraffe and Roger Phillips’ Designstar 2 represented the class in IRC 2. Designstar raced off an IRC rating of 1.005 with their class #3 on the furler while Jiraffe sailed with a maximum sized non-overlapping IRC Jib on a non-furling tuff luff resulting in a slightly higher rating of 1.012. Jiraffe’s larger Jib didn’t seem to give a lot of benefit in upwind speed with both boats equally matched up the first beat in about 14 knots of wind. Ultimately Jiraffe pulled away downwind to finish the first race 3rd.
With wind in the middle of the range, away from the J/109s there was no clear benefit to either a low or a high rating with the battle for the lead developing between David Riley’s Corby, No Retreat, sailing off the highest rating in the class of 1.039 and Peter and Sarah Hodgkinson’s Excitable, an X-362 with 0.997 on its certificate. Excitable dominated the first two races with each of Jiraffe and No Retreat taking turns to come second on corrected time after close finishes in short races which meant that results were often determined by only seconds of difference in finishing time.
Jiraffe got away in the third race, closely followed by Designstar giving the J/109 class 1st and 2nd in the last race of the day. But over the 3 races, Excitable led Jiraffe by 2 points with No Retreat just 2 behind Jiraffe.
The wind was up a bit on Sunday and the sun came out to provide spectacular conditions. Excitable seemed to have better upwind speed than the higher rated boats, taking first from Jiraffe, who was followed by No Retreat. Some spinnaker problems on board the regatta leader in Race 2 allowed Jiraffe and No Retreat to get past into 1st and 2nd leaving all to play for in the final, windiest race of the day. But sadly Excitable was forced to pull out due to a damaged mainsail and No Retreat retreated to the Island.
Now both on a class #3, Jiraffe and Designstar were again very evenly matched upwind and rounded the windward mark yards apart with Jiraffe just ahead. Designstar took the opportunity provided when Jiraffe couldn’t rehoist the jib at the first bottom mark (should have left that furler on!) and took the lead, but then had spinnaker trouble of their own, leaving Jiraffe to win while Hot Rats grabbed a much wanted 2nd.
It’s not one design racing, but it’s the next best thing. The results prove that the J/109 is competitive in this environment with both entered boats featuring in the top 3 in individual races. The Royal Southern did a fantastic job running the event. It’s part of a series throughout the summer, running one weekend a month from May to September with a break in August and it’s well worth considering for next years calendar.
Photo ©️Rick Tomlinson www.rick-tomlinson.com