A Strange Paradox

In a world that is constantly changing and becoming more expensive, one keelboat class offers you the opportunity to cruise and race for under $20,000.

A class that offers fleets all over Australia and an international fleet of over 5,500 boats.

You guessed it – the J24. And it’s making a big come back as people realise the unique potential of this little boat.

24 ft with a main, jib, genoa and kite, five crew, 4 bunks and an icebox. 24 ft of competitive excitement. And they are everywhere and compared to Etchells, Sportsboats and other similar sized keel boats – they’re as cheap as hell.

Some call it old – it is, same age as the Etchell.

Some call it slow – it isn’t, Div 3 of this years Spinnaker Cruising (Racing class) at Geelong Audi Week (the biggest class available), 56 boats and J24s gained 3 First places and a Second over the line in the 4 races held, even though it was the smallest boat in the fleet (beating boats 12ft longer over the line). It isn’t a sports boat speedboat, but it is a one design that doesn’t get out designed and out dated.

Some do call it outdated – it isn’t in fact, in a handicap or measurement class it rates so well they hate us entering – we tend to win. We still put 90 odd boats on the start line at most world champs.

So what other one design keelboat is there for under $20,000 with all these benefits you can get into and race competitively (or cruise), in a fleet around Australia?

You’re right – there isn’t another one.

Some people call it all sorts of names…… But we call it the J24

We’re putting stars into …. reasonably priced … boats !

Doug MacGregor, a new skipper competes at the Nationals in Melboure 2010

We had Fun

Alyn Stevenson, Pete Stevens and crew race FUN in an earlier series
Alyn Stevenson, Pete Stevens and crew race FUN in an earlier series

The SA states were held over the weekend of 13/14 March in Adelaide. With typical late summer soft winds and fine weather the sailing was a glamour and easy on the body.

Trevor Conyers in No Eye Deer sailed an almost perfect series to win with five bullets and a second, from Alyn Stevenson sailing Fun 2.

Pete Stevens should have finished third but a small mistake in leaving the life jackets in the car on Saturday morning meant he was late to the starting line for the first race and scored a DNF and with no drops meant he had to carry that.

Instead he had to watch his old boat sail away into third ahead of him with me at the helm …. because we had ‘Fun’. Pete had invited us over, lent me the boat, given us a bed and as it turned out conceded to us the third he would otherwise have got. Sometimes it all turns out sweet … for us anyway.

Saturday and the weather was hot and sunny, wind around 8 knots from the south and flat water, you’ll be asking yourself why you didn’t come to this one. The CYCSA held the Great Southern Regatta in conjunction with the J States and did a very good job to get 3 races in – shortish courses with 2 or 3 times round and nice tight start lines to keep us on our toes. We had 10 boats on the line and plenty of talent in the field.

Competition was fierce around the track in all 3 races on Saturday with most of the fleet sailing the course and finishing in a tight pack.

Sunday and we had light westerlies with sun-blocking cloud – thankfully – once again the PRO did a good job to set up a tight line and course giving fair racing and tactical sailing. Trevor didn’t seem to have a lot more speed but with good sailing put himself in the right place each time and he moved through to lead each race by a small margin from either Alyn, Pete and in the last shortened race, Simon.

Snapping at the transoms of the first 4 boats were Vertigo, Good Company, Such is Life and Kaizen. Never far out of the picture, these boats are ready to jump you if you make a mistake. Foolish Behaviour and Cookie Monster rounded out the fleet.

The club and the State Association came together to put on a good regatta with many thanks to the PRO, his team and all the volunteers who made this happen.

Oh did I forget to mention we had the most amazing stroke of luck as I hadn’t even considered the handicap part of the series … but we took that out too.

As the only interstate boat we had a Fun time and were looked after by Pete Stevens in particular, but thanks to all who made us feel so welcome. Next time get on the blower and organise yourself a berth interstate, there is a cost but it is worth the effort and having class members organising billeting and help to get on the water makes this a great short holiday and a way to get to know your interstate friends better.

The next regatta is the Vic States on 17/18 March and if you haven’t already decided to come then have another think about it. Melbourne in autumn is traditionally a carbon copy of the regatta above, warm and light and lots of fun.


One Design

1   AUS1315 NO EYE DEER Trevor Conyers CYCSA 7.0 1.0 1.0 1.0 2.0 1.0 1.0
2   AUS5304 Fun 2 Alyn Stevenson PASC 18.0 3.0 3.0 5.0 1.0 4.0 2.0
3   AUS4787 FUN Simon Grain SYC 27.0 2.0 4.0 6.0 4.0 7.0 4.0
4   AUS4795 Hi Peter Stevens CYCSA 29.0 4.0 2.0 3.0 3.0 6.0 11.0F
5   AUS4859 VERTIGO Jamie Goode CYCSA 30.0 6.0 6.0 4.0 6.0 5.0 3.0
6   AUS2637 SUCH IS LIFE Roger Nicolson CYCSA 32.0 7.0 8.0 2.0 7.0 2.0 6.0
7   AUS2663 GOOD COMPANY Robin Townsend CYCSA 36.0 8.0 5.0 7.0 8.0 3.0 5.0
8   AUS4763 KAIZEN 2 Michael McGlinchey CYCSA 40.0 5.0 7.0 8.0 5.0 8.0 7.0
9   AUS4474 FOOLISH BEHAVIOUR Rod Wenham CYCSA 54.0 9.0 9.0 10.0 9.0 9.0 8.0
10   AUS4424 COOKIE MONSTER Brian Walsh CYCSA 58.0 10.0 10.0 9.0 10.0 10.0 9.0


