The New South Wales J/70 state championship regatta was held in glorious warm weather on the first weekend of March on Sydney Harbour. Racing was held at the entrance of Sydney Harbour so the Pacific swell became a factor along with a flood tide and the occasional passing ferry during the next two races. This was the first regatta held by the Australian J/70 Class Association after a great effort by J/70 racers and lawyers Peter Ryan and Adrian Kiely, and others, led to official recognition by Yachting Australia.
The racing was closer than in previous years, with congestion at the marks and new hot shots from the Olympic and other classes making an appearance.
Racing was delayed on the first day whilst the RO waited for the sea breeze to settle after swinging through 30 degree shifts either side of ENE 6-10knots. After the delayed start, the major shifts returned and boats that correctly picked the right side of the course opened large leads, with Tim Ryan and his team on ‘James 007’ winning Race 1. Races 2 and 3 were both won by ex-Etchells and America’s Cup sailor Jervis Tilly and his team on ‘Jackal’ from Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.
On Sunday the crews enjoyed the forecasted slight increase in pressure to a steadier ENE 10-15knots. With two wins and a second place Jackal had a strong lead after day one. Australian J/70 class president Andrew Tompson and his ‘Jabberwocky’ team, representing the host club of Middle Harbour Yacht Club, showed great speed to win race four. With the sea breeze strengthening for the final race Reg Lord and youth match racer Tom Grimes with new crew George Richardson and Mitchell Evans on ‘Juno’ found the groove and won the final race after placing second in the previous four races. After a visit to the protest room regarding rule C3.1(c), the final results were the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia’s ‘Juno’ and ‘James 007’ in first and second for the second consecutive year, ‘Jabberwocky’ third, just ahead of ‘Jackal’, and Paul Breslin’s fast improving ‘Madness’ closely followed by ‘Y-Knot’.