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RN Sailors are National Champions

Central - 30 May 18 General

The Royal Navy Sailing Team are the 2018 J109 National Champions after a nail biting Regatta run by the Island Sailing Club in Cowes. The team competed in the RNSA’s 36 foot racing yacht ‘Jolly Jack Tar’ against other crack UK teams.

The Regatta took place over the late May Bank Holiday and saw the team of 8 racing in a variety of conditions – from the lightest of summer breezes building to Force 6. The team, skippered by CPO(ET)ME Joe Henry, was consistently strong throughout the Regatta and won 2 of the 5 races, posting the best cumulative score line and taking the National Championship title. The team last won this title in 2016 but were not able to defend the title last year whilst racing in a chartered J109 yacht. With a clear goal of re-claiming this title, the team worked hard through the winter to prepare the boat, including sanding the boat’s hull to a smooth finish, replacing the mast and rigging, fitting new racing sails and making a myriad of minor tweaks to ensure the boat was ready to race and win.

The fleet of competing yachts were all eager to race on the first day of the Regatta but sadly the one essential component – wind, failed to materialise and no races were conducted. This meant that the races on the second day of the Regatta were all the more important and the RN team posted a 2nd, 4th and 1st to lie in second place overnight. The final day saw very light wind conditions but after waiting for the wind to build the RN team won the first race of the day to draw level with the competition – it all came down to the last race! The RN team started the tense final race in the lead group and fought tooth and nail to hold their position around the course and prevent the other lead boats from over-taking. The crew narrowly managed to score another 2nd place and punched the air in delight as they crossed the finish line and re-claimed the National Championship.

The team for the regatta was a mix of Officers, Senior Ratings and Junior Ratings from variety of Ships and Shore establishments, from a P2000 patrol boat to HMS Prince of Wales. Serving across the UK, the team came together for a training Regatta the weekend prior to the National Championships and were able to tune the boat and practice the various crew manoeuvres required to stay at the front of the fleet. Support from the Sports Lottery, RNRMC and RNSA have been key to enable the team to re-claim this National title and stay at the front of the UK’s competitive sailing fleet.

RN Sailing Team – 2018 J/109 Class National Champions:

CPOET(ME) Joe Henry – HMS Prince of Wales
Lt Cdr James Baker – Maritime Warfare School
LAET Simon McGee – 815 Naval Air Squadron
Lt George Cave – MoD Abbey Wood
AB(D) Jon Ellis – Southern Diving Unit 2
ET(ME) Michael Davies – HMS SULTAN
Lt Chris Pascoe – HMS Northumberland
Lt Paul Harsent – HMS Charger


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