1   AUS4787 FUN Simon Grain SYC 22.0 1.0 5.0 8.0 1.0 5.0 2.0
2   AUS1315 NO EYE DEER Trevor Conyers CYCSA 23.0 2.0 2.0 10.0 5.0 3.0 1.0
3   AUS4763 KAIZEN 2 Michael McGlinchey CYCSA 28.0 5.0 6.0 3.0 3.0 6.0 5.0
4   AUS5304 Fun 2 Alyn Stevenson PASC 31.0 3.0 4.0 9.0 2.0 9.0 4.0
5   AUS4474 FOOLISH BEHAVIOUR Rod Wenham CYCSA 33.0 4.0 8.0 2.0 6.0 4.0 9.0
6   AUS2637 SUCH IS LIFE Roger Nicolson CYCSA 34.0 9.0 9.0 5.0 7.0 1.0 3.0
7   AUS2663 GOOD COMPANY Robin Townsend CYCSA 35.0 10.0 3.0 4.0 10.0 2.0 6.0
8   AUS4795 Hi Peter Stevens CYCSA 41.0 8.0 1.0 7.0 4.0 10.0 11.0F
9 1.0S AUS4424 COOKIE MONSTER Brian Walsh CYCSA 42.0 7.0 10.0 1.0 9.0 7.0 8.0
10   AUS4859 VERTIGO Jamie Goode CYCSA 42.0 6.0 7.0 6.0 8.0 8.0 7.0

Bar Talk – or news from the club bars

Alyn Stevenson just sent me this great chunk of “News from the club bars”, mostly talk around whats happening in SA – and plenty is happening, just like the action in the Victorian fleet – more of that later. So what a great idea and here it all is for your further edification. I’ve called it ‘Bar Talk’ – fits on the nav bar at the top easier – so check on this page regularly and if you have info to add send it to me at grain@smarketing.com.au

So go on ….click on the navigation link above

Cheers Simon

The Magnificent Seven

Sean Wallis lifts the trophy again
Sean Wallis and crew lifts the trophy again, flanked by SYC Commodore Phil Burn and Vic State J24 President Michael Lewenhagen

Still the name of a very famous western movie, but also the very deserving winners at this year’s nationals. The J24 National Association congratulates our magnificent seven and their crews.

Sean Wallis, who took out the championship after being ahead, getting behind and then on the last day fighting it out to take the win.

Doug McGain, fought an equally tough and enthralling battle to come second.

David Suda, who has been knocking on the door to the top position on the podium took out third.

Adam Evans, the young gun winning the handicap prize.

Alyn Stevenson, our immediate past president, with his first ever nationals race win was second in the handicap section.

Sean Kirjian needs no introduction, sailed with a crew mostly of sailing school trainees and one gorgeous blonde took out third – simply awesome.

Kirsty Harris, one of two female skippers takes the female skippers prize with a very creditable 7th overall.

As well as the perpetual trophies successfully defended this year by Sean, these seven skippers also each take away impressive half model trophies made by our national measurer Peter Stevens. Each of these models was hand made by Peter from fiberglass and then coated in various colours to indicate the place, with gold, silver and bronze for the first three one design and blue, red and green for the handicap.  Fittingly the female skipper’s model is done in pink. The models were then mounted on a backing board with a plaque indicating placing.

Peter spent many hours making these and they are a credit to him. He is prepared to make more for future regattas, but you should get your orders in early as Peter is a busy guy.

On behalf of the J24 National Association, thank you Peter for your efforts in producing these trophies.

2010 Australian Championship – The final day!

The commencement of the final day’s racing in the 2010 J24 Australian Championship saw NSW sailor Doug McGain sailing Code Violation one point ahead of Sean Wallis and his team from WA sailing Wetty Gripper, and with two races scheduled it was to be a battle to the end to decide this years Australian Champion.

The forecast was for light winds and what little breeze there was faded as the fleet headed to the starting area resulting in a postponement in racing before a 10 knot Northerly filled in and race 9 commenced.

With Wallis needing to beat McGain in both races to win the title neither crew let the other have any breathing space which saw both head off from the start and stay no more than a boat length apart up the first windward leg with McGain ahead of Wallis at the first mark.

The downwind leg saw them split with Wallis down the right side of the course and McGain to the left. The right paid and saw Wallis round the leeward mark a boat length ahead but the battle continued and by the time the boats reached the windward mark the second time Wallis was third behind Alyn Stevenson (SA) and Sean Kirkjian (NSW) with McGain less than a boat length behind in fourth position.

