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J/97 Finishes 2nd in Round Island Race
The annual JPMorgan Asset Management Round the Island Race, organized by the Island Sailing Club, is one of the most popular fixtures on the Solent racing calendar. Competitors come from Europe and the USA, as well as all over the UK, to race the 50 mile course round the Isle of Wight. This year the event attracted 1779 entrants (and no that's not a typo!) with J/80, J/105 & J/109 classes and many larger J's. The team from J/UK brought out the new J/97 'Jenga' for her debut regatta in the 55 boat IRC Division 3A. By race end, the J/97 had finished second on elapsed and corrected time in class and was the top J/Boat overall on IRC corrected time. Paul Heys reports:
"We had a crew of 7: MC (Heys) on the tiller, myself, Emma on mainsheet, Kirsty the owner of the J109 J Dream on pit, (Kirsty's husband Dave was sailing J Dream with charter guests). Toby from the J Dream crew on jib, Lance one of our big boat owners on mast and Pietro on bow. Our sail wardrobe included 3 sails: Elvstrom, main, Code 2 jib on hanks with battens, and Code 2 spinnaker.
The forecast was 6-8 knots rising to 12-14 by the time we reached the halfway mark at St Catherines point on the South side of the island. We were in a class of 55 boats in a larger group of perhaps 300 boats all of whom started together. Whilst we were nearly the highest rated, there were quite a lot of longer older boats that could have blanketed us on the fetch if we did not manage to get clear air. From a tidal and shortest distance point of view the island (leeward) end is always favored, from a clear wind point of view with this wind direction, the pin was favored. We opted for the pin and with little difficulty we were able to nail the pin end start. We were initially fetching in 5-6 knots of wind and were pleased to slowly work away from the closest boat which was an MG 335 and all of the pack that had started well at our end. The leg from the start line to the Needles is about 11 miles and the tide was now building to 2 knots in the deep channel, as the tide built the wind backed and we became close hauled. We were comfortable with our speed and within 10 minutes of starting we were in the back of the previous class that had started 10 minutes earlier. On the way down to the Needles we did not see any of our fleet and were working our way through the earlier starters. Tactically we found the Solent difficult, as the breeze was localized, so twice we swapped sides which we normally don't like to do, however the extra pressure appeared to be worth the chase. We discovered that we had not made a perfect job of this, as when we arrived at the Needles, we found ourselves in the company of a Sigma 33 and a Hunter Impala, two slower boats that had started at the same time.
Rounding the Needles we hoisted the code 2 and immediately goosewinged to punch straight into the tide, which would now be against us for the full 25 miles of the run. The wind tends to follow the coast when in this direction so there was at no point, any bow up spinnaker reaching, instead we ran deep the whole way, we used a mixture of goose winging and normal 165 true sailing trying not to gybe out into the
stronger foul tide and utilizing the inshore back eddies. The breeze was between 10 and 18 knots. We passed many boats on the run and only a couple passed us. The Leeward mark at Bembridge was a massive park up of over 500 boats as two opposing winds cancelled each other out. We could see 122's and 133's in front of us and saw lots of boats we had passed piling in behind us, so it became a major restart. Exiting the ruck, we had no idea how we were placed as it was clear that massive losses and gains would have taken place. The old breeze prevailed and we started beating against the tide which had again changed against us, in 2-3 knots of wind. We held on to our position and slowly the breeze built and once it got over 6 knots we stepped away from a J 92 and caught and passed a few larger boats. The beat to the finish saw us in company with Prima 38, X 362, J 109's, J 105's but no smaller boats. Our speed and height was good and only the Prima and the X made small gains. We passed and moved away from the other boats.
As we approached the finish a boat that we had not previously seen, got a gun a few minutes before we got our gun, this was the Elan 333 that won our class. We think that they passed us at Bembridge, although they could have led us out of the Solent.
Upon arriving ashore we found that we had beaten all other J's on handicap. It was a small boat race with some parking lots, but the boat's performance when in contact with others was great!
We are excited by the speed of the new J/97 and her potential for racing IRC. In all, she is a versatile & comfortable boat and everyone on board enjoyed sailing her in this debut race!
J/97 Boat Reviews:
Versatility + Sailing Performance = European Boat of the Year
The prize of "IRC Boat of the Year" in France is awarded to the builder of a series production boat that has distinguished itself in international IRC competitions throughout Europe. It is presented annually during the "Evening of Ocean Racing" held in conjunction with the Salon Nautique de Paris (Paris Sailboat Show). This year's winner is the J/97 built by JB Composites in Les Sables d'Olonne, France.
Didier LeMoal, CEO of JB Composites commented, "The J/97 ultimately demonstrated its pedigree and potential performance in 2011 with several strong campaigns in France and England. J/97 was winner of the Trophy Atlantic UNCL IRC 4 with victories in Spi Ouest France-Intermarché and Grand Prix Crouesty, and a second place in Brest and the Course of Three Islands. Internationally, the J/97 won 2010 Cowes Week in IRC Class and won the 2011 Garmin Hamble Winter Series by a huge margin in IRC 3 Class against stiff competition."
