The J24 fleet was out in force for last weekend’s J24 Nationals. The event, which was held in Lough Derg Yacht Club, saw 13 boats coming from all parts of the country to compete. With 13 J24s on the start line, it was sure to be an interesting and competitive 9 races.
Perfect sailing conditions were forecast for the first day of racing all sailors were eager to get to the race course and sail the first beat before the starting gun. 10 boats opted for Jib as the strong gusts made sailing upwind more manageable. The first of the three races went off without any faults. Kilcullen, the under 25 team from HYC, secured first place, closely followed by Jamais Encore and Hard on Port.
With some of the most competitive racing the fleet has seen all season, mark roundings were tight and crowded, as two of the boats quickly realised. Winds began to build as two of the top boats Jamais Encore and Hard on Port raced to make it around the top mark on the first beat. With Jamais Encore in the lead by less than a boat length, Hard on Port failed to duck enough and a collision ensued. Both boats were forced to retire as damage needed to be repaired. With Hard on Port taking on water at the bow and Jamais Encore without a push pit, it was unclear if they would make it out of the second day of racing. Kilcullen sailing was second to none as once again they finished first over the line for the second and third race, with HamiltonBear close on their tail finishing second in race two and three.
Unfortunately on day 2 sailing was postponed on the race course and all sailors waited in anticipation for the wind to fill in. Many sailors took this time to sleep off the sore heads from the night before and wondered if the crew from Hard on Port would make it out for sailing. With luck on their side a boat could be seen motoring out to the race course from the distance, as the boat got closer it was clear to see the team on board Hard on Port were back in full force and ready to make up for lost racing. With the repair and two perfectly placed BMW decals from a past event, the old Italian could be seen to have a new face. Much to the fleets dismay all boats were sent ashore to wait further instructions from the race officer. At 18:00 it was clear to see that no racing would be held and the days racing was abandoned.
On the third and final day of racing the sounds of flags being caught by the wind was a welcomed noise to the fleet. With the wind building throughout the day and heavy rain expected all sailors were in full gear and ready to face the day of racing, some to defend their place within the fleet and others hoping to gain a place or two. The first race of the day went without any mishaps. Two past champions Kilcullen-Eurocarparks and Hard on Port battled it out on the race course for first place with Hard on Port securing its first victory of the event, while Kilcullen finished a close second followed by Jamais Encore in third. The crew on board Scandal were forced to retire early from racing as they lost a halyard up the mast.
After a competitive day of racing Kilcullen came out on top as the J24 National Champion of 2015. With HamiltonBear in second and Jamais Encore finishing in third within the Gold Fleet. In the Silver Fleet YaGottaWanna came out in first with a lead of 5 points on second place Jumpin’ Jive and Johnny Bravo finished third within the silver fleet.
With the J24 season coming to a close and next seasons event planning already in motion it is clear to see that the J24 fleet is starting to make a strong comeback with regards to numbers. With the Autumn League in Howth, starting mid September, a start for the J24 would see interesting racing as the Irish Sea is always an exciting place to race the J24. Details on the Autumn League can be found by following the link below:
Report by Ciara Ryan.
Early bird entry fee of €125 until Aug 14th.
The Volvo Dun Laoghaire Regatta was a promising event for the J24 fleet, with 9 boats entered to battle it out for the title of J24 Eastern Champion. With a sizable fleet the J’s were been given their own start, making for exciting sailing. This is the second year the fleet has ventured to Dun Laoghaire for the Eastern Championships although this year saw more J24s competing: Bád, Crazy Horse, Cries of Passion, Hamilton Bear, Hard on Port, J Guevara, Jailbait, Jelignite and Kilcullen.
The last VDLR made for sterling racing as the wind was kind to all sailors, with Mediterranean weather the event went without any mishaps. With high winds and seas set for the first two days of sailing the fleet battered down the hatches and tried to finish with the same number of crew members it had started with.
Kilcullen had a lively start to event after their forestay came away from the mast on the way out to the race area. One crew member was hoisted up the mast as they raced to the starting line. One race proved to be enough for all involved as winds reached between 17-22 knots. Hard on Port started strong finishing in first place after day one.