In the mean time the battle for third position overall was being played out between Hugo Ottway & David Suda both from Victoria.

On the downwind leg to the finish Wallis once again headed to the right side of the course with McGain & Kirkjian to the left.

At the finish line it was Alyn Stevenson first, winning his first Australian championship heat followed by Wallis, Kirkjian and McGain respectively.

Going into the final race the tables had turned, Wallis now lead the championship with a one point lead from McGain while Ottaway had beaten Suda in race 9 to secure a two point buffer in third place.

The final race saw McGain start at the boat end with Wallis about five boat lengths further down the line in the company of Suda.

McGain tacked immediately after the start and headed to the right side of the course while Wallis and Suda sailed to the middle of the course before also heading to the right.

Slightly better pressure saw Wallis and Suda come from the left and lead the fleet to the windward mark.

The positions remained unchanged at the front of the fleet with Wallis finishing ahead of Suda with McGain third.

With Ottaway back in the fleet David Suda claimed third overall, Doug McGain second and Sean Wallis retaining his title with back to back championship wins.

The handicap championship was won by Adam Evans and his youth team from Victoria sailing Two Dogs while the first female skipper was Kirsty Harris and her all female team from Victoria sailing Hyperactive.

With a field boasting numerous state champions and four past Australian champions the competition was extremely fierce with any number of sailors in a position to win the championship.

The Sandringham Yacht Club has recently built a new state of the art club house and the facilities are excellent. Along with a professional approach to race management by the race committee the club is one of the world’s best venues for yacht racing.

J24 Australia wish to thank the members and management of the SYC for their support in hosting this event.

Next on the J24 calendar is the 2010 Asia Pacific Championship to be sailed in Adelaide in June 2010 and with the inaugural championship held in 2009, this years event is expected to be bigger and better and is to welcome sailors from Singapore, Korea, Japan, Australia and other countries in the Asia Pacific region.

Overall Results:

  1. Sean Wallis, Wetty Gripper (SA/WA) – 1,2,1,2,3,2,8,4,2,1: 18pts
  2. Doug McGain, Code Violation (NSW) – 10,4,3,1,1,1,2,2,4,2: 21pts
  3. David Suda, Pacemaker (VIC) – 2,3,5,4,4,4,1,6,9,2: 31pts
  4. Hugo Ottaway, Vice Versa (VIC) – 4,1,2,7,2,7,3,3,8,13: 37pts
  5. Sean Kirkjian, Starpac (NSW) – 6,6,4,11,5,3,7,1,3,8: 43pts
  6. Alyn Stevenson, Fun2 (SA) – 3,5,14,12,7,6,4,5,1,4: 47pts

And I couldn’t let this one past, congrats to Kirj for his 3rd on h/cap – trophy should look nice on your lounge room wall!!!

Wetty Gripper Wins 2010 Title

On a day where bad luck stories abound, Sean Wallis and his team on Wetty Gripper came home to win one of the closest and most hard fought titles for many years. Doug McGain on Code Violation was bridesmaid and Dave Suda sailing Pacemaker third.

Adam Evans and his youth team won the Handicap Title.

All agreed it has been fantastic regatta, great weather, great race management and a great social time.

More stories and pictures to come.

What a difference a day makes………….

Tight racing at the bottom mark - 2010 J24 Nationals in Melbourne
Tight racing at the bottom mark - 2010 J24 Nationals in Melbourne

In true one design tradition you can always rely on great a competition.

With only one days racing to go in the Australian J24 championships, there is only one point between first and second and one point between third and fourth. The current standings have Doug McGain NSW first 14 points, Sean Wallis W.A. second 15 points, Hugo Ottaway Vic third 22 points, Dave Suda Vic fourth 23 points and Sean Kirkjian NSW 32 points.

McGain, Wallis, Ottaway and Kirkjian, are all Australian Champions, and Suda a runner up National Champion.

Today’s heats, 7 & 8 were sailed in perfect Port Philip Bay sailing conditions, a 10 to 15 knot southeast wind matched with a flat sea and clear 28 degree temperature saw both Suda and Kirkjian win heats putting additional pressure on the front three boats.

Doug McGain and Hugo Ottaway consolidated their positions with two seconds for Doug and two thirds for Hugo.

Sean Wallis had his worst day so far with an 8th and 4th, however with the one race drop system now achieved after six races completed, Wallis is still able to hold second.

Both McGain and Wallis need top eight positions tomorrow to secure their hold on first and second anything worse could see Ottaway and Suda with a win, move into the lead.

The game now changes with “Hunting” a practice where the lead boats race only against each other ignoring the rest of the fleet. This practice is risky as a boat in Kirkjian’s position can slip unnoticed into a race winning position and leap frog into third.

With a change in weather conditions forecasting lighter winds, the final results in the Australian J24 Championships might be very interesting.

Written by Hugo Ottaway