The jury presiding over the election of the IRC boat of the year was made up of four elected members of the UNCL: its President, Marc de Saint Denis; Edouard Baetz its general secretary; Jean Michel Carpentier (Racing Commission); and Jean Claude Merlivat ( Commission IRC). They were assisted by four prominent yachting journalists: Olivier Le Carré (BATEAUX), Pierre-Marie Bourguinat (VOILES & VOILIER), Bernard Rubinstein (VOILE Magazine) and Patrice Carpentier (SEAHORSE INTERNATIONAL Racing).
The selection criteria were: 1) sailing results in France and in Europe; 2) the boat-handling and sailing qualities; 3) the ability to both race and cruise; 4) overall aesthetics; 5) a minimum of 10 boats built in the last year; and 6) have sailed at least 5 races in the IRC in the past year.
The boats selected by the UNCL were an impressive line-up of many winners in IRC events this past year in European waters. The competitive sailboats included: Elan 350, Beneteau First 30, Beneteau First 40, Grand Soleil 43 B&C, J/97, Jeanneau Sun Fast 1010 and Jeanneau Sun Fast 3200.
As a versatile cruising boat with a racing pedigree that is so dear to the IRC, the J/97, with 45 boats built to date, is a boat that is well-designed and well-built, benefiting from the professionalism and experience of JB Composites. Whether sailing nationally (France) or internationally, the winning record of the J/97 is eloquent and prophetic:
The All-Purpose 30' Family Cruiser-Racer
Introduced in 2009, the J/97 has rapidly attained spectacular performances in major European regattas, winning class in Spi Ouest, Cowes Week, Hamble Winter Series, Sailing World NOOD Chicago and Warsash Springs Series, to name a few. Most recently, J/97 was named 2011 IRC Boat of the Year in France (see more results below).
J/97 is the first J in over two decades under 32’ to combine headroom and family cruising accommodations in a high performance, easily driven hull. With the handling ease of an asymmetric spinnaker and non-overlapping headsails, the J/97 promises to be J Boats’ most versatile design yet under 35’ to fit the needs of today’s sailing families, both young and old alike-- the ultimate combination of sailing performance and creature comforts for all!
The key to creating a versatile sailboat is staying focused on the quality of the sailing experience, a trait shared by all J designs. Boats that are easily driven, easily handled, and genuinely fun to sail provide greater long-term “sailing value” to their owners than designs driven by the
latest rating rule or designs that are over-compromised to meet the latest styling trends. Form usually follows function in good sailboat design, and the J/97 is no exception.
The cockpit features full length seats with back rests, tiller steering, and a unique, partially open transom that incorporates life-raft storage. All sailing controls are within reach of the helmsperson to make the boat very easy to manage. A retractable bow sprit with masthead asymmetric spinnaker allows great all-around performance without the need for numerous skilled crew. The low VCG keel provides exceptional upwind stability while being cruising friendly with swept back leading edge and moderate draft.
The interior layout is open and airy and is ideal for one couple cruising with room for more. It includes a spacious main cabin with two settees, galley, forward-facing navigation station; plus an enclosed aft head, V-berth, and aft owner’s cabin. Cruising stowage includes a large “garage” aft of the head (accessed through the cockpit seat locker).
J/97 Regatta Results Worldwide
|RORC Easter Challenge||April||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 3||1st & 2nd Class|
|Warsash Spring Series||Apr-May||Warsash, England||IRC Class 3||2nd Class|
|Dolphin Brewin Scottish Series||May||Tarbert, Scotland||IRC Class 2||1st & 2nd Class|
|Round Island Race||July||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 2D||1st & 2nd Class|
|Cowes Race Week||August||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 4||1st Class|
|Garmin Hamble Winter Series||Oct-Nov||Hamble, England||IRC Class 3||2nd Class|
|SPI Ouest France||April||La Trinite sur Mer, France||IRC Class 3||1st Class|
|Warsash Spring Series||Apr-May||Warsash, England||IRC Class 3||3rd Class|
|Brewin Dolphin Scottish Series||May||Tarbert, Scotland||IRC Class 4||1st & 2nd, "Yacht of the Series"|
|Kip Regatta||June||Kip Marina, Scotland||IRC Class 2||1st Class, 1st Overall|
|Grand Prix du Crouesty||June||Crouesty, France||IRC Class 2||1st Class|
|France Altlantique Trophy||July||Les Sables d'Olonne, France||IRC Class 2||1st Class|
|Sussex Regatta||July||Sussex, England||IRC Class 2||1st Class, 1st Overall|
|Dartmouth Regatta||July||Dartmouth, England||IRC Class 2||1st Class, 1st Overall|
|Round Island Race||July||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 2D||1st Class|
|Cowes Race Week||August||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 4||2nd, 3rd Class|
|Garmin Hamble Winter Series||Oct-Nov||Hamble, England||IRC Class 3||1st Class, "Yacht of the Series"|
|FFV France IRC "Yacht of the Year"||December||Paris, France||Overall Winner|
