Marconi Sailing Clubs British Keelboat League Team (BKL) were invited to train in a J70 on Solent Water by UK J Boat distributor Key Yachting this weekend.
As part of their preparations for the next leg of the British Keelboat League in Cowes in two weeks time, team captain Tom Clayton, Michaela Dowley (helm), Bryan Spencer (mainsheet), Luke Lazell (trim) and Jack Collis (bow), familiarised themselves with the planing asymmetric J70 keelboat in a very exciting 20+ knots wind.
Charlie Merchant, J Boats UK Brand Manager provided boat specific coaching from a support rib, and the Marconi team were super impressed by the efforts of Charlie to help them very rapidly get up to speed with the J70, the boat of choice for the European Champions League of Sailing which the qualifiers in the British Keelboat League will progress to.
The J70 training came at the end of a week of continued preparations by the Marconi BKL team which saw them sailing a series of match races during the evenings of their clubs cadet week held during the first week of August.
Three challenger teams came from a mix of experienced dinghy, catamaran and cruiser racers who lined up to put the BKL team to the test during the pre-start that saw the crews manoeuvring in very close quarters in an attempt to get the other boat to foul, or push them over the line prematurely.
The Marconi BKL team came out on top after two days of racing the clubs Robber 3e keelboats, comprehensively leading 6 – 0 as they entered the final evening of races as the spectators gathered on the sea wall. This time the competing team managed to put the BKL racers under real pressure and both boats were required to perform penalty turns as they raced within inches of each other around the three 15 minute windward leeward matches. On the very final downwind leg of the series, just 100m from the finish, the competitors managed to get an overlap on the BKL team which resulted in a foul by the BKL team and as the competitor team lead by Tristan Walker – Hutt crossed the line to win, the BKL completed their penalty to finish with a series score of 8 – 1 and victors in this very local version of the Americas Cup competition.
The team will travel to the Royal Yacht Squadron in Cowes for the next leg of the British Keelboat League on 18th August.
Many thanks to the sponsors of our team, who are helping to promote keelboat and match racing on our East Coast, river Blackwater.