Events, News

Jukebox crowned 2019 J/109 National Champion

The 2019 Landsail Tyres J-Cup 2019 was hosted by the Royal Southern Yacht Club on the Hamble River between 18th and 21st July.  The club put on a spectacular event which was blessed with solid breezes and sufficient blue sky and sun. Jukebox took the win by a comfortable margin after 3 days of tight racing.

The J/109 fleet fielded 11 entries, making them the largest single class competing in the event, which is also the class National Championships (the J/70s managed 16 entries, but technically, this was a different event).

It’s been a great season for J/109s so far with some very competitive one design class racing combined with success inshore and offshore in IRC. The nationals brought together all of the top boats. Fresh from winning Class 3 in the IRC Nationals and leading the J/109 class in the Round the Island Race, Chris Preston’s Jubilee was going to be hard to beat.

Chris Preston in command of Jubilee.

But offshore master David McGough and his family crew aboard Just So were also here, trying to cap son William’s achievement of winning the Morgan Cup overall, 2 handed. Earlier in the season, Simon Perry’s Jiraffe topped the table at the Vice Admirals Cup, narrowly beating Jubilee. The scene was set for a fierce battle.

Day 1 commenced with a moving tribute to Paul Heys, leader of Key Yachting and father of the J-boat fleet in the UK, who tragically died in a swimming accident earlier in the year. The fleet mustered south of Calshot buoy for a minute’s silence as Paul’s ashes were scattered by his wife Marie Claude Heys and daughters Gemma and Natalie. Paul made a huge contribution to sailing on the solent and he will be sadly missed.

As soon as racing got underway, it became clear that three boats, Jubilee, Jiraffe and John Smart’s Jukebox were going to be locked in tight competition.

Jukebox lead the first race initially, followed by Jubilee and Jiraffe. A poor hoist by Jubilee let Jiraffe into second down the run, then a technical issue aboard Jukebox on the drop allowed Jiraffe into first, only to have these gains reversed as Jiraffe over stood the windward mark. The class fitted trackers for the event and you can see the whole race (at 32x actual speed) here:

Changing positions in Race 1.
Athletics during the hoist aboard Jubilee with Jiraffe in hot pursuit

Races 2 and 3 were again dominated by Jukebox and Jubilee, each taking a win over the other in second. However a windward mark incident unfortunately led to disqualification for Jubilee in the second race.

Close racing between Jukebox and Jago

Day 2 saw a significant increase in the wind and the emergence of David Richards Jumping Jellyfish into the leading group placing them in contention picking up a second and a first. Jago, owned by Mike and Susie Yates, also made it to the podium with a second and a third. Jiraffe continued with a 3rd and a 2nd, but suffered a technical issue in the third race of the day as the J3 pulled out of the head foil at the start requiring the sail to be dropped and re-hoisted. This pushed them firmly to the back of the fleet.

Jiraffe and Jai Ho on Day 2
Jumping Jellyfish and Jubilee tussle on the drop

At the top mark, a strong gust blew through the fleet just after the leading pack hoisted their kites, resulting in chaos as the fleet were blown onto the lee shore at Calshot. There was no irretrievable damage, but Jukebox picked up some weaker results and the fleet began to exercise a lot more caution downwind. By the end of the day, Jumping Jellyfish, Jago and Just So were all in with a look, aided by Jubilee retiring from the second race following an unfortunate collision with Jumping Jellyfish courtesy of the testing conditions

National Champions, Jukebox, didn’t have it all their own way.

Day 3 delivered two firsts for Jukebox, sealing their victory and crowing them J/109 National Champions by a convincing margin. They were one of the only top boats still carrying overlapping headsails, but it is not clear that this is what delivered their advantage. They demonstrated consistently strong performance in a range of conditions, drove the boat hard and made fewer errors than their immediate competitors. This was a deserving one design victory.

In the fight for second, Jiraffe started well with a 3rd vs. Jumping Jellyfish’s 7th. But fortunes reversed in the second race with Jumping Jellyfish scoring a second while a botched spinnaker drop forced Jiraffe to accept a 7th. With all to play for in the final race if they were to retain second place overall, Jiraffe finally pulled it all together scoring their first win of the series while Jumping Jellyfish came in sixth. That left Jumping Jellyfish in third place overall, just 2 points ahead of Jubilee in fourth, in spite of having to count one of their two maximum scores after the one discard. The full results are below.

Final Results

They Royal Southern Yacht Club laid on a spectacular event both on and off the water. Race management was efficient and well run. With many of the competitors moored in the Prince Philip Yacht Haven, right in front of the club, there was a great post race atmosphere which continued late into the night.

Thank you to Tim Wright of for allowing us to use his fantastic pictures from the event. Theres’s a full gallery below. Please do get in touch with Tim if you would like any of the prints.

You can replay all the races via the tracking service here:

Jukebox leads Jago down the run.

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