Day 2 proved to be a waiting game for the fleet as the first race was postponed due to high winds, gusting up to 29 knots. After a long wait the race officer called for the AP Flag to be taken down and for sailors to make their way to the race course. All Js went with Jib for the two races as the wind began to pick up once more and the tide against wind made for rough conditions. Once again the crew on board Hard on Port finished in first place followed closely by Kilcullen. Spinnaker runs in race 3 pushed both the J24 and its crew to their max with many boats reaching top speed. Bád was forced to retire from the race due to the boom breaking as they rounded the mark and hoisted their spinnaker. Hard on Port put up a good fight but the under 25 crew on board Kilcullen finished in first with Hard on Port finishing in second.
Day 3 and 4 of the event saw a different set of skills needed as the wind calmed and the sea became settled. With winds between 7-11 knots all Js set up to Genoa and eased the rigging. With only three points between Kilcullen and Hard on Port for first place the next four races were all about catching those important wind shifts. Bád returned to the race course on day 3 with the second boom, determined to make up for a lost race. As the last race finished up Kilcullen had secured their victory with a finishing score of 7, Hard on Port finished in second with 13 points and the crew of J Guevara came in third with 20 points.
Written by Ciara Ryan
For the first time in a number of years the J24 fleet made its way to Crosshaven, Co Cork, to compete in the J24 Southern event. Spirits were upbeat as the unusually high temperatures and perfect wind conditions on Friday made for impeccable boat launching.
The OD for the event, Ciaran McSweeney, was unsure if the four races would take place on the Saturday due to lack of wind throughout the day. As the OD went into the starting sequence for the first race it was clear that two of the boats would have a race of their own as they raced to the line from course side with spinnakers flying, unaware that when the OD said ‘half ten start’ he meant it. All boats favoured genoa for the first two races as the wind was settled at 7 to 15 knots. JP McCaldin and the crew of Jamais Encore finished in 1st in both races, with a comfortable 4 points between themselves and the two boats in 2nd place Hard on Port and YaGottaWanna.
The 3rd and 4th race for the event saw a number of boats favouring the jib as the winds picked up to 11 to 17 knots with high gusts. Many of the boats reached max speeds on the downwind legs as the wind howled behind them, making for exciting mark rounding. Once again JP and crew finished 1st over the line which put them as the winners of the event.
Sunday racing saw a different set of skills needed as the fleet raced in the harbour, difficult wind shifts and strong tides made for exciting racing. Although winds were set to be 11 to 17 knots with high gusts a number of the J’s went with genoa as the strong gusts would be lessened by the high hills in the surrounding area, while others stayed with jib. Gordan Stirling and the crew of Kilcullen finished 1st, putting them in 3rd place over all for the event.. The 6th and final race of the event saw all boats fighting to retain their places. Finbarr Ryan and crew finished 1st in the final race which marked their first win within the fleet.
Once again the atmosphere within the fleet was high as all sailors awaited to hear the overall results. The crew of YaGottaWanna skippered by Dave Lane was the winner within the silver fleet with a results of 21 points. The gold fleet winner with an overall score of 7 points was JP McCaldin and the crew of Jamais Encore, 2nd place with 13 points overall went to Flor O’Driscoll and the crew of Hard on Port and 3rd place went to the under 25 crew of Kilcullen skippered by Gordan Stirling finishing with 14 points. One final prize was given to the Finbarr Ryan and crew as recognition for winning their first race against the fleet.
It was bitter sweet for the J24 fleet as they said goodbye to Crosshaven and returned to their local clubs around Ireland. The next event for the J24s will see the fleet travel to Dun Laoghaire for the 6th Dun Laoghaire Regatta for the J24 Eastern Championships.
Written by Ciara Ryan
Hard on Port finished second, 1 point ahead of Kilcullen EuroCarparks, with Jelegnite in 4th place. The Silver fleet was won by local boat YaGottaWanna.
Full results can be found here
More pictures from OOD Ciaran McSweeney can be found here
Thanks to all the volunteers & sponsors.