Shmokin Joe smokes day at J/111 World Champs
Published on August 22nd, 2014
Cowes, UK (August 22, 2014) – “Whatever those guys are Shmokin I want some!” said an unnamed European tactician at the end of today’s racing in Cowes after Phil Thomas and Duncan McDonald’s Shmokin Joe had stunned the fleet with three bullets.
Day three at the J/111 World Championship dawned overcast and autumnal with a forecast of 15 knots of north westerly wind. The start line set from Jonathan Perry’s Storm Trader was again adjacent to the Fastnet Marine Insurance mark on the north shore of the Solent.
The first race of the day, race five of the series, was started in 15 knots of wind from 275 degrees. An abundance of adrenalin coupled with a strong weather going tide resulted in a general recall, this was of great benefit to Stuart Sawyer’s Black Dog who were so far on course side, some thought they were on the delivery trip home!
At the second start, under black flag, most got away clean, some who infringed were off to do turns. The wind had shifted hard at the start, causing all to tack onto port, this favoured those on the left, including Chris Jones and Louise Makin’s Journeymaker II, Jamie Arnell’s Jeez Louise and Shmokin Joe. Most were surprised to see regatta leader Cornel Riklin’s Jitterbug take the stern of the fleet several hundred metres behind.
First round the windward mark was Journeymaker II, followed by Jeez Louise, Shmokin Joe, Robin Verhoef and John van der Starre’s Xcentric Ripper and then the Dent family on Jelvis. Surprisingly Jitterbug were last.
Shmokin Joe gybed early and blasted down the run to move into the lead, a huge 30 degree right shift made the next beat one sided, Shmokin Joe having found real pace extended to lead Jeez Louise and Journeymaker II round the windward mark for the final time.
Shmokin Joe won in style, Journeymaker II retook second from Jeez Louise with Tony Mack’s McFly in fourth. To cap a miserable morning Jitterbug finished bare headed in twelfth place.
Race six commenced in 10 knots of wind from 315 degrees, the wind more aligned with Southampton Water. Black Dog held up a pack of boats at the committee boat end, leaving more space for those at the pin. David and Kirsty Apthorp’s J Dream made a great full pace start at the committee boat end. Shmokin Joe, McFly and Jeez Louise went left whilst the French on J Lance 9 split right.
At the first cross Shmokin Joe were in the lead, a position they maintained until the end. Second to arrive at the top mark was Jeez Louise unfortunately they were on port tack and perhaps misjudging the pace of the boats arriving on starboard they charged in with neither space or rights, this resulted in some crash avoidance manoeuvres from J Lance 9 and J Dream, followed by Jeez Louise taking a penalty.
With a right shifting breeze the leeward marks had been realigned, Shmokin Joe led J Lance 9 with Jitterbug in third. Shmokin Joe sailed a great beat sailing straight up the north channel, taking the tidal benefit.
J Lance 9 moved up to second on the final run, following Shmokin Joe and ahead of Black Dog in third, McFly again took fourth, with Jitterbug in fifth. Shmokin Joe now led the regatta.
Race seven, the final one of the day, was started in 10 knots of wind from 307. Course setter Tony Singer increased the length of the beat to 1.6 miles on a bearing of 315. The day had warmed up nicely and most had discarded jackets as the risk of rain appeared to have passed.
Black Dog started on port on the right hand side of the line, once again the left paid as a left shifting breeze made it a one sided drag to the top of the course, Shmokin Joe came smoking up the left side of the pack, even the boats who had to re round the pin end were ahead of those that had started at the committee boat end.
With the wind shifting right in the final quarter of the beat, the first boats onto starboard were McFly and Xcentric Ripper, crossing behind the leaders from the left. First to round mark one was Shmokin Joe followed by Journeymaker II and Jitterbug, Black Dog’s excursion to the right cost them dear as they rounded in tenth. Jitterbug and Journeymaker II gybe set and headed for the mainland shore whilst the rest of the pack sailed down on starboard and at some stages looked as though they might lay the gate without gybing. A further wind shift rescued Jitterbug and Journeymaker II from their hard left position. Arriving at the gate Shmokin Joe led and rounded the left hand mark, Jitterbug in second chose the right hand mark. Once again it was a fairly one sided drag race upwind, in the final third Shmokin Joe tacked across on a small shift only to become the wrong side of a huge right shift dropping them to fifth at the final weather mark rounding.
Jitterbug shot the mark to round in the lead, J Lance 9 was second followed by Journeymaker II in third.
Shmokin Joe sailed a tremendous run sailing almost dead downwind with great pace, rumours that this was a result of a malfunction in the steering system were strongly denied by helmsman Duncan McDonald. This low and fast mode brought them through to second where they split gates with J Lance 9 who were leading.
With one final cross before the finish line and Shmokin Joe, as the give way boat preparing to duck, J Lance 9 tacked, Shmokin Joe’s momentum carried them through to take the win by a whisker.
So tonight we have a new regatta leader for the third night in a row, Shmokin Joe having turned a five point deficit into a six point lead, now counting 12 points, McFly have moved ahead of Jitterbug on 18, J Lance 9 are top non-British boat in fourth place.
Tonight is the class dinner at the host club the Royal Yacht Squadron. The regatta continues tomorrow with three more races scheduled.
Follow the live blog at https://twitter.com/JUKRacing and for the latest results visit the Royal Yacht Squadron website https://www.rys.org.uk/event/j111-world-championship
Report by Key Yachting. Photos by Rick Tomlinson.