Story by Hugo Ottaway
This year the 2012 Monjon J24 Victorian Championship attracted 3 National champions, 4 New South Wales , 2 South Australian and 1 youth competitor along with the majority of the Victorian fleet to make the most competitive regatta in years.All praise to the committee who worked to secure a major sponsor Monjon Securities and two minor sponsors U.K Halsey sailmakers and Quantum Sailmakers. With their assistance we were able to host two club BBQs and a social night curtiousy of Michael Lewenhagen and friends.
Not since 1996 have 20 first class J24’s raced a Victorian Championship. Credit must go to Greame Watt and crew who did an excellent job in running 7 heats which started in 5 knots and progressively increased over two days to the final race in 30 knots.
Revenge is a good word to discribe the mood of the regatta, held only six weeks since the National title in South Australia, all bar one of the top 10 boats in Australia attended. It was gloves off and many boats confirmed there commitment to this prestigious title by purchasing new sails for this event.Ben Lamb sailing Kaotic (NSW) won with five firsts, second was National Champion David Suda (Victoria) and third Steve Girdis (NSW). Handicap winner Bendan Lee (Victoria).
The racing was full of events which should be mentioned, to begin………
The first race was a 5 knot , one lap affair which saw some of the fleet never making the finish. Simon Grain (Victoria) was given first place only to learn he was OCS. With all points to count it was sayanara to the Make My Jay team., Following a southerly change the remainder of the races on saturday were sailed in top end genoa conditions. By the end of the day Steve Girdis led the points, from Lamb and Suda. Also making an impressive score card was JJF from South Australia, this followed through until they too scored a OCS in the final race of the regatta, knocking them out of the top 5.
The second day began in genoa conditions which quickly changed for the remaining two heats to top end jib.
A J24 becomes a real challenge in 30 knots which was confirmed when both Lamb and Suda Chinese gybed down wind whilst pushing for the lead, however this was nothing compared to some of the fleet who : snapped halyards, hit boats, got tangled together when two rolled over whilst beside each other, ( interesting sight), tore the top off spinnakers, snapped turnbuckles on the lowers (lucky!!), lost crew over the side whilst sailing home and saw a number of boats not making the finish of the last race. Honours must go to class stalwart Doug MacGregor, who when setting his spinnaker for the last leg, rolled the boat twice and then Chinese gybed, although Doug thought the boat was going to sink, all credit must go to the crew who pulled it all together to finish the race, “no maximum points there….still beat three boats”, to quote Doug in his best Scottish accent.
Its been a long time since Victorian J’s have sailed in 30 knots and this was shown by the exhausted sailors who were presented with a New perpetual trophy. To quote Doug, “the mood has changed in our local fleet, its become more competitive”. We now have a new batch of under 30 male and female sailors in the class and this is a great thing to see the next generation moving up. This year Victorian association has been assisted by the generious donation of two beautifully restored and painted J24’s donated by Sidetracked Entertainment and the Neville Family. These boats have been given to two youth crews, and the first sailed in this regatta. It will only be a matter of time before we see their names on the Victorian Title, and that will be a good thing.
Last but not least, a personal word of advice “stop friggin’ with the riggin” I can guarantee you’ll go better……..