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Non-start for America’s Cup J Class Regatta

Published on June 16th, 2017

(June 16, 2017) – The winds did not cooperate for the first day of the America’s Cup J Class Regatta, and the race committee ultimately made the call to abandon the day.

A record seven J Class yachts have gathered for the event. “This is a reflection of the strength of a class which is driven by the passion of our owners,” notes Louise Morton, the J Class secretary.

Never before have seven J Class yachts raced in one fleet in any regatta, with Shamrock, the first J Class yacht ever to be built in 1930 for the America’s Cup, joining in on the action.

Shamrock has had just two days of training in Bermuda under helm Stu Bannatyne and tactician Chris Nicholson. As the smallest, lightest, oldest J Class yacht – commissioned in 1929 – their aspirations are modest considering they lack sail power and length compared with their more modern counterparts.

And while they may be racing the most historic J Class yacht, the team includes two sailors who are set to enjoy a real change of pace, stepping straight from the foiling America’s Cup cats to experience J Class racing, Andy McLean (BAR) and Ben Lamb (SoftBank Team Japan) and BAR’s meteorologist Jess Sweeney joining the Shamrock team

“I think it’s incredible that all the J’s are here, but especially this boat being the only original one and a cup competitor back in the day,” said Bannatyne. “Realistically we just want to acquit ourselves respectably, to start nicely and get around the course without any problems. If we could pick up a midfleet result we would be very happy.”

Lionheart laid down a marker by winning the America’s Cup Superyacht Regatta but with seven boats racing around six windward-leeward courses, it will be a completely different test for the crews.

“I think the intensity and the effort going into the new J Class boats is pretty impressive,” reports Velsheda’s Kiwi tactician Tom Dodson. “There are not any mistakes going on in the fleet anymore. But here we are, we should remember also that we want people to love looking at the Js racing. Really we probably shouldn’t be that psyched up about who’s first and who’s not, as long as we’re sailing safely and showing the boats off. That the game really. Let’s enjoy it.”

The race schedule will take a break and resume on June 19 and conclude on June 20.

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