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Record Fleet for J109 Nationals at National Yacht Club this Weekend

3rd October 2017
The Kelly family’s J/109 Storm from Rush SC and HYC is the defending champion in this weekend’s J/109 Open Nationals in Dublin Bay. The Kelly family’s J/109 Storm from Rush SC and HYC is the defending champion in this weekend’s J/109 Open Nationals in Dublin Bay.

With something like 25 seriously-campaigned J/109s around Ireland and throughout the Irish Sea, obviously you wouldn’t expect every boat to be heading for this weekend’s Irish Open Nationals in Dun Laoghaire. But by any standards a crack fleet of 15 hard–sailed boats is good going for racing at this level, and it’s the best turnout that the growing class has yet seen for the Irish title, with 2017’s to be hosted by NYC writes W M Nixon.

J109 National championships 0152A crack fleet of 15 boats are gathering for this weekend's J109 championships Photo:

The trouble with the J/109 is that it’s such a versatile boat that it sometimes takes a real effort to grasp that this comfortable cruiser-racer – you really can cruise a J/109 with considerable enjoyment – is also very much up for it in no-holds-barred One-Design racing. That said, the “no holds barred” suggestion is a bit muted by the fact that the class in Ireland have agreed that their annual championship will exclude Category 3 sailors, which means that full-time sailor and UK Sailmakers agent Mark Mansfield won’t be in his usual key role aboard John Maybury’s multiple winning J/109 Joker II.

J109 National championships 0141Storm (Pat Kelly) in control at last year's National Championships on Dublin Bay Photo:

But Big Mark thinks so highly of the class – after all, he was much involved with the Dave Cullen-chartered J/109 Euro Car Parks’ success in the Volvo Round Ireland 2016,
the only class win by an Irish entrant – that he has persuaded the Maybury team to give it a lash anyway.

By doing so they’ve brought the numbers up to 15 with a fleet which still manages to be top notch despite the absence of ISORA Champion Mojito from Pwllheli (a family wedding, we’re told) and the Irish National Sailing School’s Jedi (currently for sale on boats for sale here Ed)

J109 National championships 1355Ronan Harris's Jigamaree from the Royal Irish Yacht Club. Photo:

But defending champions Storm with Pat Kelly and his family from Fingal will be very much there, and they always seem to pull something extra out of the hat for this particular series.

J109 National championships 0435Goodbody's White Mischief was in contention at Dun Laoghaire Regatta in July. Photo:

The Clan Goodbody with White Mishchief are also consistently in the frame, and two of this year’s newcomers – Andrew Algeo with Juggerknot from RIYC, and Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles with Indian from Howth – are just itching to show what they can do in a national championship context, free of other distractions.

J109 National championships 0224New to the Bay – Andrew Algeo with Juggerknot from RIYC joined the J109 fleet this year Photo:

J109 National championships 0445Colm Buckley and Simon Knowles sailing Indian from Howth in two-handed mode in June's Dun Laoghaire to Dingle Race. Photo:

The class are keen to encourage newcomers, particularly now that they’re on a real roll after so much inshore and offshore success during 2017. They keep close track on used boats for sale within easy distance, and if anyone is in the slightest bit interested in the whole J/109 thing, there are plenty of skippers ready to take you for a trial spin in this remarkably timeless boat – she’s a modern classic.

Further info from Class Captain David Stewart at 087 253 8893, email [email protected]

Published in National YC Team

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