Sunday 9th November. Fourteen J24s on the water. Seventy Sailors. Blue skies. Perfect winds. Three blistering races. And excellent race management. The most active keelboat class on the bay ‘giein’ it laldy’ as they say in Scotland. Was a state titles? Was it a National Championship? Was it a regatta? Nope…just a normal J24 Sunday race day!
As predicted, this season is turning out to be like no previous J24 season. The days when Pacemaker would win race after race by ten boat lengths are gone. There are now any one of five boats who can win a race and the latest development is that even some of the historic middle markers are popping up at the pointy end. There now is no boat that is noticeably quicker than any other and the J24s are now producing racing that is all about seamanship, tactics, crew work and reading the shifts. Feel like you are missing out? Rob Date (Victorian Ocean Racer Of The Year and owner/skipper of Scarlet Runner) doesn’t, he skippered Hyperactive for a sprint day. Albert Doggett (Fast Company) doesn’t, he trimmed on Crackerjack. Geoff Wood (Fast Company and Calm) doesn’t, he trimmed on Crackerjack earlier in the season. Marissa Chalkley (owns Hush) doesn’t, she crews on Jet. Husband Pete Chalkley and Marissa both crewed on Code Violation in the NSW state titles. Peter Fitzgibbons “Fitzy” (Veloce) doesn’t, he crews on J Force. Joelle Roderick (38 degrees) doesn’t, she crews on Hyperactive…hey, the list is long and I don’t want to lose you dear reader but you’ve just got to try this stuff!
Final point. Fourteen boats on the water at Sandringham Yacht Club. That’s more than the J24 Nationals in Sydney earlier this year, it’s more than the NSW State Titles held a couple of weeks ago and its 82% of our available racing fleet. Fantastic numbers in anyone’s book.
NOTE. There are three J’s for sale in Melbourne … two under $15,000 and one available at the top end. Just sayin’.
Doug MacGregor, President J24 Association Victoria