Saturday saw the Junior Offshore Group JOG season kick off with the popular Nab Tower coastal race, which attracted a fleet of over 80 boats; amongst them were seven J/109s. This race starts from a fixed line at Gurnard, just to the West of Cowes. It heads East down the Solent carried by the flooding spring tide, out through the Forts then turns South-East to round the Nab Tower, then North to Winner buoy before returning between the Forts and back to Gurnard for a total distance of 37 miles.
A chilly and brisk breeze of 17 to 20 knots from East-North-East, combined with the strong tide pushing boats over the line. The J/109s were all in Class 4, the 3rd start of the morning and having seen some carnage in the earlier starts, a sensible approach was taken and everybody got away cleanly. After a short hitch up to starboard, the fleet tacked onto port for a seven mile close-hauled leg down the Solent.
From the start, Just So claimed a position at the head of the fleet with Jybe Talkin’ up to windward, Jukebox down to leeward and J!nks not far behind. Passing the Forts and cracking off onto a seven mile “white (black) sail” reach, Jybe Talkin’ had slipped back a bit allowing Jukebox to get ahead and J!nks to close the gap.
Rounding the Nab Tower put the fleet onto another reaching leg, not so tight this time and on Starboard for five miles. This was an opportunity for those boats equipped with a Code Zero to gain an advantage. Rounding Winner buoy was time to change to spinnakers for a reaching-leg all the way home. With the wind ranging from 13 to 20 knots this was an exhilarating drag-race all the way to the finish.
David McGough on Just So took the Class 4 win with Jukebox crossing the line just 13 seconds behind after 4 hours of racing (2 minutes 34 seconds on corrected time) for 2nd place. Two minutes behind them came Jybe Talkin’ for 6th place in the fleet, J!nks for 9th, Jumunu 12th and Jengu 17th. Sadly the RAF Sailing Association on Red Arrow were forced to retire.