The final day’s racing at the Landsail Tyres J-Cup was blessed with champagne conditions for the 50 competing teams at this year’s annual J/Boats regatta in the UK, hosted by ICOYC Member Club, Royal Southern Yacht Club. Run since 2000, the three-day regatta provides one design and mixed classes with highly competitive racing, but the J-Cup is more than a regatta—it is a family gathering that has been part of the history of J/Boats for 22 years.
After a gala dinner at the Royal Southern Yacht Club, with Brighton cover band Joyride providing live entertainment, the final prizegiving was held in the airy Marquee on The Quarter Deck. Key Yachting’s Wayne Palmer and Hannah Le Prevost welcomed the sailors and awarded the prizes to the winning teams.
In IRC One, Michael and Sarah Wallis’ J/122E Jahmali won all three races on the final day to win the class. Johnny Cooper’s J/112E Jooped had been leading the regatta for two days but finished in second overall. Mark Stevens’ J/105 Jacana finished third in class, just two points ahead of Vernon Bradley’s J/99 BlackJack.
Michael and Sarah Wallis previously won J-Cup with their J/109 in 2014, and the couple have been longtime friends of the founders of Key Yachting, Paul & Marie Claude Heys. Jahmali’s stunning 2021 performance was the lowest points score of any team, and coupled with their spirit, Jahmali was awarded the J-Cup.
Michael Wallis, full of emotion, spoke at the prizegiving: “Thank you to everybody who sailed in this event and everybody who has organised it. We were honoured to have Marie Claude Heys sailing with us, and we were honoured to sail around the Paul Heys Buoy twice today in his memory. So, here’s to the big man—thank you.”
In IRC Two, Robin Stevenson’s J/92s Upstart scored a 1-1-2 on the final day to win the class. Becky Walford’s Brenda’s J finished the regatta in style, winning the last race to move up to second in class. Walford received a horde of prizes on the final day, much to her delight. David Greenhalgh’s J’ronimo was third. IRC 2 was extremely competitive with five teams scoring race wins during the regatta.
Robin Stevenson and David Greenhalgh have been racing against each other for years and were enjoying a drink together after the prizegiving. “I have suggested that Robin goes back to Shoreham, but I do have a boat he can sleep on, as we intend to have more than one drink!” smiled David. Robin replied: “This regatta has been a good old ding-dong, and hard going, but all good fun—a great event.”
J/70 World Champions, Paul Ward’s Eat Sleep J Repeat, scored a 1-4-2 on the final day to win the J/70 Class. Nick Phillips’ Chaotic outscored the world champs on the final day, posting a 2-2-1 to finish the regatta in second place. Martin Dent’s Jelvis finished third.
“The UK fleet is getting more and more competitive, we are finding it really hard work, and we love it” commented Paul Ward, who is Rear Commodore of Sailing at Royal Southern Yacht Club. “There is a very good UK fleet, a number of really good professional sailors, but more importantly a bunch of really good Corinthian sailors. They have found the best one-design sailing anywhere. We have regular racing in fleets of 20 boats or more—great racing and a really good time.”
Nine of the 20 teams in the J/70 Class were Corinthian, and three made the top 10 of the Open Class. Patrick Liardet’s J/70 Cosmic held on to finish the regatta as the top Corinthian boat. Charles Thompson’s Brutus II came with one point of catching Cosmic. Greg Hall’s Sceptre was third.
Jumping Jellyfish wins in tight class
David Richards’ Jumping Jellyfish kept two points ahead of the close opposition in the J/109 Class to win the J/109 UK National Championship. Mike & Susie Yates’ JAGO finished the regatta in second place. Neil MacLachlan’s J/109 Jai Ho had a cracking last day. Scoring two race wins, the team from Jersey finished on the regatta podium in third.
“Over the last couple of years, we have not had much regatta racing due to the restrictions,” commented David Richards. “I have always loved the J-Cup because it’s hugely competitive racing. We have well-sailed, equally matched boats. In the future, we are working with the Irish J/109 fleet to get some really sizeable fleets together. We are looking at Cork Week and a reciprocal event in the UK.”
The J/111 Class produced the closest contest for victory at this year’s regatta, between Tony & Sally Mack’s McFly and Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s J/111 Journeymaker II. After eight races, the two teams had equal points, and an equal number of race-wins, in the seven-boat fleet. Victory was decided by the best result in the last race, won by McFly. The Macks have been racing at the J-Cup for over 10 years. “The McFly team is a family, we have great fun together, and a lot of laughs,” commented Sally Mack. “We always look forward to the J-Cup, and although these are strange times, the J-Cup does feel like normal, which is nice, really nice.”
Key Yachting’s owner-manager Wayne Palmer was racing his J/109 Flying Jackal at the Landsail Tyres J-Cup. “Someone just put a crazy hat on my head and that sums it up really!” said Wayne after the prizegiving. “It has been amazing to see the passion of people who love sailing as much as I do. It is a joy to get out on the water with so many J/Boats. A big thank you to all of the race team, everyone at the Royal Southern, all of the Key Yachting team, and our supporters, who have given superb prizes to the winners. They have all worked so hard to put on a fantastic event.”