The J70 is the world’s fastest growing one design sportsboat, which was designed by Alan Johnstone and first built in 2013. Over 1,500 boats have been built in the last 7 years. Large fleets in Europe and North America compete in a full calendar of national and international regattas in both the summer and winter seasons in the Northern Hemisphere.
The attraction of the boat has a lot to do with its strict one-design, its speed and grace on the water and suitability for a wide age range of sailors of varying abilities. It is also easy to rig
and tow behind the family car.
In mid 2017 the then Club Captains from the major clubs around Port Philip Bay decided that they would promote the J70, as their preferred option for clubs and individual members who were considering a sportsboat purchase. The idea was to develop a single sustainable fleet on PPB rather than see individuals and clubs purchase various sports boats of different classes preventing the ability to establish a large one-design fleet in Victoria.
This was the green light for three BYS Sabre sailors, Marty Kudnig, Doc Little and Andy Mac to purchase a J70. There was no 2nd hand market in Australia with only a handful of J70’s in Australia, all tightly held by happy owners, so they went searching overseas to import a good quality 2nd hand boat. Luckily, at the time in mid-2017, a 2nd hand boat (Juno) came up in Sydney as the owner had just placed an order for a new J70.
Soon after the purchase, Marty, Doc and Andy then decided to order a new J70 (Jumpin’ Jack Flash). Juno was subsequently sold to Martin’s father, Phillip Kudnig, a life member of BYS who had previously expressed an interest in donating some money to the club. Instead, his family very generously donated Juno to the club instead, which was then renamed Notte Bianca.
In 2018, BYS established the inaugural Southern Peninsula J70 Easter regatta and 4 boats attended, which represented all the J70’s then currently in Victoria. The 2 BYS boats, a boat from Hobson’s Bay YC (Javelin) and a boat from SYC (Spike). After experiencing BYS and its great facilities, the SYC J70 owner, Tony Landgren joined the club, bringing our fleet to three.
At the end of 2019, Tony took delivery of an additional J70, Skyhook. This was the impetus for new BYS members, Ian and Megan Cooper (Jo Jo Zip) and Rod Warren (Joust), an internationally successful J111 sailor, to both buy J70’s and join the club.
BYS has almost the perfect environment for sportsboat racing. The club’s new hardstand is a purpose-built piece of infrastructure solely to support the development of a sportsboat pathway at the club. Our prevailing southerly winds and relatively flat water make for close one-design racing. With its shallow draft, the J70 can also comfortably sail on the Great Southern sandbank on windward/leeward courses in full view of the clubhouse.
In addition, the Sailing Committee has developed a dedicated sportsboat racing session with an innovative program of small and season-long trophy events. This gives our established OTB and KB sailors an opportunity to indulge in some sports boat racing without the need to forego sailing their own boats on a Saturday afternoon. There’s no danger that the development of a sportsboat pathway will cannibalise sailors from these other pathways.
Indeed, Andy, Marty and Doc still sail their Sabres on the Saturday afternoon and Jumpin’ Jack Flash on the Sunday. They happily admit they have the best of both worlds! The club owned J70, Notte Bianca, has proven to be a great success, especially with our younger members. We have seen a very pleasing engagement of our youth group, many of them highly successful sailors in their own right, who have formed a Youth Squad and taken
on the challenge of sportsboat racing.
In season 19-20, four of our youth members competed successfully in RS21’s at the Sailing Champions League Asia Pacific qualifiers at RGYC, earning themselves the opportunity of competing at the Open Finals in Sydney. Unfortunately, the event was subsequently cancelled
due to Covid restrictions.
Notte Bianca has also been an excellent acquisition for adult and youth sail training. Its wide-open cockpit and ease of sailing has proven it to be an ideal training boat.
In season 20-21, BYS purchased another J70, Javelin, a 5 year old boat previously raced at Hobson’s Bay YC to become its second club owned boat. This boat successfully supplement our active adult and youth sail training program, provide our youth squad with more opportunities for 1:1 training and match racing and also provide increased opportunities for women member engagement.
Then at the start of this season 21-22, BYS purchased Spike, Tony Landgren’s second J70 which he generously offered to the club for a substantial discount on its market value.
So BYS now has three club owned J70’s which will bolster its adult and youth sail training programs and its SheSails initiatives.