The J/70 UK Grand Slam series kicks off with seven wind races over two days of close racing through the fleet of 16 J/70 boats. The Warsash Spring Championship was the venue, expertly organized by Warsash Sailing Club. There were close races throughout the J/70s with some very competitive starts, mark rounds and plenty of back and forth duels.
Martin Dent’s Jelvis scored just a fourth-place finish to claim the No. 1 Open Class Grand Slam three points clear of Charles Thompson’s Brutus, helmed by Sam Carter. Doug Struth’s DSP, helmed by Tom Mallindine, won the Corinthian class with a single point over Johnathon Calascione’s Calypso with Royal St. George’s Marshall King of Dun Laoghaire at the wheel.
J/70 UK Grand Slam Round 1 – Full results downloadable below.
Jelvis and Brutus were tied on points going into the final race, Jelvis won race 7 to clinch the championship. Jelvis is truly a family boat with Martin Dent at the wheel, his daughter Ruby at the bow and Wetherell brothers Jack and Henry at the trim.
“Well, it was yet another absolutely sick racing weekend and without a doubt the best racing in the Solent was in the J/70s,” commented Martin Dent. “The Warsash race committee gave us 7 great races, the courses and start lines were just as good. The J/70 class gets stronger every year, with new teams joining and with the level of all the teams rising, causing the races to go to the end. We entered the final race level points with Brutus and had to do everything to beat them. The Jelvis team has been working hard for a few years now, so getting the win this weekend was just a reward.
Charles Thompson’s Brutus commented. “We got off to a bad start in the last race and that’s all it takes in this fleet; we were 13th at the upper buoy and had to fight tooth and nail to climb back to fourth place. The Grand Slam series decides which teams qualify for the 2024 J/7 World Championship and the only other way into the top five at the 2022 Europeans. It’s such a competitive class to race in, and well done Jelvis, but that the best team wins the next round!
At the start of the second day of racing, Doug Struth’s DSP was tied on points with Calypso. DSP had a shock in race 5 this morning by scoring a 10th. However, DSP fought back to overhaul Calypso in the very last race to win the Corinthian class by a single point and place third in the open class.
“Really tight racing, especially with Calypso, and there were battles all over the fleet,” commented Doug Struth. “The team trained before the regatta with Elliott Willis, as well as the J/70 practice regatta last weekend. It really helped us get off to a good start, and I’m looking forward to the next one. !
Max Clapp’s Jeepster was third in the Corinthian class, the team are all 25 and under. Namely, Horatio Sykes, Miles Jones, Max Clapp and Mathieu Cadei.
“On the first day we had to abandon the second race, because we lost the kite halyard in the rig”, admitted Max Clapp. “We lowered the mainsail and used this halyard to put Mathieu on the rig, to make us run. We are a young team that has only just been formed, so we have a lot to learn but we are delighted with the result of this regatta, and we hope to improve for the next one.
The J/70 UK fleet is full of passionate sailors and the spirit and atmosphere are just as important as electric racing. On the Saturday of the Championships, all teams, friends and family were invited to a curry and beer night at the Royal Southern Yacht Club. Dedicated amateur sailors rubbed shoulders with the Olympic medalist in a fun and friendly atmosphere.