Events, News

J/109 National Championships at the J-Cup 2020

The entry list currently shows 8 J/109s will be competing for the title of National Champion at this year’s J-Cup, to be hosted by the Royal Ocean Racing Club in Cowes from 2nd to 5th September. Read on to see what is planned for the event…

John Smart and Jukebox will be back to defend their title from 2019 along with class regulars Dave Richards and Jumping Jellyfish, another past champion; Mike Yates Jago, going fast this year; Rob Cotterill’s Mojo Risin’; the RAF’s Red Arrow and Simon Perry’s Jiraffe.

John Smart’s Jukebox on their way to being crowned J/109 National Champion in 2019 ©photoaction

Cowes Week regular, Brown Teal, put together by Ross Walker of the RYS will be a welcome addition to the fleet along with Flying Jackal, for whom it will be their first Nationals since purchasing the old Diamond Gem and doubtless paying their respects to Neptune during the necessary renaming ceremony.

Red Arrow at last year’s championships ©photoaction

This will be the last national championships under the transitional rules, which will expire at the end of this season. From next year, the J/109s will no longer be able to use their overlapping Genoa’s in one design competition. For this year, there will be the option of electing to use either a traditional overlapping rig or to go with the new non-overlapping set up, as long as a declaration has been made at the start fo the event to establish for each boat which combination they will choose.

It will also be the last championships for which hydraulic backstays will be obligatory. From the start of next season, the rules will change to allow J/109s to carry either the existing hydraulic system or to switch to a cascade backstay as many have been using for a while under their IRC set up.

As we learn to live with COVID-19, our sport has adapted thanks to huge efforts by the RYA and this regatta will limit the total crew size for a J/109 to a maximum of 6 people rather than the usual 8 to allow social distancing measures to be adhered to while on the water. For many, this has meant a rather different season this year. Some have struggled to get out, especially when early on, it was only really family crews that were allowed on the water. But JOG, RORC and various yacht clubs including the Royal Southern have put a lot of work in to get events running under the ever evolving restrictions, so some have managed to get used to short handed sailing.

Jago, 2-handed in the JOG Great Escape race ©Rick Tomlinson

I am sure that the evening entertainment will also be a little less cosy as a result of the virus. But the important thing is that the event will be going ahead and it is a great testament to Key Yachting and the Royal Ocean Racing Club to see that nearly 40 J-boats across 3 one design classes and IRC are currently planning to present themselves at registration on Wednesday 2nd.

Unlikely we’ll be seeing a repeat of last year’s dock parties until the vaccine is available! ©Simon Perry

If you haven’t yet got your entry in, there is still time. Details are available via the website at Yachtscoring.com. See you there.

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