'Jenga tacktick' takes clear win at last weekend's J/80 nationals

Racing commenced on Thursday 23 June in Plymouth Sound for the Barratt J/80 UK National Championship, hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club and presided over by international Race Officer Mike Pearson.

The championship comprised a ten-race series and was sailed in mainly light airs (5-10 knots). A total of 25 boats travelled from all over the UK to compete. Racing took place on windward/leeward courses, both inside and outside the breakwater as the PRO moved the course to make the most of the local tidal conditions and any available sea-breeze.

Races 1 and 2 were sailed on Thursday with breeze from the south-west filling in from 5 knots to 8 knots by the end of the afternoon. Race 1 saw ‘Silva Dream Machine’ helmed by Kevin Sproul win the pin and then port tack the fleet, leading from start to finish. Marie-Claude Heys sailing ‘Jenga tacktick’ took second and Steve Northmore finished third in ‘Twenty Five’. Race 2 and the tables were turned; this time it was ‘Jenga tacktick’ who reached the first windward mark in pole position and hold the lead until the gun. ‘Silva Dream Machine’ was second to cross the line and Richard Bickford in ‘Liberty’ was third.

‘Silva Dream Machine’ won the start of Race 3 on Friday morning and Kevin Sproul was able to hold this advantage until the finish. ‘Jenga tacktick’ and Angus McPhie’s ‘Wave Warrior’ battled it out for second and third with Marie-Claude Heys finally working through to second. Race 4 was sailed in a falling breeze but Gemma Frier and her young team sailing one of the RYA-owned J/80s (sponsored by AppA Beds and powered by Goacher Sails) showed the oldies how it should be done and took first place from ‘Wave Warrior’ in second and ‘Twenty-Five’ in third.

Race 5 on Saturday morning saw ‘Silva Dream Machine’ back to form, leading from the off, but ‘H’ Brown, also sailing an RYA boat, took a well deserved second. Scott Cole (from the charter company Cardiff Bay Racing) in ‘Purple Haze’ crossed the line in third. Scott and H clearly enjoyed their time at the front of the pack and opted for more of the same in Race 6; ‘Purple Haze’ took the bullet, ‘Twenty Five’ worked back up there to second and H Brown was third.

Going into the final day ‘Jenga tacktick’ had 15 points with Twenty-Five tied on 18 points in equal second with Silva Dream Machine. Marie-Claude showed her mettle and won Races 7 & 8. A tricky Race 9 saw yet another winner with Joe Radmore and Richard Coppin finding some excellent form at the front of the fleet to take first place, ‘Wave Warrior’ fought through to second and ‘Jenga tacktick’ strolled home to take third place and the Barratt J/80 National Championship title.

Marie-Claude Heys said: “It has been an excellent championship; the racing has been very close and really exciting. To win the event in a fleet of 25 boats with it all coming down to the last race has proved more than a little nerve wracking, but it’s a great feeling. My crew have been fabulous; Geoff Carveth is a superb tactician, Megan Cavill (on bow) gets the sails up and down without tangles and my husband Paul is a pretty useful trimmer too! I’m delighted. I’d like to thank all at the RWYC and the event sponsor Barratt for a fabulous regatta.”

The next key event on the calendar is the Silva J/80 World Championship at the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club in Falmouth next month. With over 50 crews entered from the USA, UK, France, Sweden, Denmark, Germany and New Zealand there is likely to be plenty of action both on and off the water.