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Optimist Munster Championship, Ireland
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J/70 & J/80 UK Nationals
Extract from Becci Eplett's report
It was a challenging day on the water for all on Sunday at the 2013 J/70 and J/80 UK National Championship. The event was hosted by the Royal Yacht Squadron. Having completed the first two races of the championship on Friday in sublime race conditions, competitors were sent ashore and racing was abandoned before the first start sequence on Saturday as an easily sailable 21 knots quickly built to a steady 33 knots in the course area near Mother Bank on the Solent. Three races were scheduled for Sunday, of which two were completed by the J/70s and the J/80s in a fading breeze of between 6 and 12 knots which swung between 230 and 190 degrees.
© Rick Tomlinson Photography
Sunday was a 'double bullet' day both for Rob Larke and his crew in the J/80 National Championship fleet on J2X and also for Ruairidh Scott and the boys on the J/70, North Sails. For Ruairidh, these two wins completed his perfect regatta score-line and stamped convincing authority on this first J/70 UK National Championship title. Conversely, for Rob in the J/80 fleet, two wins on the final day of racing, although impressive, were not sufficient to overhaul Kevin Sproul and his crew on board J.A.T who had led the regatta from Race One and, having never posted a result outside of the top two across the series, were deserving winners of the 2013 J/80 UK National Championship.
Both fleets were invited to a Pimms loaded prize-giving on The Platform at the Royal Yacht Squadron on Sunday afternoon, which unsurprisingly was extraordinarily well attended. PRO Captain Simon Van Der Byl thanked competitors for their sportsmanship throughout the weekend and presented prizes alongside the Rear Commodore for Finance, the Honourable Patrick Seely.
In third place at the 2013 J/70 UK National Championship was Simon Ling and his crew from Team RAFBF Spitfire Powered by SLAM with 12 points on their score-sheet. Second overall was class newcomer Russell Peters and his team from Bob with 9 points. Ruairidh Scott, Hugh Fletcher, Ben Field and Matt Curthoys sailing North Sails stepped up to accept the J/70 UK National Championship title, never having lost a race. They were presented with a stunning J/70 half-model, sponsored by Wilson Covers.
On behalf of the J/70 and the J/80 fleets, Ruairidh thanked all at the Royal Yacht Squadron for the Club's unrivalled hospitality and for the excellent race management delivered by Captain Simon Van Der Byl and his team. He went on to congratulate and thank his crew for their skill and support throughout the season so far and all of those racing at the championship for their competition and sportsmanship. Sincere thanks were also proffered for the other supporting sponsors of the event, Grapefruit Graphics, Peters and May, Wight Vodka and SLAM.
The next key event on the 2013 calendar for J/80 and J/70 sailors is AAM Cowes Week and then both fleets will race at the J-Cup in Plymouth later in August. The 2014 J/70 and J/80 UK National Championships will take place at Poole Regatta from the 24th to 26th May 2014.
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