|Sailing World "Boat of the Year"||January||Newport, RI||"Best Club Racer" Winner|
|Warsash Spring Series||Apr-May||Warsash, England||IRC Class 3||2nd Class|
|Round Island Race||July||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 2D||5th Class|
|Chicago-Mackinac Race||July||Chicago, IL- Mackinac Is, MI||ORR Section 8||2nd Class|
|Cowes Race Week||August||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 4||2nd Class|
|Cowes Race Week||August||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 5||2nd, 4th Class|
|Garmin Hamble Winter Series||Oct-Nov||Hamble, England||IRC Class 2||1st Class|
|J/Cup Regatta||July||Southampton, England||IRC Class 2||1st Class|
|Dartmouth Regatta||July||Dartmouth, England||IRC Class 2||1st Class, 1st Overall, "Yacht of the Series"|
|Cowes Race Week||August||Cowes, Isle of Wight, England||IRC Class 5||1st Class, 1st Black Group Overall|
Sailing for Life in Better Sailboats
Sailing is the ultimate freedom, the experience of being at one with nature and the sea, powered only by the wind and one's imagination. It's one of the few "life sports" that offers both a relaxing escape as well as an invigorating challenge. You pick your level of comfort and excitement. Sailing is never the same twice - each time on the water with your sailboat is a unique adventure that can enrich friendships, strengthen family ties, and refresh one's own sense of well-being. How many other outdoor activities can be shared with three or more family generations? It's been said there are two types of sailors in the world - the young and the young-at-heart. How great is that?
What a Difference a J Makes
Fulfilling those sailing dreams starts with finding a sailboat that fits you - whether you aspire to sail close to home, cruise to distant shores, or take up the challenge of competitive sailing. Performance differences between sailboats are greater than differences between golf clubs, tennis rackets, skis or cars. There aren't many wooden or metal tennis rackets, skis or golf clubs in use anymore. That's because newer boat designs that perform better and are easier to use are MORE FUN! A well designed sailboat, like a good sports car, is an extension of its owner. It could take years of sailing other boats to learn the difference that good design and quality make to one's sailing enjoyment. Or you can save time and take advantage of what we've learned and designed into every "J." We invite you to explore our site to learn more.
J/Sailing Gear For 2018
Look great this season in J sailing apparel. Check out the comfortable and fashionable sailing clothing, tech shirts, polo shirts, sailing jackets and sailing hats at the J/Sailing Gear site. Also backpacks, totes, J battleflags and other fun items like half-model sailboats are available as gifts and trophies.
J/Gear is fully customizable to your needs. When you order, you can specify just about anything you wish, including boat name, boat type, yacht club, hailing port, etc. Please be sure to visit our store here.
Upcoming Sailing Events
Jan 19-21- J/Fest St Pete- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 9-11- Quantum J/70 Winter Series- Tampa, FL
Feb 15-18- St Pete NOOD Regatta- St Petersburg, FL
Feb 17-18- SCYA Midwinter Regatta- Long Beach, CA
Feb 19- RORC Caribbean 600 Race- English Harbour, Antigua
Feb 23-25- J/70 Midwinters- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 1-4- Heineken St Maarten Regatta- Simpson Bay, St Maarten
Mar 7-10- Bacardi Cup J/70 Invitational- Coconut Grove, FL
Mar 16-18- San Diego NOOD Regatta- San Diego, CA
NEW 40' Offshore Speedster for 5 or fewer Crew
The new J/121 is a 40’ offshore speedster that can be day raced or distance sailed by just 5 or fewer crew…. the best short-handed J ever…. capable of winning on any race track while also excelling in daysailing and weekend mode. J/121 redefines offshore sailboat racing as a recreation and shared adventure with friends - fulfilling the growing need to simplify life and reconnect with those you really want to sail with on a boat that’s pure magic to sail. Learn more about J/121 here.
Elegance, Comfort & Style - NEW J/112E
J/112E is the newest “E” Series of sport-cruising yachts. An Evolution of Elegant performance cruising design. This dual- purpose 36 footer has a spacious two-cabin layout and a roomy, comfortable, cockpit. Perfect for the annual club cruise, offshore racing or short-handed blue-water sailing. Learn about J/112E here.
J/70 - The Sportboat Changing Sailing
The J/70 speedster is a fun, fast, stable, 22 footer that can be towed behind a small SUV and ramped launched and rigged by two people. J/70 sails upwind like her larger sibling (the J/80) and off the wind she simply flies - planing fast in moderate winds. With 1,300+ boats delivered worldwide, the choice is clear. Learn more about J/70 here.
A Family-friendly One-Design & Daysailer - J/88
The J/88 combines big boat feel with sportsboat-like acceleration. Add a weekend interior, inboard head, engine and huge cockpit and you have a versatile 29 footer. Blistering upwind speed of 6.5 kts and trailblazing speed offshore means smiles all around as you collect both the silverware and priceless sailing memories. Learn more about J/88 here.