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J/111 Black Dog winning RORC Vice Admirals CupBLACK DOG Jumps J/111s, DIAMOND JEM Glitters in J/109s
(Cowes, IOW, England)- The RORC’s annual Vice Admiral’s Cup Regatta took place from Friday 20th May to Sunday 22nd May. Since its introduction, the event has gone from strength to strength with its simple close racing format and fun social programme. This year there were six classes taking part in the event, including a strong fleets of J/111s and J/109s.

The first day of racing was epic, with 15-20 knots of wind and a building tide.  The high performance fleet was launched on two tight windward-leeward courses and a final round-the-buoys race to finish off a thrilling day on the water. With downwind boat speed nudging over 20 knots at times, staying on the plane and nailing gybes at full chat was the secret to high gains. Many of the days races were won by mere seconds.

Stuart Sawyer's J/111 BLACK DOG shot out of the blocks with good pace, winning the first two races and placing third in the last. The Cornish team led the class but the racing was incredibly close. Cornel Riklin's JITTERBUG scored three second places to finish the day just a point behind the leader and Tony Mack's McFLY finished the day in third place. "We were happy with our speed today, especially downwind but we had a really bad rounding in the last race which let JELVIS get away and allowed JITTERBUG to catch us up. In the end, there was just 16 seconds between all three of us. The J/111 fleet can be quite aggressive, we have come to have a really competitive regatta, and we are pleased with how we are going."

In the J/109 Class, Robert Stiles' DIAMOND JEM had an outstanding day, posting two wins and a second, to lead the class by three points. David Richards' JUMPIN JELLYLFISH won the last race of the day to take second place in the class, just a point ahead of Chris Copeland's JUKE BOX.

Day two was a wet and wild affair and produced yet more fast and exciting racing. The Solent weather was 15-20 kts from the south with the cold front providing constant drizzle. Not exactly champagne weather, but the adrenalin pumping action, more than made up for the cold showers!

The J/111 class enjoyed some spectacular racing with every race decided by seconds. In the first race of the day Mack's McFLY won by 21 seconds from Martin Dent's JELVIS.  In the second race of the day Sawyer's BLACK DOG beat JELVIS by 21 seconds and in the final race of a thrilling day, Riklin's JITTERBUG was just one second ahead of McFLY.  The outcome from the day’s result meant BLACK DOG retained the class lead, but only on countback from the McFLY gang, which scored the lowest points score today.

J/109 Diamond Jem sailing RORC Vice Admirals CupStiles' J/109 DIAMOND JEM had another great day, posting two wins and a fourth, to extend their class lead to five points. Richards' JUMPIN JELLYFISH continued in second place while three solid results by Simon Perry's JIRAFFE, including a win in the first race of the day, put the team into third place.  Stiles commented on their performances over the previous two days, ”We sail all year round even in Winter and that keeps the team together and tuned up, we are all from Brighton or the Sussex area and been recruited through the Brighton Marina YC and we have raced together for a few years, so I would say we have learnt how to sail Diamond Jem fast but we still have another day of racing and anything can happen."

The third and final day of racing was “the Thrilla From Manila” for the J/111 class.  The intense competition continued right until the last race with virtually every one of the eight race series being decided by seconds. Overnight leader BLACK DOG could only manage a sixth place in the last race but just hung on to win the class on countback from Riklin's JITTERBUG. The young team on Dent's JELVIS scored a second place in the last race to come third in class, just a point ahead of Mack's McFLY.  Fifth place was taken by Chris Jones & Louise Makin’s JOURNEYMAKER II, overcoming a slow start to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and close with a 2-3 in the last two races.

"Fantastic, close racing, which is just what we need,” smiled Stuart Sawyer. "This is a big year for the J/111 UK fleet, we have the J-Cup, the Nationals and the World Championships to look forward to.  The Vice Admiral's Cup has been a great event to start our season and we have done better than I expected!”

As for the J/109 Class outcome, it seems it was nearly for-ordained after DIAMOND JEM’s stunning performance on the first day. Stiles' DIAMOND JEM had another great day, posting two wins to win the class by a big margin, closing out their scoreline with four straight bullets to with just 8 pts net (tossing a 3rd in the process). Richards' JUMPIN JELLYFISH was second and Perry's JIRAFFE finished the regatta in third place.

RORC Commodore, Michael Boyd officiated at the Prize Giving at the Royal Ocean Racing Club's Cowes Clubhouse. He thanked all of the competitors for coming and showed appreciation for the RORC Race Team, especially the number of volunteers who give up their free time. Racing with the Royal Ocean Racing Club continues with the Myth of Malham offshore race, on Saturday 28 May, over the Bank Holiday weekend.
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