The final weekend of May saw 15 teams converge on Parkstone YC in Poole for the 2nd event of the 2013 UK J/24 Series and the Southern Area Championships.
Being a bank holiday weekend the event is historically awarded overcast skies, rain and windy south westerly’s, however the 2013 edition had something different in store – light and shifty northerly winds under glorious sunny skies, which made the job of the race team, led by Bryan Drake, no easier but gave us the chance to enjoy some seldom seen sunshine and hold the post race analysis on the club veranda.
With 8 races scheduled and a patchy forecast over the two days competitors headed out towards Poole Bay early on Saturday morning and managed to get two races away before the wind deserted us completely for a couple of hours with rewards going to the teams who took the gains on offer and consolidated them before the next big shift.
After several false promises the wind filled and stabilised sufficiently to allow the race team to send the fleet off for another two races in very tricky conditions. However, they say the ‘cream rises to the top’ and so it seemed on the final race of the day as the entire fleet became becalmed on the run to the finish only for eventual regatta winners, Madeleine, to ghost from the pack and take line honours for one of their 4 race wins.
Sunday was no less tricky but as the day went on the wind built to give a further 3 races, with the more stable breeze showing just how close and competitive J/24 racing in the UK is. Unfortunately the keenness of the fleet to keep pushing themselves and each other resulted in a general recall just before the time limit and put pay to the hope of completing the full 8 races.
When the dust settled, and in spite of all of us spending some time at the wrong end of the fleet, the usual suspects filled the top spots of the leader board and showed that there is no substitute for a well prepped team, drilled crew work and slick tactics round the race course.
Madeleine, helmed by Duncan McCarthy, took the Southern Areas title, followed by the team of Jiggy2 in 2nd and Chaotic in 3rd.
Thanks must be passed to all the team at Parkstone Yacht Club for hosting the J/24’s and to all the competitors for making it such an enjoyable weekend. Next stop is the UK Nationals in Plymouth from 4– 7th July where we are expecting bigger numbers and even fiercer competition for places. For anyone interested in becoming involved in the J/24 fleet more info can be found through the class website www.j24class.org.uk