Louay Habib

Hosted by the Royal Western Yacht Club in Plymouth, the J-Cup featured 47 yachts from the J-Boat range. Over 400 competitors enjoyed three days of superb competition, racing inside and outside the Plymouth Breakwater.

The largest class racing was the one-design J/109 fleet, which numbered 19 yachts. The J-Cup is an exclusive competition for J/Boat yachts, however by using the Spinlock IRC rating system seven different models were able to race against each other. As a result a further 17 yachts participated, racing in two IRC classes, which effectively doubled the entry level of the regatta and provided fair racing for yachts of different speed.

Virtually all of the J/Boat range is designed to race in one-design classes but the Spinlock IRC system is an effective rating system to allow different models to race together, as Paul Heys of Key Yachting and organiser of the J-Cup explains:

"IRC is so well established now and so well developed that in general terms we are very happy with how it works. However, we feel it is essential to follow the guidelines set out to Race Officers by the RORC Rating Office, especially by setting a variety of courses. If we just set windward-leeward courses then the results would get slanted towards a particular type of boat. By mixing the sailing angles for the courses, the rating is pretty much perfect and we are very happy with the system. For the J-Cup we had a variety of conditions but we didn't have one single complaint from any owner about their IRC rating."

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Photo Tim Wright/Photoaction.com

Racing in IRC One was incredibly close. After time correction, just a few seconds decided the winner of each of the eight races. Six yachts managed top three finishes but the most consistent yacht, James Arnell's J/111 Jeez Louise, won the class.

Stuart Sawyer's J/97 Black Dog won IRC Two and the Cornish team was also awarded the J-Cup for the most outstanding performance at the regatta.

"There are many great regattas in the South West of England but this has to be the most competitive regatta of them all" said Stuart Sawyer. "We had to be at the very top of our game and many of the results went to the last leg of the race. The J/97 goes very well upwind compared to other yachts, but although the J/105 is a much older design they are very quick downwind. We could not ease up for a moment, as we knew the clock was ticking and the competition would catch up off the breeze. The Black Dog crew are all friends and corinthian sailors, many of us are over 50 and have sailed together for ever, but winning the J-Cup is one of the proudest achievements in all those years."

For more information about the Spinlock IRC Rating System see http://www.ircrating.org

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Header images by:

John Crawley (CAN IRC)  
Jinno (c/o JPN IRC)
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