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North Sails NEWS
J/70 WORLDS LOCAL KNOWLEDGE
North Sails Expert Charlie Cumbley Explains What’s Important In Torbay
The J70 World Championship takes place August 29th to September 6th 2019, with the UK Nationals as a warmup regatta from 23-26 August. Host Royal Torbay Yacht Club is on the north coast of Torbay in the town of Torquay. The bay is approximately four to five miles from North to south at its widest point, and it is open to the east. To the south is the rocky high headland of Berry Head, while the Orestone Rock lies to the north.
With the likelihood of a single fleet, the Worlds race committee will have the pick of bay locations depending on wind conditions. During the summer months, the predominant wind direction is southwest. Any direction other than an easterly will be offshore, so prepare for a shifty regatta!
Both northerly (rare in summer months) and southerly breezes can be particularly tricky, as the breeze has to come over high ground. There are high cliffs on the south coast near the town of Brixham. With any west in the breeze it will be steadier, but still prepare for some larger less regular shifts; there are several valleys, from Elberry Cove in the SSW of the bay to Broadsands and Goodrington Sands in the west, and the breeze can quite happily flick over a headland from one valley to the next. Torbay is very much an eyes-out-of-the-boat type of venue.
If there is a light gradient and warm air temps then thermal breezes are possible. They usually build initially from the south and then quickly veer SW, gradually creeping right throughout the afternoon. By the beginning of September, though, sea temps will be at their warmest (around the 17-18 degree C mark) while average air temps will only be a few degrees higher, making thermals a little less likely.
Easterly winds provide a very clear run of breeze and waves along the length of the English Channel. The waves can get pretty big, and although this direction is rare it provides some of the best wave sailing in the UK.
As we all know, sailing in the UK at the end of summer can really produce any kind of weather, so expect the unexpected!
Tidal currents take a definite back seat to the breeze because there is very little current within the bay itself. Once you pass east of the headlands and enter into the deeper water of the main channel, flow can be up to 0.75. It would be quite unusual to race this far outside the bay.
Onshore, enjoy the local classics of fish and chips, or a pasty. And for those running a more relaxed program, there is plenty of evening entertainment to suit most tastes.
Good luck and see you in Torbay!