This short video is taken from the first two days of J Class racing in Falmouth, June 2015.
It goes a small way to showing what a bewitching sight these 140ft plus designs from the 1930s make on the water, even in light winds – as Lionheart, Velsheda and Ranger pirouette around the racecourse with the grace of ballroom dancers.
We will put more photos and video up as the regatta draws to a close this Saturday.
Here is the official report from today’s racing (Thursday June 25):
The dream storyline for the J Class Falmouth regatta is a sparkling, sunny Saturday finale, two short, sharp races winner takes all in front of what is widely expected to be a huge crowd of local spectators afloat and on land. After the honours were shared between Lionheart and Velsheda today, around windward-leeward courses in light to moderate breezes, the perfect Saturday showdown is still on the cards.
But before the plot unfolds perfectly to plan, Friday might yet ruin the plans as it is set to bring the most breeze yet and may yet prove conclusive to the final results.
Lionheart now lead the regatta by a single point after pairing a comfortable, runaway win this morning to a harder won second place from today’s second race. Velsheda, in turn, followed up their King’s Hundred Guineas Cup win on Wednesday with a victory in the second race of the day. Ranger, the defending Falmouth champions from 2012, matched together a second and third today and lie only three points behind Lionheart.
Sunshine and steadier winds combined to produce the best, busiest day of racing of the week so far. Friday is due to bring a frontal system through with stronger winds -15-20kts – and perhaps some rain and so Race Officer Rob Lamb and his team have elected to run one windward-leeward tomorrow, leading up to Saturday’s deciders.
Although it was Velsheda which made the best start to the morning race, working off the pin to go left, offshore, where their esteemed afterguard had felt there would be an advantage with more wind pressure, it was the more conservative Lionheart which actually eked out a small early lead. They simply outpaced Ranger in the spotty 8-9kts breeze and that allowed them to reap the favourable right hand shift when it came to them. Ranger managed to thread between the two during the latter stages of the beat to round 17 seconds behind Lionheart. On each successive leg of two laps course Lionheart moved progressively ahead, opening out to take the winning gun over two minutes ahead of Ranger, which has not yet recorded a win so far but – as the heavier boat – may be more into their preferred conditions Friday.
The second start of the day was the most exciting and closest so far, all three Js lining up spectacularly bow to bow on the start gun. In the final seconds Ranger, the leftmost boat, was able to control Lionheart and then with Velsheda rolling them to windward, the regatta leaders immediately had work to do.
This time it was Velsheda which powered – as planned – out to the right and hooked into the key shift, Tom Dodson tactician noting later: “After the first race we just knew that the right was where we wanted to go. After that our crew work was always good and that helps because it gives us just a bit more flexibility at the gates, we always know we will get the chutes down.”
Although warm sunshine seemed to burn off some of the breeze during the second round, Velsheda held on nicely while Ranger had succumbed to Lionheart on the approach to the leeward gate. “It was good racing with a nice big crowd out there to watch, enough position changing so it was all good.” highlighted Lionheart’s Guy Salter, “We got ourselves into a good position in the first race and then extended, and then in the second race it was the same pattern only it wasn’t us extending!” “We went round the top mark third and we gybed off early and got back between the two of them.” Salter concluded: “We feel quick in that breeze, you want to be quickest in the light breeze but then with a bit more breeze tomorrow we will be happy too.”
Velsheda’s Dodson adds: “Today was about who got the right side of the beat. We did not think that in the first race and that was to our cost in the first race. Once that happened to us in the second race we just said ‘whatever happens we are going right. We just wanted to be the first boat to tack right. But we are in the mix, one point off first, one point off third. But we like the idea of more breeze tomorrow.”
1 Lionheart 1h 12m 36m
2 Ranger 1h 13m 58s
3 Velsheda 1h 15m 15s
1 Velsheda 1h 26m 1 s
2 Lionheart 1h 28m 2s
3 Ranger 1h 28m 53s
Standings after four races
1 Lionheart 7pts (1,3,1,2)
2 Velsheda 8pts (3,1,3,1)
3 Ranger 9pts (2,2,2,3)