It was a fantastic event with 8 quality races over two days. The wind refused to build on the scheduled 3rd day and racing was abandoned by lunchtime, allowing for boats to be packed up early and for the interstate boats to get on the road.
The class is continuing to grow rapidly in Australia. It’s grown exponentially on Port Phillip Bay with the recent order of six boats for the SYC fleet, four of which had just been delivered prior to the regatta.
As a result, 23 boats competed in the regatta, with 6 boats travelling from NSW. To date, this is the biggest fleet of J70’s ever to have competed in any National or State event.
The fleet consisted of 7 Professional teams and 16 Corinthian teams, of which remarkably 6 teams were in the youth category. The future looks bright for this dynamic class when it can boast a unique mix of pro and youth teams,
It was great to see our recently refurbished club boats with their new set of Quantum racing sails compete competitively in a very hot fleet.
The top BYS boat, Notte Bianca (our original club boat) finished in 7th place and was crewed by an experienced team of Andrew Colliver, Johnny Lindholm, Blair Coventry and Tom Opie. It was an impressive result with the team only being pulled together at the last moment and only having sailed a J70 once before. No doubt their considerable racing experience in their Melges 24 paid dividends.
Our other two BYS club boats Spike (sailed by an all-female youth team of Daisy Laing, Harriette Singh, Ciarra Leonard, Hannah and Sally Danks) and Javelin (sailed by Pete Southwell, with Richard, Sam and Ruby Backwell) were also on the pace during the entire regatta.
The seven pro teams took out the first seven places. The regatta was won by Celestial with a team of SYC and RSYS sailors (Robert Davis, David Chapman, Tom Holmes, Dean Robson and Angus Calvert), followed by two boats from CYCA, in 2nd place Vamos (Tim Ryan, Rob Greenhalgh, Charlie Grundy, Alex Gough) and in 3rd place Juno (Reg Lord, Will Sargent, Paige Caldecoat, Max Brennan).
1st female team, 1st Corinthian and 8th overall was won by ex-Olympian Karyn Gojnich and her crew of Sara Ladd, Vanessa Dudley and Lindy Hardcastle on Jabiru. 2nd Corinthian and 9th overall was Auretta with James Sly and crew of Nick Neale, Eliza Davis, Emma Maertens and Mats Maertens, and in 3rd place Corinthian and 12th overall was Madness with Brendan Lee and crew of Adam Keyes-Tilley, Murray McDonald, and Paul Grimshaw.
1st youth team and 10th overall, was won by Skyhook from BYS with Ethan O’Brien, Ed Warner, Hamish Bolton and Jack Lewis.
Our thanks go to the Management committee who left no stone unturned in the lead up to the event and to our amazing team of on-water and off-water volunteers. Special thanks go to the lift operators Denis Lubinas, Wayne Bates, and John Plumridge. Managing to get 23 boats in and out of the water with one crane was no small logistical feat. Thanks also to our bosun Sam Backwell for ferrying the boats to their various berths in the marina on Thursday and Friday.
We were fortunate to have the very experienced Race Officer Glenys Hitchen in control of the event. The shifty BYS conditions and shallow water at low tide on the Saturday made her life challenging, but all in the fleet appreciated her constant communication and expertise in setting courses that were fair to all.
The J70 class is now firmly ensconced at BYS as our club training keel boat, as a vehicle for our growing youth squad and as an additional sailing pathway with sportsboat racing now operating successfully alongside the established keelboat and OTB pathways. The club is to be commended for the development and maintenance of its fleet, which has inspired other clubs around the country to emulate our example. The recent hosting of the 2024 State Championships and its large fleet of 23 boats demonstrates the success of those endevours.
Written by Andrew Little
All photo images credit goes to Russell Bates