The first J/70s have arrived in Sydney and the atmosphere surrounding the boat is simply electric.
“Sandra had a great day on the harbour and a Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Australia Day regatta to remember. It was the first regatta for our new J/70, the first one into Australia. We were placed in Division 2 against much bigger boats. The competitive fleet consisted of Beneteau 35s, J/35s, Etchells 22s, Northshore 370, Bavaria 38 Match, Hick 32, GP26, Flying Tigers, Alerion 33 and a Thompson 7, to mention a few.
It was a 20 -25 knot nor’easter and the harbour was very busy and choppy with all the Australia Day traffic. After a 2.2 mile beat up to Obelisk Bay and then a two sail close reach across the harbour to Lady Bay, we were pleased with our J/70s upwind performance and the way it was dealing with the waves and slicing through the chop. We even managed to get through the very well sailed Thompson 7 upwind, the Alerion 33 and a few others. At Lady Bay we popped the spinnaker to go back down the harbour to Nielson Park. Blast off!! The J/70 took off planing instantaneously as soon as the spinnaker filled. We started raking in more of the fleet and rounded Neilson Park with a few more boats behind us on the water. Again we held our own on the beat back up the harbour to Obelisk Bay on the western shore. From Obelisk the second time around was a broad reach into Rose Bay, kite up and wooosh the J/70 exploded into 16 and 17 knot bursts and the crew were elated and astounded at how easy the J/70 was to sail even at these crazy speeds. We passed another group of much bigger boats in our division, waves and ‘thumbs up’ signs from competitors and other boats as the J/70 did her thing down the harbour with spray and wave-skipping becoming the norm as the J/70 kissed speeds in the high teens. We managed to fly the spinnaker further than most into Rose Bay and were the first to hoist again after the gybe on a tight spinnaker reach between Rose Bay and Shark Island. We knew once the speed came on we could sail higher at maximum velocity as the apparent wind comes around and that’s exactly what happened.
The J/70 was absolutely flying, we were passing more boats in our division through a blur of spray and weaving through everything else in the busy Australia Day regatta. We knew we had done well as we went through the line just a few seconds behind the big Bavaria 38 Match and one of the J/35s.
After reading all about the fun the 39 x J/70 s were having in Key West this week it was a great feeling to join the excitement and go out in our first real regatta and win with 4 minutes to spare on handicap and finish an incredible 3rd on scratch against so many well sailed big boats in a choppy seaway. Many thanks to our crew Peta and Ian who had a thrill sailing the J/70 for the first time.
We have more J/70’s arriving this week and all are looking forward to some class racing soon – come and join the fun and see for yourself why this is the fastest growing sportsboat in the world today!